The Journey of Change

Connecting Lessons Learned to Further Breakthroughs

Episode Six

In our penultimate episode last week, we discussed Expanding Change and Capability through the organization. We also identified the temptation to declare victory at this point and to ignore the very final challenge that lies in the journey; that of moving beyond compliance to create real understanding and ownership by connecting learnings to performance.

We set off on a journey to improve organizational performance and realized that better performance is about more than just process or systems improvements — there is a deeper link to people, behaviors, learning and culture. Before we could even begin making changes on a technical level, we had to start off by BUILDING BELIEF in the organization that new levels of performance were both achievable and desirable. We then had to CAPTIVATE THE ORGANIZATION by demonstrating some quick changes and mobilizing teams, especially around a first result. Only at this point could we then work on BREAKING THE STATUS QUO by leveraging the momentum of the first result and trying new approaches that allowed us to explore and learn from failing. With results now trending in the right direction across the organization, we then needed to EXPAND CHANGE AND CAPABILITY wider into untouched areas of the organization in order to leverage success and widen the footprint of this new and emerging culture. Finally, to ensure long term sustainability and the ability to solve new problems into the future we need to CONNECT LESSONS LEARNED TO FURTHER BREAKTHROUGHS. This final stage is important to ensure that we have reflected on, and connected with, the experience that created the impact that we have had along the way. Without this last step we risk that these insights and lessons go unrealized and we lose our ability to leverage them in the future. True sustainability of organizational learning derives from raising our awareness and making these powerful connections.

"It's difficult to get people to articulate what they've learned, it's easier for them to articulate what they did." Martin Thompson, Evolve Client Partner

This journey has been filled with triumphs and challenges, both expected and unexpected, and by now we are witnessing a deep transformation of the organization. Leadership and teams hold an unbounded mindset, a new belief in what is possible in terms of performance as well as a mindset of growth and openness to learning as they set out in pursuit of even more ambitious goals. Leaders have had deep experiences that have taught them the subtleties and differences of leading others through times of change. Their leadership style is now one that is grounded in humility, empathy, tolerance, dignity and respect. Teams can be seen asking themselves “where do we go next?” and setting new targets for themselves well beyond those initially set out when they began the journey. Teams have become nimble, thoughtful and have significantly improved their ability to anticipate problems. They are dynamic and flexible in the way they respond to and address these challenges. They understand how to connect and use data, make decisions and incorporate problem solving into their work, thereby ensuring that they are consistently achieving new levels of performance. Individuals can be seen bringing an air of confidence as they question the reasons for positively and negatively trending data, constantly looking to learn from each.

Not only is organizational performance unbounded, but a new organizational culture has been established and has penetrated the organization. A culture of creativity, innovation and learning has been instilled, incorporating both accountability and performance. Teams, individuals and leaders have embraced the vulnerability that comes from failing and they recognize the importance of embracing mishaps, seeking out inspiration and challenging assumptions in learning. New capabilities are entrenched in this new culture where real-time feedback and coaching are the new normal.

Beyond the transformation of the overall organization, on a personal level people have also changed. They have been through a metamorphic experience that has shifted what they believe to be true about themselves, others and performance. They have practiced new ways of behaving, built new patterns and habits, and have had deeply personal experiences challenging them to recognize and embrace their own limiting behaviors and beliefs. From this new vantage point, individuals hold an uninhibited sense of possibility for themselves and the future. While that future may still be unclear, that ambiguity no longer creates feelings of fear and discomfort, but rather excitement.

Our clients agree; here's what they say.

“Today we are looked at as being a high-performing organization that is delivering the results, and exceeding the results, and the expectations of the company. When I look at it through my looking glass from the outside, it makes me extremely proud of what we have built over that period of time.”

"The program was a great success but what's really great is that not only have changes stuck since the Evolve team left, but we're carrying on making more changes and more improvements."

“The only regret that I have, when I look back at this, is I wish I could have been exposed to the value of this journey 15 years ago.”

"Working with a team of dynamic people toward a set goal leads to success. I have learned that change brings fear, but not changing can be more scary."

"The program provided a framework that enabled us to understand key issues and to confront them."

“Like it or not, the relentless pursuit of performance and the need to change is inevitable...it's only consistency is that it's going to happen. Learning how to deliver superior results faster by motivating people and growing their capability, is a key source of competitive advantage for our clients.” - Rupert Hucker

We hope that you have enjoyed this series on the Journey of Change. Thanks for coming along with us as we have explored the stages and challenges of implementing change. Download a copy of our change journey graphic below.

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