Challenging Your Organisation’s Status Quo

The global business environment would be a lot less hazardous to executive careers if highly experienced, proven leaders could simply walk into a new role, diagnose an organisation’s biggest challenges, and set a new course for achieving big new goals. Of course, it takes a lot of perspective (perhaps even some painful lessons) to inform a proven business manager’s view of the best steps to take and the right investments to make. Simply plotting out a strategic road map takes time, energy and a level of tenacity. It also requires the support of other key, influential leaders across the enterprise, who in turn can shape the organisational commitment to things many of its employees may never have imagined before, or were simply never asked to strive for. Therein lies the toughest challenge for today’s global executive.

Today’s global companies are increasingly bound by technology and systems, by shared competitive challenges and innovation goals, as well as by corporate mission and workplace culture. Yet they are also brought together by history and the unique inertia it creates. You will remember from some level of your own schooling that inertia is the property of something that tends to keep it in its current, perhaps longstanding state, unless some external force exerts new influence on the subject and changes its course. From an organisational perspective, inertia is the social capital that keeps things running, but which also keeps things the same.

Even the most purposeful, proven executive with grand plans for transforming the organisation, or perhaps with seemingly smaller goals could run afoul of this organisational tendency to remain in its current state because of the people who prefer to fight change rather than embrace it. Lots of global business leaders have simply moved too far, too fast, without first considering how the organisation itself might resist the changes they have been heralding. It is for these reasons, particularly if you are committed to challenge the status quo in your organisation, that you must understand who, precisely, holds influence over how new initiatives and priorities are messaged and perceptions about them created, and whether these individuals can be brought to your point of view. The reality is that some people will tell you what you want to hear and appear to cheerlead for the changes you seek but work to minimise or even undermine those changes when you’re not around.

There are, thankfully, those people in your organisation with the courage to consider change, even if it means some risk to them. These individuals must be given a voice in major change programs. Their counsel must be sought out, and their expertise and positive social influence tapped to reduce fears about change and move toward to small, early victories you need to show everyone that change need not be a painful exercise. Rather, with the right support, the right allies, and a realistic view of what you can achieve by when, you can be the change you want to see in your organisation.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2016

 

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