As the world slows and hopefully puts an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses will be left to deal with the fallout. Yes, there has been a great deal of disruption and, frankly, many things will never be the same. But that’s not all bad. As is often said, there is opportunity in crisis. Perhaps many of the things that will never be the same, should never be the same. Perhaps the way they were was never the best solution. If we can gracefully let the outdated and inadequate fall away and focus more on the way things could be, we just might uncover a golden opportunity. In these times I’m inspired by the lyrics from the song Beautiful City.
“Out of the ruins and rubble
Out of the smoke
Out of our night of struggle
Can we see a ray of hope?
One pale thin ray reaching for the day
We can build a beautiful city
Yes, we can, yes, we can
We can build a beautiful city
Not a city of angels
But we can build a city of men…”
— From the musical Godspell
We can build a beautiful business too, and uncover rich opportunities. It’s not too early to start looking at that. But how do we know what to let go of and how to position for opportunity?
It is truly amazing to me how often companies, schools and government agencies misdiagnose their organizational problems and needs. Incredibly, misdiagnosis happens most of the time. The reason is that our typical view of a business, (what we can see at the surface), and our understanding of how it works, (a surface-level understanding), is very limited. Managers and change leaders do the best they can with what they’ve got. Unfortunately, however, their limited view usually leads them to conclude that the symptoms they see on the surface are the problems to be solved. They seldom identify the real root cause problem – the deeper organizational diagnosis.
Why are we revolutionizing change management? To help you. Like most managers, you may be frustrated with the difficulty of driving change in your organization. You may feel as if you’re in an endless battle with your company’s dysfunctional status quo. And this would be nothing new. Thirty years ago the failure rate of change initiatives was about 70%. Today it remains at about 70%, and some estimates put it much higher.
Although it’s more important than ever for companies, government agencies and educational institutions to have an ability to change and transform, they remain stalled and ill-equipped to accomplish the task. Whether it is digital transformation, improving the customer experience, or increasing operational efficiency, the outcome is most likely failure. But why? This article answers that question and outlines a new revolutionary approach to business transformation and change management that could dramatically improve your success rate.
In physics the more energy you have, the more power you are capable of generating. At work, if you want more power to accomplish things, find more energy and learn how to use it. That’s the key to unlocking the hidden power of energy in business.
Going a little deeper, your business is a system that runs on energy. The system involves both people and things, all of which affect the energy that flows from them, and through them. Whatever your role in the business might be, you can learn to unlock wasted energy and put it to good use in accomplishing your goals. You just need to understand the system, how energy works in business, and how to see and use the dynamics of energy.
It’s really not that complicated. Yet it is probably one of the most powerful things you will ever do to boost your abilities, your career, and your company’s performance. You probably already do some of this naturally and intuitively, but by learning the tools of managing energy in business you will acquire a systematic approach for doing virtually everything better. We call this the Energy Equation. You can read all about it in my new book.
For many years I’ve been on a journey to discover how energy works in business, and to develop the language and discipline of energy management. As I experienced that journey I was struck by many discoveries. Here are three of my more significant discoveries.
When I see many of the things companies do to “improve”, I often feel like I’m standing on the side of the road waving my arms shouting at a texting truck driver who is about to slam into a big pile of stalled traffic. Why?
Because when it comes to most business improvements, the things we see are but a fraction of the story. And, unfortunately, the actions we take to affect what we see, which are usually symptoms of larger dynamics, often don’t affect the organization in the ways we intend. Worse yet, they can do more harm than good. In short, we know not what we do in organizations.
I say this with considerable compassion because most managers I know work hard to do the right thing. Yet managers are typically driven by traditional management norms and methods that no longer work in today’s complex business environment. Consequently, they often end up with failed change initiatives, and don’t really understand why they failed.