Moving Beyond the Status Quo
There are tremendous risks in maintaining the status quo.
Continuing to do so because “we have always done it that way” can lead to the organization failing to make the necessary moves to remain competitive. “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” can be a death wish. The operative phrase today should be, “How can we make it better?” Realizing a compelling vision means change: accepting new perspectives, abandoning old habits and implementing new techniques. Many times the necessary changes require doing things differently. Realizing the vision may involve outsourcing, merging, building strategic alliances, partnering, or acquiring other resources or organizations. It could mean selling off pieces of existing business that no longer fit strategically. It could involve restructuring your organization. What does it mean to you?
An organization must continuously do things better and faster or it will die. If you do the things that you’ve always done and expect different results, you are engaging in institutional insanity. If you want different results, you must do things differently, or you must do different things. Far too many people make the mistake of believing that you just have to work harder. Remember the first rule of holes: “When you are in one—quit digging.”
One important consideration to doing things differently is to focus on promoting the seamless flow of processes, production and communications. Erasing the boundaries between different parts of the organization is a strategy to remove the impediments. Improving quality and speed while reducing cost and complexities can create a significant competitive advantage. The objective is to eliminate from processes as many non-value-added, time-consuming steps as possible. Simplify, eliminate, and combine where possible. People who are involved in the processes should be involved in examining how they and the organization can get better and quicker. They must be focused on taking the frills out of core business processes in order to focus on the results rather than activities.
“Most companies squander 10 to 20 percent of revenue in support of wasteful products or procedures … at Kodak, waste drained an estimated $1.6B to $3.2B …” ~ George Fisher, former Chairman and CEO of Eastman Kodak.
Removing the barriers will quicken responsiveness, show major improvement to the bottom line, and it can be done fast. Competition leaves little choice.
There may be people who will resist change because it is different or new. Resistance to change is a common and universal malady. Therefore, understanding some of the barriers to change may help in creating and implementing successful change management strategies. Some common barriers to change and innovation are:
- Lack of data makes decision making difficult
- Personal goals conflict with professional goals
- Management behavior discourages implementation
- Employees don’t understand or really want to make the change
- Poor communication of vision, values, and mission
- Recognition and appraisals are inconsistent with attaining goals
- Unwillingness to develop new goals
- Lack of process or structure to promote change
Addressing resistance to change becomes a major focus and an integral part of a unified implementation strategy.
“I believe that we have only just begun the process of inventing the new organizational forms that will inhabit the 21st century. To be responsible inventors and discoverers, we need the courage to let go of the old world, to relinquish most of what we have cherished, and to abandon our interpretations about what does and doesn’t work. We must learn to see the world anew.” – Margaret Wheatly