Jul 29 2021
In the past, organisations might have stated the conditions they are working within as external to themselves; indeed, pointed to them as reasons they might have missed targets or failed to deliver on ambitions. We would have heard, “the problem is there just aren’t talented people from x community who can play at the expert level we need” or “what you don’t understand is how hard it is to get people from x community to apply”. We might have heard, “they (someone, those other people, that other organisation) should invest more (support more, intervene earlier, do something) so that the issue is addressed, or the barriers are removed”. You might have heard yourself in those words.
Today we are more likely to hear a systemic conversation with an awareness of the causal relationships, the involvement, the complicity even. We are more likely to see organisations choosing to frame one of their strategic goals around systemic change. From: why doesn’t someone do something? To: what could we do that would make a positive difference?
Read more from Richard Watts in this Arts Professional article here.
Jul 12 2019
Change management is traditionally seen as a set of tools and approaches for dealing with resistance and overseeing the implementation of new processes or structures. But creating change is much more proactive, dynamic and generative. We see the development of an appetite for change and innovation within an organisation as a creative act – one that enables everyone to bring changes to life. We call this building of the conditions and environment that make change inevitable change leadership, or change creation.
At the heart of our thinking is the ’eight elements of change’ model. This highlights the crucial areas that every leader needs to focus on in order to ensure that changes are delivered, and don’t drift into a cul-de-sac of never-implemented initiatives. The eight elements combine to create clarity, consensus, appetite, ownership, confidence, practicality and momentum. Following the steps enables change to be embedded and benefits to be realised.
Creating change is often like tending a garden – it takes time and care. But there are practical principles we’ve embedded in everything we do to enable change to flourish.
Clarity is a crucial, early priority that takes time and attention. Once we are crystal clear about where we are going, how to get there starts to emerge by itself.
Building an appetite for change really is a fundamental step. Once everyone is change hungry across the organisation, half the work is done.
Change is done by people, not to people. Building involvement early on develops ownership, momentum and quality.
Feb 16 2018
When we start thinking about creating change, the conversation is invariably about how people need to change the way they work, think and behave… and most times the conversation assumes that we’re going to help to change them…
But when we think about change management, we think about creating an opportunity for everyone to explore, decide and develop how they need to change themselves… rather than hear how someone else thinks they ought to change.
All the changes we imagine happening in an organisation (save the ones that we personally deliver) are already owned by someone and their understanding, appetite and engagement is what we need in order for them to go about changing.
So we see change management as a social process, of enabling people to see the changes that they can make… which cumulatively will add up to an organisational change… rather than a project process where people are told what they need to do and forced to do it…
No one can make us learn a new skill, build a new strength or feel a different way, and while leaders can inspire people to want to change, the change is still the individuals to deliver and realise. Involvement is at the heart of the way we create change, so that change is done by people, not to them.
Jan 16 2018
We don’t resist change, we resist BEING changed.
I’m pretty sure that being contrary is a very strong human driver… perhaps third in line after survival and procreation is the urge to disagree. We are built to be skeptical, to question and to look for alternative explanations.
When we are creating change in an organisation it is so easy to accidentally trigger this contrary response within our colleagues, and to characterise that resistance as destructive, obstructive and personally targeted. It’s normally positively motivated, insightful and likely to have some core truths in it that might save our change… and ensure it works.
We put involvement at the heart of our organisation development work for this reason. People have to own the changes that are needed in their organisation and they normally have the greatest insight about what those changes are – once we remember to ask them and get them involved.
When I hear clients talk about the fact that people in their organisation don’t like change, I often think about how much novelty, innovation and change those same people are making throughout their lives outside of work… and once we’re looking at them from that perspective, we can start to identify and dismantle the barriers to change that we have created within the workplace.
Jun 10 2017
It’s not the trees waving that causes the wind to blow… and it’s really important to know the difference… what has a causal effect on which…
I often notice that people focus on behaviour when they might spend more time thinking about conditions, culture and support. When staff in a theatre aren’t always that welcoming to patrons, could it really be that they don’t know how to smile? Perhaps it’s more likely that they are frustrated and uncomfortable about some things that are happening in their environment that are more present to them that the ticket buyer in front of them.
It’s important to know what is a result of our actions and what is a cause of them… and as leaders whether we are a tree that is being blown out of shape, or the wind that is creating the deformity.