No one ever said adaptability would be easy.
And for good reason too. It isn’t.
That it is worth the effort is borne out by the workplace climate and of course, productivity.
Over the 10 years spent researching how Sense and Respond works we’ve observed what makes a difference and what just adds to the mess.
We have been able to tease apart what works and what does not and in the process dispel many change management myths such as ‘its all in the mind-set’.
It became apparent to us that the principles upon which you design the organisation gives rise firstly to the way people think, then secondly, how they behave, closing the loop thus reinforcing the original design.
We found many organisations where people wanted to behave in more constructive ways but the organisational systems and norms created by the design prevented them from bucking the established norm.
It takes a lot of individual effort and position power to buck the trend, some succeed in changing the environment but the vast majority are worn down by the rest of the organisation simply waiting for them to fizzle out.
Unfortunately, many organisations have learned how to passively absorb change pressure to get themselves to the fizzle out point.
The real point of change is simply to design better organisations, design better more rewarding, fulfilling even meaningful work, ensure management focus on developing creativity, innovation and disciplined experimentation to continually solve efficiency, effectiveness and any other problem the organisation encounters.
These are the engines that drive adaptability and they must be supported by the organisational practices and structures. Without it, they are doomed to fail, or perhaps even worse, doomed to remain the same as before.