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[Review] The Pivot Point


What does the pain of organizational change have to do with a bunch of conference goers, a little girl and a missing rag doll, and a raging hurricane? Plenty, it seems, according to the authors of “The Pivot Point“.

Authors and organizational behavior experts Victoria Grady and James Grady use the scenario of some participants of an organizational management conference caught by a huge storm who are forced to take shelter in a hotel. With the guidance of a leading change management expert, they begin to assess their individual challenges of implementing change in their organizations.

Within this scenario, they would discuss issues that many of us find familiar – personal anxieties that lead to decreased morale at the workplace, the frustrations of employing new technology or process which leads to decreased productivity, or a withdrawal or disengagement from work that’s the precursor to turnover etc. And between them, they would finally help each other find a possible solution to cracking their individual challenges.

Using a story format to introducing organizational management theory is a refreshing approach, especially when highlighting potentially difficult concepts pioneered by Kurt Lewin, Rene Spitz or Jerry Harvey. They point out that the reasons why organizations tend to fail at implementing change – the failure rate is as high as 68-percent – is because they actually fail to pivot. The problem lies in the fact that individuals don’t change their behavior at the critical time and place.

And the main reason why individuals don’t tend to accept change? Attachment. Because people tend to be attached to things over time, and find it difficult to accept new methods, systems, or changing circumstances. Like how a little girl would get cranky if she loses her favorite rag doll. “It’s not just the addition of new, but it is also the loss of the old,” the authors explains.

The rate of success in implementing change can be then improved by measuring and tracking how employees respond to specific actions during the change implementation process. And that can only when organizations understand our human nature to form attachments – and how to mitigate those attachments when change happens. That would be the “The Pivot Point“.

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