But, can an organization itself, through its embedded rules and
processes, frustrate a change effort?
Process and rules applied
correctly are invaluable. They insure resources are allocated effectively. They create consistency. They allow
everyone to know what they’re supposed to do and when and how to do it.
In order to accomplish all
of this, they’re often very inflexible.
Process is created to
support specific values and assumptions. When those change, the processes that support them must change as well. Otherwise, they will exert pressure to keep
things exactly the way they are.
The processes, and those
trying to respect them, will become the change resistors!
Suppose your company wants
to be more innovative. Several small
experiments are planned to explore the market potential and assess the viability
of some new product ideas.
As part of your existing
product proposal process, overhead allocations (routinely applied to existing
products with known cost structures) are applied to these small projects. As a result of the allocations, and the
difficulty predicting financial return on an experiment, the current rules do
not permit the projects to be approved.
What can you do about it?
When evaluating the potential
impact of change don’t forget to evaluate established processes and rules. If your change effort is challenging values
or “best practices” chances are it’s going to be in conflict with some of your
Identify them. Highlight where and how the conflict
exists. Decide how you’re going to
If you’re not careful something
as seemingly innocuous as a project approval process could stop your effort
dead in its tracks.
Previous Posts in this
Collaborative Series, Outline,
Bad and the Ugly, Passive-Aggressive
and You, Leadership