Organisational Change Management Volume 1

The Problem of Status Quo Thinking

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"Status Quo. Isn't that Latin for the mess we are in now"

AIM, 2000

The combination of behaviours and cultures that resist change and managers who support the status quo is lethal for any change process. Status quo is shown by

Management and staff regard themselves as "custodians of the organisational traditions"

Mindset triggers resistance to change

Restricted thinking process that is not able to handle and evaluate change

Curtailed, limited evaluation of the past

Widening gap between those leading the change and those being affected by the change

People who live to maintain the current system

People who think in terms of hierarchy and management seniority

People who are into the preservation of personal power and status, ie look good, cover your back and move quickly past your mistakes

People whose thinking is dominated by plans and budgets

Structures, systems and lack of training that discourage empowerment

People who think in terms of system cycles like hours, days and weeks

People who think in terms of formal structures, not culture

People used to the command-and-control style of management

People who only think of the good of the past, and forget the bad of the past

"Do not rock the boat" approach

People are suffering from incumbent curse, ie you are happy with the status quo as you are doing well. There is no pressure to change until a disruptor appears.


"new stories disrupt the status quo. At one time or another you have probably been in trouble for telling the truth. Dressing your truth with a story is better than delivering naked truths, but it still carries some risk......even a skillful story that helps people to see that naked truth risks defensive attacks..."

Annette Simmons, 2002


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