Building a Strong Foundation for Change
The foundation for change is as important as the foundation for any large building. If it is not solid, the building can have all kinds of problems over time, not the least of which might be actually falling over.
When it comes to building a solid foundation for a change, try to clearly and honestly these three essential questions:
Why is this change necessary?
What is at stake if we either don’t change or fail in our attempts?
Where will this change take us?
Try writing those 3 questions out on a single page of paper, the first one near the top, the second one in the middle, and the third one toward the bottom. Title the page Our Foundation for (insert your current major change here). Now, in plain and simple language, develop 2 – 4 truthful answers for each question,
Your answers must be clear and engaging. There must be an irrefutable logic and rationale behind them that everyone in the organization can understand and relate to. There must also be a visceral, emotional connection to your answers that truly engage people. If people are going to go through all the challenge of making a major change in their lives and organizations, there must be an inherent discomfort there is no getting away from. There must be some significant consequences for non-action. There must also be a sense of hope for the future.
Without that discomfort regarding the current situation, any realistic sense of urgency and a compelling sense of hope for the future people will at best, only go through the motions. They will not really engage in any major change in any significant and meaningful way.
So, how did you do in developing your organization’s foundation for change? If you had a tough time clarifying answers to all 3 questions, you have some work to do. Start with asking your peers or people above you in the organizational hierarchy. Don’t be satisfied with the party line, push until you get some answers that would compel you to change. The next question is How clearly does everyone in your organization understand this foundation for change? If the answer is either you are not certain, or you don’t think everyone is on the same page yet, you have some more work to do. That brings us to the communication challenge which we will deal with in another article.
For now, ensure the foundation for your current change or changes is as solid and clearly engaged throughout the system as possible. If you don’t, any signs of success you might see in the short term have no hope to actually integrate into sustained change.
Copyright 2016 Chris Edgelow, Sundance Consulting Inc.