Organizational ADD

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WebMD describes ADD as follows. “This condition is
characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.” We might think a
person has ADD if he or she has trouble completing things and constantly jumps
from one thing to another.

That’s for people. What about companies? Here’s a brief description of the
experience of one of my coaching clients.

He worked for a large company for seven years. In that time, the company had
at least one management fad per year. They found their cheese, learned about
some fish market, discovered their strengths, and tried to master the carrot
principle. When they found that they couldn’t balance their scorecards, they
aspired to develop into Level 5 Leaders. They only got to level 1 before they
moved on to something else.

Sound familiar? One reason that effective change doesn’t happen in so many
organizations is that they jump from one major initiative to another without
ever completing anything. These outfits belong to the “Change of the Month

When you’re a member of that club, the people in your organization learn not
to invest too much in any change you propose. They know that you’ll have
something new for them in a few months. When you’re part of the “Change of the
Month Club” the costs of switching from one initiative to another suck up
resources and energy and attention without producing a productive result.

If you want an example of how to do it right, consider Jack Welch. He was
arguably one of the most effective CEOs of the last century. In his twenty years
as CEO of GE he had, depending on who’s counting, four to six initiatives. He
stayed with important changes long enough for them to embed themselves in GE’s

If you want create effective change you need to take the time to do it right.
Pick one important issue to work on. Line up support. Make it a priority every
day and give it time.

Boss’s Bottom Line

One important, effective change every few years beats jumping from one new
initiative to another every few months.

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