Despite a never ending and in fact an increased need for organizational transformation, most leaders and scholars agree that there is no one single strategy to bring it about. Organizations spend significant resources on planning and implementing initiatives to enhance performance and increase organizational bottom line. Yet, more than often these costly activities fall short, and instead of organizational transformation, we end up with further organizational decline. There are many excuses used to try and explain this undesirable outcome; among them: lack of resources, inability to cut costs, difficulty growing market share, image, brand, lack of “buy in”, industry weakness, external factors, etc. The fact is that we lack proven underpinning keys for launching organizational transformation. In this post, i will present a tested key.
After years of endless efforts across the globe, there is still no consensus as to what a business plan for transformation should be based on or contain. No analytic framework as to how to develop or launch one, or tested keys that might might open the mystery. Rather we “turn like a wheel in a spiral… never ending, nor beginning….”
I am often perplexed to hear leaders who when asked about organizational transformation, speak about it with much authority as to what and how should be done, despite the lack of clear empirical data, limited true leadership success in transformation, and lack of valuable insight. The flood of opinions, and/or the lack of them, most times, impacts our capacity to assure a focused and timely organizational transformation. This negatively impacts effectiveness and efficiency, in turn resulting in organizations becoming obsolete and anachronistic at best. The fact is that we are in a need for high performing organizations.
The challenge to enhance high performing organizations is to explore if there is a hidden key or keys for developing a strategy that would more than likely assure that the entire organization will work toward a common end and achieve sustained and ongoing organizational transformation.
In a lack of an answer, the premise for achieving high performing organizations leads organizations to deploy “experts” and often to create a culture of control, micro management, impose plans, and lead by fear in an effort to bring about transformation. Yet, this approach is a proven recipe to assure failure. Unfortunately, this approach is many times supported by board members and elected officials who buy into the argument that he or she are doing all they can, but others are “not getting it.” It is true, however, that the organizational leader or CEO must be, by definition, the head of the exploration. But it takes a leadership team, and each member of the team, to successfully explore and discover a path to successful transformation. The journey is about discovering a path within specific circumstances, a changing and complex environment, limited time and resources, and confronting envy and opposition.
In response to this challenge, I suggest a proven, yet mostly ignored strategy that is implemented to perfection in the military; especially among special operations units and the Air Force. The key is introducing and developing a culture of sustained debriefing.
Achieving an organizational culture in which debriefing is an ongoing integral part of the organizational function is at least one of the hidden keys for ongoing organizational transformation. I have found that instituting a culture of debriefing in a safe and constructive manner results in: innovation, transformation, a sense of belonging, and assurance of ongoing success. It is imperative that we begin to focus on developing a culture of debriefing as part of our organizational values and strategy if we want to increase organizational transformation, adaptability, success, and high performance. This will ensure that the organization does not become obsolete and anachronistic. It’s time for us all to look around and address Dire Straits’ observation that “You never did have the intelligence to use the twelve keys hanging off my chain…” https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6534040426855350272