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Is your organization suffering from “climate change?”

June 26, 2015

After reading a series of articles in the New York Times Magazine about climate change, we’ve come to realize that climate change is quite simply, the ultimate change event. And while we’ve known about climate change for a long time now, it’s happening faster than we can successfully manage. Turns out, this same phenomenon (things changing faster than we can keep up with) affects many organizations.

In fact, a global survey* of 2,200 workers in different public and private industries has provided us with some eye-opening data regarding organizational change and readiness.

The survey data states that:

  • 65% cited change fatigue–being asked to make too many changes at once–as the biggest obstacle to successful change
  • 52% cited a lack of organizational capability to deliver change as another obstacle. They don’t believe their organization has the skill to successfully manage change, and another problem they cite is that in many instances change is driven totally from the top and that lower-level employees are having change done to them rather than by them
  • 84% stated they think culture is a critical component in achieving successful change; less than half believe their company does a good job at managing culture

Resistance to change also plays a role in the relative success of any change initiative:

  • 44% said they resisted change initiatives because they don’t understand the change they are being asked to make
  • 38% said they just don’t agree with the proposed change, hence their resistance

*Source: Strategy & Global Culture and Change Management Survey 2013

The question here is whether people have the same feelings about global, or government policy decisions. Do issues like climate change face the same resistance and change fatigue that plague people in their work environment?

If so, what are the implications for governments, and NGOs when trying to effect large-scale cultural or global change?

At Linkage, we know the ability to drive sustainable change must be built into the DNA of any organization. It must be woven into the culture both on the structural/organizational and individual/behavioral levels. We’ve all seen how hard it is for a business organization to change. Now think about our planet as an organization. How can we sustain change at a global level to preserve the future of earth as we know it? This may be the most important question of our time. Share your thoughts with us in the comments box below.


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