Before organizations change, people have to change. Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” We are all familiar with the difficulties of creating organizational change. There was a time when calls to change fell under a position description bullet that read “and all other duties assigned.” The expectation was people would change as new duties arose and assigned. In practice, that did not work. Thus, the heavy emphasis in the change management process was on communicating change and building desire among the workforce to participate in and support change initiatives.
In the current environment, there is a different performance expectation. A position description bullet for all workers is more likely to read “stay relevant by leading or coordinating change.” This approach creates and organizational responsibility to ensure all employees are given opportunities, experiences, and training that allows them to modify their own behavior. To paraphrase Tolstoy – organizational change starts with personal change.