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Sometimes things go wrong and it’s not always a bad thing. Define and discuss the concept of productive failure. Discuss a time in your organization’s history (or an organization you are familiar with) when a change process failed. Explain the situation and what was learned in the process. Why do some organizations fail but become stronger while others fail to recover?
Making Change Stick
While change is inevitable in most organizations, there is a difference between change that is superficial and embedded sustaining change. Drawing from this week’s lecture and readings, discuss the processes for successfully implementing and sustaining change. Provide examples that are designed to help make change stick and apply at least one of the examples to an organizational change with which you are familiar.
Week Six Lecture
Exploring the concepts of change provided a synopsis of the dynamics involved in designing, communicating, implementing, and committing to change within the organizational structure. The final task for the change process is to understand the principles for sustaining change and learning from the failures associated with change initiatives. Understanding that there are times that a change process may not be quite as successful as expected is part of the overall package. The actions taken post failure or conflict will help determine the sustainability of the intended change movement.
Please listen to the following podcast: Succeeding through unexpected change.
Leadership must have a clear understanding of the behavioral variables associated with change so they do not fall prey to manipulation by the cultural dynamics of the organization. Resistance to change and the desire to keep things as they were is a behavior typically displayed during the change process. Being open to strategic dialog to address the fears will assist in the forward motion of the needed change initiative.
When a change process fails to meet the requirements specified, or totally fails, there is often a tendency to make hasty changes or abandon the initiative for another plan of action that only convolutes the failure into something even more catastrophic. Dealing head-on with a change process that did not meet the needs or failed allows the leader and the participants the opportunity to debrief and discover what went right, what went wrong, and the correct path for future implementation.
Heath and Heath (2008) explore the concepts of why some ideas stick and others never seem to get off of the ground. Is it perhaps the story that goes along with the idea that causes the initiative to stick? Telling a good story becomes a legend and the leader that fails to use the art of persuasive conversation may have a more difficult time of moving the concept along. We are never too important to become part of the story or process. The ground floor leader has a better chance of finding success and finding willing participants.
With open lines of communication regarding the impact for all shareholders, the leader is able to define the parameters for making the change operative sustainable. There are numerous reasons for change to occur within the organization. By developing an understanding of the reasons for the change, the participants are more likely to move forward and support the necessary actions required to make the change stick.
Changing the culture is not something that will happen overnight. The culture of the organization must be given the time and support necessary to allow the new behaviors to become part of the dynamics of the group. Individuals will support the concepts and follow the leader that is willing to make them part of the overall process. Understanding the “why” behind the change process is the catalyst for making the change possible and ultimately sustainable.
Forbes School of Business Faculty
Coaching for leaders (Producer). (2013). Succeeding through unexpected change [Audio file].
Heath, C and Heath, D. (2008), Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die. New York: Random House
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