Last week I led our Change Management Practitioner course for a client in Kuwait. As expected, taking people through this material helps me reflect more deeply on some aspect other.
One theme that emerged this time was being clear about what will not change, being clear in one's own mind and within one's change team, as well as clear with all the other stakeholders. I'm sure you can see immediately why this is important to people. Depending on the change, it can be pretty disturbing stuff, particularly if everything familiar seems to be under threat.
At an early point in the course we cover the 'levers of change', the various areas to consider in making change happen. Well, I remember from my Physics that for a lever to work - to get leverage - a fulcrum is needed. As I understand it, a fulcrum is something firm that won't move. In the same way i believe we need a fulcrum for the change levers to work. What might such changeless areas be?
In their management classic, Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras showed from research that all organizations that prevailed over the longer term where ones that
- Had a clear understanding of their values, and
- Were constantly reinventing their practices whilst never messing with their values.
In order to be able to be constantly changing, they had to have something firm and changeless. Values were their fulcrum. In the chaos of change, people in these organizations always knew what the organization stood for.
What are the values in your organization that you can hold up and say, "We stand for these things, and they will not change."?