If you laid all the concrete-reinforcing steel bars used in the construction of the Burj Khalifa end-to-end, they would stretch from Rome to Los Angeles. The world's tallest building and pride of Dubai is a spectacular architectural feat, comprising 160 stories of retail stores, hotels and private residences rising half a mile into the sky. It has more floors than any other building; the longest travelling elevator; the highest outdoor observation deck and is the tallest, freestanding structure in the world.
But for all the ambitious dreams of its designers, long before any of its 828 meters of dizzying height was established, the building's massive construction team had to dig deep to complete the Burj Khalifa's foundations. The whole structure sits firmly on another engineering marvel – a vast three-pointed substructure made up of a concrete “raft” 3.7 meters thick, supported in turn by dozens of “tower piles” (steel and concrete rods) bored 50 meters down into the bedrock.
It does not take a genius to understand why foundations are built before construction begins above, but apart from the obvious fact that it cannot work any other way chronologically, the second reason has so much simple philosophical timelessness in it; it is even quoted in the Bible. If a solid foundation is not constructed first, a building met with stresses and forces of any kind will not stand for long.
Whether we consider that literally or metaphorically, it makes perfect, wise sense. Human psychology and personality are widely understood to be constructed in much the same way – “foundational beliefs” are created and hard-coded in the unconscious early on. Those beliefs directly and authoritatively inform conscious “actionable beliefs” going forward for the rest of our lives.
Foundational beliefs can be either positive, negative or neutral, but their effects on our day-today actions are unmatched by any other form of influence. Our foundational beliefs are the tower piles on which the raft of our worldview sits, as it were. There is a continuous double feedback loop with actionable beliefs being reinforced by foundational beliefs and foundational beliefs driving actionable beliefs in turn. Because the actionable beliefs are the incentives that cause us to take action in life, the foundational beliefs that influence them need to be as healthy as possible to maintain a happy and successful life.
The exact same foundational or actionable positive feedback loop needs to be in place before any company undertakes organisational methodologies to activate change. A business with ambitions to become adaptive needs more than to simply adopt adaptive methodologies. Those methodologies have to be selected and implemented in direct connection to the idiosyncratic purpose of the business; otherwise, the hoped-for effect of their implementation will not materialise. In this case, the foundation of a company needs to offer stability before any advantage can be seen, even if the most practically proven methods are used.
The following 5 chapters explain the ways in which businesses can prepare themselves for change and succeed at becoming adaptive by first understanding 5 vital precursory elements for that success: (1) management training, (2) purpose-driven methodologies, (3) waste management, (4) firefighting, and (5) collaboration – all of which are the building blocks of the foundational integrity businesses need as a prerequisite for change success. Without these basics, the chances of a business achieving its change agenda is dramatically decreased, no matter how successful the methodologies they have implemented have been elsewhere.
Doing the right things for the wrong reasons will never achieve the expected outcome. If you want an adaptive future for your company, getting those reasons right first is the key to making the right actions work.
The Burj Khalifa was built with a desire to achieve superlatives. And it did. But if it were not for 50 meters of tower piles and a concrete raft, its only world record would have been the world's largest building collapse. Lloyd Parry International has helped many businesses achieve their own adaptive superlatives time and again, often by first helping them build a foundation solid and stable enough to support change. This book distils Stephen Parry's wealth of experience in change success to help you plant the seeds of your own. Read on and enjoy!
The eBook is for C-Suite executives, middle managers and change teams. It discusses the importance of preparation in change-programs and the how-to's, as ultimately the right, strong foundations increase the chances of change-program success.