It’s nothing high-tech, fancy or complicated. Doesn’t require a team of MBA’s or tens of millions of dollars in new processes.
Research involving 400 people across 130 companies in 4 continents came up with a simple answer: it’s about changing the behavior of the individuals that work there, and you can only do that by addressing their feelings.
In The Heart of Change, John Kotter and Dan Cohen report on a study they conducted with the help of a team at Deloitte Consulting. The project team interviewed over 400 people across more than 130 companies in the United States, Europe, Australia, and South Africa, in hopes of understanding why change happens in large organizations. Summarizing the data, Kotter and Cohen said that in most change situations, managers initially focus on strategy, structure, culture, or systems, which leads them to miss the most important issue:
…the core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people, and behavior change happens in highly successful situations mostly by speaking to people’s feelings. This is true even in organizations that are very focused on analysis and quantitative measurement, even among people who think of themselves as smart in an MBA sense. In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought.
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