What is the Status of Your Quo ? Professional Journey Steps: step #29

What is the Status of Your Quo ? Professional Journey Steps: step #29

Seth Godin Status Quo

Where are you (and your organisation), what is the status of your quo? We all like to be successful in what we do and particularly what we are personally invested in such as our professional lives and organisations. To this end we plan and search for ways and methods to improve our state of affairs – our journey to success.

This edition of Professional Journey Steps will provide some insight into one of the major and most common missteps we observe consistently by individuals and organisations in their ongoing quest for successful change and development.

In addition to a myriad of choices, details, options, variations, et al involved in a strategic or operational change journey there is one stumbling block that is rarely considered until its too late – and in many cases not recognised at all! A real and complete understanding of where you are at the current time. <Pause> … not just where you are in relation to the specific area of change!

Most organisations in this situation do verify their starting point from the perspective of the area of change. The main rationale for this is to be able to qualify and quantify the results of the change – to be able to measure for assurance the result was worth the expenditure in all aspects.


BUT, this assessment of the change area alone is incomplete and will in all likelihood, end in a failed exercise. Let me relate this through an example most of you will have experienced.

Your organisation (or yourself personally) comes to a realisation that you could benefit from some leadership development and improvement. This is a pretty common and valid assessment in almost all enterprises. So a delegate, department head, HR Manager, the MD or CEO or combination start the process to ‘solve’ this problem. Does this sound familiar so far?

So all the due diligence, budgeting, planning, selection process (for proper candidates as well as provider <insert MSB Max here> is completed and you or your people undergo the process. Lets say the process is incredibly successful from the participants’ perspective – they have all improved their abilities and even developed sustainable skills – well done!! Good selection of development company! <per insert above> So now you will start to reap the benefits of your investment right!?!

Here’s what we find and it’s not as nice and clean as it should be or you’d like it to be.

Regardless of; your process for the change, who you selected to undertake and guide the change and even how well you followed each of the steps in the process, there is still one glaring obstacle which so often gets missed!!

The change has to fit with your whole – plug back into your organisation. This is almost always difficult and more often than not, even at odds.

Let’s return to our example for a moment. Your people (person), has benefited from learning an improved skill and in most instances this will entail taking a new approach(s) to how she/he/they do things – they have a new set of tools.

But they are trying to use those tools in an environment, which only knows and supports the old tools!

So what is the common, predictable and unfortunate result of this situation? They (actually everyone) become frustrated or disengaged (opposite of the intention) and either leaves or worse, stays and becomes an anti-hero to the organisational direction. Moreover, the organisational sponsor comes to the conclusion that it was a waste of time, energy and money to invest in the exercise in the first place – usually we the service provider will take the blame.

Yes, this seems a bit dramatic but we see it all the time – you probably have observed or experienced it as well! There is a resolution, please read on.

The Real Culprit – Your Status Quo

Assuming you have identified the correct issue needing attention, selected the right resources within your organisation to partake in this developmental change and chosen the right source to administer and guide this development then you must also have to expect the results will affect more than the specific area – it’ll affect the whole organisation since it is a web of interaction. Inject new skills, methods, ideas and approaches (results of development and / or change initiatives) onto ay existing environment and there will be an affect.

There will be an interaction with these new elements (thinking / doing) with your existing; culture, structure and systems – ALL THREE in most cases.

Professional Journey Step advice for this edition:

In order to improve and make yourself or your organisation ready and able to succeed in this new age you have to develop your people – they’ll carry the day for you – however in doing so please look at and be willing to revise your structures, systems and culture to support and nurture these changes (development) in your people.

This same scenario as in our example plays out in every type of change / transformation initiative. We see far too often, great promising results from people growing, improving and developing and a change area being successful in its own right only to be plugged back into an environment that has opposing systems, structure or culture to where the change initiative has journeyed. They actually cause undue friction or worst-case present an outright polarity within your organisation.

This is one reason why whenever we, MSB Max, ally with an organisation for one of our development programs we insist as a term of engagement that the existing strategic heads have to be well represented in the programs – so they’ll be able to relate first hand with the journey, its benefits for their organisation and be guided on what else must be revised from their current state of affairs – the status quo prior to the program to ensure the benefits take root and attain our mutual objectives after the program.

This is a crucial – and often overlooked – element in any change within your organisation. Our key advice; reassess the change against your status quo in all three areas; structure, systems and culture – there will no doubt be one or more a bit out of sync so this realignment needs to be part of the whole process to ensure success.

If MSB Max can help with guidance through these processes please reach out – we’re here to help, its what we do, we’re expert at it and it’s why we exist.

Enjoy your journey

MSB Max Team.