The importance of not giving up and how repeated efforts gain momentum until critical mass is achieved.
Newton’s 2nd Law of motion
The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object.
If you have ever seen a freight train starting up, you have witnessed Newton’s 2nd law of motion in action, the amount of force / energy required to get it to start moving is enormous compared to that required to keep it moving at a steady pace. This is why they don’t like to stop it again before it gets to its destination, slow and steady……. When we move an object from rest, or change the direction of movement, we need to overcome inertia, which is proportional to mass, so the larger the object, the harder it is to get moving or change direction.
Looking at our organizations, we can possibly understand why change is so difficult, people find it far easier to go with the flow (we have always done it this way) and as long as there isn’t a force continually driving change or trying to overcome the inertia, our improvement plans will fail.
Enter commitment and determination, these are characteristics required to drive change, and it starts by getting enrollment into the company vision. If we can achieve enrollment rather than buy in, we will get commitment over compliance. The way to do this is to create a shared vision that benefits the organization and stakeholders and translate this into the company goals and objectives with measures that support profitability and delivery. The measures we set for ourselves MUST drive the determination required to pursue the goal even in the most difficult circumstances. This is where resilience comes into play, it starts at the top, with the Leadership all driving the change, and being seen to drive the change. Change isn’t something you can delegate, it must be an inherent part of the organization’s culture, and policies and procedures need to reflect it.
Everything that takes place during our day to day operations must be seen as part of the overall improvement strategy, we’re either measuring performance and looking for areas to improve, or we’re contemplating change and creating hypotheses, or testing these hypotheses and evaluating the changes required to our processes, or we’re implementing change, or we’re measuring……. Get the picture?
Change needs to happen over time in a measured and thoughtful way, knee jerk reactions will only solve symptoms and not the underlying structures that support the actions driving the symptoms. Teams working collaboratively together are the most powerful means of achieving this change, as long as they have a shared vision and are lead from the top. The leader must create the environment where people can work without fear of failure and can express themselves openly and honestly and be heard. There are no bad ideas, some are just more applicable and practical, and will generate a higher ROI than others.
These changes will generate the funds and incentive within the team to keep overcoming inertia.