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There is no such thing as a Dysfunctional Organization

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The theory is that there is no such thing as a dysfunctional organization.  That is, every organization is the way it is because the people in that system want it that way.  Organizations are already perfectly aligned to achieve the results they get.

Why do organizational change efforts often fail?  One reason could be that organizational change does not go deep enough.  Executives need to realize that they are not solving traditional problems, that  they “own” the organization they created, and that, they themselves, might be the problems.  Darwin is alive in the 21′st century global business environment.  Adapt or perish.

Read some interesting insights from Ronald Heifetz on adaptive change, the difference between authority and leadership, and what it takes for companies to thrive and compete in the context of uncertainty and complexity in the current economic environment.

We refer to this kind of wrenching organizational transformation as “adaptive change”. Something very different from the “technical change” that occupies people in portions of authority on a regular basis.

technical problems, while often challenging, can be solved by applying existing know-how and the organizations current problem solving process

Adaptive problems resist these kinds of solutions because they require individuals throughout the organization to alter their ways; as the people themselves are the problem.

Responding to an adaptive challenge with a technical fix may have short=term appeal.

But to make real progress sooner or later, those who lead must ask themselves and the people in the organization to face a set of deeper issues – and to accept a solution that may require turning part or all of an organization upside down.

People will resist moves, even denying that such problems exist.  That’s because those not directly affected by an adaptive change typically experience discomfort when someone upsets the groups organizational equilibrium.

Treating adaptive challenges as technical ones permit executive to do what they have excelled at throughout their careers; solve other peoples problems.  To neutralize potential opposition, you should acknowledge your own responsibility for whatever the organization currently faces.

Read more on the ideas of Ronald Heifetz

The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World

Written by frrl

May 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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