Playing the Change Doctor

To compete in today’s business world, organizational development is an integral part of sustaining a business model. Constantly aligning company goals, values, management style and culture is an important part of making sure the organization still has it’s “eyes on the prize” and continues to do what got it there in the first place. This can result in sweeping changes that can result from re-focusing on one the most important facets on an organization, the overall mission and goal.

Step 1: Detect the problem(s) –  First step to developing as a company is to identify what needs to be changed. This involves looking for anywhere where the company has strayed away from its business model. These can be oversights, bad habits, problems that were “swept under the rug” – anything that sullies focus on the bottom line.

Step 2: Define the scope – After looking at the big picture, the organization must decide how deep it is willing to shake its foundation to pursue change. Not going far enough could risk not doing enough to spur the company on towards its goals and pushing too deep could result in a loss of focus and change for the sake of change. Defining the amount of change helps keep a focus for those implementing the change and can comfort those that are involved.

Step 3: “Sell” the problem(s) – Now that  the culprits that are distracting the organization from its goals have been singled out, their detraction must be exposed. To help with a smooth transition, all those involved from top-down must believe that the organization needs re-aligning, why it does and, most importantly, how it will benefit them. This is often the hardest part of the transition as convincing someone that something is broken is usually harder than the vice-versa.

Step 4: Define success – Tied strongly with selling the problem, giving a picture of what the organization will look or feel like after the change can be a vital part of winning support. With a definition of what success will look like, change will have a tangible goal, rather than an ambiguous end with positive intent. This creates credibility and gives parameters for the expectation that would placed on any development that was created in step 3.

After diagnosing and assessing the areas where change is required, the company can develop a plan and implementation to guide its transition. However, without first following the steps of attributing the problem with the company’s current inefficiency there is always the risk of changing for the sake of change. Following a steady process gives protection for all those involved and maintains that the change follows the organization’s goals and values as well, not straying from the concepts that make the foundation for the company.

In a world where organizations must be able to adapt and react to volatile environments, being able to implement change efficiently and universally is key to remaining fluid and accommodating. This makes staying in the “now” very important, as being slow to respond could be the difference between being a market leader or a market failure.

Heathfield, Susan, Change Management Wisdom. Accessed on July 10, 2011.

McNamara, Carter. Organizational Change and Development (Managing Change and Change Management). Accessed on July 10, 2011.

Rouda, Robert H. and Michael Kusy, Jr., Organizational Development ; the management of change. Accessed on July 10, 2011.

RapidBI, Organizational Development, Organizational Effectiveness, OD Culture and needs assessment. Accessed on July 10, 2011.

One Response to “Playing the Change Doctor”
  1. tarynjgordon says:

    What about defining success first? Do you think this be a proactive approach to organizational development? I think even before a problem arises, Management and employees should think and act with the end in mind. This starts with the end goal being communicated early on. This could be as early as a new hire’s interview – where the organization is headed is a solid way of selling and growing your team with the right people who can share organizational success.

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