4 steps to changing course (3)

Is it worth it?

Did you have growing pains as a kid? I did. My legs used to ache terribly, especially at night when I couldn’t sleep. Growing hurts.

Organizational transformation is costly. There is usually a financial cost associated. There is almost always an emotional cost. Sometimes, change hurts so much it seems like it just isn’t worth it. And maybe sometimes it isn’t.

When changing course with a group of people, there are a lot of considerations. It can be emotional and stressful. People fight change. I think the older and more stayed a group, the more difficult it is to effect change.

The “is it worth the cost” question must be answered in light of the health of the organization. If a group of people is strong and healthy, well-adjusted and vibrant, change is welcomed, even encouraged. Short-term pain will result in long term gain. But if an organization is sickly and diseased, one minor shift can be fatal. The mere suggestion of transition can be viewed as lethal. In these cases, the results of the change may prove worse than the original problem. Reality is, most organizations that are that weak are already dead. Arne Larson said, “If you’re green, you’re growing, but as soon as you’re ripe, you begin to rot.” I really hope you are not trapped in one of these situations. If so, get out now.

For the rest of us, change is simply a matter of inconvenience. We don’t want to change because we are comfortable. People resist transition because they are too lazy to change. We have to move beyond these temporary hesitations.

When all is said and done, you have to decide if your group is strong enough to survive the changes you are considering.

If you are on the wrong course and can’t be happy going in that direction, you need to change. Here is something to consider: while change is painful, stagnation is also painful. Nothing makes me more miserable than to be in a dead end situation with no way out. So, you have to decide between the pain of stagnation and the pain of growth.

Weigh the pros and cons – of not changing course and of changing course. Make a list, talk through it with trusted confidants. Do your homework. Then decide, is the change worth the pain?

If so, get moving, launch the change!

To recap the last few days:

#1 Identify the need/problem
#2 Set the vision
#3 Answer: Is it worth it?

The last part of this series will focus on making the move – actually engaging the change.

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