Like people, do organisations put artificial deadlines on change?
New years is a time when people reflect and look forward – plan those new year resolutions on how they will be/do differently etc. Unfortunately many times by the end of January those resolutions are forgotten or put on hold because “life has gotten in the way” or there are “bigger priorities” to focus on. And I wonder how different this may be for oganisations?
At the start of Q1, there always seems to be a good deal of optimism – people are working towards improvement, investment, making things better either because of engagement surveys, or performance, etc. But then by the end of Q3, the pressure of financial targets kicks in and no one is really interested in improvement, or rather just not as much as they are interested in making a profit, hitting utilisation targets and generating revenue. And that continues until the year end, and I wonder is it because of potential burn-out, strong need/passion for a change, that we go back to thinking more optimistically in Q1 again? The conferences, meetings and forums start all over again about improvement…and the cycle continues.
Now this all may sound quite pessimistic and to a degree it is a pessimistic view on the motivation levels of organisations and us as people – don’t forget those personal new years resolutions. And to be honest, some organisations and people really do implement those new ideas/methods/resolutions and they progress forward…write a report, do a video, blog, discuss at conferences how the difference this change made to them. But this seems to be the exception rather than the rule and why is that? Is it because we are lazy or scared of change or is there something else going on.
I think it is the something else and that something else is that the change does not happen fast enough. We complain about the speed of change a great deal in all industry, but when it comes to actually doing change, we want it to be faster. The reasons for this will vary. I would argue it will have a great deal to do with the level and time allowance for the “pain”. For example, if you are going to do some major renovations to the house, and you could choose to wiggle your nose like a genie and it would all be done, I would wager you would take that option in a heartbeat…rather than go through the pain of working with contractors, project manager, dust, noise, disruption, etc.
I think the same is for our resolutions to lose weight, be healthier…as it is for organisations to improve, change, and invest. There are so many factors that are involved in change it can seem and sometimes be daunting. And it will be only when we are greatly motivated that we will stick it through and see it to the end and that is not as often as we would like to think. If a change is greatly going to impact the bottom line of a business, in some way shape or form, then it will happen. This is the same if a change is going to greatly affect our lives in a way we either do or do not want to happen, then we will take action. We all have our pressure points and organisations are no exception to that. That is why I think organisations, like people, put artificial deadlines on change.
I guess my question really is “So what?” So what do we want to do about this – anything? Do we care? Only you can answer this question and I would wager again it will greatly depend on the impact it will have on you and how much you do/do not want it, whether you are an organisation or a person.