Leaders talk about change, but are generally not very good at it. The track record of the world's top firms show that most fall by the wayside within one generation from global domination to oblivion in 25 years.
They do not fail because the leaders become dumb. They fail because they are unable to change with a changing world: new technology, new business models, new competitors come in and change the rules of the game. The giants find it hard to abandon the success formula that had served them so well in their growth phase. Their success formula turns to poison: first the formula fails to work and then it kills them. This is the same for scouting.
Our leaders have to lead change. The challenge is to know how to set real change up for success.
For instance, there once was a jungle village and the villagers had a dream of education, health and water for all. They also had a nightmare: for four years in a row, the rains had failed. All the animals around them were dying and they knew that they would be the next to die. Change was a matter of survival.
Their big idea was that, instead of hunting animals, they would care for them in the hope that the animals would attract tourists. Moving from hunting animals to farming tourists is about as radical as you can get in terms of corporate strategy. So they put together a group of elders to lead the change effort: everyone was consulted and everyone was involved in the change.
The village elders knew nothing about the theory of change, but they had adopted a textbook approach to change. Some change efforts succeed and some fail. Success and failure can be predicted confidently with a simple tool: the change equation. The change equation says that for change to succeed, you need four things in place:
- a vision of the benefits change will deliver
- a need for change
- the capability to make the change happen
- risks which are lower from moving on than standing still.
This applies equally in the tribal and scouting worlds as shown below.
|Change Equation||The Villagers World||The Scouting World|
|Vision of change||Education health and water for the village||Better prospects for scouting, The section and individuals: build a clear case|
|Need for change||Drought was killing all the animals the village hunted||Make sure you are dealing with the right problem: the important and urgent issues|
|Capability to change||Whole village involved and consulted||Ensure you have the right team, right budget and right Backing|
|Risks of changing versus not changing||Change or die||Manage the rational risks as well as the personal and political risks of change|
Remember whatever the reason for change, change is about people and the real costs and risks are not ‘corporate’ they are personal:
- What will this change mean to me?
- Will I have a new role or purpose?
- Will I survive the reshuffle?
- How much time and effort will this take?
- If this change fails, then do I go down with it?
- Is this a bandwagon to join or a sinking ship to desert?
Change is not just about systems, structures and strategy. The change equation is a simple way of judging whether your change effort is set up for success or failure.
When managing change consider yourself to be a village elder and be sure to include some of the following:
To provide information
- clarify the reasons for a change
- describe the benefits of the change
- draw a picture of the new ways of working
- describe how the change will take place
- provide information on support and resources.
To gather information
- get input from those affected by the change
- learn what issues and concerns are raised by the change
- get feedback on how the change is operating.
To affect attitudes and behaviour
- show that change is a beginning
- create an atmosphere that supports the new ways of working
- build trust by demonstrating honesty and inclusiveness
- create a positive, collaborative work environment.
To offer support
- acknowledge resistance, anger, or sense of loss
- discuss responses to the change
- show how loss will be balanced by the advantages of the change
- provide tools (such as training and information) for managing transitions
- reduce isolation and foster teamwork.