Navigating Organizational Change
December 5, 2017
By Patricia Marrone Bennett, Ph.D.
We all know how hard it is for us human beings to change. Our brains are hardwired to experience change as a threat to which we automatically respond with a flight or fight response. So it should be no surprise that when we try and change the ways in which an organization operates, we often experience a negative reaction.
In order to successfully navigate organizational change, we must first assess organizational readiness for change. One way that this can be accomplished is by administering a simple employee survey. Here are the primary questions that will provide a good indication of organizational change readiness.
- Do people believe that a change is necessary?
- To what degree does everyone understand what the change is?
- Do people think that leadership supports the change?
- Do people believe that they have the resources necessary to accomplish the change?
- To what degree do people believe that they will benefit from the change?
The answers to these questions will indicate the degree to which an organization is ready to embrace change. By understanding what people know, believe and feel we can take the necessary actions to prepare them and avoid much of the fear and resistance that often makes change efforts so difficult.
For example, if people believe that a change is necessary but they indicate that they don’t understand what the change is we can create a communication strategy that provides concrete information. Or if people believe they don’t have the necessary resources to accomplish the change we can create a resource allocation plan that helps ensure resources will be accessible to accomplish the change.
Implementing organizational change requires that we take into account the people within the organization – their understanding, beliefs and their inputs. This process is as important as the change itself and must be given the time and attention it requires if the change effort is to succeed.
One Small Planet
It is impossible to look back over the events of the past year and not viscerally feel the interconnectedness between ourselves, our families, our communities, and the rest of the world. The struggles of other countries, even other states, that once felt like distant concerns confined to the evening news now take on a different meaning. The pandemic and its economic devastation; the urgent cries for racial justice; the ever-increasing threat of wildfires, hurricanes, and other climate-change-driven disasters: these challenges belong to all of us.
Moving from Crisis to Chronic
Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are still operating in crisis mode. We are exhausted, and the items we put on the shelf are starting to stack up. It’s time to revisit our triage plans, no matter how planful or ad hoc, and re-evaluate our priorities and resources.