It was the first time they had their family for dinner, and Chuck and Kelly were nervous.  They had decided on a meal of comfort food.  As Kelly watched Chuck prepare the roast beef, she noticed that he cut off the ends of the roast beef before putting both the roast and the ends into the roaster.

“Why did you just cut off then ends?” Kelly asked.

“I don’t know, but that’s what my mother always did,” Chuck responded.  “Let’s ask her when she gets here.”

Chuck’s mom wasn’t much help.  “I’m not sure.  That’s what my mom always did.  Let’s ask her.”

When Chuck’s grandmother arrived, they finally solved the mystery.  “I grew up in a large family.  When my father butchered a beef, he always made sure the roasts were extra-large so that there was enough for everyone.  The problem was that the extra-large roast wouldn’t fit into our roaster.  So my mom would cut off the ends so she could fit them around the bigger roast.  I guess I just never wanted to change what had become a family tradition.”

“Now we know,” said Chuck.

A lot of organizational practices are like the cutting off of the ends of the roast.  They are passed down from generation to generation without anyone every questioning them.  Circumstances change, but the practices don’t.

Change can be good or bad.  It’s good when practices can be streamlined and made more efficient.  It’s bad when change disrupts long treasured values and traditions for no reason other than just to change things.

Positive change should evolve from a thorough review of current practices.  The review should include the input of those most impacted by the change.  A lot of change has been sabotaged by those in who are most affected by the change but never consulted about it.

Change often has unintended consequences.  There needs to be a thorough examination of what could go wrong.  Everyone can remember change that was a disaster because the unintended consequences were not explored before the change was made.

Change in most cases is a conscious act, but it can also be something that just happens.  Organizations change, but we may not respond to these changes. In effect, our non-response is an unconscious change. These unconscious changes are often indications of bigger issues ahead.

Just imagine our approach to change as an organization. We often have fierce battles between those who want change and those who do not. Just imagine how our organization structures are geared to change? Are our practices geared to initiate and bring about change or retard it? Just imagine how all of us can become more accepting of necessary change?

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“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.