The collective action of people is very powerful. Between 2001 and 2017, mass movements toppled many governments including the ouster of dictatorships in Burkina Faso, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan.  On July 9, 2022, a massive protest in Sri Lanka resulted in the President and Prime Minister announcing their resignation.

The same phenomena applies in bringing about organizational change, be it to improve performance, improve customer relations, change direction or be more innovative. The key is to harness the power of the people in the organization. For example, I helped a 300-person national drug regulatory agency eliminate a huge backlog of submissions without any additional resources.  The key was to harness the power of its people.

In my consulting practice, I evolved a framework for successfully planning and implementing change that resulted in harnessing the power of the people in the organization to achieve the desired results.  The process is important but it requires leadership.

It begins by conducting a 360 organization feedback.

Then virtually everyone in the organization is involved to:

  1. Clarify the desired results and the rationale for wanting or needing to generate these results
  2. Addressing what have been or are likely to be the challenges in generating these results
  3. Evolve a strong consensus on the 4-5 most important changes or improvements that are critical to generating the desired results
  4. Evolve agreement on a strategic action plan
  5. Implement the strategic action plan – and monitoring progress, providing feedback to everyone in the organization and soliciting suggestions if necessary to overcome problems as they arise

The conduct of steps 1 – 5 needs to be tailored to the organization and its environment, but always with an emphasis on engagement and wide-spread commitment.