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Leader, you are your organization and your organization is you. You know this. You feel it. You see it every day. It scares you.

That’s ok. You do amazing work every day to lift your organization into survival – to support your crew, your customers, your suppliers, and your community as you provide goods and services to make the world a better place. By bringing yourself fully to your work, your organization takes on the character of you.

The good news – and the bad news – is that if you really want deep change to improve your organization, you must be that deep change. Gandhi was right – be the change you want to see around you.

Sometimes it’s hard for you to change because being who you’re being is what’s got you this far. Unfortunately, your business wants to evolve and it cannot if you’re stuck.

On the other hand, if you change, your organization must change.

You may not know what internal changes you need to make in order to birth the changes you want for your organization. You may not know how to show up to your organization as you’re practicing the changes you choose to make to yourself. You may not know how to deal with the resistance – or the support – that may show up when you change. Working in this kind of uncertainty is part of your talent and your skill or you wouldn’t be a leader.

I turn to The Field for guidance around being my authentic self and showing up that way every time I leave my home. I ask The Field to help me identify those aspects of me that I need to work on and for help doing the heavy lifting. When I’m in constant communication with The Field my intentions align with The Universe. Having The Universe as a partner makes the game much more interesting!

When I begin implementing the recommendations coming through a Remote Organization Assessment, I work on the last bit – the part about where to focus my internal attention – first. As I work with the guidance, answers to my questions about the rest of the situation emerge. My seeing changes. A space opens for me to move forward. As I change, the world in front of me changes as well. This is your power.

Three Systems

Three Systems

My father – an efficiency expert, methods engineer, and finally systems analyst – taught me about the three systems operating simultaneously within every change. He spent his career working in an unusual department of a large utility. His unit was charged with what we now call continuous improvement. Members of the team rotated around the company, each assigned to one department at a time, charged with finding out what was working, what was not working, and what was next – then designing new procedures and implementing them with the department.

He taught me that these three systems operated together in each change experience he facilitated. The first is “The Way We Do It Now.” In this system things are sometimes working, but always breaking down. The second system is “Design The New System.” In this system staff have to juggle the work they’re struggling to do in the existing system and devote attention and energy to figuring out the new way. This creates a strain on the existing system. Lots of meetings for example.

But, he told me, people forget the third system – the most difficult one – the transition from the old system to the new system. This middle system requires substantial energy and creates big strain on the old system as resources are used to run the old system and implement the new one simultaneously. This is one reason why change is so difficult for businesses.

Growing your business requires regular change. Change burns energy. It also requires resources – enough to run these three systems simultaneously. When your existing systems have been leaned and pushed to the max and are breaking down, growth can feel like an impossible burden. It is.

Years ago I learned that, in bringing continuous improvement to a business, as we began opening doors of possibility and doors of trouble, we were really opening Pandora’s Box. Although the idea was to fix each trouble in a way that moved us toward the best possible outcome, we kept uncovering doors behind the doors. More possibilities – more trouble – more things to fix. It became apparent there was not enough capacity to correct everything that turned up. We would have to focus on the critical few.

That didn’t work either. Systems are complicated. And one rule of a system is that if we touch one part, we touch them all. Sweeping change is just not possible for most businesses unless they’re totally failing. The word for that kind of sweeping change is “turnaround,” and it’s usually extremely ugly.

So I began looking for leverage. Small changes that would ripple through the company to bring improvement organically. I found these small changes hidden in the deep structures that characterize our work, our communication, our ways of thinking, and our organization. These small, leveraged changes work. It’s more about people and training than about installing new processes and systems – although that’s part of it.

Even so, capacity remains an issue. Growth requires resources. I am a resource. In addition to identifying and nurturing organic change, I work with you and your organization when you need me to help move action forward.

PS: there’s good news. About 40% of most businesses is waste. I’m always in waste recovery mode so I will generally save businesses a lot more than I cost.

Leverage

Archimedes asserted that if he had a lever long enough he could move the world.

Leverage is the ability to influence a system or an environment in a way that multiplies the outcome of input. In other words, leverage is the advantageous condition of having a small amount of energy yield a high level of return.

We don’t typically apply Archimedes notion of a lever to our lives or our businesses. Instead, we’re stuck in the paradigm derived from Newton’s third law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When we choose a desired result, we tend to apply what we theorize is the exact force necessary to move the current condition to the desired one.

Modern physics recognizes other dynamics of change. Chaos Theory demonstrates that some actions produce out-sized reactions. Little actions can yield huge changes – especially when they ripple through a system or environment.

Systems theory says that when we touch one part of a system, we touch them all.

These more recent ways of looking at change do anything but simplify our task as leaders and managers. How can we know the effects of any change when we cannot expect an equal and opposite reaction? When we cannot know how our action will effect every element of the system?

Here are some ideas to consider when you’re looking for leverage to move your organization forward:

First, look deep into your organization to identify root causes. If you’re going to get an out-sized result, or any lasting result at all, you need to make a change that matters. Piddling around with surface issues only mucks up the system as it needlessly burns resources.

You also need to see not only the elements of each system but the connections between them. These dynamics must be managed as we make changes to the elements. One way to accelerate change and make it less painful is to manage the conversations that form the daily fabric of every organization.

Another key to change is to look for low-hanging fruit – those pockets of trouble and waste that can be cleaned up relatively quickly and simply. Successfully dealing with low-hanging fruit creates momentum by freeing resources and demonstrating results.

Practicing this kind of work led me to a much more effective way to identify the best levers for change in any organization. I believe The Field knows the way. My experience shows me that accessing the unseen world for answers and guidance yields magical solutions for implementing change. As I see the wondrous resolutions play out and my faith in The Field grows, my ability to access and apply what I’m learning expands.

That’s what I’m bringing to you through Remote Organization Assessments.