People Who Do Not Want to Change are Blocking Your Organization From Growing

“Probably the most important thing for us right now is alignment and structure. Growing successfully beyond a start-up requires us to align the functions of different departments under a clear vision. Most of our team is accustomed to responding moment by moment, so we are not focused in our efforts. In my opinion we need more focus and cross functional communications as well as structure and organization…I find that before we can do that, we first all need to agree that this is what we need.” (President, High Tech industry)

Chris wondered if it was his background, coming from a large established corporation, that was making his perspective so different when it came to the direction he wanted the start-up to go in. As president working with extremely talented teams of engineers, he kept hearing teams voice a need for more clarity, more focus, and most importantly, more structure. Why was it that other people on the leadership team didn’t see the need for structure as a priority? Why was it that they were still operating in start-up mode when people kept asking for more clarity? Did the leadership team not see that the fluidity of the business made it very difficult for people to be productive? These thoughts have been running through Chris’s mind for over a year now and he wondered what he could do to help support the leadership of the business and move it in the right direction.

Investing in moving from a late start-up mode to a mature organizational structure, the client experienced some of the standard issues of coordinating product management and sales requirements with engineering and structural priorities. It was easy to see structures were missing. It was less obvious to see that the solution was changing people who do not want to change.

Teams lacked awareness of what their own priorities were and what the priorities of other departments were. Meetings were fluid, random and were considered a waste of time, unless they were directly linked to sales and immediate product management. Longer term and wider thinking was missing. Leaders and teams often ran into critical information in casual conversation or by accident and typically at the last moment. Many efforts were redundant, which often led to lower quality deliverables, lower customer satisfaction, and due to the high quality of people on board, lower employee satisfaction. Chris brought the topic up for discussion several times, especially once he noticed that several of his top performers were seeking employment with the organization’s competition.

While we often seek the solution in new procedures, values, or in finding how people need to operate for the problem to go away, we often miss asking a few important questions:

  • If we haven’t yet identified the solution, why are we not doing whatever needs to be done in order to identify the solution?
  • If we have already identified what needs to change, why have we not adopted it into practice?
  • If we do not all agree on the same solution, which skills are we missing for us to reach an agreement, and why are we not developing those skills and applying them into the discussion?

It is not so much that people in the organization lack the skills and perspectives needed in order to meet needs and achieve goals. It’s the fact that people do not make the changes and adjustments needed in order to achieve these skills and perspectives.

We have found that, more often than not, the solution is found somewhere in the link between the desired goals, the needed changes and adjustments, and people who do not want to change. Giving managers the ability to change people who do not want to change, opens a door that was closed up until that moment. The result: people make needed adjustments, allowing organizations to optimize productivity.

“This process is absolutely brilliant. It cut through the confusion, allowing us to pinpoint exactly what we needed to invest in, and then it got everyone to execute it consistently. We were impressed by how seamless and deliberate the solution was, and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.” (President, High Tech industry)

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