It is a crying shame that most organisations put responsibility for change squarely on the individual. “It is up to you,” they seem to say, “to change yourself, to be positive about change, to work in new ways. To help you, here is some training.” As if the reason why people don’t change is lack of skills...
And, because the business abdicates responsibility for change to the individual, the organisation doesn’t have to do anything different. It carries on managing their people in the same old ways and then acts surprised when things stay the same, blaming their people’s “resistance to change...”
This kind of thinking is commonplace because it is easy. It is also lazy and ill-informed, for it is placing the cart squarely before the horse.
If a business wants to introduce change, it must have a good reason to do so: either what it is currently doing isn’t working well enough, or it wants to do something differently. Either way, the business is seeking a new outcome. If it wants a new outcome, it needs to manage the business differently: set new goals, adjust processes, tweak measurement and reporting, discuss new topics at meetings, establish new feedback processes and revise its reward processes. It is this new context that demands new skills and hence determines the training that is needed.
So next time your business is embarking on change, before specifying training, ask yourself: what have we done to ensure that we are managing the business to achieve our new goals? To make working in new ways easier and the old ways harder? To change things so that we pay attention to new ways of working?
If we can ask and answer these questions well, then our people will want the training we offer, they will know how they will use their new skills - and success, rather than being a struggle, will be inevitable.
Photocredit: Javier Gonzalez / www.sxc.hu
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