Same thing with change. One of Edmund Deming’s 14 points was “Create Constancy of Purpose”. In other words, sticking to the plan, or staying the course.
With that as a backdrop, here’s 5 ways a leader can “maintain the status” quo during times of change:
1. Grow and retain your own leaders.
Instead, organizations would be better off methodically assessing, grooming, developing, and promoting their own talent. Growing your own is always a better bet than buying talent, and with careful succession planning, there’s a better likelihood that change batons will be passed on from leader to leader.
2. Don’t disband the team and declare victory too soon.
Sure, nobody wants to make a lifetime commitment when they sign up for a change project. Membership on a team can change, but the team needs to stay in place. Idea generators and visionaries can gradually be replaced with project managers and doers. Lasting change needs oversight until the change is permanently embedded, and that usually takes years, not months.
3. Leverage your HR systems.
HR systems can be a managerial nuisance or a powerful set of levers to change behavior (I guess you could say the same about government). Take a look at your performance appraisal, hiring and promotion criteria, compensation system, and training programs and make sure they are all supporting and reinforcing the desired change.
4. Inspect what you expect.
5. Practice Kiazen (continuous improvement).
For high performing companies and leaders, there really is no such thing as a “status quo”. If something hasn’t been recently improved, it’s only because it’s not a high priority for now. But when they do take on a major change, they have the discipline and focus to stick with it and reap the real results. The changes take root and continue to grow, like the giant redwoods.