A client, senior manager, mentioned to me recently that his company spent a disproportionate amount of time ‘getting ready’. He was referring to a product launch. He was critical, yet he found it difficult to push back because how could anybody argue against doing proper homework, that is, markets, competitors, own skills etc? Many colleagues shared the ‘readiness discomfort’ but nobody dared to call it out.
This is far from uncommon. I used to use a slide in my presentations showing a pie chart which represented the percentage of time we tend to spend on a topic/strategy: 25% thinking of doing; 40% planning for doing; 20% getting absolutely ready for doing, including announcing of doing; 15% doing.
The need to do the homework has not gone away. What has gone away is a clear sense of sequence: A,B,C and then D will happen. In fact the sequential world is an illusion. Woody Allen’s description of London as ‘all the seasons in one afternoon’ would be a fair representation of today’s business environment. It’s ready for A whilst doing C.
In a recent great conference under the theme ‘Organizing for Transformation’, at which I was kindly invited to deliver the keynote, I gently (and respectfully, I hope) challenged the title as somehow implying that you stop the place and organize, and then transform. Of course whoever created the title did not mean that. It was obvious. But I pointed it out as a way to uncover how our brain works and love orderly sequence. The old saying ‘flying whilst bolting the wings of the airplane’ (and its many variations) is spot on. It describes today. A,B,C is ready for A whilst doing C.
Let me attempt to reframe:
- Readiness is mostly a red herring. Nobody is ever truly ready. We have attached the label to a point in time in which we decided to act and act. Readiness to walk is mostly a state of people already walking.
- Preparedness is often used as a coterminous, a synonymous of readiness. However, this term (wildly used in the military) is for me much broader and deals with all this ‘homework’ and conditions needed for ‘the plane to fly, and bolt the wings, and man the control tower, and buy parachutes’.
- Change-ability is for me a way to shape the operating system of an organization that allows for semi-permanent state of preparedness and readiness and whatever else we can throw in.
Which means that I would put my money on change-ability, on creating organizational DNA and people/process operating systems that allows me to navigate, sail, fly and achieve without ‘constant disruption’.
If a programme, initiative, method does not build lasting capacity, today it’s not worth the money. Change management is dead. Change-ability is a premium.
Are there any possible conditions for this?
Let me come back to you.
There is no change unless there is behavioural change. From supporting your business as you adjust to the ‘new normal’ through our Feed Forward 90-day programme to driving large scale cultural and behavioural change that is sustainable for the long term through Viral Change™ – we are your organization architects.
Feed Forward from The Chalfont Project, will help you create sustainable behavioural and cultural change across your organization/team/department.
Using the Five Disciplines of Viral Change™ we have developed Feed Forward. Why? Because post Covid-19 to combat the organizational impact of the pandemic, we’ll need a behavioural counter-epidemic inside the company. This can be done but requires a real social movement, not the traditional ‘change programme’.
- 1. Behaviours (what are your key behaviours?)
- 2. Peer-to-peer networks (the greatest force in any organization)
- 3. Influence (identify your key influencers)
- 4. Storytelling (stories are more powerful than facts)
- 5. Leadership (which needs to own the ‘new normal’).
Contact The Chalfont Project team to find out more information about Feed Forward, or to discuss how we can support your business.
Viral Change ™: model, method and way of life, all in one
Viral Change™ uses the power of a small set of well-defined non-negotiable behaviours, spread by small groups of highly connected individuals within the organization. Their peer-to-peer influence – more powerful than hierarchical one – creates new norms, new ways of doing, new cultures. When groups start doing things the new way, other groups follow. Stories of success spread. Stories are memorable, behaviours are contagious… bullet points are not. There are great similarities between biological infection and idea infection. For proof, just look at any social phenomenon around you!
Viral Change™ is a way to understand the organization as an organism instead of a machine. It is a method to create large scale change to meet specific business objectives. It is also a day-to-day way of life in the organization in a permanent state of readiness. If you want to master any of these, we’ll be there to guide and work with you.
Contact us today to find out more about Viral Change™.