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


As I near the half way point on writing The Churning, I’ve come across another management article that supports the need for the book. This one comes from the McKinsey Quarterly in March 2014.

Its authors state:

“After years [working in] … leadership and cultural transformation, we’ve become 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.”

If you want to create lasting organisational impact, they say:

“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.”

I agree, and this is very much in line with The Churning.

Outer change, in their short article, is not discussed. This is fine — inner change is the new frontier.

Unfortunately, their article’s approach on how to make that inner change happen is overly-analytical, slow, and short on practical implementation. The authors recommend that leaders should develop ‘profile awareness’ and ‘state awareness’ and then offer four ways in which this can become part of organisational change. But to me their recommendations do not join up, and there is too much focus on analysis, not enough on getting to the results you want instead.

For anyone interested in more detail, I have provided a more extensive review here.

But if you want the short version, it seems to me that the authors have done what good consultants do, which is find a way to map and analyse what is going on. The extent of their vision, however, is then to recommend that leaders learn to think like them. They come up short on taking the next step, which is how to put that thinking into action.

The Churning’s approach is much more practical and results-oriented. The material covered in the McKinsey Quarterly article (‘profile awareness’ and ‘state awareness’) is covered in Chapters 1 and 2 of The Churning, where the approach is more about helping leaders to make their own sense of the situation rather than telling them what to think.

The Churning then moves forward step by step with an integrated set of tools aimed at enabling the leaders to build a strong sense of what they want instead (an inspiring vision), and then integrating that with the tools for outer leadership necessary to make the vision happen.

The Churning’s approach is aimed at enabling leaders to become more capable versions of themselves, rather than teaching them to become like consultants.

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