You have permission to change

Interesting. Today, have come across something which is indeed interesting.

In an organisation (of any sort), do staff have the power, authority, and willingness to make change happen?

The work I actually do has a certain reach. L&D has quite clear boundaries around catering for and enabling learning and development across the business. As is the same for most roles we have – and most business have. But, are we allowed to do more?

And I don’t just mean, oh look that’s how the Sales team operates, let’s take a leaf from their book. I mean, if the internal team see that there is an issue with the way the Sales team operates, are they allowed to say something? Or does this have to come from some sort of organisational process a la “we welcome all comments, please email us on…”

Organisational change has as its core challenge the thorny issue of giving permission to your staff to not only suggest an idea, but making it happen. That’s the nut consultants and business savvy types need to think about. Models and processes will help at some stage, but at what point do you think about who has the permission to make change happen?

Mr CEO may want to dictate this change. The C-suite family will want to ‘own’ any clever initiatives dreamed up. And the high fliers will want to ‘champion’ the change. But, what about the ones who actually know what change needs to happen? Is Joe Average allowed to effect and make change happen? Who gives them permission?

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

2 thoughts on “You have permission to change”

  1. Hmmm – my experience shows me that most people don’t do stuff, because they think it’s against the rules. They don’t check this – they just hear stories, often ancient yarns of how Bob dared to try something…and was never seen again. Organisations end up being part truth, part myth. And the myths persist and change and grow and in so doing, shape stuff.

    I did some work with a charity last year, it’s been around a while. We found scars, actually more like open wounds, still bleeding even though the tale which spawned them was in the dim distant past.

    So what’s to do? Start telling some new stories I suggest. Tales of achievement, fun and purpose. Rewrite stuff. Then do more stuff…

  2. I think Doug’s point is spot on; one of the hurdles is the legacy of organizational myths and legends that still surround us. Barbara in Accounting would never think of suggesting a organizational change because, as she says, “15 years ago I suggested XYZ and nothing ever happened so why bother?”
    We’re actually at the starting gate of something along these lines in our organization. Step 1 – how CAN we convince our staff that we want ideas and suggestions and then how do we ensure action is taken? Step 2 – what do we DO then with those suggestions? Assign a partner/mentor? A functional champion who will ensure follow-through? And how do we minimize the territorialism that is inherent within the business functions?
    Just begining to think some of these things through, so it promises to be an interesting next couple of months. 🙂

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