Comfort, Change, the Conservatives
23/07/2009 - "Comfort, Change, the Conservatives" by Donal Carroll
Seen the response of the City to the Tory Party proposals to reform the financial system? A 'sensible package'! That is, they like it. So what happened to all that talk of cutting bonuses, breaking up the megabanks, rewriting the rules of finance? More posturing than substance? And with Lehman Brothers now making profits of $38m per day ($15.8m per hour) what's changed?

What could we learn if we looked at this issue in terms of leadership and management of change?

Unless change provokes discomfort -the degree depends on the size of change needed though always needs to be present in some way - then it is unlikely to work. Profound discomfort means the dawning of the realisation among those it is aimed that cannot avoid it any more and usually prompts a response of denial, offloading and libel-labelling ranging from 'how dare they', 'what do they know' and 'what was wrong with the previous system'? At the same time some 'internal company sweating' needs to begin where those committed to change engage with colleagues who are not. And the arguments, contradictions and iterations of change emerge. Strangely, at this stage, even if the level of engagement is variable, it commonly has the effect of moving practice on, so that it is not possible to 'comfortably' go back to the old practice.

One indicator of change beginning to bite is when a 'breaking point' emerges earlier rather than later. This is when those commissioning change realise from internal feedback that, even if they have said it before they now need to say it again even more explicitly: they need to back change or back down.

How does this square with your experiences of change?

Visitors' Comments on this Post

08/01/2010 Comment posted by anon
I've just been reading an account of the financial crash, written by a world-leader computer scientist. Banks, needless to say, have very powerful computers. They are so powerful that almost every CEO of almost every financial institution is incapable of drawing the right inferences from the computer projections. Hence disaster. This problem is likely to get worse, since computers are rapidly becoming more and more powerful.

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