Organizational Change Momentum – How to Keep the Wheels Spinning Forward

organizational change momentum and speed

Wouldn’t it be great if we knew how to create positive organizational change momentum?

Physics describes momentum as the property or tendency of a moving object to continue moving.  The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science defines psychological momentum as, “the positive or negative change in cognition, affect, physiology, and behavior caused by an event or series of events that affects either the perceptions of the competitors or, perhaps, the quality of performance and the outcome of the competition.”

From a change management perspective, we define it as the tendency of the change initiative to keep moving from the current state to the desired state in a way that makes sense.

Most change management consulting and training experts report two out of every three large-scale organizational change initiatives fail.  Those are not great odds for those of us looking to shift where their business is heading or for leaders seeking to change how things get done.

On organizational change projects, we have witnessed both positive psychological momentum where everything seems to be going well and negative psychological momentum where everything seems to be going poorly.  Both can be difficult to track and either continue or shift when your goal for a major change initiative exists on a far distant horizon.

Let’s assume you know where you are headed and why…and that you have communicated the need and purpose for change effectively throughout your organization. When the road to the desired change is long and circuitous, how can you maintain focus and keep those motivational wheels spinning forward as you progress toward the desired end result?

One way is to establish meaningful mini-goals or milestones along the road. The critical concept here is “meaningful.” To be sure that these milestones are worthy of celebrating, not just insignificant directional signs, follow these three criteria. To build organizational change momentum, your mini-goals or milestones should be:

  • Significant. The milestones you choose should mark significant events along the way. And they should be communicated and celebrated accordingly.
  • Relevant. Be sure that your mini-goals directly contribute to the end result and what matters most.
  • Visible. Your co-workers need to know that their hard work is making a difference and that it is valued.

Want to learn about changing corporate culture?  Download The 4 Do’s and 3 Don’ts of Culture Change Now

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