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The Importance of Structure in Organizational Change

The Importance of Structure in Organizational Change

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Yesterday I had a meeting with one of the most experienced people in the field of managing organizational change. We met to discuss the effects of individual’s self-sabotaging behaviors on the process. After a very productive discussion on that subject, I asked another question. “Chuck, once you organize and implement a program of change within an organization, how to you assure that it will not just go back to the way it was after you leave?” Those of you who work in this field know how important developing a good response to the question is. Without it, your reputation and the experience of the organization may suffer. Change takes a long time to settle in and become the norm.
Yesterday I had a meeting with one of the most experienced people in the field of managing organizational change. We met to discuss the effects of individual’s self-sabotaging behaviors on the process. After a very productive discussion on that subject, I asked another question. “Chuck, once you organize and implement a program of change within an organization, how to you assure that it will not just go back to the way it was after you leave?” Those of you who work in this field know how important developing a good response to the question is. Without it, your reputation and the experience of the organization may suffer. Change takes a long time to settle in and become the norm.

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Published by: Dr. Earl R. Smith II on Apr 23, 2008
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11/27/2012

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The Importance of Structure in Organizational Change
by Dr. Earl R. Smith II DrSmith@Dr-Smith.com www.Dr-Smith.com Yesterday I had a meeting with one of the mostexperienced people in the field of managingorganizational change. We met to discuss the effectsof individual’s self-sabotaging behaviors on theprocess. After a very productive discussion on thatsubject, I asked another question. “Chuck, once youorganize and implement a program of change withinan organization, how to you assure that it will not justgo back to the way it was after you leave?” Those of you who work in this field know how importantdeveloping a good response to the question is.Without it, your reputation and the experience of the organization maysuffer. Change takes a long time to settle in and become the norm.Chuck’s response was enlightening. “We design and install systemsthat will reinforce the values that we are working to establish as well aspenalize the behaviors that we are working to avoid.” I think there ismuch in this observation – particularly for consultants who work toengineer change.In some ways, the installation of value reinforcing systems is akin toinserting a redesigned skeletal structure in a living body. Reformingthe body is difficult if you are limited to cosmetic changes – changesthat may only be temporary and require a great deal of continuingenergy and resources to maintain. Seeing to the underlying structurecan go a long way to assuring that the changes will take root andendure.My companion made another observation that I found very useful. “Wenever institute a set of systems that are not in line with our ownorganizational values.” Two great insights in one meeting!!! The issue here is the tendency of many consultants to adopt a “do as Isay not as I do” approach to their engagements. How many do youknow who advise clients on branding and image – while their ownwebsite and branding is a mess? How many consultants advise oneffectively communicating your value proposition while doing a lousy job of communicating their own? How many advisors tout the value of systems and a professional approach while never thinking of applyingthese to their own practice? Does the saying ‘physician heal thy self’come to mind?

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