Think Intervention– The Force Behind Real Change That Creates Must-Have Outcomes: It’s a Matter of Sustainability…

Intervention is a planned programmatic activity aimed at bringing change to all or part of an organization… change that is deliberate and focused to improve business growth, relevance, sustainability…

In the current business environment, interventions are often needed to facilitate a draconian change for an organization to more effectively compete in challenging global and highly competitive markets… business challenges come in many forms, including; disruptive technology, global competitor, emerging-shrinking-expanding markets… Interventions are implementation of change in an organization designed to create must-have outcomes, and produce a positive impact on the sustainability of an organization…

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Interventions are unique for every organization or business: An intervention strategy that delivers results for one business may not necessarily deliver the same or similar results for another, even within the same company, market, industry– the copy-cat approach seldom yield positive results… Business growth and sustainability hinges on continuous– intervention and innovation… and an organizational strategy that uses a combination of intervention and innovation is ahead of the game…

Normally there are a several types of interventions for any one situation, and the trick is to find the intervention that best suits the specific issue, culture, available resources… According to Jack Welch; a good business leader creates a  vision, articulate it, passionately own it, and relentlessly drive it to completion… but with a little intervention along the way…

In the article Interventions for Change in Organization by Abhishek Kumar Sadhu writes: Interventions are techniques and methods designed to advance an organization from– ‘here’ to ‘there’ or ‘from where it is’ to ‘where it want to be’… interventions are aimed at improving individual and team activities… so as to better accomplish targets and goals in accordance with the organization’s envisaged vision and strategy…

The most important group interventions are team-building activities or team-conflict issues, the goal of which is the improvement and increase effectiveness of the team or team members within the organization. The interventions focus on group dynamics– both intra-and inter- groups; for example; often two or more independently working groups have to coordinate tasks to achieve the required organizational goals, and often this interaction can give rise to many serious disagreement, tension… which then can affect the organization’s overall morale, productivity…

Often some form of intervention is used to resolve or manage or mitigate various types of intra- and inter- working group or team issues of conflict, disagreement, contention… before they inflict major damage on the organization… Some intervention techniques include:

  • Manage and increase the interaction and communication among the groups (i.e., increased interaction under favorable conditions enhances positive feelings and sentiments)…
  • Identify a super ordinate goal (i.e., a goal that both groups desire to achieve but that neither can achieve without mutual support)…
  • Rotate the members of each group, interchange group leaderships, institute various forms of training, collaboration, counseling…

In the article What Are Business Intervention Strategies? by Jacquelyn Jeanty writes: An intervention strategy involves the  understanding of the different approaches that can be use to effect change within an organization’s structure, process, culture… Intervention can take place either on the organization’s overall structure or within its specific parts groups, individuals… it all depends on the desired outcome.

Circumstances that may warrant an intervention strategy include; adapting to globalization, reorganization, workplace diversity, technology disruption, issues of competitiveness… An intervention strategy is a way to work towards a desired outcome, or to deal with unforeseen situations that can threaten the stability of the organization… Often a desired outcome requires changes at some level or intensity for an organization to grow, develop, sustain itself. Also, issues involving– people, morale, high turnover, diversity, workplace issues… can also warrant the use of an intervention strategy as a means for improving productivity, work relations…

Certain intervention approaches may target an organization’s overall structure or focus on the various processes or functions, for example; An intervention can introduce processes designed to change how the entire organization or team or group… operates, either on a global scale or within specific areas. As some departments, groups, teams… may rely on one another to accomplish goals, an intervention in one area may have unexpected consequences in other areas, and impact how they might or might not work together.

Also, interventions can affect the basic management reporting structure and revamp an overall approach to management process, procedure.  Often an intervention can affect changes at a cultural level in terms of how staff view their roles, responsibilities, and their interaction with management, and each other… Intervention is important process for making major changes to the outcomes of an organization, but they can also cause major disruptions, new conflicts, threaten stability… if not managed properly.

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In the article Interventions: Managing Systematic Change in Organizations by Armando Justo writes: An intervention aimed at improving performance may involve developing a completely different workplace environment, for example; one that respect– diversity, shared power, collaboration, open discussions… Such strategic interventions must be initiated and managed by the organization’s leadership with the appropriate employees and others stakeholders fully involved, committed to the process.

Most important, for an intervention to be successful its ‘leader’ must be a change agent– a person with vision, who can deal with uncertainty, who understands risk, who is committed to an improved organizational outcome… According to M. Kormanik; there are various classifications for an interventions, example: One classification is– large-scale interventions; this typically involve an entire group of stakeholders, working toward the definition of a future state…

These interventions start from top leaderships of the organization and they– define, analyze, plan, manage implementation, execution of the intervention for the desired outcomes. Large scale interventions are highly structured, carefully planned and usually involves the entire organization in some capacity…

Another classification is– strategic interventions; this typically involves a strategy of transformation that links the organization to a larger objective in order to keep pace with changing conditions… Strategic intervention facilitates a better understanding of the organization’s current state as it relates to its larger objective, which allows it to better define and target strategies for competing, collaborating with other organizations…

Still yet another classification is– management and leadership interventions; it’s aim is to improve performance, effectiveness of the organization’s ‘leadership and management’.  The use of this intervention is wide-spread and most organizations have some programs in place to– identify, measure, improve the quality of leadership. The basis for many of these programs, include; Defining appropriate leadership profiles that best respond to current, future organizational needs; Identifying process, procedures that ensure leadership accountability; Creating a cultural environment that mandates continuous innovation and intervention…

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Change by intervention involves moving from one competitive or structured condition to another… organizations must change at record pace to keep up with highly competitive and disruptive environments that demand more value, performance… One important point to bear in mind is that the effects of different forms of interventions to initiate change are never neutral; it always creates winners and losers. Intervention does not always work in ways intended, or in ways business theories predicts it should.

Part of the risk of intervention is ‘law of unintended consequences’, which often comes into play– unforeseen effects can have a serious negative impact an organization as a results of a particular intervention strategy: People and business rarely behave precisely in ways expected. In judging the effects of intervention strategy, consider the following factors:

  • Efficiency: Does this intervention lead to better use of people, resources…
  • Effectiveness: Does this intervention lead to desired outcome– increased value, cost effectiveness…
  • Equity: Does this intervention affect one group or function more than another, and unfairly create negativism in the organization…
  • Sustainability: Does this intervention impact, threaten, or in any affect other opportunities, or limit future organizational options, alternatives…

Leaders must have specific skills to affect a positive intervention on an organization, which means to– define the initiative, understand the risks and consequences, get the participation and commitment of all the relevant stakeholders, and fully integrate the initiative across the entire organization… However, unfortunately many leaders are not skilled to affect a strategic intervention… Many are fine just ‘doing the job’, rather than providing the vision and passion to drive an innovative strategic intervention…

According to French & Bell Jr; intervention is a set of structured activities in which the organization or targeted groups or individuals are engaged in a task or sequence of tasks where outcomes are related directly or indirectly to some level of managed improvement… Interventions constitute specific actions whose outcomes make things happen ‘differently’ within the organization…