But, can an organization itself, through its embedded rules and
processes, frustrate a change effort?
Process and rules applied correctly are invaluable. They insure resources are allocated effectively. They create consistency. They allow everyone to know what they’re supposed to do and when and how to do it.
In order to accomplish all
of this, they’re often very inflexible.
Process is created to support specific values and assumptions. When those change, the processes that support them must change as well. Otherwise, they will exert pressure to keep things exactly the way they are.
The processes, and those
trying to respect them, will become the change resistors!
Suppose your company wants to be more innovative. Several small experiments are planned to explore the market potential and assess the viability of some new product ideas.
As part of your existing
product proposal process, overhead allocations (routinely applied to existing
products with known cost structures) are applied to these small projects. As a result of the allocations, and the
difficulty predicting financial return on an experiment, the current rules do
not permit the projects to be approved.
What can you do about it?
When evaluating the potential impact of change don’t forget to evaluate established processes and rules. If your change effort is challenging values or “best practices” chances are it’s going to be in conflict with some of your established processes.
Identify them. Highlight where and how the conflict exists. Decide how you’re going to handle it.
If you’re not careful something as seemingly innocuous as a project approval process could stop your effort dead in its tracks.
Previous Posts in this
A Collaborative Series, Outline, Culture, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Passive-Aggressive Behavior, Decision Avoidance, Snipers, Skeptics, Leadership’s Resolve, Brain Based?, Me and You, Leadership Pitfalls