“Be like Water” – Unfreeze

March 6, 2018

Today is the first day of Spring and ultimately, we should be seeing the daffodils blooming and buds on the trees appearing, however as I sit here my view today is of deep snow, blowing gails and freezing temperatures, which made me think about change in organisations, and expecting the unexpected, as with our icy weather!

Anyone who’s ever used a cooler to keep drinks cold will know that the ice eventually melts and changes into water. A curious quirk of science is that the water in the cooler will stay at zero degrees until the very last piece of ice is melted!

In many ways, a similar thing can happen in terms of change in organisations. Effective organisational change requires everyone to buy into the process, from the leadership down.

A few dissenting voices in organisations may seem like tiny ice cubes in the cooler but they could prevent change from taking place as quickly. People can be slow to embrace new things but it’s important that everyone is on board if the organisation is going to implement long-term, effective changes, so how do we unfreeze these tiny ice cubes?

It is estimated that roughly two-thirds of change programmes don’t meet their goals. HR may be a vital part of the process, but they can’t be expected to drive it through single-handedly.

Change needs to be a top-down transformation that’s fully embraced by the CEO and leadership team. Unless this commitment filters down, it’s simply isn’t going to work. Change will impact everything from strategy to targets so all stakeholders need to commit to the cause.

The reasons for change also must be explicitly communicated to middle management and supervisors so they can represent the need for change to all employees. Pockets of resistance or the tiny ice cubes! will require open and frank discussion about why change is necessary.

One quote that resonates with me when we talk about change is “Be like water”

A business should “Be like water,” to quote the renowned business philosopher, Bruce Lee. Flexibility is key to surviving in today’s fast-moving world. Organisations need to be able to adapt, evolve and react to emerging trends. Change should be prepared to adopt new structures and create responsive teams that can be easily recalibrated to suit business needs.

If you would like to hear further about how The Beech Centre can support your organisation through change through our Strategic Membership proposition, please get in touch with me lynn.boulonois@thebeechcentre.co.uk

Lynn Boulonois

Business Development Consultant

The Beech Centre for People, Performance & Organisational Development



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