One of our favourite quotes on change at the moment is this:
All improvement is change but not all change is improvement.
What is so disarming about this quotation is that it goes to the heart of what change should be about; the focus of change should be improvement.
Of course sometimes difficult changes have to be made for organisations to be in a position to thrive in the future. It maybe that “surgery” is needed to return an organisation to “health”. This of course should always be, as with the medical profession, a last resource. Prevention and early intervention should always be tried first.
So when budgets are tight and resources are constrained, it’s understandable to feel that your ability to lead is being limited.
In such situations it’s more than likely that you’re being asked to make resource savings. Before jumping to difficult but predicable decisions to cut resources take some time to think.
In recent work we have been doing within public services, the challenge has been to try and hold the tension of coping with constrained budgets and yet still make changes that improve services.
Which leads us to another of the quotes on change that we like. This time it comes from Lord Rutherford (thought of as the father of Nuclear Physics) who in another era once said:
We’ve got no money so we’ve got to think.
One thing that is often in short supply when the pressure is on is time to think. Yet to hold the tension and seek changes that are improvements when there is “no money” more than ever needs time to think.