This article looks into change at an organisational level. Why is it that there seems to be such a demand for change amongst consumers and employees, but so many people appear to be dissatisfied?

rear view mirror

I came across a quote in a great book called Tempered Radicals by Debra Meyerson that perfectly captured how organisations change. It goes as follows.

Since most changes are small, incremental adaptations scattered throughout organisations, it may be difficult to recognise this movement as change, except retrospectively when small effects have had time to accumulate. In addition, because this process is diffuse, specific causes of change are often difficult to pinpoint. Indeed, the change process looks more like random events and chaos than it does rational cause-effect sequences

So perhaps this is the problem, change is all around us, it is ever present. Some companies are changing for the better, some are changing for the worse.

These small changes make it hard to appreciate progress, even though much transformation for the better has taken place.

Perhaps when we are actually in the moment of change, it can be hard to appreciate the progress that has been made. Organisational change is something that is best viewed in the rear-view mirror.

A big issue is causality. Being able to pinpoint the catalyst for change is very hard. For a big issue like sustainability, which requires action on many fronts over a sustained period of time this is particularly problematic. Oftentimes, credit for change is handed out to executives, when it is the every day heroes in operational roles and in middle management who deserve credit for progress on sustainability indicators.

Change for sustainability is inherently random and full of awkward juxtapositions. One of the most important steps on any journey towards sustainability is to take account for individual and corporate environmental impacts. Environmental problems are not created by someone else somewhere else. We all play a role in creating them and we are all required to play a part in their solution.

What you need to know

This article looked into change at an organisational level.

We looked into Debra Meyerson’s quote from Tempered Radicals which captured many of the reasons why organisational change can be frustrating.

So, when you next hear someone ask, where’s the change? You can tell them that it is all around us, we just need to make sure that it is of the right kind.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What do you find frustrating about organisational change?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

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