I’ve been studying musical improv recently and one of the best tips I’ve learned so far is the power of the chorus–the part of the song that is deadly simple and repeated over and over (and over and over) again. Why is the repetition of the chorus so powerful? Because the people listening can learn it and then participate–they know what to expect and they can join in.
However, if you have a song that is only verses–all the lines are different with nothing you go back to or repeat–then it’s much harder to learn the song and sing along. It takes a much longer time, requires more repetition and often isn’t as satisfying (until you learn all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody, and then it’s great (but only for the people singing it, not for the other people at the karaoke bar)).
What’s my point? Organizations should be like songs with great choruses. Their structure should be simplified, there should be consistency and you don’t want to change it before people have gotten a chance to learn it and then start participating in it. Of course change will happen, the organization will evolve and you’ll move from Please Please Me Beatles to Abbey Road Beatles over time, but only after you’ve allowed your employees to grow within the organization.
So be smart about your organizational changes, plan them out and then when they’re finally implemented, let your organization sing the chorus for awhile.