Only behavioural change is real change. This applies to individuals, organizations, business management, education and health. By repeating the mantra “we are resistant to change“, we create a fantastic alibi to justify inertia, painful change or expensive consulting programmes. The fact is that we are NOT resistant to change, because biologically and psychologically we ARE change. Change in organizations today is less of a method to go from A to Z than the creation of a behavioural DNA that can embrace and master any A to Z, A to X or A to anywhere. Change today is change-ability.
Behaviours create cultures, not the other way around. Cultures are not created by training. If you change behaviours, you’ll get culture: within organizations, social groups, etc. The emphasis on change should be on behaviours. Processes and systems are the easy part. Tell me which behaviours you want to see in the place, and the ones you don’t, and whether you can visualize the good ones multiplied 100 times… and that is the culture you want. Then give it any label you like. In that order. Culture IS strategy, not a luxury to look at once other things have been sorted!
Viral Change™ is the only real alternative to slow, painful, expensive and unsuccessful management of change in organizations. Viral Change™ takes you from the standard big-set-of-actions or big-initiative-change with colossal communication programmes pretending to reach everybody in the organization ( a kind of gigantic Corporate Flash Mob) to the power of a small set of behaviours spread by a small number of influential people creating an internal epidemic of success (in whatever agreed form you have defined it). Viral Change™ is an infection. It’s a grassroots social movement.
Leaders with a traditional ‘strong vision’ bother me. In Proverbs we learn that ‘when there is no vision, people perish’. I think that when there is too much vision, people perish faster. People with all the answers – including leaders – are overqualified for any job. Leadership is praxis, a practice. Leadership is a be-coming experience, it’s never finished. Leadership today has a high dose of broker-ship. Because of the huge inter-dependence of anything we do, the art of making things happen by aligning and engaging people, particularly people who do not report to you, must be a premium. Great leadership today is in fact Backstage Leadership™.
Innovation is one of these magic words that opens many doors and gets attention. Everybody wants one of those! The air time for innovation has been dominated by process- innovation, including idea-management, collaborative software and ‘a system’ to get new ideas in action. However, the real trick is to have an organization with the right behavioural DNA that allows for any process and system to be used and to be effective. Innovation is largely behavioural because behaviours, not processes, are at the core of collaboration, co-creation and many other ingredients the company must have. If you get the fabric right, any good process will succeed. If you install processes first in the hope that they will create the behaviours, you are in for a big surprise.
Today excellence is a pass, quality is a pass, even customer-centrism should be a pass, the baseline. Today, the wining organization is either remarkable or is me-too. Nothing in between. Finding what is/should be remarkable is the key. You can call yourselves excellent, good or great. But remarkable is something other people say of you. The traditional organizational models are tired. You’ll be lucky today to make a matrix work in the old way of endless cross-functional teams. The quest for the remarkable status requires a sort of permanent un-finished structure. I call it the Beta organization.