You know something is wrong. The symptoms are evident - market
share is declining, workforce turnover is too high, or product
quality has slipped. Now a crisis looms. But no one can put a
finger on the cause, let alone the solution. So what should you do?
Stand on one foot and close one eye.
Every organization has a dominant mindset, a conventional way of
doing things. It takes shape mostly from years of repeating the
same thoughts and actions. Eventually - as with standing on two
feet and keeping both eyes open - people follow this "old way"
without even thinking. They know instinctively how to do it, defend
it, adapt it to certain situations, and make any problems appear
At some point, the old way becomes the status quo and stops working
for both the organization and its people. Conditions that spawned
the old way have changed, sometimes dramatically. Many companies
stay the course through several changes, even if each shift demands
a new way of doing business. The resulting mismatch eventually
brings the organization to a crisis.
The challenge is not simply to find a solution to the
crisis. It is to transform your organization's most
valuable resources - its people and the way they interact - so they
can adapt to, even anticipate, changes in the future. That requires
a massive mind shift.
Imagine actually asking a group of people to stand on one foot and
close one eye. Suddenly they must abandon what they know about the
old way (standing on both feet and opening both eyes) and pay
attention to details they have never noticed before. They must
focus on themselves, what it takes to remain balanced in this new
position. If they are savvy enough, they will use one another for
So it is with transforming an organization. People know the old way
and how to resist change or make minor tweaks to it, but that
practice will no longer suffice in a fast-paced world. Change,
therefore, must be fundamental - it must start not with the old way
itself, but with the mindsets behind it.
This is the kind of change that organizations have in mind when
they engage my company. While listening carefully to people
throughout an organization - not just in the executive suite - we
share the value of our practice - inclusion as the "HOW," a new way
to align people, shift mindsets, leverage human capital, embrace
change, and ultimately increase the bottom line. We look past small
problems (or rather, symptoms masquerading as small problems) and
pull back the curtain on the big problem. And we generate ideas -
not to create big solutions, but to let people's inventiveness flow
so they come up with solutions.
In the process, people get excited. They see the possibilities in
this new way of doing things. It energizes them in a way they may
have never experienced before. Suddenly you have a more fluid,
dynamic, empowered organization - the type that can adapt quickly
to shifts in the marketplace. You have, in short, the elements
necessary to succeed in today's fast-changing world.