We all tend to say we enjoy variety and change. But the reality is most people fear change and find it exhausting. But all living organisms must be in constant change in some form to survive. All collections of humans to which we belong – families, communities, organizations are just like living organisms.
Leading significant, lasting, and positive change with groups of fellow humans is a difficult undertaking. People get stuck. Suggesting a significant radical universal change is regarded as a huge threat – I am not talking about a change of mission – even in the face of external or internal transformations that challenge the viability of an institution. That is why simply appointing a committee comprised of only internal stakeholders is a mistake. You will end up with a no change agenda, a change a little approach or a ten year plan.
The key is building a team of people who are innovative and not risk averse. Realize that teams are dynamic too so no need to find people you plan to spend your life with – teams come together, make magic if successful – and move on.
Having team members build by-in and identify fellow travelers from the long standing community is also key. If you find yourself alone in making the case for urgent broad based change…. You are in trouble….. Your team and fellow travelers should be at the podium and out front making the case as often as the leader.
People will change… Or change the way they do things when they have to … so making the case and setting up the environment is key. Beware of bottlenecks caused by people who are in key posts but sit on their hands or people who claim special technical knowledge that “no one else can do.” You have to drain the swamp and get the right people on the bus first.
No human institution except perhaps the church is more resistant and difficult to get this type of work done in than in higher education.
The solution I think involves bringing in an interim change team. Get job done and then let them move on! Contact me or my firm Cloyd and Associates for more information or if you are in need of a change team