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Commonality March 23, 2010

Posted by Jason in Daily PM.
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One of the best ways to spark innovation or creativity is to look for parallels in other industries.  Doing so, it doesn’t take long to see that seemingly disparate fields share more than meets the eye.  Last month’s Insider’s View column touched on this topic as related to safety cultures in heavy industries like mining and construction.  But it goes much deeper than that.

Most organizations must deal with difficult changes.  “Change managers” are those who have effectively harnessed the business, psychological, and sociological aspects to bring about real, lasting behavioral adjustments.  In all cases, true effectiveness comes from finding personal motivation (or negative consequences) to gain support and buy-in.

What about when that change manager (who may simply be a line manager or other supervisor) moves on to other things?  Will the process remain in place?  If done properly, it is possible to implement systems that encourage innovation and ideas – and more importantly, provide an outlet for them within the organization.

This is the common thread among virtually all industries.  As groups of individuals, different organizations still must reflect the norms and behaviors present in the work force.  When it is necessary to change them, it doesn’t matter if you are a small, boutique firm or a multinational oil company.  Change isn’t easy, but it can be very powerful.  Making positive use of this power is the real goal.

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