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I’ve been meaning to sit down and right this blog for a fair few days now. I wanted to say something new and really insightful to you my readers. The truth of the matter is as I look outside in this summer rain and think, I realise that there has been some movement since Organisational Change and Organisation Development were hot topics.

When these disciplines started they really focused on planned, timely change and improvements of the status quo. There was less talk of disruption or full on transformation programmes, this was because most projects tended to be refrozen back to a more or less stable way of working.

This is where the difference has happened… we can no longer afford to stay still in organisations. Change is not just one project or one transformation that has an end point, it is a continuous cycle that must keep on going for any organisation to survive nowadays.

Development as a term actually is a great fit to what organisations must do now. Development is continuous and to a certain extent inevitable, much like our own personal development. If we don’t pay attention to it, or we don’t spend some time to do it consciously the world will pass on by and we become invisible.

Slightly harsh? Yes. However, we are seeing more and more examples of this in today’s world. Just look at the retail sector; the organisations that are thriving are those that either disrupted the market in the first place or quickly decided to catch up. If you’re not in e-commerce you are left behind like Blockbuster, HMV and I mean did you hear about Boots recently?

However, retail is not the only sector to see these shifts. Everyone must grow, innovate, evolve and develop. My new words to really describe what I help organisations do with people at the heart of it of course!

Here are some ideas on how to start on this journey:
1. Change your organisational change mindset. Probably one of the hardest tasks to do if change is viewed currently in a negative manner across your colleagues.

2. Change your language around change. This helps with 1 by the way. I like talking about development, innovation, disruption (although I find some leaders shy away from this one), evolving more than change itself. These words have less of a negative emotional response but also mainly helps if you’re also doing 3.

3. Involve your people in change and innovation. I think I have talked in past posts before about the immediate reaction we all have to change, it triggers our fear and we immediately want to know what’s in it for me. However, if we involve people in these processes they are likely to already know the benefits, have better ideas and help engage others along the way. I find customer facing staff to be the best disruptors of the status quo when they are given the chance to step back and experiment.

4. Talking about experimentation, do it! Have fun, no one ever invented something new by staying in their comfort zone and if Thomas Edison had given up on his first go at a light bulb I would not be here sitting and writing on a computer. Help your employees feel safe at taking risks and failing. Did you know that was how Post Its got invented?

5. Take time to step back. In a lot of places that claim to be agile, one of the most common conversations I have been having lately is around the ability to take a step back, take a break and actually be able to see the big picture again. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.

You may be sitting reading this and thinking, wow that actually doesn’t seem too hard. The reality is that these simple principles are simple but not easy. So just enjoy the journey, and when you need to don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Cinthya Quijano, Director of Change Differently Ltd
Twitter: @sustainableOD

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