The most powerful formula for creating long-term, high-impact organisational change

A change leader looks into a mirror

Leo Tolstoy famously wrote that:

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Now this article in McKinsey Quarterly discusses how anyone who wants to lead an organisation in new directions must first learn to look inward as well as out.

After years of working in leadership and cultural transformation, the authors say they are convinced that:

“… organizational change is inseparable from individual change. Simply put, change efforts often falter because individuals overlook the need to make fundamental changes in themselves…
Organizations don’t change — people do.

To create lasting organisational impact, it is necessary to:

“Look both inward and outwards… Integration of looking both inward and outward is the most powerful formula we know for creating long-term, high-impact organizational change.”

Inner Leadership agrees. That is why the book was written. 

But unfortunately the McKinsey authors’ recommendations for how to make this inner change happen are overly-analytical, slow, and short on practical implementation.

The authors recommend developing ‘profile awareness’ and ‘state awareness’ and they offer four ways that this can become part of organisational change. But their recommendations do not join up. And surely what is needed in a time of rapid change is not more analysis, slowing the process down, but more inspiration to take us faster to results.

This is the approach taken by Inner Leadership.:

  • Start by increasing the self-awareness of every leader and person in the business.
  • Help them to connect more deeply with who they are and what matters most to them — this will make them more solid, sure, and confident of their priorities.
  • Then give them the tools to see any situation more clearly and find more opportunities to move forward.
  • Help them to find their own purpose and values, then enable them to choose the best way forward in any situation and describe it in ways that inspire them and other people to want to make it happen.

This is Inner Leadership. This is creating organisations and people that know not just how to survive change but how to use change to become stronger, antifragile. This is “the most powerful formula for creating long-term, high-impact organisational change.”

Organisations don’t change, people do. So if you want to change and revitalise your organisation, you need to start by learning to change and revitalise yourself, then your people. Inner leadership is the new frontier.

Sadly the McKinsey approach seems to be focused on teaching people to become more like McKinsey consultants.

The Churning’s Inner Leadership approach is about enabling people to become more dynamic, capable, inspired versions of themselves.

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