Change Management - You Reap What You Sow
The author of this newsletter, Jake Barber, comes from a farming family. Having grown up "enjoying" the hard labor (traumatic flashbacks to rock-picking) and seeing the results of planning, execution, and adaptation, it's quite easy to see the parallels between organizational change management and farming. The clothes, equipment, and work may be different, but the strategies and mentality align closer than you may think.
Let's harvest a few examples:
- Cultivating Conditions: Just as farmers prepare the soil and create optimal conditions for plants to grow, change managers must create an environment conducive to change. Establishing a framework, communication channels, and processes that facilitate accepting and adopting new ideas, behaviors, and practices.
- Planting Seeds: Farmers plant seeds to initiate the growth process. Similarly, change managers introduce new concepts, strategies, or initiatives within an organization. They plant the seeds of change by sharing information, raising awareness, and generating employee enthusiasm.
- Nurturing Growth: Farmers tend to their crops by providing water, fertilizer, and protection from pests and diseases. Likewise, change managers nurture change by offering support, training, and resources to employees. They address concerns, provide guidance, and remove obstacles to ensure change takes root and flourishes.
- Adapting to Seasons: Farmers adjust their strategies and activities based on seasonal variations and environmental conditions. Change managers also need to be adaptable and flexible, recognizing that different stages of change require different approaches. They consider the readiness of individuals and the organization, adapting their plans and actions accordingly.
- Patience and Time: Farmers understand that crops take time to grow and yield results. Similarly, change managers recognize that change is a process that requires patience. They acknowledge that not everyone embraces change at the same pace and provide the necessary time, space, and support for individuals to adapt and transition.
- Reaping Rewards: Farmers reap the fruits of their labor when they harvest a high-yielding crop. Change managers experience the rewards of their efforts when the desired change is successfully implemented, resulting in improved performance, increased efficiency, or enhanced organizational outcomes.
Just as farmers work with nature to produce a successful harvest, change managers must work with people to implement successful changes within an organization. Both industries require careful planning, nurturing, adaptability, and patience to achieve desired outcomes.
While I sometimes get nostalgic about life on the farm; the "free workout", taking home as many veggies as possible right before harvest, and the easiest tan I have ever achieved, I have come to enjoy taking the many lessons learned during those years and helping apply similar principles to businesses around the world. Who would have thought just how similar a row of crops flourishing under the summer sun and a row of team members thriving in a modern air-conditioned office could be?
- The author, Jake Barber, coming from a farming background, draws parallels between change management and farming.
- There are many similarities such as cultivating conditions, planting seeds of change, nurturing growth, adapting to different stages, being patient, and reaping rewards.
- Both require planning, adaptability, and patience to achieve successful outcomes.
- There is value in applying farming principles to business.
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