Organizational change tensions

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A study of the pradoxes that face change leaders and ways to resolve the tensions inherent in those paradoxes

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Organizational change tensions

  1. 1. Organizational Change Tensions How Creativity Can Emerge from Conflict
  2. 2. Productive Paradoxes in Leading Change • • • • • • • • • • • • Visible vs Invisible Planned vs Emergent Efficiency vs Effectiveness Episodic change vs Continuous changing Stability vs Turbulence Incremental vs Revolutionary Partial vs Holistic Consulting vs Commanding Changing Processes vs Changing People Pain vs Progress Requirement for Change vs Readiness to Change Certainty vs Uncertainty
  3. 3. PARADOX • When two properties that are in tension are both : – A large shrimp – A loose knot – An anticipated coincidence YES NO YES MAYBE • A paradox is an opportunity to imagine how two “apparently” contradictory ideas can be “united” in ways that provide both unusual insights and creative initiatives. • The Chinese symbol for crisis is made up of two words. They are pronounced “wei ji” wei means “danger or peril” and ji means "opportunity or crucial point.“ So “wei + ji” equals danger + opportunity. NO
  4. 4. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Visible vs Invisible • Organizational change often involves employing visible resources and actions to alter invisible attributes (motivation, desire for excellence, innovative ideas). • Often that which is visible receives greater attention than it deserves while that which is invisible receives less attention than it deserves. • Sometimes invisible results may be more profound than visible results. • Organization change models seek to make the invisible, visible by hypothesizing how the invisible may work. More Important Less Important Process Output Visible Invisible Input
  5. 5. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Planned vs Emergent • Organizational change ALWAYS involves two stages: the anticipated outcomes + planned interventions AND the unanticipated outcomes + the unplanned interventions. • Effective change requires both the power of intellect in planning change initiatives and the power of intuition in responding to change responses. • “First stage” emergent outcomes may be negative – a key decision is whether to continue or to change our course of action – success can sometimes initially look like failure.
  6. 6. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Efficiency vs Effectiveness • Organizational change wrestles with the need to both achieve goals AND to do so with the appropriate economy – almost always there are some degrees of tradeoff. • Change management needs to take a “long” view – the most efficient way to accomplish something in the short run may create results that make achieving effectiveness in the long run more difficult. • Because “efficiency” involves many internally controllable factors, while effectiveness involves many externally uncontrollable factors, organizations sometimes focus on efficiency at the expense of effectiveness . Effective Ineffective Efficient Celebrate Investigate Inefficient Investigate
  7. 7. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Episodic vs Continuous • Organizational change involves both focused targeted change and change that helps increase an organization’s capacity to continuously adapt. • Organizations are always changing – the issue is will those changes be purposeful or accidental and desired or undesired. Desirable outcomes Undesirable outcomes Purposeful change Celebrate Recalibrate Accidental change Investigate
  8. 8. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Stability vs Turbulence • Organizations and the people in them essentially seek the security of stability – through enforced rules and established procedures organizations seek to provide the predictability that both internal and external stakeholders want. • For both people and their organizations to thrive, they must be open to the very turbulence that is both unpleasant and resisted. • Balancing the desire for stability and the need for change that causes turbulence requires leadership that is both sensitive and insistent.
  9. 9. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Incremental vs Revolutionary • Organizational change involves both small, serial Advantages changes and large impact Disadvantages changes – there are advantages and disadvantages with both evolutionary and revolutionary changes. • The timing and force factors are key variables change leaders must carefully recognize and diagnose. Evolutionary change Revolutionary change
  10. 10. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Partial vs Holistic • Change managers should carefully consider the breadth and depth of their planned organizational changes. Both partial changes of targeted processes AND whole changes of entire systems have their advantages and disadvantages. • There are some organizational conditions when partial changes are the only reasonable course of action due to various individual, interpersonal and institutional barriers. Even so, partial changes should be conducted with the longer run goal of changing the entire system if needed. Partial change Advantages Disadvantages Holistic change
  11. 11. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Consulting vs Commanding • • • Change managers in many organizations must play both the role of working WITH (consulting) and working OVER (commanding). Time and circumstances may call for different roles at different stages in the change process. Commanding does not have to me “shoving people around.” Commanding means to clarify objectives, to make decisions, to allocate resources. Consulting means to invite people to think through the changes that need to be made and how they may be made in the best way. Consulting takes time and energy but may well increase commitment and communication.
  12. 12. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Changing processes vs Changing people • Process changes and people changes are always interrelated. Changes in the WAY we do things always impacts WHO does those things. And, of course, those changes are not necessarily all positive. Even apparently necessary process changes may be hindered by misperceptions and miscommunication. • It is easier to change processes than to change people – the former deals with the logic of how something is done, while the latter impacts emotions and relationships. • The way we change processes (command vs consulting, timing, resource provision) will impact the receptiveness of people to the change.
  13. 13. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Pain vs Progress • The initial steps of any change may be very painful – Individuals may be pressured and uncertain – Relationships may be strained or broken – Institutional momentum and inertia may result in conflict and mistrust • Effective change managers deal with the inevitable pain of progress by admitting the reality of the pain while pointing to the eventual benefits of the progress. • Change managers cause pain in order to bring about progress. The absence of pain is not inherently beneficial nor is the presence of pain inherently harmful.
  14. 14. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Requirement for change vs Readiness for change • Change managers must often encourage organizational members to change before they are ready to change – that is the need for change may not coincide with the desire to change or the perceived necessity to make that change. • Change leadership involves creating a sense of urgency – a felt need to change. • It may take some time to create within an organization both the capability to change and the commitment to that change.
  15. 15. Productive Paradoxes in Change: Certainty vs Uncertainty • Certainty and uncertainty arise from multiple sources – – – – – Availability of information Familiarity with the issues Previous success and failure The unknowable and the unpredictable (black swans) • All change efforts involve degrees of certainty and uncertainty - effective change leaders seek to avoid the arrogance of being overly certain and the paralysis of being overly uncertain.

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