Managing change is the seventh component of your organization’s internal relationship for the new millennium. To survive well, effective organizations manage continuity, change, and the transition between the two. The intersection of these three management functions is the point of highest organizational vitality.
In this book, change refers to the external trappings as well as the internal transition that people go through to live with the change. As William Bridges observes, “unless transition occurs, change will not happen.”35 For change to work, people have to let go of the current reality and accept a new vision. They have to envision the way things are supposed to be in the changed organization.
Yet, change is really hard. In fact, the more successful you are, the harder it is to change. After all, if things are going well—for you personally or for your organization—why would you want to change? But ongoing learning—producing Senge’s moments of metanoia—require constant questioning and challenging. So the only way to do this is to unlearn. Or to hide away those old learnings so you’re open to new ones.
Usually, change is either adaptive or innovative, just like learning is either adaptive or generative. (See “The Learning Organization” earlier in this chapter.) Adaptive change may be the most conservative, reflecting only a modest alteration in the status quo. Also, this type of change may be relatively easy to accomplish.
But suppose you build a true ...