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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Organizational Fads

(I will write about Subject Matter Experts tomorrow. This topic just came up and I don't want to lose my thunder)

I recently had dinner with a friend that works for an IT company in the Chicago suburbs. In our conversation, he spoke about how his organization is implementing change. Apparently, this organization was using an old GE model. In this model, employees are encouraged to (1) identify a problem, (2) identify solutions, (3) implement solutions and (4) evaluate solutions. This was the main gist of the model. However, my friend said that whenever he tried to solve problems, the chain of command shut him down.

I have heard many stories similar to this. In most cases, CEO's read about a best practice that was implemented by another organization. The CEO's assume,"if it worked for them, it will work for me." The truth is: One size does not fit all.

I define organization fads as a best practice model that many organizations attempt to implement. Many consultants work to overcome these fads. The reason they worked at the original organizations is because it was appropriate for their culture (and it was designed specifically for the company). In addition, the organizations were successful at change management because they continually received support/understanding from employees throughout the process.

If a company chooses to implement a new structure or culture, executives should consider the following questions:

1) What type of culture are we trying to achieve?

2) What is the reason for this change? Do we want to emphasize better customer service, productivity, or creativity?

3) How will the change be communicated throughout the organization? How will we ensure buy-in?

4) Do we need a third party to determine if this change is suitable (i.e. a consultant or OD department)?

5) How are we going to evaluate the effectiveness of a new culture?

These are only a few out of a hundred questions that corporations need to consider. In short, just because one company had success with a new system does not mean that it will guarantee success for another organization.

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