Stability versus Chaos By David StephensonThe differentiating change mgt competence for competitive companies is… Harnessing an organisation of people who thrive on the challenges of ambiguity, complexity and uncertainty, and who can successfully and rapidly implement strategic and operational changes (INSEAD study 2004)OD practitioners can use this table to diagnose where your organisation currently is. Tick each row, (left or right hand) showing whether your organisation is predominantly left-hand or right-hand column. There a re a set of questions at the end to help prompt dialogue once complete. Features, paradigms, conditions, characteristics and typical behaviours LEFT HAND COLUMN RIGHT HAND COLUMN …traditional command & control system …complex adaptive environmentsFeatures Command Self organised Controlled Unpredictable Stable Fluid Pre-determined Emergent Closed Open Cause/effect is simple, clear, linear Cause/effect non-linear, unexpected unintended outcomes, chain effect Discrete, event driven Whole system, continuous Top down Bottom up Tight Loose Ensure everyone salutes the flag Welcome & encourage diversity of views Keep people in silos Build connectivity Focus on standardisation Focus on customisation & variation Make it clear who is in charge Give everyone leadership opportunities Tell people exactly what to do e.g. SOPs Give people the boundaries only (tell them what not to do) Keep busy Wait expectantly Blame people for failures Learn from events Manage communication programmes Have corridor conversations Resistance is managed, conflict is suppressed Tension & discomfort are essential, normal & a source of energy, creativity & innovation Closed systems Open systemsLeadership style Directive CollaborativeDecision making Hierarchically determined Where problems and information resideConflict mgt Eliminate or suppress Engage and use as informationManaging arena Within a supervisory unit Within and at the supervisory unit boundaryOrg boundaries Tight LooseGoals Clear, Immutable Unclear, ConflictingRoles Well defined, Constrictive Ill defined, ConflictingAuthority Clear, Centralised, Autocratic Unclear, Diffuse, ConflictingInformation Clear, Propaganda Unclear, Rumours, UnreliableHuman Energy Low, Channelled, Underutilised High or Low, Over utilisedAffect Positive expressed, Negative suppressed Negative expressed, Positive expressedTime horizon Long term, Multiple-years Short term, Months, days, hoursConflict Suppressed Eruptive
Industrial age Information ageCommunication Some people can communicate at some times about some things to some Anyone can communicate at anytime about anything to anywhere to ancapabilities places on a delayed basis in a sequential and/or restricted way using immediate, continuous, interactive and unrestricted way using mobile equipment stationary equipmentOrganisation and National & international orientation Global & transnational orientationmgt principles Vertical integration Value chains Own versus buy Virtual organisation & outsourcing Standardise Customise Specialise & segment Multi-functional & end-to-end Vertical hierarchy Horizontal networks & teams Command & control Commitment & collaboration Rules & regulations Values & visions Focus on hard extrinsic aspects Focus on soft intrinsic aspects Use historic data “lag time” Use real time dataKey to success Productive or technological capacity Market or customer orientation Analysis, certainty & stability Speed, flexibility & innovation Independence & autonomy Interdependence & partnershipHistorically • Permanence & stability are preferred to change • The world is constantly changingembedded • Change must have a cause • Change is natural and is a source of energy and innovation and renewalimplicit • Change is motion • Small causes can sometimes have disproportionately large effectsassumptions • Deliberate acts are necessary to create order out of disorder & chaos • Cause and effect are not always linkedabout change • Order is always preferred to disorder or chaos • Change can often be best effected bottom up, informally, spontaneously and • Change is a hierarchically driven process. The manager is there to virally engineer change and impose order • The term change management is a misnoma, as change can often not be • Stemming from machine metaphor, assumes the organisation can be controlled and therefore not managed. Change enablement is a preferred changed to an agreed end state by those in positions of authority term, looking to the condition for effective change • Change can be executed well if it is well planned and well controlled • Tends to focus on behaviours • Tends to focus on structure • Resistance is required as a natural sign that change is occurring and is also a • The system is characterized by an innate resistance to change which useful source of ideas and energy during change needs to be overcome • Success depends on extensive planning and design, precise assessment of the current situation, accurate anticipation of resistance to change and skill at overcoming this resistance Traditional Western & European Chinese Taoist & ConfucianWorld view The Universe is composed of separate, independent entities normally in The universe is composed of constantly changing, interdependent manifestations static or equilibrium states. Movement results when things act on each of one entity. The universe is. Change is both spontaneous and cyclical. other. The Universe had a beginning and will have an end. Progress or evolution is expected over timeAssumptions that Linear Cyclicalchange is… Progressive Processional Destination orientated Journey orientated Based on creating disequilibrium Based on maintaining equilibrium Planned and managed by people who are separate from and act on things Followed by people who are one with all and must act correctly to maintain to achieve their goals harmony in the universe Unusual, as everything is normally in a quasi-stationary or static state Usual, because everything is normally in a continually changing dynamic stateResulting change Focus on the future Attend to the past-present-futureorientation Assume satisfied people hold on Wise people let go and realign Overcome resistance Maintain balance and harmony Think in terms of either/or Think in terms of both/and Plan and manage change Cultivate system self-renewal Think analytically Think holistically Use reason and logic Use artistry and composition Measure progress Be values centred
There are already many traditional linear (left-hand column) change management approaches already in existence, which should be familiar to managers. This is not typically where thechallenge lies for most organisations. I believe the 3 main struggles most organisations face are: 1. Understanding the basis and pattern of their own dominant model, their own root causes, facing up to it, being honest about it etc. 2. Matching the appropriate model(s) to their own needs, especially for the future, typically needing to be more in the right-hand than they currently are. 3. Understanding duality, moving from “either or” towards “both and” how to become more agile and flexible by adopting aspects of both columns in different circumstances.Recommended approaches for organisations facing uncertain, complex (right-hand) environments: • Create simpler limited organisational structures and principles such that there is both enough fluidity as well as form to enable rapid, organised action • Create resource flexibility in both availability and application • Ensure organisational learning to quickly develop and deploy new competencies • Have top mgt mindsets that fully embrace the concepts of continuous change and flexible organisational forms • Adopt emergent inquiry - Trial & error – adopt a range of actions & see what works, encourage small scale experimentation • Measure outcomes not inputs • Learn from experience (don’t punish mistakes) appreciative inquiry, strength based positive approaches • Distribute responsibility for innovation & improvement widely • Focus policy making on processes of improvement not control of the people or teams involved • Share information more widely & freely • Watchful anticipation e.g. turn the tiller then watch what happens carefully…trust managers/leaders & leave them to experiment & manage rather than prescribe exactly how they should do change • Create well-bounded ‘space’ in which emergence can occur e.g. better to have boundaries of authority… and NOT SOPs or lists of what & how mgrs should act • More cultural emotional intellectual diversity rather than recruiting “died in the wool” operators • Remove inhibitors e.g. organisational bureaucracy • Increase connectivity especially across boundaries • Adapt existing systems, building on what works organically, rather than necessarily “redesigning from scratch” • Create effective feedback loops, real time data • Evolutionary & adaptive change, not managing by detailed blue-print & the “master plan” • Engage with stakeholders based upon listening & co-creating rather than on telling & instructing • Help foster an organisation that is capable of continuous whole system change • Focus on creating and maintaining capability rather than arriving at some preferred or planned end state • Have a plan B & C • Double-bet on innovations e.g. on emerging technologies • Partner to share knowledge & capability & presence & brand association • Catch the wave of change and ride it, timing is everything • Ask Executives “how much difference can you take?” • As much focus on the How and the journey as on the End state • More directional and movement rather than v specific milestones all planned and linked by predicted cause and effect • Better to have value driven direction, strong emotion about future to create pull & momentum as opposed to expecting the world to actually be like the predicted end state when the time comes • Solicit data from the operational or customer frontline • Engagement, energy and excitement from people is as important as selling the logic of the change • Collectively explore, surface, and test each other’s assumptions • Expand common ground and together seek possibilitiesBy David Stephenson 2009.(Created or adapted from various sources/authors including Insead change mgt research 2004; Ed Mayhew; Bob Marshak 2009; Mee-Yan Cheung Judge 2009)
Some key questions to consider: 1. Which is the dominant model in your organisation e.g. left-hand column or is it balanced? 2. How appropriate is this for your future needs e.g. external trends and drivers, competitive advantage, strategic capabilities etc? 3. If the dominant model needs to shift, how far should it shift and why? 4. What timescales are realistic? 5. How might you begin to develop these different capabilities within the organisation or within your leadership? 6. Is it appropriate for your organisation to have a dominant model or organisational approach or how can it utilise aspects of both columns within the same organisation? 7. How versatile are your leaders? 8. How well do you understand these factors? 9. Which, if any, of these factors should you explore further? 10. Is it different in different parts of the business and if so how different and why? 11. Are there some parts of the business that need to change more than others?