Sunday, August 30, 2009

We Need to Change?

The process by which we decide “it is necessary to change” doesn’t change much from one person to another. While that might sound like an outrageous claim, it really doesn’t do more than state the obvious.

For the purpose of this article we’ll restrict the discussion to the Change motivated by a desire to avoid an unpleasant outcome. That covers a wide range of scenarios ranging from implementing a new accounting system, acquiring some level of quality certification, or merging with another company.

At the beginning, the need to change is perceived by a small circle of individuals, possibly just one person. How this happens is important, as it serves as the seed from which we cultivate organizational commitment to change. Here’s our built in, instinctual process;

1) we become aware of something(1),

2) we ask ourselves, “If I ignore this… what happens? (2)

3) we evaluate our prediction(3) , “Is this good or bad for me?”

4) if we determine it is “good for us”, then we don’t do anything differently, we go about our merry way. More to the point, we will resist any imposed response because we’ve determined for ourselves that no action is necessary.

5) if we determine it is “bad for us”, then we will have arrived at the conclusion that a change is necessary. We’re not necessarily certain at this point what needs be done, but we’ve determined that something needs doing.

6) we now determine what we could do(4) , we create a list of possible responses.

7) we sift through these choices, to the best of our analytical ability(5) , with the intent of zeroing in on a single response to the perceived threat.

8) we move ahead to implement(6) our response to the threat, the thing we became aware of in #1 above.

It is an interesting journey when you analyze it carefully. More on this in the next post......

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