Why proven change methodologies fail
It’s astonishing how businesses and individuals are continually influenced by solution providers and consultants of change methodologies. These solution providers and consultants somehow have the ability to convince an organization and/or individual that if they want to obtain a desired change, then all they have to do is “execute this,” “do that” or “buy into this methodology.”
Of course, as described above, the potential to have issues associated with such a simplistic summary are obvious. Nevertheless, in the heat of the moment of trying to determine a solution to obtain a specific change, falling prey to such arguments can be easy and very understandable.
However, this is not an article focused on bashing solution providers and change consultants. There is in fact much knowledge and potential benefit to be derived from their products and services. Instead, this article is intended to help develop an initial understanding about why such claims may not be accurate for your given situation.
Change is Not Just Something You Obtain, It’s Something You Experience
The first thing we must recognize is that change is not just something to be obtained, but is in fact, something we are all continuously experiencing. From all the change at the subatomic level to the movement of the galaxies in the universe, change is constantly occurring around us.
Therefore, while all change does require the execution of some sort of process, in reality, change is not an art but instead should be considered a science. All change follows a set of rules and principles just like any other science. More importantly, by understanding what these rules and principles are and how they work, we can use them to our advantage when attempting to obtain a change.
One of the most powerful of these change science principles is that of Environmental Override, which in summary states that:
If the conditions in a given environment do not support the processes associated with a desired change, that change will not take place in that environment.
In other words, a proven process that has worked well and provided successful change in other environments does not guarantee that such a process will work in your environment. A successful change in your environment will not occur unless all the conditions in your environment support all the requirements of that process.
Environmental override is one of the main reasons that a specific methodology/process can produce a desired change for company X but is unable to produce the same change for company Y. It can also go a long way in explaining why a specific diet works for Sam but does not work for Bill.
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