It’s against human nature to react favorably to the disruption of process change. Continuous improvement means continuous change, and change takes people out of their comfort zone. How have you seen people react to changes in their work? The typical reaction is resistance. As Machiavelli pointed out in The Prince roughly 500 years ago, there is no constituency for innovation: “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”
– Brad Power, Harvard Business Review
In this article Power asserts that he has looked at the success of continuous change in several organisations, such as Google, Intel and Toyota. From this he has compiled an interesting list of the components of successful change:
- Be paranoid.
- Encourage process experiments.
- Embrace change as an opportunity for learning.
But even more difficult than process change within business is culture change. Culture change is just as important to keep a company flexible, agile and relevant in today’s markets. Being able to understand your market, clients and partners is a crucial talking point in modern business, and company culture is a huge part of this. Linked to this is the difficulty organisations have in hiring different “types” of people, despite being aware of the benefits that this can bring.
Do you think Power’s three steps are helpful to culture change? Have you had any experience of successful/unsuccessful culture change? Read the full article here.