Leading Organizational Change


"Change is ineffective
when it lacks
the wisdom of

Inely Cesna | September 4, 2020

Change management is highly popular nowadays.

COVID, economic instability, political and social unrest are demanding radical changes in most areas of our personal, professional, and organizational lives.

Effective change leadership requires us to investigate what change means?

Change implies transformation, doing differently from what has been done in the past. And, radical change implies drastic transformation, doing completely differently than before.

Most often organizational change takes place out of some level of dissatisfaction with the status quo.

When change is manifested solely out of the dissatisfaction of previous conditions, without honoring the many ways in which these prior conditions, albeit undesirable, have been the rungs on the ladder of learning and growth, then change is ineffective because it lacks the wisdom of evolution. Such wisdom provides the link to the reason for the change in the first place. If that link is not present, the change deals with the effect, without proper consideration for the cause; and that’s why so many change efforts fail.

Evolution implies a process of maturation, growth, and development. It implies cumulative efforts towards a more expanded and elevated perspective.

Evolution is not the same as change, because evolution is at peace with the past. Change, on the other hand, rebels against the past; and in that rebellion continues forward the pattern of inefficiency and dissatisfaction that originated the change in the first place.

Change out of dissatisfaction takes a very long time to sink in because it rides on the static of the dissatisfaction that originated it. Without honoring the lessons of the past which brought forward the recognition that change is needed, the effectiveness of change efforts decline considerably.

Evolution happens when the past is in peace. When the failures and shortcomings of the past are fully accepted, not because we agree with them, but because by accepting these failures and shortcomings, we gain an expanded perspective from which to choose from and respond differently.

By bringing meaning to the past, no matter how undesirable, uncomfortable and unfair the past may have been; we learn from it; and in that learning, we are capable of better choices; and when we make better choices, we evolve.

Evolution is a healing process of honoring the past, even if undesirable while creating a better future.

The effectiveness of organizational change efforts will be enhanced when leaders can:

  1. tap into the subtle difference between change and evolution;
  2. recognize the importance of learning from and bringing peace to the past so that it can serve as rungs in the ladder of evolution;
  3. manage change with a focus on the energy upon which the change rides on, in addition to the change itself.