If you want something different, you must do something different. Even if you want things to stay the same, change is still required. Everything evolves, including the economic climate, needs of colleagues and constituents, the competitive landscape, and the momentum caused by constantly shifting trends. The status quo, if that is truly a desirable state, requires us to make adjustments as the world continually adjusts around us.
What happens when you you don’t change as life evolves? You end up convincing yourself you don’t need to adapt, as did the Obama administration in their belief that the Cold War was permanently over. As Russia has heated things up with its actions and rhetoric, Washington finds itself unplugged from any meaningful power to change the outcome in Crimea. Another is the example set by General Motors, whose turnaround took an about face with the scandal involving defective ignition switches. GM’s failure to drive organizational change that adequately anticipated and addressed problems has put the company back on its heels versus continuing to sprint ahead.
Change is a catalyst for better results only when three elements are present: knowledge, action, and assessment. Without current knowledge, especially innovative practices, results are poor while labor intensity tends to be high. When action is missing, there are no worthwhile results. Without assessment, outcomes tend to be highly erratic as actions and knowledge are applied through guesswork instead of an accurate understanding of the variables.
Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying “watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” In business, leaders must count the organizational change to ensure that adaptations are happening, in the right direction, for the right reasons. Otherwise, their companies end up with “chump change” on the bottom line.