There is one consistent theme to the training I am asked to do: change. Whether organizations want to learn how to create it or need assistance in coping with the change already happening, it is clear that not much stands still these days.
One of the tools that I use with organizations is the concept of “Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress” from Built to Last by Jerry I. Porras and Jim Collins. Although the book is from 1994, many of the concepts, like the visionary companies they studied, continues to endure.
Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress serve as a yin and yang balance of what successful organizations must achieve. Their example: Disney’s core preserves the “magic” image and “striving to bring happiness to millions” but has stimulated progress by evolving from the Mickey Mouse Club to animated features, theme parks, Broadway shows, television networks and more.
It helps organizations to spend some time articulating the key elements of their core and to realize that many components can be preserved even as the organization evolves. Workgroups, departments and other units can define core values of how they wish to work and the culture that they want to preserve in their area, helping people feel more control over the changes.
Helping people embrace the duality of enduring and changing is a key skill for leaders today.