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The new path to organisational change Business has entered a new era, one that means that the old paradigms governing change are no longer the road to success. Daniel M Cable, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School shares his eleven change lessons.
1 Understand change Today, the basis of change is small changes in human behaviour, rather than grand organisational changes. It’s a matter of hundreds (or even thousands) of individuals acting in new ways – by this, people inside a firm bring about organisational change that customers can see and respond to. 2
2 Joined up behaviour It takes leadership to make the changes that have a beneficial effect. Good leaders build up the employees’ individual patterns of behaviour to create substantial organisational change. 3
3 Your changing workforce The workforce is more sceptical, questioning, sophisticated – more cynical and educated than ever before. They are more aware of the world around them, of the struggles that the world is facing, and of the value of self – their lives outside of work. 4
4 A bottom up approach That change in employee awareness demands a different kind of management. Good ideas cascaded into the workplace clearly aren’t going to cut it anymore. Change is, in a sense, more of a group activity, one that can come from the bottom up. 5
7 The new model of change Leaders must provide their employees with hope, purpose, and encouragement to try new things. They can provide a sense of common purpose by rallying their workers with stories – stories about how their collective efforts will create a better tomorrow. 6
7 Be a coach Leaders must make certain their workforce knows that making change will be a struggle, it will take time and it may not work perfectly. There is a learning curve. Like any coach, leaders have to encourage people to push on through. It’s what coaching is all about. 7
7 Focus on the end-game Leaders must encourage workers, by emphasising again and again, that they should focus on the purpose that the end result will make what they are going through worth it. But purpose aimed at the long term is rare. 8
8 Promote the desire for change Promote change with the people who actually have to change, have to work in new ways or do other (perhaps difficult) new things. Collective action is about a common sense of purpose. And it’s up to the leader to convince the workers. 9
9 Make them believe Innovation and creativity must take place in an organisation for it to remain competitive in the long term. Leaders have to give their employees the belief that change can take place and that new ways can help everyone to succeed. 10
10 Take a psychological approach The only way to build an organisation that is change-ready, adaptive and resilient, is a psychological approach, not a strategic one. Organisations work best when there are hundreds of people looking every day for ways to make a better tomorrow. 11
11 Change is changing Don’t forget that change just keeps coming because the world changes and competition keeps challenging us. 12
The full article was published in Business Strategy Review Special Edition 2014‑2015. Visit the new London Business School Review website: www.london.edu/lbsr 13