Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Factors for bringing about organizational change

Bringing about organizational change isn’t rocket science, but it’s not easy either. Those who step into a leadership position that requires engaging in institutional and organizational development in effect and by default will need to bring about changes on several levels: administrative, cultural, organizational, relational, and in processes and structures. In other words, institutional development is systemic. It requires addressing change in everything all together at the same time.

One aspect of bringing about institutional change is problem solving, and that skill is a major part of the game. Every change brings about a potential new problem. And that problem needs to be solved. For problem solving I know of few things more helpful than the Feynman Problem Solving Algorithm. I’ve found that if I follow it rigorously and to the letter it works every time:

The Feynman Problem Solving Algorithm:
1) Write down the problem.
2) Think very hard.
3) Write down the solution.

A second more helpful list comes from John Champlin who identified seven critical factors for bringing about effective change in an institution:
  • The creation and support of clear, attainable goals that are publicized and constantly in use
  • The presence of a change agent who can effectively break the equilibrium (homeostasis) holding an organization in place
  • The use of a systematic, planned process that is open and subject to alteration
  • The involvement of the community as an active partner and participant in any major change
  • The presence of effective leadership with vision, a sense of mission, a goodly measure of courage, and a sense of the importance of the mission
  • A commitment to renewal that disallows compromising for lesser attainments and always aspires to higher levels of sophistication.

 Adapted from Perspectives on Congregational Leadership

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Israel. Reading Champlin's list, I think, "Oh, is that all we've got to do?!" A good reminder that leadership is a tall order and requires constant attention over a long period of time.