Growth brings change, there is no question of that. Over the next four Power Ideas, Senior Strategic Partner, Laura Dillingham is going to explore this concept of change during Growth, starting with “the organizational factor”. Enjoy this week’s Power Idea.

When organizations make a choice to grow they are also making a choice to change. Change for most organizations is a difficult decision and comes with an overwhelming decision to first look at their current circumstances. They begin by asking themselves some critical questions:

1. What can we do to take advantage of what’s happening today?
2. What can we do to continue to move forward?
3. What can we do now, that we might not have been able to do if things were as stable as they were a year, two years, five years or so ago?
4. What will always be in demand?

How do organizations know when they should grow and change? What are the cues? Organizations encounter many different forces of change. These forces come from external sources and from internal sources. Oftentimes, these forces are interrelated. Awareness of these forces can help leaders determine when they should consider implementing organizational change and growth.

EXTERNAL FORCES originate outside the organization. They may cause an organization to question the essence of what business it is in and the process by which products and services are produced. They include:
Advancement of technology – Both manufacturing and service organizations are increasingly using technology as a means to improve productivity. Office processes are often automated, consisting of a host of computerized technologies that are used to obtain, store, analyze, retrieve, and communicate information.
Market changes – The emergence of a global economy is forcing U.S. organizations to change the way they do business. They are having to forge new partnerships with their suppliers in order to deliver higher quality products at lower prices.
Social and political pressures – Created by social and political events and are further creating the need for organizational change. Managers may need to adjust their managerial styles or approaches to fit changing employee values that are shaped by social and political events. For example, the collapse of both the Berlin Wall and communism in Russia created many new business opportunities for U.S. organizations.

INTERNAL FORCES originate inside the organization. They include:
Demographic Characteristics – the need for organizational change because the workforce is more diverse today than it has been in the past. Organizations need to effectively manage diversity if they are to receive maximum contribution and commitment from employees.
Human Resource Problems and Solutions – stem from employee perceptions about how they are treated at work and the match between individual and organizational needs and desires. Dissatisfaction is a symptom of an underlying employee problem that should be addressed. Unusual or high levels of absenteeism, turnover, work overload, and stress also represent forces for change. Solutions for positive change stem from employee participation and suggestions.
New Management – is a significant creator of change in an organization. These change leaders range from the middle to the top of an organization; it is often a new division-level manager or a new department head—someone with a fresh perspective—who sees that the status quo is unacceptable, and therefore, wants to implement change.
Managerial Decisions and Behavior – further create the need for organizational change. The decisions managers make impact the jobs of many employees. Likewise, excessive interpersonal conflict between managers and their subordinates is a sign that change is needed. Both the manager and the employee may need interpersonal skills training. Additionally, inappropriate leader behaviors, such as inadequate direction or support, may result in human resource problems requiring change. Leadership training is one potential solution for this problem.

Internal and External Forces are the factors used when an organization is faced with a decision to change and ultimately grow. “Organizational growth is a necessity to meet the demands of an increasingly complex and dynamic environment. Knowledge and evidence-informed decision making are instrumental in organizational growth; and entails getting focused on important goals, and involving others in achieving them.”

Our next Power Idea from Our Iceberg is Melting…Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions is the ‘The Employee Factor’.