The Change Gym has a psychometric test that measures change fitness in people (IRVEY®). It is an interesting exercise to see where your strengths and limitations lie on the 16 aspects of change fitness.
IRVEY is built around the idea that there are relatively stable psychological capacities that give people the potential to negotiate change. If you are strong in these capacities, you will handle change better than people who are weak in them.
In our work, managers sometimes show surprise when they see the IRVEY results of their staff. People whom they assumed were not ready for change may show significant strengths, while others they considered agile may show significant weaknesses.
Such discrepancies provide valuable insights into the internal dynamics of the organisation. Without going too far into detail, there is an important understanding to grasp about personal change fitness. This understanding may best be explained through an analogy.
The Mining Industry
Most people in Australia would be familiar with the concept of a mining industry – Australia is the world’s second largest supplier of iron ore and uranium, and the fourth largest supplier of coal.
To have a mining industry, you first need to have minerals. Unless you have minerals, you have no potential for a mining industry. But if all you have is minerals, they will stay in the ground where they have always been. A mining industry is born out of an alignment between supportive government policy, the supply of capital from big business, a skilled and willing workforce, the provision of adequate infrastructure, an active marketplace, a responsive and sustainable pricing structure, and, of course, an abundant supply of mineral resources.
The alignment needed to deliver a healthy mining industry is derived from a network of conversations, understandings, and agreements made between the various interest groups working together for their individual and common ends.
Unless you have minerals, you have no potential for a mining industry. But if all you have is minerals, they will stay in the ground where they have always been. Unless workers have personal change fitness, the organisation will always struggle with change. But the change fitness of workers will remain hidden and largely untapped unless the right kind of conversations, understandings, and agreements exist within the organisation.
In other words, the personal change fitness of people, as measured by IRVEY, indicates what they have the potential to deliver. But whether they deliver on that potential depends on how well organisational readiness factors are aligned and distributed.
When managers show surprise at the fitness potential of their staff, they are usually indicating one of two things – either they have little insight into the nature of change fitness, and/or there is a poor alignment between personal and organisational readiness factors.
A Major Difference
There is obviously a major difference between change fitness and the mining industry – miners can’t generate new mineral resources. They are working with a dwindling supply that will eventually run out. Organisations also face the risk of losing valuable staff with high levels of personal change fitness if they fail to engage them and value their strengths.
However, organisations can also do things that will foster and grow change fitness in staff and distribute it widely throughout their enterprise. If you would like to discover how you can develop change fitness, or you wish to learn more about the fitness of your staff, please contact us for an obligation-free appointment. We can help you discover how to make the most of your fitness strengths throughout the change process, and how to remain agile and ready for future change.
Dr Steve Barlow