Most of us have a mental image of how an organization changes over time. For many from of us, it is a dated scenario in which top management emerges from a closed-door meeting with a new direction for the organization, which they announce to employees and that rolls down the organization like a waterfall, with every person falling into line to adhere to the new marching orders. I suppose an organization changed like this somewhere, at some time. Maybe.
More likely today, organizational change starts with one person in the organization trying something different and obtaining a better result for his or her efforts. Based on that person's initial success, the behavior is repeated; soon other employees notice and emulate the behavior so that a "critical mass" is established. At some point, a type of quantum leap occurs in which an organization might go from 40 percent to 80 percent of employees embracing the new behavior and approach. And then there will always be a small percentage of employees who refuse to change just on principle that you can't force them to change.