Growth equals change. While it cannot be said that change always equals growth, the key to sustained growth in any organisation is the ability to successfully initiate and implement planned change. Leaders must develop the ability to deal with change and the four stages of change; (1) identifying the need for change, (2) discovering necessary changes, (3) implementing change and (4) reinforcing change. It would be a great mistake to think that the brilliance or logic of proposed change will be enough to win people over. Change is a process that requires leadership and is central to any effective strategy for organisational development.
1. Identifying the Need for Change
Planned change does not happen in an organisation unless there is discontent with the status quo. The status quo may not be meeting existing organizational goals or organizational goals may have altered. Internal and/or external changes to the organizations context can mean the status quo is no longer maintainable or viable, or is obsolete. The status quo may currently be acceptable but other factors soon to impact on the organisation may mean it will become unacceptable, change is thus required. The need for change is often first spotted by senior leadership within the organisation as they look forward at the future of the organisation. Discontent can also come from within the organisation. Staff or volunteers may become discontent with the status quo as they feel it is not working or that there are better ways to do their job. They may feel under-resourced, over taxed or simply bored and become discontent with the status quo. Leaders must be attentive and mindful; taking time to reflect on the suggestions, complaints and discontent that they observe in their teams or departments and be open to change. Change will not always be the answer but often change to some degree is required. When change is required but not offered this can result in forced change through reformation or revolutions. Where change is not forced upon an organisation but rather planned and initiated, change happens through innovation. As leaders take the time to reflect on the state of their organisation in regards to its mission, vision and values and bring change through innovation, change becomes proactive rather than reactive. Proactive and initiated change is better than provoked change that comes from shortsightedness or an unwillingness to reflect as a leader.