Change, Urgency, and Capacity

As Change in organizations becomes a matter of normalcy, as opposed to episodic, developing competencies for change management is more than essential. I find it interesting that there is a lot of theory in the world of organizational development regarding the essential elements of initiating change.  John P Kotter, for example, advocates for starting with a case for  urgency.

Before making a case for the urgency of the situation, whatever that might be, I advocate the following: An assessment of the existing capacity for change.  Not that a perfect degree of capacity must be in place before implementing your initiatives, but knowing where your weak spots are and where compensating strategies can be leveraged is key to a smooth process. At the end of the day, if there is not a critical mass of elemental capacity in place, the initiatives may have to be modified to match the organization’s tolerance for what I call the “change force.” As in structural engineering, even a well designed load-bearing wall can only bear that for which it was designed. So, designing organizations to bear the level of change force required by constant change is essential in today’s innovative and challenging environments.

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