I Don’t Want to Be A Statistic

You’re aware of the +70% failure rate of organizational change, and two clear reasons why:

The change program didn’t align with the current culture, and/or

The fundamental cause of  ‘conventional command and control’ mindset.

If you want to lead, work, and contribute to an organization moving forward through the 21st Century, then the Executive team must relenquish the linear perspective so many have. Quit trying to get a new result with an outdated model.

The 35-year old model is broken. Let it go! At some point, you must dust off the past that’s not delivering the results you must have and adopt a better, faster and healthier methodology. ‘Back in the day’, the established generation commonly echoed – Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. With us boomers as the established generation, we must release our stubborn pride and arrogance and Lead Elegantly!

No one can tell ‘the others’ – the employee population – what to change or force them to change while they are excluded or disengaged.  Change initiatives cannot be rolled out top-down, causing resistance as it deviates from ‘the way we do things around here.’  Many change projects don’t make abstract values operational nor do they translate into behavioral changes that are sustainable.

“But, it’s worked before,” many of you have said. Sure, and that’s a guarantee it may not work any longer. How do you expect to drive results forward by keeping your eyes in the rearview mirror? There’s thousands of failures that are well known by consultants and coaches, and many organizations still seem to entertain this mindset.

“People are the key to successful organizational change because they have to change personal behaviors, beliefs, and meanings or nothing will change at all.”

Clients come to us when they’re ‘stuck’ or their previous consultant didn’t deliver the expected outcome. Some of these same people ask me to, ‘…just change it [the organization’s culture] for me.’ And, some further want me to deliver a precise schedule,  budget and define exact outcomes: which goals will be reached by when?

This is the definition of linear, command and control mindset. If I could deliver in this exact method, what the hell do we need your entire Executive team for? How about I come in as interim CEO, since you can’t deliver or are nose-blind to whats required? Arrogant? Consider re-reading the expectation from the mindset that you’re not in control of culture and you need – must have – the employee population DRIVE the change. Your one job is to support and facilitate the change and get the hell out of the way.

“The number one obstacle to success for major change projects is employee resistance and the ineffective management of the people side of change.” – The Prosci Best Practices in Change Management Benchmarking Study, 2009

My arguement for change is based on a culture of positive, forward-looking leadership, and the rhythm of ego, results and relationships of change. Here’s the new mindset:

  • Organizations practice inclusiveness and ask everyone to contribute to change.

  • Accept complexity – self-organization within boundaries.

  • Accept the nebulous – change one simple, powerful habit to create a vastly different outcome.

  • Leverage systems theory and critical mass to change behaviors in its entireity.

  • Acknowledge and discover opportunities to emerge you couldn ‘t see before.

  • Employ and support Change Circles to establish, develop and sustain Change.

Culture and climate is a major obstacle to change; keeping people embedded in their comfortable habits. Moving from the pain of the known to the uncertainty of the unknown is a significant step requiring an impartial sounding board to support and facilitate your leadership efforts.

Because of group dynamics, the people in our small groups tend to copy, coach, and correct each other to keep things the same. Why? Because it’s a known – it’s comfortable. This powerful copy mechanism in small groups – change circles – can be reversed: to practice new ways of doing and thinking! People are the key to successful organizational change because they have to change personal behaviors, beliefs, and meanings or nothing will change at all.

96% of people believe culture change is needed in their organization in some form, and 51% need a major culture overhaul. – Booz, Allen & Company Survey/Strategy&

Our approach to successful change is to engage your employee population in small teams. Within these Change Circles – of 8-12 people – we work on the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of change. They take ownership of their part (contrary to obeying top-down orders) while they benefit from coaching, peer support and leadership develop to ‘DO’ change and stick with it, even when it’s tempting to go back to the destructive pain of your old habits.

We Change the What
We use best-in-class validated organizational culture assessments to guide your people and to reach clarity and consensus ‘of the what’ to change that quickly maps culture in a quantitative way.

After we assess the climate and current culture, we establish and convene Change Circles for a dialogue about the ‘why’ and ‘what’ and especially the ‘how’ of change. People translate the culture types to their specific, daily behaviors, and underlying assumptions. They add qualitative examples to the quantified culture profile for a better understanding of where they are.

We then assess the future challenges, goals, strategy, and determine which culture type would be best for them with input from your team for discussion and direction. The circle determines the crucial behaviors and beliefs that will ensure succeess. Now, everyone knows where they Are and where they want to Go. The logical question at this stage is, ‘How do you get to that destination?’

We Create the How
The Change Circle engages people to step up and contribute to solving the puzzle of how to create change. This critical step helps the organizational system move forward toward the preferred culture and change. Why? Because they were included from the outset. If you recall several hundred years ago, it only took III% to establish the country we live in today.

Is the how identical with every organization? No, it’s not. Together, we trace the specific elements and details that will make a significant, sustainable difference in this organization going forward. Can we alone, as culture experts tell you? however your ‘insiders’ have resident knowledge of the organization. They know and can discover the viral habits that people copy, and reach the tipping point to change. We use them to develop a positive culture, enhance everyone’s competency to change, and use positive leadership to boost performance.

Even if a CEO and the team have a clear idea of the what and how to implement change, they cannot force or order people to change. Employees need to see it, experience it for themselves, have the time and space to commit to the change (to Trust it) or they won’t do it.

Elegant Leadership in  a Culture of Change
Our Change Circles are a great way to engage people. We leverage them to develop a healthier climate, a positive culture, enhance everyone’s competency to change, and reinforce positive leadership behaviors to boost performance.

Change Circles are small enough to engage people and allow for quicker replication and synergies along the way. There’s space for dialogue, to remove obstacles, solve problems and reflect on objections where other members can attain more information. They enhance commitment of the employee population, because there’s ‘no place to hide’ in a small team. Small groups work via peer support as trust is secured. When someone doesn’t agree, other coworkers notice. There’s no hiding in a large audience, and no stealthy criticizing or back-biting, because your employees will talk with one another, not talk about each other, in a small group.

Ten is better than one. Together they solve the how-to puzzle – while eliminating obstacles, influencing people’s objections and thus, changing beliefs. They commit to the change, while supporting one another to change habits over time, and they historically yield significantly more results in the end. Would it make sense to have a conversation on why now may be the time to change what’s not working?

If you knew failure wasn’t an option, what would you do? Click here for my private calendar to schedule a no obligation, no strings attached conversation.  If you’re not sure you’re ready, answer a few questions of what your capacity for improved performance looks like here.

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