A: I have learned from many experts, including Kanter, Kotter, Bridges and the Heaths. But if you want to know the people from whom I have learned the most about how to work with organizational change, it is none of these.
Q: Who, then?
A: The great detectives — Columbo, Inspector Morse and Kurt Wallander.
As a change management coach, I’ve worked with different philosophies about the best way to do change. They all have their strengths and their Achilles’ heels. It doesn’t matter which expert’s tools and process you use – the result is unlikely to be all that you hope for. There is no one way that works for every organization.
What you need is not a guru, but a detective. Someone who will refrain from telling you how to do change long enough to listen to the clues that are embedded in your organization’s story. Listen long enough and all the stakeholders in the organization will eventually lay out the puzzle pieces and show you which piece is missing. And where it is hidden.
Every organization has its own personality, history and ethos. There is no one size fits all. Your organization deserves to have a uniquely customized process for change because that’s what works. If you really want to Ignite the Change that will revitalize your organization, remember:
Change Principle #2: Every organization has a unique pathway to sustainable change.
1 Think of three times in the organization’s history when you were at the top of your game. What do those stories have in common?
2 At what point did you realize that what made you successful in the past was no longer working? What can you learn from that?
3 What aspects of your organization are so essential to your identity that if they were lost, there would be no reason to continue? What, on the other hand, is expendable?