How Managerial Resistance Makes Organizations Unproductive

According to one author, a traditional hybrid is an organization that wants to obtain the benefits it would get by changing while at the same time maintaining the status quo.

It’s easy to recognize the contradiction when it’s expressed like this and in the third person – that is, when we speak as if it’s true of another organization or someone else. It’s much more difficult to accept when you realize that it’s true of where you work. That’s because your organization is run by you.

Are you someone who wants the benefits of change so long as you don’t have to? If so, then you’re going to be very disappointed.

 

Insanity

A popular mantra within the personal development industry is that it’s a form of insanity to believe that you’ll get a different result by doing the same thing day after day. The implication is that if you do the same thing every day, then the outcome will be the same. But that’s not true either.

The truth is that when you maintain the status quo – whatever it is – things will get worse. That’s because nothing stands still: Not you, your organization, or the world around you. All of it is dynamic. And so that means that if you want to become more productive, then you have to take those steps that will make you so. In other words, you can’t assume that your level of productivity will remain the same because you continue to follow the same daily routine.

 

If you want more productivity, then you have to design for it. That’s the reality.

So, how do you do that?

One answer lies in how you view new ideas. The status quo fights them. It says that “this is the way we’ve always done it.” It may not use those words; but that’s what it means.

 

Let’s think of an example.

Suppose you become aware of a small charity that supports a cause you believe in, and you decide that you want to raise some money for it. You know that it’s struggling to stay on its feet. You’re aware of a patronage programme that’s in place. Upon further investigation you discover that it’s open-ended. People can donate whatever they wish. There are no categories. The person who gives £20 receives no more recognition than the one who gives £500.

You approach the organizers and attempt to explain to them the psychology of recognition; that those who give more don’t do it solely because they can, but also so that their names will be highlighted; so that they’ll be set apart from the rest. You explain that this is why oversized cheques are shown on Children in Need, and that if people didn’t care, they would donate anonymously.

Throughout your discussion, you’re interrupted to be told why that won’t work, that that sort of thing might work for others, but not for them, and that they have no intention of changing the way they’ve done things over the years. Instead, they assure you that something will happen to overcome their financial woes. Even their confidence is based on the status quo. It’s because they can remember when things were much worse and something always happened to pull them out of the fire.

 

What did you notice about this story?

Did you spot the fact that the charity wasn’t interested in new ideas? Did you recognize their assumption that the status quo wouldn’t make matters any worse than they were already? And, did you feel that any further suggestions on your part would probably fall on deaf ears? You see those who are determined to keep on doing what they’ve always done are just like that traditional hybrid.

No one has a corner on how to be more productive, no matter what you’re trying to do. If you want to improve productivity in your organization, then you, personally, have to be willing to embrace new ideas. Old ideas from years gone by can be new ideas of the present. That’s because nothing stands still. Nothing stops. The context is new, and therefore the old ideas within them are also new.

If you want to make people more productive, then you have to create an environment which supports it. You have to encourage and reward, rather than to criticize or denigrate. You have to promote innovative and creative thinking.

“Can work” and “will work” have to replace “can’t work” and “we already tried that”.

 

It starts with you.

 

If you want to know more about overcoming the resistance to change – contact us here

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