Organizations struggle with change. Why? Quite a few reasons, really. Having led my share of lessons learned, the reason for so many failed change initiatives comes down to poor planning. Organizational change requires discovery and design. To simply do change without assessing its potential impact on the organization and the risks involved from a systems perspective, is foolish. Yet organizations do this again and again. The change model we use at Mindshift was developed from years of experience and a deep understanding of organizational and human behavior. No assumption is left unturned as we employ our model.
Organizations today deal with more change than ever. As odd as this may sound, organizations would do well to align more with nature'ss way of changing. Nature changes organically and holistically, in step with everything else that is changing, and aware of the principles of impermanence and interdependence. Leaders need to embrance more impermanence when it comes to structure, and embrace more interdependence when it comes to strategy. For example, organizations need to embrace virtual form, as does nature. Virtual form is form that takes shape for the task at hand in the moment, and can reshape itself in the next moment, as needs and purpose change. This allows an organization to adapt quickly, to change form more rapidly. In truth, it's more of a process of staying in step than adapting.
Transformation is the way. Everything is changing form every moment. Nature has a way of being aware of its surroundings, its ecosystem of partners and their needs. Human organizations transform awkwardly, at best. By the time an organization recognizes its need to change and begins "doing" change, it is already well out of step with its ecosystem. This is where organizational learning comes into play. Awareness and observation of the larger ecosystem must become a higher priority. Highly successful organizations understand this and give time and resources to this important task.
As an organization's purpose changes, strategy needs to change. When that happens, organizational structure must adapt. To become more transformative — able to change form as needed — organizations need to adapt impermanent structures and learn to be in a ready state of change. Like individuals, organizations exist in a state of becoming. Change is driven by the need to balance external adaptation and internal integration. At times, external forces affect an organization's basic purpose and identity. Simply stated, for organizations to adapt quickly, structure needs to be more fluid in form.
One way for leaders to look at this is to "travel lightly" when it comes to structure. We design structure with this purpose in mind, enabling you to meet your emerging future. We help organizations develop the capabilities required to meet tomorrow's needs, through designed learning. To create long-term sustainability, we design communities where people find meaning in their work and can identify with the values of the organization.
Hans Kuendig, Founder, Ph.D.
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