In every competitive environment, organizations evolve to survive and thrive. Society, Markets, and Warfare are ever-changing and so must those who want to succeed in them. Changing systems is a fight in and of itself. But, what if the change required is deeper than spreadsheets and efficiency reports? What if the organization’s values and behaviors aren’t aligned? I used the word “fight” intentionally. Make no mistake, when change is values-based, you are fighting for the heart and soul of your organization. To create a values-centered change, leaders steer the individual to driving the organization, communicate a clear and collective vision, model and steward the change, and empower their team.
Change is scary; organizations and people are naturally resistant to change. We defer to the sedentary status quo over the risk of growth. Last week, in Part I of our Leading Change Series, we discussed Kurt Lewin’s three steps for organizational change. (If you haven’t read Part I, it is available HERE) Organizations are living, breathing organisms that are comprised of people. A mechanical mindset, fixing a problem by simply uninstalling a piece and reinstalling an updated mechanism, won’t maximize growth. You can’t sustain an effective organization this way, because people are not widgets. Teams pose an agricultural paradigm, not a mechanical one.
Leaders and formations in the Army are always changing. With this change in people, comes a new look at the organization. It brings reinvention, breeding adaptability and innovation. Change is healthy, important, and necessary – but leading change also requires art. Dissatisfaction, contempt, and failure, are usually the drivers of change. But, that doesn’t mean everyone in the organization will view circumstances through that same lens. Change is disequilibrium caused by disconfirming information. Kurt Lewin’s Change Theory and John Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model, provide leaders a lens through which to view and understand what it takes to successfully lead change.