Community. Common – unity the values, attributes and beliefs that bring us together. And there is no other time in life when unity or disunity can make or break your project, as when leading change initiatives.
We are living in a world that is a constantly changing system. Innovation, flexibility and constant adjustment are required to meet our goals, to stay relevant, to grow. To meet these needs businesses have strategy sessions, business planning and budgeting cycles. Businesses engage in product innovation, education and training, process re-engineering and run marketing campaigns. In many businesses these processes are well understood and often entrenched in monthly executive and Board meetings and annual business cycles.
The challenge in an ever changing world continues to be creating the kind of environment that encourages community and collaboration towards the achievement of changing the world for the better. The trick is to create a sense of community within your organisation before radical change comes along.
I have found great wisdom from Peter Senge’s work on learning community aligned to leading change. There can be little debate about the links between learning and change. Change by its very nature brings “new stuff” we have to deal with. New ideas, new technology, new laws, new customers, new products. New. And with everything new comes new skills, new understanding, new ways of achieving ones goals resulting often in new processes, new behaviours and new patterns and habits.
Here is the rub. New ideas, processes, laws and technology don’t change the world for good. The successful implementation of all of these are not and end in themselves, they are enablers for meeting strategic growth. They are the start but truly it’s not how you start it is how you finish that counts. What changes the world for the better are new ways of thinking, new actions, new habits, new ways of working and being. I know of no better way to achieve the end goal than of creating learning communities within organisations and especially project teams.
I wonder how different business results would be if we called our project teams “innovation learning communities” designed to lead the change process. Learning communities are built on six basic pillars of curiosity, involvement, support, valuing diversity of thinking, enhanced skills and persistence.
If we really want our change initiatives to succeed I believe we need to excel at creating learning communities where everyone, and I mean everyone can do their best work. Together. Learning together. Going through the inevitable ups and downs of change together. Failing and learning together. Succeeding together. We are always better together