What's next for organizational change?
Keeping up in a VUCA world
Change happens. Context matters. Business-as-usual is no longer an option. Disruption across geography and industry sectors from agile start-ups, the political environment, technological advancement amongst others is forcing organizations to re-examine what they considered to be the established rules of engagement, producing a ‘new rhythm’ of business life. Organizations simply cannot afford to 'act with yesterday’s logic' (Peter Drucker attributed), understanding that what was relevant for yesterday may need to be refocused for tomorrow.
It is clear that embracing change is now the only sensible option for organizations to take if they wish to keep up with what is increasingly a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, changeable and ambiguous) world. However, it is equally clear that the way organizations are approaching change is itself changing: over the past 15 years, we’ve noticed the conversation about organizational change has evolved from the very basic level (for example, an occasional discrete, local change programme) through to a more mature level (for example, where an organization is managing a portfolio of multiple and often overlapping change initiatives). And now increasingly the change conversation is evolving further into major, complex transformation which is unpredictable, iterative, experimental and often involves high risk. For many organizations, there is the added dimension of multiple geographies, extended supply chains and global clients. Such change typically reinvents organizations or creates new business models.
Recognizing the wide range of activities and themes change professionals need to design and deliver – from new operating models and dealing with resistance to looking for innovation and developing organizational resilience – we have taken stories and studies from across the globe and industry sectors to present in a single book. In all, Organizational Change Explained covers 12 change themes and 18 industry sectors. It has been written with business owners, experienced change practitioners, aspiring change practitioners and business students in mind.
And what of the future for organizational change? We believe that we need to change the way we change. The ability to flex and to be agile will be a core competence of organizations and of leaders: change will be the norm and an integrated part of how organizations operate, not an applied and separate exercise. In order to do this successfully, we’ll need to reinvent existing models, update competencies and develop new strategies for disseminating change, its energies and impact. An exciting, if uncertain, future.
So, what do you consider to be the future of organizational change? Is the age of extensive research, analysis, recommendation and implementation of 5-10 year strategic plans dying or indeed dead? How should we be approaching the way organizations respond to external influences, or plan their future?
About the authors:
Sarah Coleman is a change consultant, Director of Business Evolution, and co-editor of Organizational Change Explained. Based in the UK, Sarah Coleman is a fellow of and Non-Executive Director for the Association for Project Management. She is a Visiting Senior Fellow at Lincoln University and a Mentor at Judge Business School, Cambridge. She speaks at business schools, events and conferences including RBS, Goldman Sachs, the MoD, the APM and Cranfield School of Management.
Bob Thomas is is a highly experienced Programme, Portfolio, PMO Delivery Manager and is a co-editor of Organizational Change Explained. Bob Thomas established Change Practitioner Groups for the APM. He hold MAPM, MoP, MSP, MoR and Prince qualifications.