I am enjoying the current book I am reading which has the same title as this blog post: Organizational Culture Change, by Marcella Bremer. As organizations come to accept that “change” is a way of doing business rather than an event, the question becomes one of how to effectively integrate change into organizational culture. This practical book differs from others I have read on the subject in that it moves away from the theoretical and gives realistic steps for achieving this important goal. I will be sharing some of these steps in future blog postings-here I want to provide a context for the conversation by citing and responding to 3 key ideas from Bremer’s book.
First, she states that 50-75% of organizational change programs fail because the approach to change is “too conceptual, too large and too wide”. I couldn’t agree more with this view. I have observed organizations too focused on their “grand visions” for change rather than on the human impact and operational aspects of change. I believe this is due to a general lack of knowledge about how to implement and sustain change. In my organizational change management work, I address this issue by helping my clients balance their vision with the practical steps required for sustainable change.
Second, I totally agree with Bremer when she stresses the importance of employee engagement when integrating change. She states “people change because they are engaged, not because they are commanded to make a change that they might sabotage or abandon when leaders are not looking.” In my opinion, employee engagement is the fundamental element upon which all aspects of organizational change must be based. The resistance to change that I have witnessed or leadership’s fear of the resistance that always accompanies change is directly related to insufficient employee engagement.It has been my experience that when employees are actively engaged with the change, the amount/duration of change related resistance is dramatically minimized.
Third, it is no surprise then that change in the 21st century must, according to Bremer, be ” Bottom up/inclusive”, change that is simultaneous both “personal and collective” and able to “entice people to change their beliefs/behaviors…..all change is inclusive change.” I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. The key to “inclusive change” is having an uniform framework/methodology for change management and the related skill sets all employees need to be successful.
In future blogs, I will be sharing Bremer’s organizational culture change steps and demonstrate how it fits with the strategies I use with my clients! Stay tuned!