When the conflict needle moves at the top of the organizational hierarchy, it doesn’t always translate to changes at the bottom of the organizational funnel.

This is due to three reasons:

  • People at varying levels in organizations make assumptions about the value of organizational change, based upon the organizational myths and stories that they choose to believe.
  • Employees have a narrow view of hierarchy and through this narrow frame, come perspectives on power, ambition and trust. 
  • Supervisors, managers and others in the C-Suite and above, operate deeply inside the frames they are in around their perspectives on authority, power and ambition. 

With these three reasons in play, much needed organizational change stalls at the middle of the organizational funnel. When the change stalls, the people below the middle lose faith in the ability of people above them in the hierarchy to effect meaningful change.

Then, the people above the middle grow frustrated and place more pressure on the middle managers of the change to implement changes faster.

Finally, the middle—squeezed tighter and tighter—loses the ability to believe in the efficacy of change and becomes cynical, embittered and lee likely to support in public (or in private) change management initiatives.

This analysis is not a surprise to anyone who has worked in a hierarchical organization of any kind, from the church to school to work.

We underestimate the rhetorical power of pointing out the truth, analyzing it, and putting a name on it. And when we seek to move the needle in response to conflicts at the top of the funnel, we have to be more courageous and less fearful, about taking an organization where it may not want to go.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

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