“Nothing is easy for the unwilling” Gaelic proverb

Willingness to change is a concept used in therapy to ascertain the willingness of a subject or patient to adopt new behaviors and practices. In cases where patients are seeking help for destructive behaviors, the therapist assess the patient’s vested interest or deep, active commitment to changing the attitudes and behaviors causing them distress or problems.

In the context of digital transformation, willingness to change is a concept I believe which can be applied to predict the results and ROI from transformation initiatives.

The industrial revolution and virtual world we all are increasingly living in,┬áis forcing the transformation of industries, creation of new categories and disrupting businesses all over the world. Industry reports abound on how to ride the wave of digital transformation and disrupt your business. Consequently, a number of organizations and businesses are revising their strategy to include digital imperatives, changing their organizational structure to include roles such as “Chief Innovation Officer”, “Chief Digital Officer” and generally saying most of the right the things with respect to their preparedness for the wave of transformation sweeping the world.

These on the surface, indicate an understanding of the business environment and a plan on how to stay competitive but lends little insight to the actual probability of success.

Disrupting a business or industry is no small feat. Managing people and driving the adoption of new processes, policies, operating environments can prove hugely challenging as proven by the sheer volume of content on change management, project management, managing organizational change and similar publications.

Willingness to change in my opinion, is almost like the ‘x-factor” which makes an organization successful over its peers. It indicates conscious intent to do what is needed to achieve better results and it challenges views and perceptions which suggest that the path of transformation is either irrational or impossible or otherwise not needed.

The question then becomes, what are the scientific methods for quantitatively measuring this intangible factor? Change management theories propose a number of frameworks for handling change resistance but in my mind, this issue of willingness runs much deeper than can be determined and concluded on just by looking at it on the surface. I believe it speaks to deeply rooted, possibly unconscious believe systems and attitudes to life and about ones self which do not easily surface.

This post is the tip of the iceberg as I intend to research this in more detail. Will share any interesting insights I find. Promise.