How well are you coping with change?

Brook Calverley , May 04,2018

Told off by a client last week.

I was describing the intro for a leadership session we were planning.

We’ll start with context, I said. “A time of disruption. New and ever stronger competition. A time of constant change….”

“Can we not?” she asked. “Because – it’s always a time of change.”

She was right of course. Change has just become part of the background hum we all now work to. It’s old news.

However it’s surprising how rarely organisations consider how well their brand and their culture are coping with it.

Change is still often seen as a singular, discrete process: a jump from one state to another, something triggered by an event – a new strategy, new focus, new org design etc. – with the presumption that once the event is over, the change is made, the organisation will settle back into a steady state….

This never happens. The next event is already queued up; and so the same, exhausting cycle repeats.

Much better, surely, to consider – not how do we make this change – but rather – how can we make our brand and our business fundamentally adaptable, intrinsically flexible, capable of navigating not just this change, but change more generally?

This is what we’re going to explore in our next Breakfast Club, with Nathan Adams, HRD at Aviva; someone who’s been on this journey and who’s been working hard to make the insurance giant ready to face whatever the world throws at it.

Meanwhile, a few thoughts to mull over:

Brands in Beta How well does your brand reflect the ebb and flow of your customers? Are you always evolving, subtly adapting and reinventing, always renewing ideas, reshaping the stories you choose to share – to ensure you’re always relevant? Brands are no longer the inflexible monoliths they once were… the most successful are always in beta.

Open Cultures How well do your people respond to new ways of doing things? Does your culture adopt new ideas easily or is the reflex always to reject them? And how do you pitch change: as opportunity or risk? A journey to complete or the next chance to grow and learn? Culture is no longer baked in; the most successful are always open, always able to absorb and accommodate.

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