Challenging the status quo has a lot to do with asking the right questions about yourself and the organization. To be better equipped to embrace change and use change for the benefit of your-self and the organization, we suggest you develop answers for the following questions. • Am I constantly looking for what is changing and why? • Do I accept change as not only necessary but also positive? • What systemic or operational changes are underway that provides the framework required for change in personal behaviors or required outcomes? • What systemic or operational changes are necessary and need to be put in place that will improve efficiency and contribute to superior results? • Do I effectively engage myself and involve others to support organizational change? • What action plan do I need to formulate so a needed change can be effectively communicated and orchestrated? • Do I need to change “my mental mind-set” so I can help facilitate a change effort? • Am I open to the changing needs of others, especially the needs of the customer? • Do I actively respond to changes initiated by the customer, company and other departments, even though they may be in conflict with my area of responsibility? • Do I help overcome other’s resistance to organizational change efforts? • Do I willingly and actively lead the change effort by example and by personally challenging the status quo? • Do I use “challenging the status quo” as a means to attain continuous improvement at the personal, group or corporate level? • Do I embrace the concept that change is the only means to achieve continuously higher levels of performance? • Do I share ideas that I have for change and improvement with others in a positive and constructive manner? It is easy to make a list of things that should change, but behavior and long-held beliefs and habits are not easy to change, often preventing individuals and organizations to move ahead. Once the right questions have been asked and the answers formulated, it must be realized that real, fundamental change cannot be achieved by an individual or within an organization without a strong desire to change. Being open to and responsive to change is the glue required for personal change as well as organizational change. Actual change is the enabler of growth. Change, with all of its complexities, is the mechanism, which facilitates growth. Challenging the status quo receives its first life when there is a recognized awareness of the need to change. The individual and the organization must see itself differently and from a perspective that points to a definite need to change. This typically begins to happen when we question the premise upon which we have viewed ourselves in the past, ask thought provoking questions, and then begin to support formulating a new direction for the future. It is the responsibility of all members of an organization to make sure our collective past successes do not blind us from seeing new possibilities for our future. This is the essence of each individual contributing to challenging the status quo. Most often, change is messy and uncomfortable. When we change, we challenge the comfortable present and move into the uncertain future. However, growth and progress are only accomplished when you change your present situation and shape it for the future. This is true for the individual as well as the organization. Although major transformational change will have the greatest impact, it is important to realize that all change and challenges to the “status quo” need not be major or strategic in nature. Continual small change and challenge throughout the organization can make a serious difference in the overall goal to attain excellence. Also, using the continuous small improvement process methodology is an excellent approach to apply in helping individuals and the organization develop a “change mind-set.” The objective needs to be the continual release of the human capacity and commitment to invent and create. It should be noted that the value of “challenging the status quo” and the value of “diversity” are closely connected. Both values enhance the chances of fostering change and innovation through “diversity of thought” and taking into account people of “diverse backgrounds.” When true diversity is embraced by an organization, innovative solutions will be constantly created simply because different people think and do things differently. To the extent an organization engenders and encourages diversity of thought from many people of diverse backgrounds and cultures, the ground for change and innovation will remain rich, fertile and dynamic. Copyright Information: You MAY reprint the information contained in this article as long as no portion of the contents are modified and it used “exclusively” within your organization. You must also give credit to information by including the tag line... Roger M. Ingbretsen, Author, Speaker, Leadership Coach, Organizational and career developer. For more information, visit www.ingbretsen.com or call 509 999 7008.