In my experience as a coach and practitioner of organizational development, I’ve come to understand and realize that to effect change within an organization, the organization itself needs to be empowered and prepared with the resources, skills, knowledge and support necessary to achieve desired results. Most importantly, in order to gain a competitive advantage through large-scale organizational change, efforts and initiatives require a new way of thinking — a shift from the old mechanistic views to an organic view of organizations.
Today’s organizational and business landscape is uncharted territory, for most and the prosperity of today’s organizations depends on their openness and ability to effectively plan and implement large-scale organizational change. During these shifting, transformational, and often difficult, times many leaders have been responding to what seems like a newly established norm of turbulence and uncertainty by attempting to implement deep, pervasive change through old survival-based strategies such as downsizing, mergers, and re-engineering business processes in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage by improving the quality of services or products and, therefore, productivity and profit.
These change efforts, which are usually launched with great enthusiasm and fanfare, typically run into serious resistance and impediments during implementation and can often produce disappointing financial results. Many do not last any longer than 18 months. And, the unintentional outcomes of these efforts include high employee turnover, dangerously low morale and productivity, and a workplace atmosphere of fear and discomfort. People view the change initiative as the “fad of the year.”
The challenge of our times is to invent and discover organizational forms that can be resilient, adaptive and healthy. We need to expand our thinking and change our ways of creating and engaging in business from a mechanistic point of view to an organic point of view. We must view organizations as organisms — living and breathing as opposed to being part of a machine.
As agents of change — human resources professionals, coaches, consultants and trainers — it is our role is to guide clients and organizations through the planning and implementation of complex organizational change. So we must consciously help them and their organizational members expand their thinking along new lines, from:
Separate parts to connectedness and wholeness
Results to process
Outer resources to inner resources
Sameness to diversity and plurality
Control over society to reinstalling spirit into society
Observable facts to intuitive wisdom
Profit/productivity to higher purpose/vision
A material age to a relationship age
Most certainly, the concept of a shift in thinking is not new, but, until recent years organizations could ignore it and remain relevant and profitable. But a shift in thinking continues to occur and evolve in our society and it is mirrored in our organizations.
We may call it transformational thinking. And, ultimately this shift in thinking will give way to the requirement and demand for a new way of leading to be explored in the next part of our series.
About the Author
Dr. Laura L. Hauser, MCC, MCEC
Founder, Leadership Strategies International
Dr. Laura Hauser, MCC, MCEC, works with organizational leaders and their teams (and the professionals who support them) to build healthy workplace cultures. She is an internationally-recognized thought leader and researcher in the highly specialized space of team coaching. Using art and science, she teaches, coaches, supervises and consults in a way that expands mindsets and capabilities needed to navigate through disruption. Laura has been honored for her contributions to the coaching profession. She is the developer of the Team Coaching Operating System®, an ACSTH coaching school accredited by the International Coach Federation. Contact Laura by email or on LinkedIn.
When referencing this material, please acknowledge the source: ©2020 Dr. Laura L. Hauser, MCC, www.leadership-strategies.com