Grow Through Change


Guiding Change – Grow Through Change

Guiding Change,  the Commission on the Future of Management and Leadership have in conjunction with the CMI, published a report in July 2014. The research and report were led by an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management (APPGM) and the output is a report titled, ‘Management 2020: Leadership to Unlock long-term growth‘. If you would like to read more of the discussion, search using this twitter hash tag #Management2020.

Why have I chosen to insert this information in a Guiding Change article? Quite simply, the report’s high-level recommendations (with minor amendments) apply equally well to ANY organisational change initiative. Three key points from the above report

Purpose: What social benefit does an organisation exist to achieve and how are its leaders held accountable for these aims?

People: How does the organisation prepare managers and leaders at all levels?

Potential: How does the organisation support the next generation of managers and leaders? If we now wrap your particular change context around these three questions, you will see what I mean about applying equally to organisational change initiatives.

Grow Through Change Framework

Grow Through Change Framework

On Leadership

Now we all know you are unlikely to get a successful change initiative if it is not led well at all levels.  A model of Leadership that I use is called the Primary Colours® of Leadership. There are three principles domains: The Strategic, Operational and Interpersonal.   Primary Colours of Leadership (Primary Colours Model is copyright of Edgecumbe Consulting Group Ltd) Historical best practice ensures the organisation is clear about its Strategy, identifies the Operational needs, and then works with the People to resource accordingly.  Well after much study, research and reflection a shift is starting to occur resulting in enhanced organisational effectiveness and efficiency.

Past view: Step1. Strategy   Step2. Operational   Step3. Interpersonal

New view: Step1. Strategy  Step2. Interpersonal  Step3. Operational

Bottom line, when you know where you want to go to (Strategic Domain), you need to focus on aligning your People (Interpersonal Domain) to bring into action the required Operations (Operational Domain). The need to change focus and sequence, bringing People before Operations was also a finding of our own research a few years ago. We were exploring ‘Resistance to Change, from a Leaders Perspective’. The outcome of this research identified Operational, Interpersonal and Strategic/Purpose considerations. We reflect this in our Grow Through Change framework shown below.

Grow Through Change Framework

Grow Through Change Framework

We found that the majority of Symptoms of ‘Resistance to Change’ are occurring in the lower half of the framework. Personal Dynamic, Intra/Inter Group Dynamics, Culture and Motivation. So using the terminology from before, it is all about the People. Now you would think that might be obvious to all by now, or you may be thinking, this ‘soft’ stuff is unnecessary. Just get people to do what you ask. OK, well let’s look at some basics. For the past 60 years our ability to significantly enhance the success rate of major change programmes has not improved materially. If you don’t believe me, go to the Association for Project Managers (apm) website and see for yourself. So how to Guide Change? Bring the Human Element higher up the priority of your change planning and execution initiatives. It is obvious you need to know where you are going, so direction and purpose come first. However, test yourself, how robust is the Purpose of the change initiative. If you LIFE depended on it, you would really communicate well, so have you? So you think this is enough to Guide Change, well I am sorry to say, no it is not as there are two other very important factors that impact how we perceive and respond to change itself.

What else can there be?

Well it transpires that different people perceive ‘Resistance to Change’ differently! There seems to be a link between the mode of management you predominantly operate within.   Modes of Management Here are some typical responses to resistance to change symptoms by each management mode. Contributor: ‘Well, we know all people are just resistant’ Achiever: ‘Well, as long as we have enough ‘change agents’ we will be OK’ Collaborator: ‘Well, we have missed something clearly, I wonder what it is?’ For those with a more specific interest in this space, this can be explored via many adult development and conceptual frameworks. Make contact with me if you have an interest in this area And if that wasn’t enough to consider, there is yet another factor that seems to catch many organisations out when embarking on a major change initiative. They do not take into account the stage in the Life cycle they are in. This might be Industrial Life-cycle, Organisational Life-cycle or Product Life-cycle. The illustration below is inspired by the work of David Hurst. He explores the different objectives organisation may have depending on where they are in their life-cycle and the different type of dominant thinking needed by the management team to be most effective. Life cycles of Industries Organisations and Products So to sum up, change initiatives will significantly benefit when: 1: The Purpose of the Change is CLEARLY understood and communicated with those directly and indirectly impacted by it (the stakeholders). 2: Ensure there is a People focus to bring people on-board, fully motivated. 3: Understand how to work and support those that might be materially impacted by the change. 4: Appreciate that Individuals and Groups may respond to the change differently. It is not just about the individual, it is also about groups and teams. 5: Be aware there are at least three modes of management, these will impact how, individuals perceive Resistance to Change symptoms and much more besides… 6: Finally, understand the influences and dynamics associated with the three phases within the Life cycle model shared.

What other tools/techniques do we use?

• Psychometrics (many exploring Interpersonal Relationships and Behaviours), Team/Group and Organisational assessments. • Innovation Audit: Organisational and Team/Group Edition.   Innovation Audit: Team and Workgroup Edition One outcome of the research into Resistance to Change is a number of profiling frameworks and the one shown above explores Change Teams and Workgroups. Behaviours are explored as each participant considers the very team or work group they are part of. We are not measuring People; People are measuring their context, which is different to the typical approach. Learn more here

Rod Willis
Through development interventions, innovation, facilitation and change we explore models of adult development as senior leaders and senior managers mature, realigning Senior Teams through the lenses of Contributors, Achievers and Collaborators.
Rod Willis


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