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Organizational change and development

Organizations experience the opportunity to change in real time and with real issues that are generated by such phenomena as:

  • Acquisitions, mergers, and alliances
  • Business strategy shifts
  • Business shortfalls or anticipated vulnerabilities
  • New leadership
  • Low productivity and/or employee morale
  • Mandate to redesign or reengineer work
  • Joining the continuous quality improvement movement
  • Unusually high levels of strife and stress among people
  • New vision and ambition regarding the future
  • Diagnosis of entropy and a call for a more resilient culture
  • Being challenged to go outside the boundaries of the current mental model
  • Salivating over an opportunity
  • Breakthrough learning

These are all triggers for realizing the opportunity to change intentionally. And they are moments when organizations usually need outside guidance in how to best carry out their intentions to change.

The Harvest Rune of the ancient Book of Runes says:"You can't make the beans grow faster by pulling on them. "This points to the reality that human organizations are organic, just like plants. Organizations are not machines for which engine parts can be exchanged....and thus fix the engine. Changes in organizations are organic.They need to be grown, not plugged in.So time is needed to make effective changes in organizations. And "green thumb" gardening expertise, otherwise known as knowledge in organizational change, is helpful. Organic change requires preparation of the soil for the transplanting that follows, as well as cultivation and time for growth. Organisms are self-correcting systems, so the act of help is focused on facilitating the organism to renew itself. The processes of change resemble the development of new hybrids (or permanently changing ones diet, learning a second language, or becoming proficient at Bach and Beethoven). The organization is much more than structure.It is heart and soul, a culture evolving over time.

Just like all living organisms, an organization has a "DNA" that differentiates it from all others. Discover your "DNA" as an organization; What really are you or ought you be at your core? Use that "DNA" and leverage it for greater success.

Since everything within a system is interrelated with everything else, all you have to do to change the system is to change something within it.In turn everything else will change, at least somewhat. Each smaller change will leverage larger change.If you change something critical, then everything else will be affected more critically. Changing one behavior and modeling it will often modify that behavior in others.It is important to understand the principle of leverage when trying to change an organization.

"All you need is a critical mass of people with a shared vision. "Any significant organization change is accomplished through a few people who are desirous of change, and who place themselves strategically throughout the larger organization in order to gradually impact the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of many people. They also continue to support and assist each other as a group with a shared vision, even though they are dispersed throughout the greater organization. The shared vision is critical in that it is a new story, and a new story drives an organization's energy and compels the alignment of people so that it can leave behind its old story. By definition there is always resistance tochange, and that resistance must be identified and its negative energy absorbed by the critical mass of people with their new story or vision before the organization can move ahead with the desired change.

For a fundamental change to be successful it must have three elements:

1.  Dissatisfaction with the current situation
2.  Desirability of the proposed change
3.  Relative practicality of the change, such as sufficient resources and sufficient know-how regarding its implementation



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950 Pershing Circle, Burnsville, MN 55306

phone ............... 952.435.7464
fax .................... 952.892.6707

John Johnson ... john@changemakingsystems.com
Molly Johnson ... molly@changemakingsystems.com
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