Chapter 17Make Change Happen in Your Organization

As companies grow and become successful, they build up large amounts of momentum – they hire people with particular skill sets and attitudes, they develop formal processes for sustaining a particular way of working, and they often focus on a fairly narrow set of measures of performance. But the competencies they build up over time can quickly become liabilities when there are major shifts in the business environment. In cases of mighty companies falling from grace, such as Nokia, Kodak, or Blockbuster, the story is always about executives failing to achieve the scale of change that was required. Typically, there is a good level of awareness of what is happening (for example, Kodak actually invented the digital camera and Nokia had touchscreen phones in prototype before the Apple iPhone was launched), but the challenge of fundamentally changing the structures, processes, and people in a large company is often too difficult.

The ability to manage change is, therefore, hugely important – and not just at senior executive levels. Midlevel managers have to be able to lead change programs within their areas of responsibility, and they also have to take an active role in large-scale change efforts. Most of the techniques in this book have been about working within a fairly clearly defined framework – even the techniques for creativity and innovation assumed a certain level of stability in the company as a whole. But in this chapter, ...

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