May 11, 2007

Sustaining Change

A department was trying to implement a culture change in which more discipline and sticking better to agreements were important goals. The change process had started and had at first led to promising results. After about one and a half year, it became obvious that the change process was no longer proceeding well. Several old problems reappeared and there were no clear signs of progress. The department manager called for a meeting about the change process. He emphasized that it was normal to be confronted with a set-back and invited all to make a list of everything that had been achieved since the start of the change process. Of nearly everything they mentioned he asked what its advantages were and how they had managed to achieve it. This inquiry led to an impressive amount of material and the spirit of the meeting changed remarkably. The enthusiasm for the change goals grew and people regained their pride and hope. Next, the manager invited every participant to formulate which concrete results they wanted to achieve for the coming period and which small steps they would take in order to achieve them. This led to a very nice list of small goals and steps. The energy for change had been low for a period but after this session it was back without a doubt. 

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