Then have your company follow the same model used for effective personal change. The result will be faster and more effective change.
Change happens in levels. Einstein knew this, per his Unified Field theory. Gregory Bateson knew this, in his Logical Levels.
Image Credit: SmartTribes Institute, LLC (c) 2011
Building on Bateson’s model I’ve found that companies as well as individuals change in six concentric rings. These rings move from Environment (easy and less impactful change) to Core/Culture (more difficult, yet profound, life- or company-altering change). You can work your way inward and ultimately affect the Core/Culture, but if you start inward at the Core/Culture you’ll affect all of the outer rings.
Address the Symptom… or the System?
When a problem presents itself most executives look for point solutions such as “what problem/situation do I need to change?” This is tactical thinking. Maybe you want your people to be more accountable, your sales people to sell more, your engineers to innovate better or your client care to service accounts better.
Solving these problems is addressing the symptom, not the System. It is not looking at the situation systemically. Consider the difference between Western and Eastern medicine: Western is problem and point-solution oriented, and Eastern is preventive and systemic-solution oriented.
Look at the concentric circles above: Environment, Behavior, Capability, are where we see the Symptoms. Beliefs, Identity, Core/Culture are where we have the System.
What happens when you work at the symptom level? You’ll have to deal with the next symptom, and the next symptom, for frikking ever — because it’s the System that causes all the Symptoms.
To get out of this endless cycle we need to look at how our business is being impacted on multiple levels… then we can operate with far more impact once we treat the system—not just the next symptom.