90% of Organisational Change is about People, not Process

90% of the change work I do in organisations is about people, not process or tools. It’s navigating the politics, building relationships, overcoming barriers and helping people work together to solve common problems.

I know from when I arrive in an organisation that the people working in it are the experts on what they do. They already have the answers they need between them but the fragmented and siloed system in which they work makes accessing those answers impossible.

Most people live in a small box. They think they can’t influence or change things a lot.

My role then becomes to help them break down those barriers, put the right people together, show them what good collaboration looks like and steer towards success. You could call it a form of organisational therapy – as a trained Cognitive Hypnotherapist I find myself often using much of what I’ve learned about therapy inside the workplace.

There’s often a dedicated few, desperately trying to change things and exhausting themselves fighting inertia and bureaucracy. There are all sorts of ways in which people resist change and motivations for this resistance. Here’s a list of the most common objections I encounter:

”We’re different”

”We can’t”

”We’ve invested too much in the current way”

”It won’t work here”

”It’ll never work”

”This wasn’t invented here”

”We’ll only do it if we can be certain it will work”

”Prove it!”

Learning from the field of personal change and therapy is something I’d highly recommend, but for those of you who don’t have the time, here are 3 books I’ve found very helpful along the way.

It can be easy to give up hope when you’re trying to challenge your organisation to change. Please don’t!

Apple is in my view a great example of an organisation that has learned how to challenge its own norms and assumptions about people, their needs and the products and services that it could be to truly help them. I’d like to close by sharing with you a quote from a Fast Company interview this week with Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) on Steve Job’s legacy, explaining how Steve made this possible:

“Steve felt that most people live in a small box. They think they can’t influence or change things a lot. 

I think he would probably call that a limited life. And more than anybody I’ve ever met, Steve never accepted that.”

“We have to continually have the discipline to define the problem so that it can be done.

If you try to engineer to the complexity, then it does become the impossible dream. If you reject the box…you can change things. If you embrace that the things that you do are limitless… you can change the world.”

Posted in My Approach, People, Uncategorized.

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