A few years ago I had a conversation about change with Mike Osterling. My lean manufacturing mentor and consultant. The topic revolved around change management and how it became easier as an organization embraced constant change as part of its culture. My theory was that at some point there would be no need for change management if change became part of the culture and the operating environment.
At that point our discussion was focused on organizations that struggled with change and struggled adapting to a changing environment. A place in time where leaders had to nudged the members of their organization to rethink the way things were being done. Leaders pushed to reinvent the business and innovate. This was the period in time that made reengineering popular. The challenge of leadership was to make sure the team kept up with a changing environment.
Times are changing. Leaders beware: your challenge when it comes to change management is about to shift.
We are very close to an inflection point in the culture of change. The generation that entered the workforce with the mindset of building a life long career with a steady hand in a corporation is at retirement age. Leadership positions are now being filled by the generation that challenged the status quo. A generation of leaders that learned to manage change and developed executive skills to push the previous generation towards innovation is gradually facing the challenge of managing a generation that does not know status quo. The dream of a culture of change has been realized. These coming generations are built on a higher rate of change.
Consider that everything we do is based on intervals. Everything we do is a cycle. From communication to our strategic planning. Those intervals are getting shorter. Our main form of communication has gone from letters to emails to txt msgs. Our planning horizons are shorter. We are iterating faster. We correct faster. Which is good right? The next generation of executives is built on speed, multitasking and bursts. A generation that feels a phone call is restrictive because you can only carry one conversation at a time.
We are at the inflection where the challenge of change managment is going to shift from helping teams transition to keeping teams focused and helping them stay on track.
Am I getting old?
Jose Ruiz is Principal and Executive Search Consultant in Heidrick & Struggles. You can share your views of this article or aything related to the manufacturing, maquiladora operations or executive search at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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