Terres Inconnue

Food for thought

Change in organization

Many books discuss how to change a system by putting in place

  • A new strategy/direction/vision/meaning (and internal and external consultant will help design it). Leaders then do their best to apply and communicate this strategy to the actors of the system (internally and externally).
  • And/or introducing new rules of the game/processes/resources (and consultant specialized in change or organisation will offer their expertise): how to induce change by modifying the retribution system, the computer system, internal processes, responsibilities, workforce…

These changes induced by the management work because the actors of the system are smart and can adapt to changes to secure their individual and collective interests.

An important part of the work to be done in this case is to overcome the resistance to change.

For example, many companies with whom we work realize that it is necessary to go from a product oriented culture to a client oriented one. Strategies are put in place, beautiful communication campaigns are designed, organization chart are changed to this end. In a huge number of cases, despite the vision, despite the changes on the process and the resources, and sometimes even the people in place, the change is superficial and is not enough. The client comes in the store, the employees do everything by the book but the way they act (smiling, saying hello, being helpful, saying thank you) doesn’t make a difference if they haven’t put their heart in it.

Eastern wisdom and many personal development theories teach us a different story. At an individual level, change cannot be imposed. It’s useless to want to be some one else, to try to change into someone else, to set that type of target. What’s important is to accept ourselves as we are, love ourselves as we are and become who we really are (our full potential that is already present).

The role of the coach is to

  • create the conditions for this acceptance with unconditional love
  • and have faith that it is the person’s journey that matters and not the goal to reach.

When we accompany organizational change, we try to apply these principles with humility Our role is to create the conditions, the “field”, to help the group of actors to go forward together, as far as they want to, on the path of acceptance and letting go. We start by allowing people to share among themselves who they are, what are their individual stories, what are their dreams, their fears and other feelings, how they are living the present situation. Real change needs a high level of awareness from all the actors involved, how they work together, what are the consequences of what they do. To accept that we are all individually and collectively responsible for the outcomes. To accept to listen to each other as a human being -  feelings, dreams, successes and failures.

Instead of confronting the people’s resistance to change, we suggest to mobilize the individual and collective energy.

Just like individual personal development (be it therapeutic or spiritual), real change needs to pass through this moment of awareness, this acceptance, this celebration of who we are and how we work as a group today. The more this acceptance is wide and profound, the readier the group will be (every one knows, every one is motivated, every one can commit) to open itself to build together a new reality. Enabling leaders and managers to be fully aware that the real change in organization resides in this openness is key. We make sure we spend time with them up front and down the line.

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