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B822 : Why is anything but incremental change often so difficult for the most successful organisations?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 14:12

What's your experience?

A gradual cultural shift or a new person at the top and overnight transformation?

Even with the most charismatic leader in charge, unless the company is privately owned, and depending very much on its size, I don't see how anything other than incremental change is feasible or given employment laws actionable.

Unless the business is a football club, or like a Film Producton Company moves from one project to another with a skeleton staff or perhaps a Government Department, but even here, with a new minister of a opposing political persuasion the inertia and scale of the department/organisation (as Cameron and his Cabinet are seeing) negates radical or swift change or your risk strike action and other forms of discontent.

How do Oxbridge Colleges survive?

Look at Balliol as it approaches its 750th year. It has been hosting the Institute of the Internet for a decade so it can't be thought of as backward looking. How much does the location and reputation count? Even, or especially the nature and value of the 'Quad?'

War and natural disaster forces change.

Economic down turn obliges organisations to cut back, to prune. In bad weather they hibernate? Is there a horticultural metaphor to work with? (With those Garden Festivals of the 1980s that was the route to regeneration).

Incremental change of the farming landscape?

Formal education survived concentration camps and the Burma railway. What does it take!

My inclination as a KAI Innovator is to seek immediate, overnight change.

The reality, and I have seen this in small organisations and large, public and private, even from the perspective of a Non-exec Chairman, that long term survival, especially over the lat few years, is the product of caution, indeed of being prepared for the worst while maintaining an brave if not positive and ambitious face. Where can apparent overnight change work? Pop 'acts' like David Bowie and Madonna, TV Series like Dr Who.

But this is the cover, the book remains the same?

Surely any organisation or brand can more easily make adjustments to its brand (yet these two will have been carefully planned far in advance for strategic effect).

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