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Overcoming barriers to change

Karl Schoemer in his work “The New Reality”, defined three types of behaviour which were present in most organisations: Design, Default and Defiant behaviour. He adds that, typically, in any organisation, the split between the types of behaviour displayed by staff are as follows:

The people on the front of the stagecoach are displaying Designbehaviour. These people are aligned with their customers and their needs, they are constantly challenging the status quo and on occasions taking risks. They forge new relationships, volunteer for new tasks and stop carrying out less productive ones: they are the business champions.

The people in the cab, who are displaying Default behaviour, are all waiting to see what the others will do. They are going on a journey but they aren’t clear about where they are going to… they are following the others, in silence. These people would like to preserve the status quo and do not want to rock the boat.

Those showing Defiant behaviour are hanging onto the back of the stagecoach with their heels dug into the ground. They are putting up barriers to change and are fighting to preserve ‘the old way’. The Defiants are not tuned into the market place and what their customers and business needs and are constantly explaining to others why something won’t work.

The challenge is to freeze out the Defiant behaviour, rather than the Defiant people. Don’t set out to change the world: just changing the behaviours of a few Defaulters and Defiants will change the critical mass – just getting 1/3rd of staff displaying Design behaviour will help the business move forward in a more efficient way.

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