Change Management is probably dead. The idea of bringing order to an inherently disruptive and disorienting experience employs thousands, reassures executives but really only masks what is happening to the stakeholders – employees, customers and shareholders alike. Part of the dilemma is determining what matters – to the organization, to the people within and the people it intends to serve. What is it we are changing? Why is it changing – does it have to or is this some impulse driven by new leadership? New vision?  New opportunities? What are we being asked or asking others to give up?

It is common to have goals for a organization. It is also common to have a means to measure progress. What is unusual is a conversation, a sometimes contentious one because it is real, about what matters about the change, the organization and the future. Many leaders assume it is their charge to decide and communicate it as a “vision” for others to follow. We have seen dozens of “town halls” – a gathering of constituencies – to communicate the view from the top. It makes everyone feel better – for the moment. The followers bask in the warmth of the direction and protection that it promises. The leaders feels proud and effective….and then the work begins.

What frequently is missing is a link to purpose. Organizational purpose should not change very often.

What needs to start happening that doesn’t happen today?

What needs to stop happening?

What do we need to ensure doesn’t stop happening because it is so important to our very identity?

It is the multitude of answers to these questions that sow the seeds of resistance and disappointment – and ultimately under-performance. The key is to agree upon what outcomes have to be produced. These outcomes should be imbedded in the organization’s purpose, aligned with its values and relevant to the all levels of the value chain. If the same energy goes into this set of decisions, the possibilities becomes broader and more achievable. What are the “metrics that matter” to your organization? The questions below might be useful to discuss with your team.  Good luck!

What is our purpose as an organization?

What are the key indicators that we are living in that purpose?

What metrics tells us our current outcomes are adequate or inadequate at present? (Caution – metrics often vary by audience – whose metrics matter? Might be a better question)

What does our commitment to these metrics tell us about what really matters to us?