Achieving breakthrough requires possibility thinking. Possibility thinking is when we open our perspective to entertain new possibilities that have previously been beyond our worldview, expectation, experience, or comprehension. The challenge is that most people’s minds don’t think in this way without conscious intention. If we are not conscious of our mindset, our minds have the unconscious tendency to engage in probability thinking that limits our perspective. This keeps new possibilities from ever emerging.
If you ask any CEO or senior executive of an organization if they have a company vision, they will say yes. If you ask most employees if their company has a vision, they will also say yes. In this day and age, everyone has a vision, but most are little more than posters on a wall.
When you go a level deeper and ask, “Is your organization actively pursuing your vision? Is it alive in people’s minds daily as they make decisions? Is it the priority-setting benchmark for resource allocation?”, both leaders and those in the workforce hesitate, often responding, “No”.
The journey of organizational change – especially transformation – is anything but a straight line. If you are making changes that are transformational, it is likely things will be unruly, unpredictable, and messy in the process. Because of this uncertainty, the best course of action is to plan your change and future state as best you can, and then establish a mechanism and process to course correct your plans and outcomes as you discover the need to do so. Transformational leadership is not about sticking to the rigid intention of “make the Plan; follow the Plan!”
After more than three decades of supporting executives in organizations undergoing transformational change, we are in a unique position to recognize common mistakes in how change is being led across industries. Many of our clients ask how we can so readily name the challenging dynamics they face without having worked inside their organizations. The answer is, these are common mistakes, and they are not unique to any one organization.
Photo Credit: Rich Faber
The absence of an overall initiative alignment and integration strategy results in change being run through multiple, separate, or competing sub-projects. It also results in initiatives being led as independent efforts, even when many may interface or impact one another or the same parts of the organization.This demonstrates a lack of sufficient alignment and integration among all the changes required for an overall change program. Without it, leading transformational change can be more like herding cats. What is needed is making them all a part of one unified effort with an overall change strategy that integrates outcomes, plans, resources, and pace.