All posts tagged: Change

Three Pillars of Sustainable Change: Empathy, Trust and Patience

Change and change management was yesterday. Today we are doing transformations. A digital transformation for business models, because data is the new oil. An agile transformation for the organization and its processes, because flexibility and speed are essential in times of great uncertainty. Unfortunately often only the name has changed and where it is labelled with transformation it actually contains very traditional – and very tayloristic – change management. That’s why panaceas and blueprints are on the rise: simply introduce LeSS or SAFe or copy Spotify and call this your agile transformation. However, this completely ignores the nature of a transformation as a natural development process of a complex system in favor of a pattern that has so far only worked reasonably well, but is at least well-known and appears well manageable: simply transforming the organization and the people in it like a complicated machine. Accompanied, of course, by all kinds of “change theatre”, because somehow you have to win the people. A successful transformation that deserves this name, however, is based on visions instead …

Change Never Comes for Free

How do people cope with change? Family therapist Virginia Satir has provided an interesting model that can also be applied to organizational changes. A stable status quo is challenged by a foreign element. After initial resistance to the foreign element, the confrontation with it initially leads to uncertainty and chaos and thus to a loss in productivity. Depending on the strength of this impulse, this phase lasts for a longer or shorter period of time until the chances of change are finally understood and utilized. Gradually, the group will return to its original productivity and hopefully grow even further. In essence, however, this model means that change can never come for free. As trivial as this sounds, organizations rarely admit this in both large and small changes. And then fail due to false expectations and their impatience.

Network and Hierarchy: The Dual Operating System of Sustainable Organizations

As a manager today, it is necessary to have more abilities than just to climb the career ladder as far as possible. The hierarchy is without question an appropriate form of organization to efficiently manage today’s and well-known business. However, when it comes to respond adequately to the ever-increasing pressure of change in an ever-shorter period of time, the hierarchy and classic change programs reach their limits. John P. Kotter therefore argues that change should be understood as the new normal and he therefore suggests the network as a second operating system for organizations. This network is cross-hierarchical and organized as loosely coupled initiatives of intrinsically motivated volunteers. Building it up, maintaining it and making contributions to it is a very important task of leadership in order to create sustainable organizations in times of change. That is precisely why the fourth thesis in the Manifesto for Human Leadership is called “Contributions to networks over position in hierarchies”.