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Leading Transitions

© Performance Management Consultants, 2012

As the Manager approached the front of the room to begin his presentation on the upcoming changes that were about to occur in the department, his moist palms and dry throat gave testimony to a sleepless night. At the heart of his stress was an uncertainty as to whether in the previous months he had made enough deposits in a number of relational bank accounts to carry the day. His anxious audience sat in preoccupied silence—their thoughts consumed with visions of layoffs, loss of status and financial insecurity.

Welcome to the world of leading transitions.

Organization Context

Today, organizations and individuals continue to look for insight to guide their judgement and actions in response to dramatic advances in technology, communication, media, markets and just about everything else in life. Change is now constant.

In both public and private sector organizations, change is often driven by a financial or commercial imperative. Change is usually managed from the top with an emphasis on structures and systems that will deliver economic value. Sometimes change is driven by a broader desire to develop organization capability, where the emphasis is on bottom-up participation that requires facilitating leadership and an emphasis on culture and organization behaviour.

In either of these scenarios, organizations often focus on the “Technical System”—the complex array of structures, processes, controls, products, services, and technologies, while paying lip service to the “Social System”—the even more complex system of people, personalities, needs, expectations, and relationships. Without serious leadership and an organization development focus on enabling the Social System, sustainable change is unlikely.

In a for-profit environment, it could be argued that the only sustainable competitive advantage that one organization has over another is its ability to adapt or change more quickly than its competitors. In the not-for-profit or public sector the ability to adopt and realign to new directions is also fundamental to the achievement of new goals or the effective implementation of policy initiatives.