Organizational Development: From Ignorance To Commitment

By Julián Nevárez, - In Leadership

Picture of a man with his head against a wall with a speak bubble that's says

Photo Credit: stockphotosecrets

Why is it so difficult to promote change in all organizations? Why are managers having so many problems to insert their ideas about organizational growth and leadership?

Well, a very good phrase from Socrates comes to my mind; he said that the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new, and it is exactly how an organizational development coordinator, a manager or a leader, must think about promoting a healthy and ferocious change.

I will describe four steps you must follow to lead your team into the many wonderful ideas you might want to carry out into action:

1. Ignorance

The main reason of why a person is not willing to change is because that person does not know why. If you plan to insert a new training course, or to promote a new idea, or even to paint a wall, you must communicate why. There is a natural rejection to change and it is sometimes called the “comfort zone”. It could be defined as a  behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition. (Bardwick J. 1991).

So, before expressing your team what to do, tell them why will they do it. So they will feel a part of it. They will also get your motivation towards the idea or activity and of course, they will desire it as well.

2. Consciousness

Do not think that everything will go smoothly and easy as you speak with your team. There sure will be comments or frustration from your team members with your new magical ideas. But it is just because they understand that their participation is needed. So, to overcome this feeling you must demonstrate your involvement in the idea.

They are realizing that this process might imply effort, time, and sometimes even money. People do not like to be told what to do but, if you have created and environment of trust and companionship, this will not be a problem. If you have not, well fury and rejection is about to come.  To sensitize, there must be understanding from the team and in order to maintain a guidance, the role of every member must be clearly expressed. Do not worry, you can always bargain.

3. Acceptance

We are making progress by heading to this step. Normally people under certain circumstances, like hierarchical position, would “accept” any recommendations, ideas or activities coming from an upper level. Anyway, what if you are trying to engage your peers? There will not be any higher position for you. Or even tougher.. What if you want to carry on a new idea with your boss?

Acceptance should be measured by the grade in which the person is responsible of it, not because you delegate or deputize; it should be because they are willing to participate actively just because they know it, understand it and of course desire it.

4. Commitment

Can you hear the fanfare? It is quite difficult to reach commitment in complex organizations where suggestions and comments are not allowed or cannot be expressed. But, this is a daily basis in business, human resources and organizational development.

It requires to know your team and not only about their skills but their emotions, and attitude. Once you begin promoting an environment of help, fellowship, friendship and togetherness, you can say that your team is committed.

The most important thing to do is to establish a culture of giving not of asking. Teams are afraid of being asked to do, but once they feel they are in debt of a great partner, they would do anything to pay it off.


Professor, author, father.