It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.  ~W. Edwards Deming

Change always comes bearing gifts.  ~Price Pritchett

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.  ~Confucius

Nothing is more inevitable than change!  From the day we are born to the day we die, we and those about us,  change constantly!  Sometime this is slow and and subtle – from youth to middle age!  Sometimes its dramatic and quick – winning the lottery or a serious accident!  But most change is about adapting to the circumstances round us!

What is it about the present that brings us such a feeling of security? It certainly isn’t because we have a record of world peace, prosperity for all, crimeless streets, complete happiness, etc. If we look at the state of the world, and even of our own personal reality, one would think that change would be welcomed with open arms. So, what’s the issue?  Well we understand where we are now – at least we think we do!  Certainly we understand our immediate circumstances.  We know how to act – we know the dangers and we know where to find the good things.

With change comes uncertainly and risk!  We won’t know the rules anymore!  We don’t know where the monsters are!  We might lose the map to the good things!  But change can be wonderful – look at some of the positive things that have happened over the last few years from the Berlin Wall falling to the advances in technology that have made global inter-connectivity a reality!

What has has happened recently is that the speed of change has risen dramatically for us and everything about us!  Change is being fueled by a whole range of factors from technology to economics and politics.  These changes are bringing new demands for goods and service – but as new markets open, inevitably, some markets close.  If we are going to survive then we need then we need change competence in ourselves and in our organisations.  What is change competence?

For an individual it means the ability to scan the world around us, learn from it and adapt!  For an organization the competencies are similar but putting them into practice is more complex.

A business organization has mastered change when it can successfully and consistently perform on each of the eight dimensions of competence listed below:

  1. Knowing when to Change
    An organization with change competence stays tuned to the business environment and its own internal business situation.  It will constantly monitor the change around it and  identify the right time to begin its own change
  2. Keeping the Vision Fresh
    An organization that has mastered change will keep live a  Vision for a more successful future that relates to a detailed and valid business model that can be achieved with a high degree of confidence because of the organization’s track record of change.
  3. Planning and Resourcing the Vision
    An organization with a strong change competence will ensure that all the resources needed for the change are made available.   The change-competent organization will develop a change plan that will meet organizational needs while accommodating work needs of managers and employees.
  4. Engaging the Organization in the Vision
    An organization that has mastered change will work to engage all staff in the Vision,  The change-competent organization will describe the impending change and what is required to meet the organization’s success targets in sufficient detail to convince about the worth of the change.
  5. Enlisting the Organization in the Change Process
    An organization that has mastered change will sign up all those needed to make the Change on target, on time, and on budget.  The change-competent organization will make arrangements as needed to ensure that Change Work and existing work can both be accomplished without compromising the motivation of the workforce or service to customers.
  6. Changing the Operating Model
    A change-competent organization will change over to the new way of working with most of the performance bugs all worked through in advance of the change.  Recognize that there will be bugs – chase out what you can and contingency plan for others.  Warn your customers you are making the change but do your very best to make sure they don’t feel it!
  7. Stopping the Old Work
    An organization that has mastered change will stop doing work the old way and shut down those parts of the operation that are no longer in sync with the Vision.  The change-competent organization will not wait until evidence of old operations forces them to complete the shutdown of the old way of doing business.
  8. Refining New Work to the Needed Level
    A change-competent organization will work rapidly to refine their changed operations to reach the targeted and needed level of performance. The change-competent organization will not wait for customer or investor feedback to stimulate and motivate them to get it right!

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