Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We Talk a Lot About Change (But How Do We Actually Feel About Change?)

The dilemma with change is that everyone likes to talk about it, but very few have insight into their own willingness to change, let alone their ability to influence change. Those who see the need for change often want others to change first.
Chris Spies, 2006

It is not only the current US American presidential campaign that introduced the word change into our daily discourse. Most political but also many industry leaders use the word more and more frequently – no address on the future of XYZ (XYZ could be a country’s or a company’s name) without bringing up the notion that we need to change. It goes without saying that few of these leaders actually explain who is this we. And consequently, most who are the targets of the message We need to change rather understand “You need to CHANGE!”, or “I want YOU to CHANGE!” This is one of the beauties of human communication – no matter what and how you say it, you can be sure that people add a very different meaning to what you intended to say. Read more...


Ben Simonton said...

The underlying error is use of the top-down command and control approach to managing people.

Top-down concentrates on producing goals, targets, visions, orders and other directives in order to control the workforce and thereby achieve organizational success. Concentrating on giving direction prevents these managers from doing much of anything else.

Thus top-down treats employees like robots in the "shut up and listen, I know better than you" mode, and rarely if ever listens to them. By so doing this approach ignores every employee's basic need to be heard and to be respected.

In this way and others, top-down demeans and disrespects employees sending them very negative value standard messages. The standards reflected in this treatment "lead" the employees to treat their work, their customers, each other and their bosses with the same level of disrespect they received. This is the road to very poor corporate performance as compared to the results that would be achieved using a better approach. Top-down managers are their own worst enemies.

Until top-down is thrown out and managers high and low earn the respect and trust of their people by treating them with great respect, change will be a difficult and traumatic process mostly characterized by failure.

Best regards, Ben
Author "Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed"

Anonymous said...

Change the subject of what is and has been happening forever. These buzz words become so much of a daily diet we often neglect to measure it! Go figure. In fact I have worked for over 40 years now with many companies all wanting "Change".
What I have found is that reality tends to dictate that change is going to happen no matter what and all we can do is guide and align it with whatever values the company will allow.
I have also found the last comment true. Programs that are simplified such as the Plan-Do-Review implemented first at management levels and cascaded to the front lines seem to have the most impact and longest lasting change.
Almost all the change takes place at the culture level introduced through strategies that focus on results gained through culture change.
Ben can take some satisfaction from knowing that he is on the money with the trust and respect. Even when this happens the dictatorial managers hate to see it and do all they can to prevent it from happening.

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