THE TRUTH ABOUT CHANGE

When implementing organizational reform, it’s natural to assume that the reconstruction occurs from the top down. In “The Truth about Change,” Peter Block suggests that while this formula can be hindering, it does have a certain appeal.

Block says that top management thrives because they get to exercise their power, while staff groups and consultants benefit because they are in contact with those in high positions. Middle management and below also find it hard to complain because it gets them off the hook. However, Block argues that “in reality, it is only change in the direction of high control, centralization, and economic constraints that can be implemented successfully from the top.”

Another common belief about change lies with the notion that change should occur everywhere at once. Block, however, warns that, “efforts to implement change simultaneously across the organization just produce cosmetic change and are another way patriarchy prevents its own healing.” When it comes to change, different departments should change at their own pace.

There are important factors to keep in mind when trying to implement an effective change process; caution, doubt, and reservation need to be honored. If there is a belief that the whole system will change at once, it will only create an illusion of change and slow down the real process. As Peter Block says, “organizational reform is a learning process, not an installation process."