WHY CALLS FOR
CHANGE DON’T WORK
- A challenge by @NeilDenny
Change in
2014?
First a look
back at 2013
NEVER
GOT
GOING

SIMPLY
STALLED
Never got going
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Black hole debates that crush ideas
Deferential to existing authority or practices
Inbuilt ...
Never got going
•
•
•
•
•

“Everything we need is right here.”
Ostracise innovators
Inexperience/Past failures/Non complia...
The change simulacrum

sim-u-la-crum n
Something that replaces
reality with its representation
The change simulacrum

Con-fer-ence-s q.
Stalled
•
•
•
•

Ground down by the grind
The flight to health
Re-assimilation – “It’s not so different.”
The Ghettoed Inn...
Stalled
• Previously granted authority is withdrawn or
becomes ambiguous or illusory
• We are trying to implement change a...
Condemning criticism
Condemning criticism
We condone
mediocrity and
make excuses for
each other’s noncompliance
While a majority of
firms will vote to
proclaim standards,
they will usually not
vote
to enforce them
David Maister, Strat...
Case
study?
d
i
s
t
r
e
s
s
time
Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
d
i
s
t
r
e
s
s

X

time
Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
d
i
s
t
r
e
s
s

X

time
Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
d
i
s
t
r
e
s
s

X

Alleviate distress
• Refer to authority
• Quick fix – technical solution
• Work avoidance including
• ...
d
i
s
t
r
e
s
s

X

Maintain productive
levels of distress

time
Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Lea...
d
i
s
t
r
e
s
s

X

time
Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
d
i
s
t
r
e
s
s

X

time
Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
Change to survive

Change to thrive

Technical

Adaptive

Preserve status quo

Ongoing disruption

Responsibility is defer...
Change competencies?
Make difficult questions the habit
-to ask and to be asked!
•
•
•
•

Stretches tolerance for distress...
Change competencies?
• Encourage dissenting voices – “The canaries in
the coalmine” (Ronald Heifetz)
• Put the freaks up f...
3 ideas
• Embrace `Not knowing’ as a fertile playground
• Deliberately search out complexity and
resistance
• Develop iter...
www.theleagueofnotknowing.com
Neil doesn’t
pretend to
have all the
answers (or
any of them
necessarily)
He challenges
me to be
more creative
and take
gr...
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Why calls for change do not work

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These are the slides from my Learning Performance Institute's Fellows Day talk exploring why calls for change do not work.

The message, of course, is that change can work and that we need to be more strategic about implementing those changes.

Meagre talk is not enough.

Published in: Business, Education
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Why calls for change do not work

  1. 1. WHY CALLS FOR CHANGE DON’T WORK - A challenge by @NeilDenny
  2. 2. Change in 2014? First a look back at 2013
  3. 3. NEVER GOT GOING SIMPLY STALLED
  4. 4. Never got going • • • • • • • Black hole debates that crush ideas Deferential to existing authority or practices Inbuilt structures ensure inertia Committees/`Sign off’/Evidence based Reactive devaluation Change is not your responsibility Overwhelm
  5. 5. Never got going • • • • • “Everything we need is right here.” Ostracise innovators Inexperience/Past failures/Non compliance Defensiveness Invalidate criticism – “Okay, so what is the answer then?” • Stories and scars – institutionalised and individual
  6. 6. The change simulacrum sim-u-la-crum n Something that replaces reality with its representation
  7. 7. The change simulacrum Con-fer-ence-s q.
  8. 8. Stalled • • • • Ground down by the grind The flight to health Re-assimilation – “It’s not so different.” The Ghettoed Innovation – “What? That? Oh, that’s Neil’s thing.” • Premature resolution – “What it is, right…”
  9. 9. Stalled • Previously granted authority is withdrawn or becomes ambiguous or illusory • We are trying to implement change at wrong level – individual, team or organisation • Sabotage – intentional and unintentional • Obfuscation inc Recurrent objections • Failure to acknowledge interests and loss
  10. 10. Condemning criticism
  11. 11. Condemning criticism
  12. 12. We condone mediocrity and make excuses for each other’s noncompliance
  13. 13. While a majority of firms will vote to proclaim standards, they will usually not vote to enforce them David Maister, Strategy and the Fat Smoker
  14. 14. Case study?
  15. 15. d i s t r e s s time Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  16. 16. d i s t r e s s X time Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  17. 17. d i s t r e s s X time Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  18. 18. d i s t r e s s X Alleviate distress • Refer to authority • Quick fix – technical solution • Work avoidance including • scapegoating • minimising challenge • flight to health • proxy conflicts time Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  19. 19. d i s t r e s s X Maintain productive levels of distress time Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  20. 20. d i s t r e s s X time Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  21. 21. d i s t r e s s X time Adapted from Ronald Heifetz’ The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
  22. 22. Change to survive Change to thrive Technical Adaptive Preserve status quo Ongoing disruption Responsibility is deferred to others through granting of authority Change as little as possible Responsibility is handed back to the constituents themselves “Move fast and break things” -Mark Zuckerberg Rinse. Repeat.
  23. 23. Change competencies? Make difficult questions the habit -to ask and to be asked! • • • • Stretches tolerance for distress Leads us into conflicted spaces Disrupts aversion tactics Redistributes responsibility back to constituents
  24. 24. Change competencies? • Encourage dissenting voices – “The canaries in the coalmine” (Ronald Heifetz) • Put the freaks up front – learn to love your mavericks • Shift from individualistic to systemic thinking • Reflective practice
  25. 25. 3 ideas • Embrace `Not knowing’ as a fertile playground • Deliberately search out complexity and resistance • Develop iterative change processes OBSERVE EXPERIMENT INTERPRET
  26. 26. www.theleagueofnotknowing.com
  27. 27. Neil doesn’t pretend to have all the answers (or any of them necessarily) He challenges me to be more creative and take greater risks with my own vulnerabilities t: 07815 727693 e: neildenny@allLD.co.uk Twitter @neildenny www.allLD.co.uk
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