Change Management The Talent Advisors

During my discussions with senior executives they express a degree of concern. Regardless of good intentions and initiatives they agree that real change is difficult.

How do leaders bring about systemic change?

Proactive thinking: to be proactive, requires two basics. First, you have to imagine what the future will look like by building scenarios and considering their effect. Second, you have to take risks, having the courage to take action. Organisational culture and work practices are two areas that come to mind.

Beyond structural change: merely making structural changes cannot change defensive patterns or address causal loops. Change is complex and layered. At one level it can be simply changing what we do. Companies can take actions to achieve outcomes, without having to change the way people work. The second level is to change not what we do, but how we do it, to change the system. At the deepest and the most difficult, is to change who we are and what we stand for.

Sub-systems are dynamic: organisations are systems that change continuously. In fact, everything is part of a system or sub-system. These systems and sub-systems, which interrelate, do not necessarily change at the same rate; some change faster than others. This creates stresses. As an example, while gender diversity efforts are attempting change at one rate, the related pressing need to redefine cultures and the way of work is lagging.

Commitment mapping: where people sit on the commitment matrix is revealing. There are those that will be champions, those that passively wait and see and those that will resist – overtly or covertly. Then there are those whose futures are linked to the success of the change agent and they support the change whether they think it is right or wrong. Safe and meaningful conversations can uncover the thoughts and feelings behind these views and develop new approaches to engage or support.

Resistance is multi-faceted: people will protect their position or do what they feel is needed to prevent loss. They may not have the time, skill or resources to make a difference, even if they think it’s the right thing to do. They may find it difficult to accept the need to learn new things, and, more importantly, to unlearn some of the things that brought them success in the first place.  If the proposed change does not fit with their value systems, they may never become supporters.

Action-learning: action-based approaches facilitate the change journey as they are based on an insightful adult learning concept: people are more likely to act their way into new thinking, than to think their way into new actions. ‘Action-reflection-action’ permits individuals and organisations to adapt continuously.

Related content:

Executive Coaching

Leader Impact Reviews

Don’t Ignore Conflict In The Ranks

Transition and Change Consulting

Team Up For Collaboration


Follow these LinkedIn pages to suit your area of interest:


The Talent Advisors: Busy executives don’t have time to hunt for the more interesting insights. Following this page keeps you updated on a range of ideas, emerging trends or good leadership and governance practices in complex and networked businesses. It is particularly useful for those aspiring to the next level or c-suite.


Aspiring Directors: Aspiring directors can follow this page for mentor tips on aiming for a non-executive board role including how to best be prepared from a nominations committee perspective.



About the author: Dianne Jacobs


Dianne Jacobs of The Talent Advisors, Melbourne, guides and informs businesses, executives, partners and aspiring directors aiming for the next level.