In the next section Conner begins to introduce the eight patterns in an organizational change. He refers to these as patterns that are most critical to successfully managing a major organizational change. To him the center of the pattern is resilience (e.g. - it is the primary pattern) with the other seven serving as supporting patterns. They are:
The first pattern he goes into detail about in Chapter Five is the Nature of Change. He says that we are more comfortable with change the more we are able to determine the outcome or events surrounding it (e.g. - the more control we have over the environment). He says we are "most vulnerable to change when we are surprised that we are surprised (e.g. - when it is most disruptive to our expectations)." He continues by saying that assimilation is the process used to adjust to the positive or negative shift in our expectations.
When a change disrupts our lives or work it comes with a disruption fee (even if it is a positive change) or a challenge to assimilating the short and long term implications of a change. It usually is more costly than adjusting to the change itself. Also micro changes are the ones that have the most disruption (vs. macro changes) as they have the most implications to us personally. Overall he says that it is an aggregate of changes happening all at once that usually tip us over our ability to handle the change.
So what can you do to enhance resilience around the nature of change? Conner suggests to:
In Chapter Three Conner continues by saying that the rate of change has increased and yet people continue to operate as if this magnitude of change can be managed in the same way as it has in the past. He says that the volume, momentum, and complexity of change is accelerating at an increasing pace. He attributes this to seven fundamental issues:
In Chapter Four Conner says that managers are often not equipped to deal with the "future shock" or too much change in a short amount of time. He says that during this increased speed of change people don't stop changing, but they become less and less effective on both the job and personal fronts (e.g. - displaying dysfunctional behavior). This results in behaviors such as:
Do you ever see yourself and/or others in your organization displaying the behaviors above?
"Managing at the Speed of Change: How Resilient Managers Succeed and Prosper Where Others Fail" by Daryl Conner is a book about resiliency and how to critical it is for managing changes in organizations. With the speed of change dramatically increasing these days it is imperative that leaders build of sense of resiliency within then to not only survive, but prosper.
So what is resilience? In Chapter One, Conner defines it as "the ability to demonstrate both strength and flexibility in the face of frightening disorder and the internal guidance system people use to reorient themselves when blown off course by the winds of change." He says that resilience is a key skill that can be learned in organizations since we spend so much of our time at work and that leaders can guide their organizations through changes by helping them focus on the change being achievable.
Finally, he concludes the first chapter by saying that we each are designed to move effectively and efficiently through change at a unique pace that will allow us to absorb the major changes and this is referred to as the Speed of Change. He says that "when we assimilate less change than our optimum speed would allow then we fail to live up to our potential."
So what happens when change happens at a speed that is more than we can handle? Conner says that when people can no longer successfully face change, they begin to display dysfunctional behavior, or what he calls the Beast. The Beast is subconscious behaviors that manifest as a result of perceived negative or positive changes (e.g. - reality not meeting expectations) such as becoming distant, irritability, preoccupation, and lack of productivity. It also decreased our speed of change. The focus of this book therefore, is to offer specific information about the patterns of change and what successful (e.g. - resilient) people do to achieve their change objectives and to move past the Beast.
Are you assimilating change at the speed that you are capable of? Are you living up to your potential?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.