There seems to be an assumption that change is a single traumatic event that is thrust upon us and over which we have no control.
In the recent past this was definitely true, in industry there would come a sudden realisation at the end of the financial year that unless we did something radical we were going to the wall.
The huge and destructive changes that then occurred fitted this model.
In 1936 Kurt Lewin suggested that change be divided into three phases:
This finite process with a beginning middle and end is dated in a climate that is today too dynamic to allow us the luxury of such a mechanistic process.
Our competitors, our industry and our technology are changing so quickly that we must change constantly to keep up.
If we have to stop to make a change we will be lost.
Kurts proposition is an indication of how much our understanding and use of change has developed. The difference is between the assumptions made then and what is actually happening now, years later.
Change is now accepted as a part of the way we need to react to continue to stay competitive. For the most part it is still administered in large indigestible lumps and for the most part we still have no control.
Today we are going to the next level.
The process of change itself must become dynamic. The only way this can be achieved is to make change part of our daily expectation.
Every day we must consider how to improve and that is not possible unless the environment is created that allows us to want to get better at what we do.
How to change to that environment is the key.
When the workforce becomes involved in the change instead of having it thrust upon them their ideas are respected and used, the resistance to change disappears.
We create a workforce that is powerful and valuable, who are proud of their ability to improve the performance of their organisation and constantly seek new ways to personally add value.
This sounds like a fantasy based on a plot for the perfect organisation which we know will never be recreated in reality.
Except that this fantasy is already a reality.
The model created by Ricardo Semler in Semco demonstrates not only how socially right creating ownership is, it is also unequivocal proof of the financial return that accrues when the workforce are allowed to take ownership.
Peter A Hunter
Author of “Breaking the Mould"