"Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad – not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life – to keep us moving … to keep us growing … to keep us interested … Imagine life without change. It would be static … boring … dull." — Dr. Dennis O’Grady
Change should not be done for the sake of change -- it's a strategy to accomplish some overall goal.
There are three goals of change:
- Change the way people think or act in the organization. All change begins with the individual, at a personal level. Unless the individual is willing to change his or her behavior, no real change is possible. Changing behavior requires a change in thinking.
- Change the norms. Norms consist of standards, models, or patterns that guide behavior in a group. All organizations have norms or expectations of their members. Change cannot occur until the organization’s norms change.
- Changing the organization’s systems or processes. This is the “meat” of the change. Ultimately, all work is a process, and quality improvement requires change at the process and system level. However, this cannot occur on a sustained basis until individuals change their behavior and organizational norms are changed.
Usually organizational change is provoked by some major outside driving force, e.g., substantial cuts in funding, address major new markets/clients, need for dramatic increases in productivity/services, etc. Typically, organizations must undertake organization-wide change to evolve to a different level in their life cycle, e.g., going from a highly reactive, entrepreneurial organization to more stable and planned development.