Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Potential Challenges at Ingredient 1

{product-noshow 20|name|cart|picture|link|border|menuid:206|pricedis3|pricetax1}

(Ingredient 1 ‐ when laying a foundation of new ways)

(NB Challenges are not necessarily in order of importance and includes some suggestions on how to handle the challenges)

. Not appreciating the power of an organisation's culture that is associated with a "taken-for-granted"mindsets including beliefs, values, assumptions, etc being shared by staff and thus mutually reinforced. There is a need to bring the implicit mindsets to the surface and understand the learning process by which the mindset developed. Remember: the potency of the mindsets often revolves around fundamental aspects of life, such as the nature of time and space, human nature and human activity, the nature of truth and how one discovers it, the correct way for the individual and a group to relate to each other, the relative importance of work, family, and self-development, the proper role of men and women and the nature of the family, etc

. Not understanding the organisation's "complete"culture. To understand an organisation's culture, attend one of their meetings and observe what happen, ie

"...- who speaks and who doesn't?

- who is listened to and who is not?

- which issues are discussed directly and which issues are ignored or addressed by innuendo?..."

Peter Senge et al, 2005

The answers to these questions will provide powerful clues as to how an organisation actually functions.


"...we can always learn much more about organisational culture through careful observation and effective participation than from reading vision and value statements..."

Peter Senge et al, 2005

. Not understanding the 5 main functions of culture (Marcella Bremer, 2012), ie

i) it provides collective security or reduces collective insecurity, ie "it's the way we do things around here and what we believe in"or "this is how things are"

ii) it determines social hierarchy, ie it gives people a position; it determines the leaders and is a stabilising factor

iii) it provides continuity, ie share common language, values, beliefs, behaviours and standards; we copy them and encourage others to adopt them. At the behavioural level it is passing on "the way we do things around here"

iv) it provides a shared identity and familiarity, ie provides a sense of belonging and being appreciated which is a very basic human need

v) it provides a vision for the future, ie know & understand where you are heading

. Be careful of using surveys and questionnaires to create a baseline for understanding an organisation, as they have limitations. According to Schein (2004), some of the limitations are

- these instruments select dimensions for measurement that are not necessarily important or relevant

- they measure superficial characteristics and omit the deeper, underlying assumptions that determine the essence of culture

- it is difficult to validate the data as culture is deep and complex

- the patterning of cultural assumptions into a paradigm cannot be revealed merely by a questionnaire

- individual respondents will not be able to answer survey questions reliably because cultural assumptions are tacit

- the questionnaire will have some unpredictable consequences on the organisation's culture

. Much of organisational theory and practice assumes that a certain level of predictability and order exists in the world. This approach encourages simplification that is useful in all ordered circumstances. However, with the world becoming more unpredictable and complex, circumstances change, and simplifications are not adequate to handle the ensuing disorder. There is a need to redefine the frameworks about the nature of the relationship between cause and effect. Four of these - simple, complicated, complex and chaotic - require situations to be analysed and then responded in conventionally appropriate ways. The fifth - disorder - applies when it is unclear which of the other 4 contexts is predominant (more detail see common management errors)

Each context requires different actions. Simple and complicated contexts exist in an orderly universe, where cause-and-effect relationships are perceptible and right answers can be determined based on the facts. Complex and chaotic contexts are unordered - there is no immediate apparent relationship between cause and effect, and the way forward is determined by identifying emerging patterns. The ordered world revolves around fact-based management; the unordered world requires adaptive leadership.

. Making the assumption that all staff members of the same organisation have a common knowledge core, a common purpose, common destiny, common expertise, common backgrounds, etc. It needs to be remembered that different stakeholders have different mindsets, agendas, etc and these need to be taken into account in any change process.

. Not creating an environment where it is safe to challenge the accepted organisational norms, traditions, etc. One way to encourage these types of challenges and to think differently so that "cover-ups"are discouraged is to start "mistake of the month"meetings in which people disclose what went wrong and what they have learned from it. For this to work, the senior manager needs to expose his/her own mistakes and fallibilities ‐ which gives implicit permission for others to do the same.

. Not realising that change is like planting seeds. You have to do the ground work, ie prepare the soil, if you expect the change/plant to take root. Unfortunately, many organisations do not do the spadework. They try to get the buy-in on a new process or system after they have introduced it

. Too much focus on analytical approaches as defined by

"...the excessive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis, explanatory and predictive models and fact-based management to drive decisions..."

Thomas H Davenport et al, 2007

Most business strategies are based on models that assume rational economic behaviour. This is a false assumption. The impact of the unconscious on behaviour, thoughts and outcomes is not recognised as important. This is often referred to as the "inner theatre" - the programming we bring with us from our genetic inheritance and early childhood experience. This inner theatre acts as a standard by which we see reality and governs our behaviour and thoughts.

(source: Karl Sigmund, 2002)

. People are more than Homo economicus (a rational individual relentlessly bent on maximising purely selfish rewards). People are a hybridof H. economicus and H. emoticus - a complicated hybrid species that can be ruled as much by emotion as by cold logic and selfishness. Sometimes the emotional area is referred to as

"...emotional economy and economies of soul..."

Leon Gettler, 2001

This unrecognised irrationality is linked with the human inclination to make irrational decisions based on issues like loss aversion, status quo bias, hyperbolic discounting, etc. This can contravene traditional economic principles, as money doesn't buy happiness and people are often concerned about the welfare of others. They don't always act purely as rational, selfish people.


"... people are mainly greedy but live within a social norm where this is considered undesirable and hence they pretend to be something they are not. This insight is incredibly powerful for understanding everyday life..."

Paul Frijters as quoted by Deirdre Macken, 2010b

Many decisions can be triggered by emotions first and rationalised later. Yet most economic models assume that all humans are rational and always try to maximise gains from actions.

A good way to explain this is to compare the different economic approaches, ie traditional/classical vs. behaviourial (Deirdre Macken, 2010b). For example, in buying Christmas gifts, the classical approach sees buying gifts as inefficient owing to the time it would take and your incomplete knowledge of what the persons want. Hence you might buy something that is not wanted. Thus the traditional approach would be to give money for Christmas and let the receivers buy their own gifts. On the other hand, the behaviourist would see the actual gift is that of time; with the gifts merely signifying the time you have spent thinking about your friends and buying something for them.

. Furthermore,

"...analysis alone is not sufficient for solving many problems in a fast-changing environment, as the rational mind is not sophisticated enough to deal with complexity under pressure. Instead.....we should be practising techniques that allow us to tap into our subconscious, ingenuity in mind - a far richer resource that could hold the key to more effective decision-making..."

James Hall, 2004c

"...the more you learn about how to do things the way other people know how to do them, the more you limit yourself to thinking about things the way other people have always thought about that..."

Ian Hickie as quoted by James Hall, 2004

Recent research suggests that rational thought occurs in a shallow outer cortex of the brain while creativity, memory, innovation and intuition reside in a deeper part of the brain's structure which is more active during subconscious thought. It is claimed that the subconscious, ingenuous mind contains the "data-mining capacity of several supercomputers". Furthermore,

" is too complex to be engaged by rational thought. When we do engage it, it tends to be accidental and often when we are in a state of relaxation. That's why "eureka moments"so often occur when we least expect them, such as when we're in a shower..."

James Hall, 2004c

In senior management positions the traditional, rational analysis needs to be supplemented with intuition, judgment, creativity, innovation and experience so that the right decision is made in unfamiliar situations. Furthermore, the pace of change is so fast, that analysis of obsolete data is not suitable, ie executives have

" choice but to build their intuition up rather than study statistical data that is irrelevant by the time the analysis is completed..."

Gary Klein as quoted by James Hall, 2004c

An example of this is market research which involves understanding the intuitive and often irrational decisions made by consumers

On the other hand, there are claims that the science behind intuition is inexact as it supports information that supports assumptions, dismisses information contrary to beliefs and sees patterns where there are none.


"...A quarter of a century ago, most psychologists believed that human behaviour was primarily guided by conscious thought and feelings. Nowadays the majority will readily agree that much of human judgement and behaviour is produced with little conscious thought..."

Mahzarin Banaji et al, 2013

. More thoughts on our thinking

- rational conveys an image of greater deliberation, more calculation & less warmth; with a person's beliefs and preferences being reasonable

- yet non-psychologists, especially economists, look at rationality as being internally consistent rather than reasonable

- humans are not irrational but need help to make more accurate judgements and better decisions

- people act in ways that seem odd, ie not in their long-term interest, but they could have a good reason to do so, ie people choosing not to save for old age or exposing themselves to addictive substances

- to be rational requires more effort

. Not understanding the way most people learn. Based on a Chinese proverb, ie

"...Tell me, I'll forget; show me, I'll remember; involve me, I'll understand..."

i) Tell me, I'll forget..... hearing and listening are not one of the stronger senses in brain and nervous systems.

ii) Show me, I'll remember...seeing is one of the strongest senses in the central nervous system. [brain].

iii) Involve me, I'll understand...this would include all of the senses, hearing, seeing, feeling, touching, smelling, taste and etc....also involvement means in most cases experiential learning. Which indeed translates to: Involve me, I'll understand.

. Not understanding cognitive bias in decision-making. The entire way the brain processes information is through a series of approximations, ie cognitive biases. Thus it is critical that we understand our biases, ie the way we distort & interpret the signals we receive. We need to focus more on imperfections in judgment (cognitive bias) rather than errors in measurement. We all have cognitive biases such as

- Confirmation bias (focus on evidence that supports our point of view, beliefs, etc)

- Anchoring (too much weight on 1 piece of information)

- Heuristic effect (for a preferred option, we minimise risks while exaggerating its benefits; do opposite for something we dislike; this applies especially when under pressure)

- Motivated errors (involves intentional deception, self-deception, ie decisions are biased in direction of self-interest)

- Salient analogies or survivorship (do not properly assess mistakes & focus on repeating past successes &/or most recent experiences)

- Hindsight or intuition (too much confidence on in past experience; habit; rewriting the past ; routine thinking; gut feeling)

- Halo effect (over-simplify a story plus link results to personalities; sequence matters, ie first impression dominates; good/bad people do good/bad things)

- Stereo-typing (a typical personality description for a group of people, ie classifying them all as the same)

- Automation (too much faith in accuracy of output from machines & computers)

(Fiona Carruthers2011; Gokce Sargut et al, 2011)

. Not taking into account individual's cognitive biases, ie mental filters that are self-serving (Michael Watkins et al, 2003). There is a tendency to see the world as we'd like it to be rather than as it truly is. The human mind is a notoriously imperfect instrument. For example, we ignore or underestimate approaching problems, such as

- harbouring illusions that things are better than they really are. It is assumed that potential problems will not actually occur and/or the consequences will not be severe enough to merit preventive measures, ie we'll get by. A good example is how the attitude to climate change has changed very quickly.

- giving a greater weight to evidence that supports our pre-conceptions and discount evidence that calls those pre-conceptions into question

- paying little heed to what other people are doing. This means overlooking vulnerabilities to predictable surprises resulting from others' decisions and actions

- prefer to be creatures of the present, ie maintain status quo while downplaying the importance of the future. This undermines motivation and courage to act now to prevent some distant disaster, ie avoid a little pain today then incurring a lot of pain tomorrow

- not feeling compelled to prevent a problem that is not personally experienced or is not perceived to be real. In other words, acting only after experience of significant harm to ourselves or those close to us. Furthermore, self-serving bias can be particularly destructive when there are conflicts of interest.

. Managers not being mindful of their unconscious biases (source: Mahzarin Banaji et al, 2003). They need to keep in mind that their intuition is prone to

- implicit prejudice which will strongly favour dominant and well-liked groups

- in-group favoritism which will favour people in their own group

- over-claiming credit (over-rating individual contribution) which will favour your own efforts

- conflict of interest which will favour people whose interests affect your own

There is a need to expose managers to the unconscious mechanisms that underlie biased decision-making. Furthermore, managers need to expose themselves to images and social environments that challenge stereotypes

. We need to understand our prejudices (re gender, race, skin-colour, size, ethnicity, religion, age, weight, family, etc) can work against change. Our prejudices result in stereotyping. To test your prejudices, go to and click on demonstration. The best indicator of the test's validity is likely to be its predictions of behaviour, eg a white preference could mean sub-optimal treatment of non-whites in workplace, etc. Most people are not keen to express their biases openly. It is claimed by

"...Most of today's racial discrimination stems not from attempts to harm anyone from selective helping. We're each part of several groups, defined by race, gender, religion, family, alma-mater and so on, and when we go out of our way to help a group member, we don't see that as a bad thing. We're being "good"people. But such selective privileging reinforces the status quo..."

MahzarinBanaji et al, 2013

. Need to understand the difference between explicit and implicit learning. Explicit learning involves being informed beforehand, ie you are first taught how to do it and then deliberately practise it; while implicit means learning as you perform. Generally, implicit learning takes over from explicit once it is practised enough: you are performing without thinking. The basal ganglia is where implicit learning partially resides. When under stress, the explicit learning tends to dominate. This can lead to panicking when stress wipes out our short-term memory, ie thinking too little. On the other hand, choking occurs when thinking too much about something and involves loss of instinct.

. Not realizing that 4 different thought processes can be involved in decision-making, ie formal rational choice, random, strategic reasoning and spontaneous emotional response. Remember: what is rational for one a person may not be for another, ie rationality is not common knowledge. This is claimed to be the source of conflict between logic and intuition.

. Lack of acknowledgment of emotional chaos that will occur as relationships, organisational structure will change, etc

. Did not demonstrate that the "old ways"are out, ie preoccupation with the past (a dangerous and often-recurring malady)

. Not realising that people are still hardwired for the Stone Age (see "Evolutionary Psychology"explained earlier in this volume), ie in each of our brains, there are residual behaviour patterns and responses influenced by activities of our ancestors. Some examples

- the social structure of hunter gatherers with stand alone family (3 to 7 people), village (3 to 5 families) and tribe (up to 25 families or around 150 people) is more productive than the modern large corporate structure (Fiona Smith, 2008). In the latter, people lose their sense of identity, community and loyalty when they are grouped together in large numbers; they sometimes report to a number of managers in a matrix structure. The tribal model is most suitable for organisations experiencing rapid growth.

- our ability to choose is restricted by our biology, ie we fret when presented with more than 7 options to choose from. We are happier with less choice (Deirdre Macken, 2010c).

. Furthermore, we are hardwired to be alert for things that might mean danger; in current times in the workplace this can as a threat to our job security, our career progression or our relationships with colleagues and managers. Because of this, we remember the tiny criticisms and forget the many compliments, ie

"...It is so ingrained into us to look at the negative, or where we need to improve..."

Gretchen Spreitzer as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2008c

One way to handle this is to concentrate on your strengths rather than weaknesses. On the other hand, you need to be careful that you don't take a strength too far, ie over-use it (Robert Kaplan et al, 2009), as this can be counterproductive and can impact negatively on performance and productivity. For example, you may be very assertive which in some situations can have a negative impact.

Check to see that you are not over-using a strength by asking colleagues, managers, direct reports, family, friends and others who know you well to describe the times they have seen you at your best. Furthermore, 3 questions may help clarify the situation, ie

- what should I do more?

- what should I do less?

- what should I continue doing?

Thus you need to manage strengths so that they do not become weaknesses!!!!!

For example, the Type A person who has high energy levels, is very intelligent, ambitious and competitive, can become obsessive, ie their consuming passion, such as work, takes over their life.

(source: Emma Connors, 2010a).

. Not enough listening - you have 2 ears and 1 mouth; so use them in that ratio!!!!!!

. Not enough reflection - reflectiveness is an important component of the learning cycle. In an action-oriented environment, it is much easier to follow somebody's idea. This can result in "group think". Furthermore, self-reflection does not come naturally. It is much easier to adopt an established belief than to create new ones. Most people instinctively follow a dominant trend in an organisation without critical evaluation of its merits. The herd instinct is strong!!!!

. Not identifying, recognising and appreciating gender differences, with the male and female brains being hardwired for different functions and priorities, ie males are basically hunters while females are carers. Furthermore, the usual communication mode of male and female is the most obvious difference. Some of the general differences include

- males have better spatial ability, ie geometry, map reading, etc while females have better visual memories

- males are more focussed than females on problem-solving

- males want to get on with "doing something"to solve the problem, while females are more inclined to "talk through the problem"

- males are less emotional than females

- females are more into relationship building, while males value accomplishments

- females are better finishers than males

- females are multi-tracked while males are mono-tracked

- females are more focused on detail than males

- females are more inclined to use indirect speech than males, etc

On the other hand, there is a need to realise that many of these "gender-based"differences are learnable behaviours that are not just specific to one gender.

. Not identifying, recognising and appreciating the generational differences. For example, one of my clients had a generational problem. To handle this, they used a formula, ELF (execute, leverage and future) as the basis for success of the organisation. The senior managers (baby boomers and mostly ex-military) had a short-term focus and, as a result, wanted immediate performance, ie an emphasis on the "E"of the formula. In contrast the generation Xers (young knowledge workers) had a stronger focus on the longer term (L & F), ie leverage of core competencies for the future and more interested in what the future will hold. Remember: these generational differences are additional to racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and religious differences that also need to be considered.

. Not realizing that gender, social class and profession are better predictors of behaviour than nationality or ethnic group, ie irrespective of cultural background, business people worldwide act similarly (want to maximize profitability).

. Not understanding the phenomena of confirmation bias (Michael Shermer, 2002a). Most of the time we do not logically and rationally evaluate situations. Instead we follow our beliefs for a variety of reasons which might have little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning. Rather, such variables as genetic pre-disposition, parental pre-dilection, sibling influence, peer pressure, educational experience and life impressions all shape the personality preferences and thus an individual's "modus operandi". These preferences and numerous social and cultural influences lead us to our beliefs. We then sort through the body of data and select those elements that most confirm what we already believe, and ignore or rationalise away those that do not.

. Not acknowledging that change is fundamentally about feelings and emotions, and then not developing ways to handle it. Remember: in the contest of people's hearts and minds, emotion easily defeats analysis

"...People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care..."

Annette Simmons, 2002

. Not realizing how contagious emotions are; similar to a virus spreading. For example, work by Christakis and Fowler (2008) found that if a subject's friend was happy, that subject was 15% more likely to be happy too; if the friend's friend was happy, the original subject was 10% more likely to be so. Even if the subject's friend's friend's friend - entirely unknown to the subject - was happy, the subject still got a 5.6% boost. The happiness chain also worked in the other direction, radiating from the subject out to the friends. The happiness dividend is more powerful if 2 people not only know each other but also are equally fond of each other. The happiness is more infectious in mutual relationships (in which both people name the other as a friend) than in unreciprocated ones (in which only one is named). Furthermore, they found that the relationship was more important than the environment.

. Not realising that it is the integration of the "head, heart and mind"that is critical

. Not getting people ready for the change process

. Strong patterns of loyalty in the old system are not addressed or acknowledged

. Career paths and reward systems do not reflect the "new"way

. Values, expectations, identities and roles (including competencies) are rooted in the old system

. Peer group pressure restricts the change process

. Employment of tactics that only change the situation but do not help people make the psychological reorientation that is vital in effecting the transition

. Under-estimating the importance of symbols. Five examples:

i) At the start of the Rugby World Cup final match in South Africa (1995), Nelson Mandela (the first black president of South Africa) walked on to the rugby ground wearing the South African rugby jumper. This was a pivotal moment in the reconciliation process between the white and black South Africans. During the apartheid era, rugby had epitomized the "white supremacy"attitudes in South Africa. By wearing the South African jumper, Mandela broke the stereotypical mould and laid the foundation for multi-racial sports. Furthermore, once word spread of Mandela's actions, many black South Africans started to support the "white"South African team in its successful quest to become world champions.

ii) When the "Allied"forces captured Baghdad, the television cameras showed some American soldiers placing their "stars and strips"flag over the head of a large statue of Saddam Hussein. This photo was immediately flashed around the world. To countries that were concerned about America's motives in invading Iraq, this gesture added to their concerns that America was capturing Iraq, not liberating it.

iii) Prior to the heavy-weight champion fight between George Foreman and Mohammed Ali in Congo (nicknamed the "rumble in the jungle"), George arrived with his pet Alsatian dog. When the Congo had been a colony of Belgium, the Belgians had used Alsatian dogs to control the locals. As a result, George immediately became the villain, or anti-hero, in the fight, and the locals tried to poison the dog!!!!!!!

iv) Another example involves a well-established transportation company that was over 100 years old and had developed many strong traditions. As it had a royal charter, the royal coat of arms was painted on the sides of trucks. The company had been losing money yet staff members were still feeling comfortable. A new CEO ordered the entire fleet to be painted white. There was much resistance to this by staff, and customers started to query drivers about the possibility of a new logo. This resulted in staff starting to think about what business they were in and helped revitalise the company's performance

v) consider the case of Intel that developed the first commercially available dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips in 1971. By the early 1980s, the Japanese DRAM makers had successfully attacked the U.S. market and caused prices to drop significantly. As a result, the DRAM business was not profitable for Intel, yet senior management continued to allocate most of the R&D money to the DRAM business. On the other hand, Intel's future lay with being a microprocessor. To demonstrate this change in focus

"...Gordon Moore and Andy Grove made their exit through the company's revolving lobby door as managers of the old company, and re-entered as managers of the new company..."

Clayton Christensen et al, 2003

. Staff may feel

- disorientation (loss of the familiar world)

- disconnectedness (feeling disconnected from the past; but not committed to the new world; they may not even comprehend what it might be like)

- disintegration (feeling that the world is falling apart, as people are leaving; the old has been thrown out, but the present has yet to become familiar)

. Too much selling of the solution to the problem, and not enough addressing or selling of the problem, ie most managers put 10% of their energies into selling the problem, and 90% into selling the solution to the problem. To get ownership by staff of the problem, and then of the solution, a manager needs to concentrate on selling the problem first, ie put staff in contact with disgruntled clients. Jan Carlzon (former CEO of SAS airlines) believes

"...the key is to let them discover the won't be successful if people aren't carrying the recognition of the problem and then the solution within themselves..."

HBR, 1998a

Some more advice for management

"...when you take on an issue, you become that issue in the eyes of many...People involved usually frame the conflict quite inaccurately, attribute the problem to personality or stylistic differences..."

rather than representing accurately

"...underlying value choices, either individual or organisational. Personality conflicts turned out frequently to mask a fundamental conflict in the division of responsibilities, the primacy of cultural values, or even in the vision of the agency......Whenever a senior authority in an organisation resolves a hot issue, that person's position becomes the story. Winners and losers are created simply by virtue of authority, and no learning takes place. And because the people with authority have taken sides, that authority may later be in jeopardy...... Solutions are achieved when "the people with the problem"go through a process together to become "the people with a solution". The issues have been internalized, owned, and ultimately resolved by the relevant parties to achieve progress..."

Ronald A. Heifetz et al, 2002

Getting people to acquire ownership of their issues and/or problems will help convince them about the need for change. Another way of achieving this is to focus on methods and results but not reasons, ie open book management. This occurs when all employees actively concern themselves with an organisation's objectives.

Furthermore, the process of acknowledging and recognizing a particular problem exists involves the staff needing to raise their consciousness. Only when the problem is recognized is there a possibility for change. Then the staff must become aware of the viable options to solve the problem and need some motivation to consider a new approach.

"...the more convinced the individual becomes about the seriousness of the problem and the chances that some course of action will be able to deal effectively with it, the more likely the individual will consider changing that behaviour. The decisive step is taken when one attempts the alternative behaviour the first time. However, unless there is continuing strong support, the new behaviour is not likely to be maintained..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

This process involves developing new stories, handling the entrenched counter-stories, the use of imaginative formats, and the possibility of tipping points, etc

. Too much concentration on the present and past, ie nostalgia, and not enough on the future. On the other hand, astute leaders need to build on the best of the past and not just destroy it. Staff need to be recognised and rewarded for their past achievements and be allowed enough time to grieve and recover from the changes, ie

"...Need to calibrate the push and pull of congratulations and pressure..."

for change while

"...depending on the staff's underlying value system and sense of mission..."

Paul Levy as quoted by David Garvin et al, 2005

. Need to realise that what has happened is the "living past". Remember:

"...the problem is that revolutions usually fail. Evolution, in which a dramatic innovation is grafted onto the best of the core competencies of the past, has a much better chance of succeeding. When a revolution tries to eradicate everything from the past, it ends up making mistakes..."


"...If you have the notion that leadership is only about change, then you're likely to increase the sources of your resistance. You step on a great many more toes than is necessary, because you devalue the good things that people have been doing and are simply getting them to discard part of what they're doing..."

Ronald A Heifetz as quoted by Loren Gary, 2005

. Managers not keeping their word ‐ they need to make a few promises and fulfill them

. Not understanding and reading the non-verbal responses and their ramifications

. Staff not allowed to develop ownership of the new way of working, ie mindset changes

. Managers do not create a safe environment in which people can predict the consequences of their actions ‐ this goes hand-in-hand with ensuring predictability in an organisation's relations with other staff and stakeholders.

The dialogue of disgruntled staff may include:

"...- I don't like what is happening...but I am powerless to do anything about it...

- I have few options

- I can refuse to support the changes

- I can resist what they are doing to me

- I can even sabotage what they are trying to achieve

- Why should I assist them in making their plans work! They are the ones who will end up looking good! They took it upon themselves to make the changes. They will not have my support to get credit for what they have done to me!..."

. Organisations not allowing staff to actively seek continuous feedback and not able to deal with criticism

. Lack of trust (it can be one of the first casualties of change) ‐ it is one of the paradoxes of change that trust can be the hardest to establish and maintain when you need it the most, ie if an organisation is in trouble or in a change process, lack of trust tends to automatically emerge as a serious barrier.

Trust is linked with predictability: in the past, predictability has involved creating order and known outcomes, and helped to hold organisations together. The erosion of predictability is linked with

- a discontinuous, accelerating, changing world

- the use of management techniques such as downsizing and process re-engineering

. Using edict rather than dialogue ‐ the latter can help to build trust

. Not enough time (lack of organisational flexibility and control over time and priorities)

. No help (the need for coherent, consistent, knowledgeable coaching and guidance and support)

. Not relevant (the absence of a clear, compelling case for making the change)

. Without predictability, people become too scared - not only to take risks but to take any action at all. They are, in fact, paralysed into inertia

. Not walking the talk causes the gap between espoused values and actions to be noticed, especially in those championing the change

. Lack of adequate predictions ‐ the best way to approach organisational change is with the realisation that dire predictions are probably better than no predictions at all, or positive predictions that no one believes. To enhance trust levels, the leaders of today's organisations must come up with

- honest assessments of the organisation's current situation

- the possible outcomes of any action the organisation might take

- what each outcome will mean

If managers try to fool their staff, they destroy predictability, their credibility, trust and organisational morale.

. In most organisations there is a tension between instigating some new business and preserving their old success. The latter is usually allowed to dominate the former.

. Short-termism dominant culture, eg short-term financial performance indicators dominate the stakeholders' attitude to the organisation. This results in the stakeholders feeling that they do not have the time to handle Ingredient 1 effectively

. Too much reliance and expectation that technology will solve all problems, eg

"...People are the solution to the problems that confront us. Technology is not the solution, although it can help..."

Margaret Wheatley as quoted by David Pitonyak, 2005

"...A new computer system spreads confusion, doubt and stress. The hardware may work, the software may work, but the system won't work if the people, who are supposed to use it, don't cooperate..."

Terry Neill as quoted by Robert Kriegel et al, 1996

"...the focus of change is on the work processes, new technology......and decentralised services rather than on the people who must implement change..."

Joan Goldsmith in Robert Kriegel et al, 1996

Technology's impact has been to "speed things up" so that people want an immediate response - irrespective of accuracy and/or quality of information. This speeding up has been described as "grab and go"and can have a negative impact on work/life balance.

. Not appreciating the 3 logic traps, ie

Trap 1 - organisations are willing to allocate whatever resources are required to ensure that change projects will succeed.

An analogy is paying a therapist to help you stop smoking but you are not really ready to give up cigarettes. An organisation's commitment of money and resources to a project is not necessarily a direct indication of motivation to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Need to assess an organisation and its leadership's readiness for change, irrespective of what resources are allocated

Trap 2 - once people become aware of how their behaviour is contributing to a problem, they will be motivated to make changes that will solve it.

This involves more than exposing problems. An analogy: a doctor can mistakenly assume that his patient will change their diet if their arteries are clogged. Such an insight does not mean that patients will control their dietary intake or even want to try. Sometimes managers can be unaware of how their behaviour will affect others. However, awareness does not necessarily mean that a behavioural change will follow

Trap 3 - once staff members take observable actions to change, it is assumed that the ambivalence is resolved and the staff is ready to move on.

This means that a person can be engaging in new behaviours that are aligned with the desired change on one day and fall back into ambivalence and lack of action on another day. An analogy: a smoker might take steps to stop smoking without really giving up cigarettes for good. Likewise, it should not be assumed that it is resolved once and for all when we see them begin to act

(source: Kathleen D Miller et al, 2001)

. Senior management must become learners themselves. They need to acknowledge their own vulnerabilities and uncertainties, for transformational learning to take place. When senior management become genuine learners, they set a good example and help to create a psychologically safe environment for others.

. Not realising that change is more see, followed by feel, and then change rather than analysis, followed by think, and then change

. Not appreciating the power of the informal structures/networks and office politics, ie political maneuverings that are a significant part of the hidden power structure. It is about what

"...happens off the organization chart......about power bases that are behind the organisational structure. People who are savvy understand this, but those who don't lose out in areas such as building relationships..."

Mark Holden as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2003

Furthermore, Mark Holden believes

"...the trend towards dismantling traditional authoritarian and hierarchical structures in some organizations, plus the emphasis on team-based work, makes understanding politics more important than ever..."

Mark Holden as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2003

The 5 most common behaviours (David Buchanan, 2008) in office politics are

i) building a network of useful contacts

ii) using "key players"to support initiative

iii) making friends with power brokers

iv) bending the rules to fit the situation

v) self-promotion

Less commonly used tactics include misinformation, spreading rumours and recording "dirt"on others

. Not acknowledging the importance of story telling and informal metaphors, such as describing your organisation as an animal. This can bring to the surface issues that are buried in the organisation that need to be raised.

. Organisations not allowing staff to actively seek continuous feedback and the organisation being unable to deal with criticism

. Not understanding bias-blinding or filters.

"...The mind appears to follow cognitive rules of thumb, leading people towards making decisions that follow what experience has taught them to be the easiest and quickest way to deal with issues..."

Max H Bazerman as quoted by John Hintze, 2003

Part of this involves ignoring criticism or dissent. Furthermore, some people suffer from "selective hearing loss", ie only remember things that they want to and conveniently forget things that they do not want to recall!!!!! The most severe case of selective hearing loss is called "craft's disease", ie Cannot Remember A Fricking Thing!!!!!! To avoid these traps, staff members need to recognise where their biases lie to help prevent poor decision-making.

. Not understanding presenteeism or phantom absenteeism, ie staff are physically at work but their minds are elsewhere. An alternative expression: staff have "retired at work"!!!!!!

. Not understanding the most effective way people perform and/or learn, ie visual, auditory or kinaesthetic

. Not learning to take the heat and receive people's anger in a way that does not undermine the change initiative. Receiving people's anger without becoming personally defensive generates trust.

. Most of us prefer to avoid conflict. By ignoring or repressing friction points, you can risk enlarging the problems. Need to realize that conflict is part of the human condition and find ways to handle it. Despite the flattening of organisational structures and more personalized approach to management, conflict still occurs. In handling conflict, you need to be careful of stereotyping, rationalizing, etc. Conflict is part of change as you are challenging the status quo. Constructive use of conflict can be important in creativity, ie vigorously challenging ideas etc..

. Not understanding the difference between assumptions that you hold and assumptions that hold you.

. Not realizing that all our current actions are influenced by events and experiences that extend beyond the current circumstances, ie

"...past patterns predict future behaviour better than anything else..."

Annette Simmons, 2002

. Be careful of "moan-bonding", ie staff getting together and talking negatively about the organisation and other staff

. Be careful of "mitigated speech". This refers to any attempt to downplay or sugar-coat the meaning of what is being said. This can happen when we are being polite, or embarrassed or ashamed; or when you are being deferential to authority.

. Extracting a rational decision without first processing irrational feelings and issues is dangerous. Remember: it is shortsighted to focus on an event (decision) when the real goal is to influence behaviour. Behaviour is primarily motivated by feelings and emotions. Once feelings and emotions become exposed, they become open to the modifying influence of dialogue and human attention.

"...keeping emotions out of decision-making doesn't keep those emotions out of the implementation - it simply ignores the emotions that will soon have an impact on implementations..."

Annette Simmons, 2002

. Not understanding what is involved in lying. Generally, people lie for 2 reasons: to make a gain or avoid a pain. When most people lie, their non-verbal responses inform the audience that they are not telling the truth

. Need to be aware of institutional lying (Fiona Smith, 2009ac), ie dishonesty that occurs daily as people manipulate the truth to gain some advantage, usually financially or for power. Recent research has highlighted the "domino theory on lying, ie involves a small group of powerful people telling lies repeatedly and owing to their influence these lies are spread as the truth throughout the organisation. Generally, this occurs in an organisation where there is great pressure to succeed at all costs. In these situations, despite ethical policies and value statements, etc, people will continue to lie.

. Not being able to confront the fundamental paradigm in which you are working, such as a marketing paradigm, management paradigm, accounting paradigm, etc. Initially, there is in need to acknowledge in what paradigm you are thinking before you can break out of that paradigm. This kind of thinking sounds threatening to many organisations.

" may well be that the reason most change initiatives fail so spectacularly is because they demand change at a level that the organisation is simply not capable of achieving..."

Carol Steiner as quoted by Harry Onsman, 2004a

When individuals in organisations realize that they have a choice about the way they relate to each other and to their organisation, it can lead to profound personal change.

"...the realisation you cannot control how the world is but you can control how you relate to the world can be an inspiring insight. At this point, it becomes your choice as to how you project yourself to the world..."

Carol Steiner as quoted by Harry Onsman, 2004a

. Not understanding the types of intelligence characterized by your intended audience members and not adapting your approach to best handle the presence of these different types. These types of intelligence include

- linguistic (have a strong faculty with spoken and written language)

- logical mathematical (understand causal relationships and numerical information)

- spatial (skilled at forming and manipulating spatial representations in one's mind)

- bodily-kinesthetic (solving problems using whole body or fine motor skills)

- interpersonal (working effectively with and influencing others), etc

Need to realize that individuals learn the most effectively when they receive the same message in a number of different ways so that each re-presentation stimulates the different intelligences. For example, for some people, numbers tell the story; others are more impressed by graphs, tables, or equations, etc

. Over-emphasising technical skills, such as IT, marketing,, sales, etc and under-emphasising interpersonal skills, such as influence skills, facilitation, leadership, team work, etc

. Not understanding the workplace conflict ladder, ie starting with

a) violation of workplace policy

i) a disrespectful workplace

ii) social isolation

iii) disrespect

iv) bullying

b) violation of human rights law

i) discrimination

ii) intolerance

iii) sexual harassment

c) violation of criminal law

i) intimidation

ii) physical/sexual abuse

iii) assault

iv) homicide

When inappropriate behaviour is identified, it is usually not an isolated case. There is usually a whole range of other inappropriate behaviours happening; with early warning signs and with no innocent bystanders. Some suggestions on how to handle in appropriate behaviours include

"...keep your cool: don't react with anger, be specific when describing the offending situation and how it affects you, then try to get a conversation going about what the other person was thinking..."

Joe Moore is quoted by Rose-Anne Manns, 2010

. Not realising that allowing bad behaviours to occur creates an unfriendly workplace with a culture of fear and intimidation. Bad behaviours areinterpersonal aggression, emotional abuse, abrasive supervision, petty tyranny, incivility, etc as shown by bullies, office psychopaths, narcissistic bosses, jerks, etc. and these have a negative impact on staff, with increased personnel turnover, absenteeism, decreased commitment to work, etc. It is usually "management by intimidation" with people focusing on protecting themselves from recrimination rather than on performance.

"...intimidating leaders often mistakenly believe their nastiness is the reason for their success, or erroneously think that methods that help them connive their way to the top of an organisation are also suitable to lead and manage that organisation..."

Robert Sutton as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2009q

Remember: bad behaviour can be subtle intimidation, such as deliberately including or excluding someone from activities (eg giving someone meaningless tasks unrelated to their job, deliberately changing work rosters to inconvenience co-workers, etc) to more aggressive tactics such as producing offensive e-mails, verbal abuse, etc

"...Research indicates that bullying costs Australian employees up to $36 billion in absenteeism, sick leave, productivity, staff turnover and legal costs..."

Annabel Hepworth, 2004a

Bad behaviour in the office is very different from how the movies portray office bullies and/or the manager who sometimes loses it. They are chameleons, ie the cunning ability to act perfectly normally and very charmingly while wreaking havoc around them. This has been described as "kiss-up, slap-down", ie

"...strategic use of anger and blame can push yourself up the hierarchy and knock others down.....strategic use of anger - outbursts, snarling expressions, staring straight ahead, and strong hand gestures like pointing and jabbing - creates the impression that the expresser is confident......more broadly, leadership research shows that subtle nasty moves like glaring and condescending comments, explicit moves like insults or putdowns, and even physical intimidation can be effective paths to power..."

Robert Sutton, 2007

Usually staff will spot the problem before management.

Sometimes staff will react to bad behaviour by "getting back on the jerk"by revenge, such as sabotaging work and even stealing

The impact of bad behaviour has an accumulative impact and ripple effects on other people, such as witnesses and bystanders who observe the interaction, and on the family of the victim. Furthermore,

"...nasty interactions have a far bigger impact on our moods than positive interactions ‐ five times the punch......research in the United Kingdom found that more than one third of witnesses wanted to intervene to help victims but were afraid to do so. Bullies drive witnesses and bystanders out of their jobs, just as they do 'first hand' victims......about 25% of the bullied victims and about 20 percent of witnesses quit their jobs......demeaning jerks are victims of their own actions..."

Robert Sutton, 2007

The above turnover rate of 25% and 20% is compared with the typical rate of around 5%.

Furthermore, bad behaviours are infectious, ie if your boss shows bad behaviours then you are more likely to imitate. The more time you spend with nasty people, the more likely you are to behave like them.

An estimate from USA (Robert Sutton, 2007) suggests that bad behaviour can cost an organisation around $US 160,000 per year.

On the other hand, we don't want to encourage groupthink and/or frictionless/conflictless organisations - constructive and creative friction in an atmosphere of mutual respect results in development of ideas and performance. This has been called constructive confrontation. At the same time, if personal conflict dominates, creativity, performance and job satisfaction plummet

. Need to develop ways to handle the alpha males, office psychopaths, bullies, narcissistic managers, jerks, etc. Usually the offender is aiming his or her venom at people who are less powerful and/or targeted people who feel humiliated, belittled, oppressed, etc after their experience with the offender. Some suggestions for handling these situations include

i) confront the nasty person head-on. This approach is risky as it can be career changing and/or worsen the situation as it can engender more aggression. If you decide to use this approach, pick the right moment and be willing to take a chance.

ii) limit your exposure by physically escaping from the source of the stress

iii) change your mindset about what is happening to you, such as

- avoiding self-blame and perceiving yourself as a victim by seeing the bad behaviour as hypotheses rather than facts and develop a more optimistic framework for analysing the situation, ie realising that you are not the problem

- reframe the nastiness using techniques such as 'learned optimism' that re-focuses the nastiness as temporary and "not my fault"so that resilience is strengthened

- view the difficulties as temporary, ie do not allow the unpleasantness to pervade and ruin the other elements of your life

- focus on areas that you can control, such as

i)learning when and how to simply "don't give a damn"(self-preservation may require developing 'detached concern' as shown by indifference and emotional detachment or distancing from the bad behaviour and the organisation that allows it to occur).

ii) when meeting with a jerk, have stand-up meetings rather than sitting down, as the format as considerably shorter, ie by up to 30%.

iii) your response to jerks should be calm and respectful, including the use of non-aggressive language

- don't fight against forces you cannot control, such as expecting the bad behaviour to change

- create a "no jerk"rule and enforce it

- importance of small victories so that you feel in control and reduce the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness

- power can be a basis for bad behaviour, and pay is an important sign of power differences.

Need to reduce the pay differential between senior managers and staff, ie

"...power-performance paradox: they realize that the company has and should have a pecking order, but they do everything they can to downplay and reduce status and power differences among members..."

Robert Sutton, 2008

- train people in "constructive confrontation", ie how to approach people and problems positively so that people are arguing over ideas rather than personality or relationship issues; the latter is destructive confrontation.

- call their bluff (this is risky but effective if you feel that they are all puff)

Remember: the only thing worse than too much confrontation is no confrontation at all

NB These approaches should apply to all stakeholders, not just employees

On the other hand, having a "token jerk"in the organisation can be used to remind others how not to behave and the unpleasant consequences of that behaviour. Also, the jerks do have some upsides, eg ability to act decisively and to produce results.

Some additional steps handling bad behaviour

i) write the rule down about bad behaviour not being acceptable and enforce it

ii) keep the jerks away from the selection/recruitment procedures

iii) remove the 'permanent' jerks as quickly as possible

iv) treat badly behaved staff as incompetent employees

v) as power breeds nastiness, embrace the power-performance paradox (despite the need for a pecking order, do everything to downplay and reduce unnecessary status differences among members)

vi) mini-moments: not just focus on practices, policies and systems (effective management means focusing on and changing the little things that management and staff do)

vii) model and encourage constructive confrontation (argue around ideas rather than people and/or relationships)

viii) adopt a 'token' jerk as a negative role model

ix) link the policies with small decencies, ie how people interact

In summary,

"...It turns out that companies can gain a competitive advantage by giving their people personal respect, training them to be effective and humane managers, allowing them time and resources to take care of themselves and their families, using layoffs as a last resort, and making it safe to express concern, try new things, and talk openly about failures..."

Robert Sutton, 2007

"'d be surprised by how often controlling and intimidatory people actually change their approach over time when they encounter people who consistently respond to them with integrity..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

On the other hand, being too nice can encourage workplace conflict as people are too polite to tackle the issues they need to address. If this happens, the situation can become explosive and create more conflict than if the problem was tackled head-on

Need to understand that functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been used to study the brain's amygdales (there are 1 in each hemisphere and they are central to processing of emotion and empathy) of different types of people revealed

- the right amygdale of altruists were 8.1% larger than the control group; while psychopaths' right amygdale are smaller than those in the control group; yet everyone's left amygdale was about the same size

- this was supported by more research that showed more activity in the right amygdale of the altruists than those in the control groups, while psychopaths' right amygdale were less active than those in the control group; yet the left amygdale activity of these sub-groups showed no variation

"...Some biologists regard psychopathy as adaptive. They argue that if the psychopath can bully non-psychopaths into giving him what he wants, he will be at a reproductive advantage as long as most the population is not psychopathic. The genes underpinning psychopathy persist, though they can never become ubiquitous because psychopathy works only when there are non-psychopaths to prey on..."

The Economist, 2014k

· An alternative way that looking at this is to compare it with the way human height varies, ie being tall or short is not a specific adaptation but caused by unusual combinations of genes that govern height. Thus, psychopaths and extreme altruists may be the result of similar, rare, combinations of genes underpinning the more normal human propensity to be moderately altruistic.

.Need to understand impact poor culture.  Some examples revolve around the major Australian banks, ie placing the desire of short-term profit above the interests of their customers. Another indicator of poor culture is the amount of effort (including brain power), time and money that the industry expends to resist sensible regulation.

There are 3 main drivers to human behaviour relative to the finance industry, ie
i) deterrent, eg probability of getting caught with appropriate punishments (NB some companies have become too comfortable with paying the fines for uncompetitive conduct; as a result, these elements no longer are deterrents)
ii) incentives like remuneration
iii) culture like doing the right thing by the customer

Prior to the GFC (2007), the Australian Royal Commission (2001) into the failure of the insurance group (HIH) found that the regulator had been passive and unprepared, was slow to react and could have done more to minimise the damage. Some key learnings included
- the banks need to build strength and maintain it in good times so they are better able to handle the next crisis
- the public has less trust in the finance system as a result of these failures and now there is a heightened community expectation of what should happen
- the need for a stronger regulatory framework
- history does repeat itself but people think otherwise, ie people miss impending crises as they think that this time is different from what happened before. This has been referred to as the "contagion effect"

The GFC identified
"...there were failings in the way institutions manage themselves, the way they govern themselves, their culture and the way they structured their incentive arrangements..."
Wayne Byres (Chairman, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) as quoted by James Eyers, 2016

" institutions to ensure that they have the right systems, people and processes in place to monitor trading conduct and detect and address trading discrepancies in a timely manner..."
Cathie Armour, (2016), has quoted by Sally Ross, 2016

The financial system is the lifeblood of the economy. If it fails, the cost to the community is significant. The cost of bank supervision should be assessed against the cost of bailouts. Supervision is the most cost-effective way to achieve good prudential outcomes rather than writing lots of rules and regulations.

Since 2013 there have been many incidents of alleged misconduct in the Australian banking sector.  Some examples
- 4 Corners (an Australian TV-based investigative reporting program) exposed bank's financial planners exploitation of clients, and alleged that bank-owned insurers fail to pay valid claims
- 3 of the top 4 Australian banks allegedly manipulating the bank swap rate (BBSW) - a key benchmark for interest rate,
- misaligned remuneration incentives
- a foreign exchange options and futures trader at Deutche Bank Australia made false entries between 2013 - 2016 that temporarily overstated the bank's revenue results by around A$ 50 m. (globally this bank is struggling as the US Dept of Justice is seeking a US 14 b.  settlement on allegations of mis-selling mortgage-backed securities)
- a senior technology executive from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been found guilty of fraud in Australia and is now charged with fraud in the US over an alleged bribery scheme that enabled the bank's software contractor (ServiceMesh) to receive more than A$ 100 m. in bonuses by successfully lobbying internally to quickly award lucrative security software contracts. Several bank employees received "kickbacks" from the contractor.

Financial institutions claim they are here to serve the customer and the community, while the regulators are there to serve the community and make sure customers are protected preferably by a collaborative/cooperative approach between all players, rather than a policeman approach. Thus there is a tension between banks seeking to maximise short-term profits and regulators encouraging bigger equity capital buffers, ie a policy that reduces return on equity.

An example of where this approach has been effective was in December 2014. Continued low interest rates had encouraged the banks to sell mortgages to property investors. A new policy was introduced to curb loans to investors into real estate and this appears to have eventuated as planned.

Already conversations are starting to occur about how to measure and observe culture, and how to form a view about it in a more systematic way.  This will require more than legislation and regulatory frameworks; it requires a change in culture, ie improving behaviour within the industry around governance and remuneration, and acting consistently with-in risk-management frameworks and strategies
(sources: Sally Ross, 2016; John Kehoe 2016; Anne Hyland, 2016a; James Eyers, 2016; Patrick Durkin, 2016a; Anne Hyland, 2016b)

. Need to understand how to encourage diversity. Decades of social science research has shown that you won't get people on side by blaming and shaming them, and then re-training them (Frank Dobbin et al, 2016). Most diversity programs are based on a training and legalistic grievance framework. Yet they are not increasing diversity nor reducing bias in recruitment, promotion, etc. In fact, there is research suggesting that this type of training can activate biases rather than reduce them, and that a legalistic grievance framework will push the diversity issues underground. While people can be easily taught to respond correctly to a questionnaire about bias, they soon forget the right answers; the positive effect of diversity training is at best short-term. Voluntary training works better than mandatory training.

In fact, organisations get better results when they ease up on the control tactics. Better results occur when there is increased on-the-job contact with minority workers. One way to establish more contact is to develop self-managed teams which allow people of different roles and functions to work together. This will increase contact amongst diverse groups of people because specialties within the organisation are still divided along racial, ethnic, gender, etc lines. Having people work side-by-side breaks down stereotypes.

Other ways include mentoring, regularly rotating management trainees within the organisation, social accountability (plays on the need to look good in the eyes of colleagues/peers), appointing a diversity manager (can prompt managers to consider diversity in their decision-making), etc.

An indication of lack of diversity can be the use of nicknames. Nicknames can create familiarity and favouritism amongst those who have nicknames and create an exclusion zone against those who don't.

Studies have shown that decision-making improves when there are diverse perspectives included.  Also, people who experienced diversity first-hand improve their cognitive skills and intellectual self-confidence How to improve cultural diversity

i) Leaders have skin in the game (most male senior executives have women who are important in their lives like mothers, wives/partners, daughters, nieces, etc)
ii) Collect data (how do staff identify their cultural, etc backgrounds)
iii) Accountability & Targets (targets are important stepping stone to cultural change)
iv) Tackle Bias & Discrimination (question the assumptions behind your decision-making, especially around selecting/promoting staff)
v) Cultivate Diverse Leaders (promote professional development of staff from diverse backgrounds so that they can reach their full potential)
vi) Be Prepared to Stand up and Speak Out (for those under-represented be prepared to support and fight for equal treatment)
(sources: Hannah Tattersalls, 2016a; Frank Dobbin & Alexandra Kalev, 2016)

More on diversity
Australia is in the Asia-Pacific region yet only 4% of the directors of the ASX 200 companies are Asian and only 2% are senior executives

Large v small entrepreneurial firms: large corporations are less likely to appoint somebody who doesn't "fit the norm" of that organisation, whereas high growth, small start-up or SMEs whose focus is on driving the firm with its goals are more likely to look for people, irrespective of background, who will help them get there.

Some informal feedback on cultural diversity shows that employees not willing "to go to the pub" attitude in some industries, like fund management, can be viewed as a negative. Some other examples include 
- light-hearted sexist jokes (we are getting a dishwasher for the kitchen office - when does she start!!!!)
- office staff are referred to as "guys" or "need to grow some balls", eg need to become more courageous
- office rituals that favour males, like beer and pizza meetings, performance rewards offering male toys like powerful motor bikes
- females stating they do not understand "techie stuff"

NB need to create an environment of respect that questions language and jokes that appear to be inappropriate

An example of stereotype is refereeing in Rugby Union. Most referees are males from senior management positions in organisations like the large banks, major consultancy firms, business owners, etc. One of the findings from interviewing rugby referees was that they have negative attitudes to some groups of people like Islander people and women, eg
- Islander people were more likely to have penalties awarded against them and/or be sent off the field; the referees have a perception that Islander players are violent and the referees need to penalise them heavily, otherwise you lose control of the game
-  similarly for women rugby players need to be watched carefully as they are really dirty players, they are underhanded, they will try and do anything in ruck, etc

NB When people step from one world, like business, to another, like refereeing, they can revert back to old attitudes and stereotypes. This is an example of unconscious bias.
(source: AFRBoss, 2016a; Rebekah Campbell, 2016a)

Hannah Tattersalls, 2016.

. Be careful of faking, ie when managers and staff believe that the organisation's statement of purpose does not

- accurately reflect reality

- significantly influence day-to-day decisions

In other words, when people are faced with contradictions they are unable to resolve themselves but still want to do their job properly without overtly violating unrealistic requirements or principles, they believe that faking is a reasonable behaviour

(source: Herve Larouche, 2004)

. Linked with faking is false or perceived authenticity, ie people try to hide their true feelings and present an attitude which does not represent how they really feel. However, the effort of putting on a brave face and speaking platitudes - while stewing underneath - is easy to identify. This is called "surface acting". It can create stress and dissatisfaction that leads to burn-out, and is mostly ineffective. A more effective way is to "deep act", ie people empathise with the emotions of others by looking into their memories to induce the appropriate emotional response. For example, at Delta Air Lines staff have been trained to regard difficult customers as children or as first time flyers.

(source: Fiona Smith, 2008h)

. Need to realize the importance of small talk, ie informal conversations on matters outside work such as hobbies, family, activities over the week-end/holidays, sports, etc. Small talk is the best way to demonstrate interest in someone else and to develop good relationships.

. Need to be aware of the signs of false respect or pseudo-respect. A common distillation of this is called "kiss up, kick down", ie

"...many individuals in positions of power have attained their status, in part, because of their abilities to flatter and serve those who already occupy by positions of authority. But when the same individuals are seen to ignore, beat up on, or disparage those with less influence, they reveal their true lack of respect for others.....perfectly capable of behaviour in a respectful manner when he had something to gain from it..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

. Not understanding the symptoms of depression and confusing them with a disengaged workerImpact of lack of sleep not fully appreciated

"...Workers, especially those with children, are not getting enough sleep, leading to a drain on creativity and innovation, crankiness, bad management and too many mistakes..."

James Hall, 2004

Never made decisions when tired or exhausted!!!!!! Furthermore,

"...Contemporary work and social culture glorifies sleeplessness in the way we once glorified people who could hold their liquor. We now know that 24 hours without sleep or a week of sleeping four or five hours a night induces an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.1%......the analogy to drunkenness is real because, like a drunk, a person who is sleep-deprived has no idea how functionally impaired he or she truly is. Moreover, their efficiency at work will suffer substantially, contributing to the phenomenon of presenteeism..."

Charles Czeisler, 2006

Remember: the human biorhythms are relatively fixed (Lyndall Crisp, 2008). Staying up too late or waking up too early can cause problems with our biorhythms. Generally we are programmed to get our best sleep between 10:30 pm and midnight; if we go to sleep after those times, you are not getting the quality of the sleep, ie delta or deep sleep, that we need. In deep sleep the body is rebuilding itself and fighting off the "baddies", ie free radicals, cancer cells, etc. Furthermore, it is important to relax or wind down around one hour before going to bed in the evening.

. Need to understand that when people are put under pressure, usually of time, they tend to make certain predictable mistakes, eg focus on regularly available information and the immediate future, instead of digging deeper into the topic and looking more long-term .

. Underestimating the importance of humour, ie people like working with others who have a sense of humour. Humour

"...can break down jealously guarded turf boundaries. It can foster an esprit de corps throughout the company and greater camaradie on teams. It can start the conversations that spark innovation and increase the likelihood that unpleasant tasks will be accomplished. It can help convey important corporate messages to employees in memorable ways. It can relieve stress..."

Katherine Hudson, 2001

"'s not just clowning around and having fun; it has meaningful impact on cohesiveness in the workplace and communication quality amongst workers. The ability to appreciate humour, the ability to laugh and make other people laugh actually has psychological effects on the body that cause people to become more bonded..."

Chris Roberts as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2009r

No allowing the organisation to become a humour-confident organisation

. Not understanding the importance of office politics which includes backstabbing, gossiping, skulduggery, etc. in time of organisational change. In fact, it is a way of slowing down or blocking change initiatives (Brad Hatch, 2008a). Even staff who are not keen to get involved in office politics realise the importance of it in understanding what is happening in the organisation.

. Not realising the damaging impact when gossiping gets out of control or is unleashed overwhelmingly against an individual (Fiona Curruthers, 2005; Brad Hatch, 2006c). When we are told something, the majority of us will immediately look to confirm the information. This is associated with confirmation bias (see above point). Furthermore, the office psychopaths use gossip to undermine people, ie anything that is harmful to others' careers, such as suggestions that they are not performing, leaving the organisation, having an affair. On the other hand, gossiping, if used correctly, can be very positive, ie a means of communicating a message, quickly and clearly. If used negatively, excessive gossiping is called "mobbing"

The rumour mill can be a good barometer of employees' morale. People talk about things that are important to them. It is unwise to ignore rumours but it is best to ignore the rumour-mongers. The most effective way to handle gossip and rumours is with management transparency.

. Need to realise that the greatest flexibility and choice in the change process is at the start. At the beginning of any change process, maximum flexibility on possible ways of implementing the change process is available. As time progresses in the change process, choice is narrowed down

. Need to be careful of using manipulation rather than motivation and persuasion. Manipulation refers to convincing someone to do something that they do not want to do while moderation and persuasion are more about helping people achieve things that they thought they could not.

. Need to understand that by frequently visualising something for yourself, you have more chance of becoming it than if you don't, ie

"...the thoughts and images that you repeatedly focus on have a remarkable way of becoming your reality..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

This is called self-belief that is linked with mastery (knowing the subject matter), modelling (seeing is believing), mentoring (listening to trusted advisers)and mood (if it feels good, do it). In other words,

"...model yourself on leaders you admire, identify your signature strengths by listening to trusted positive mood by practising right-thinking..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

. Not understanding the dynamics of "shifting-the-burden", ie

"...systematic structure that arises when people act to ameliorate the symptoms of a problem, end up becoming more and more dependent on the symptomatic solutions..."

Peter Senge et al, 2005

For example, it is like taking an aspirin to relieve a headache without identifying the source of the headache, eg stress from working and/or family, etc.

In diagrammatic form below, there is a shifting-the-burden to aspirin to relieve a headache rather than addressing the fundamental problem of over-commitment.

organisational development change management

Shifting-the-burden means not facing the real problem and this approach can make it worse, ie need more and more headache tablets and/or stronger medicine. This can result in not fixing the original problem plus adding another, ie drug addiction. Shifting-the-burden dynamics can arise when people face difficult problems and do not appreciate that there is a difference between symptomatic and fundamental solutions, ie

"...symptomatic solutions are quick fixes - like taking an aspirin - that address the symptoms of a problem without dealing with deeper causes and more fundamental solutions - like reducing over-commitment. Shifting-the-burden dynamics recur in diverse situations, but they always follow the same systematic pattern. The symptoms of a problem can be addressed either through symptomatic solutions or fundamental solutions. Only the latter will relieve the symptoms by addressing underlying causes. The simple systemic structure gives rise to shifting-the-burden behaviour over time when we opt for the symptomatic solutions and stop there. The symptomatic solutions, 2 aspirins, relieve the problem symptom, the headache. But this short-term improvement reduces the perceived need for a more fundamental solution - reducing over-commitment. As the fundamental sources of the problem are ignored, symptoms (headaches) get worse, the symptomatic solutions get more intense (we use increasingly powerful drugs) and the ability to address the fundamental causes of a problem atrophies. Finally, increasing reliance on symptomatic solutions brings unintended side-effects, such as health problems which demand more attention. We tend to think of addiction as a personal problem. But the shift-the-burden dynamic shows that it is actually a systemic phenomenon that occurs at many levels. Just as people become addicted to prescription drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, companies become addicted to cost-cutting to improve profits, governments become addicted to lotteries to raise revenues, and agricultural industry becomes addicted to pesticides and chemical fertilisers to improve crop yields. Shifting-the-burden......demands quick solutions to difficult problems. Because it's so common, the shifting-the-burden dynamic typically goes unnoticed. Individuals and institutions fail to see how their capacity for fundamental solutions are eroding until the dependency and side-effects build to overwhelming proportions, eventually leading to unavoidable breakdowns..."

Peter Senge et al, 2005

An example illustrated in the diagram below shows a generic systemic problem of shifting-the-burden that has influenced Western society for several hundred years by encouraging an increasing reliance on science and technology at the expense of human development. More often symptomatic solutions, such as advances in fragmented science and technology, have increased the capability for fundamental solutions atrophy, leading to an even greater need for symptomatic solutions. Many of today's problems, such as environmental damage, arise as a long-term side-effects of shifting-the-burden process, creating more problems that require technological responses

organisational development change management

Another illustration of shift-the-burden dynamics might be seen when people who are uncomfortable with face-to-face interaction develop an over-reliance on email communication. Instead of addressing their inadequacy/discomfort, they reinforce avoidance behaviours, neglect the contact requirements for effective communication, and thus become ever-more-unlikely to overcome the original "problem".

. Need to understand the contradiction, ie the need to speed up and slow down at the same time. There is a continual need to speed up to handle the rapid changes, especially in technology; on the other hand, we need to slow down for reflection and for learning to occur

. Managers not realizing the importance of the informal, one-on-one meetings, such as the corridor meetings, walking through the store/factory/branch, etc and chatting to staff, yarning over a cup of tea or coffee, etc. In these brief, informal, one-on-one meetings, management will learn more about what works and does not, and what is happening in the organisation than from hours of formal meetings in meeting rooms, written reports, etc.. So when you run into a staff member in the corridor/lift/car park, etc have a chat and ask how things are going; don't just say hello and move on.

"Bump factor"refers to informal meetings like discussions in staff cafe; the banter in the locker space; the collaboration in the open-plan office; at neighbouring desks; on stools in the kitchen; chance meetings in the office corridors, on streets, social occasions, etc.

"'s the hundreds of unplanned moments you might have each day when you bump into people and collaborate ‐ it really strengthens the fabric of an organisation..."

Pip Marlow as quoted by Will Glasgow, 2013

Getting people to meet informally over food and drinks works better than all the reviews, funding and tax incentives. To be effective, it must be an organic approach; it cannot be imposed from above, eg senior management, etc or outside, eg government, bureaucracy, etc

Getting collaboration requires a cultural change.  For example, academics should be judged less on the number of academic publications and more on the impact. Until this happens there is little incentive for researchers and their host establishments to become more entrepreneurial and commercial, ie work with the business world. At the same time the business world needs to approach universities and institutions for ideas and solutions

"...this idea that you do some basic research, and then you do some applied research, and then you it get it translated, then it gets commercialised - that's the push model and it rarely, if ever, works that way. The smart universities are starting to structure themselves around the pull factors. what are the problems we are trying to solve? And they're organising themselves around those instead of a silo of maths, the silo of science and so on..."
Chris Roberts (Cochlear) as quoted by Michael Bailey 2016

Another area that needs reviewing is tenure. Currently tenure is given for many years of focused work in a particular discipline, ie academics get tenure through depth of knowledge in a particular field, not through a multi-disciplinary approach or broad base of knowledge. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed in topics like climate change where the boundaries are not clear. This approach is sometimes called T-shaped skill, ie where the vertical bar of the T represents the depth of knowledge in a single field, while the horizontal bar is the ability of experts in other subjects and a willingness to apply accumulated knowledge.
One of the challenges of the education system is to create an entrepreneurial mindset around curiosity, connections and commercialisation. It is very rare for one person to be both good at research and commercialisation.
Informal learning (what occurs when interacting with colleagues and managers outside organized meetings) is an underutilized potential. The interaction between the physical, social and psychological aspects of the workplace can impact on the effectiveness of informal learning. According to Franklin Becker (2007) there are 5 ways to promote informal learning:

i) eco-diversity - the more varied the work setting, the more workers were engaged in informal communications

ii) spatial transparency - the more visible co-workers are to one another, the more informal learning will take place

iii) neutral zones - the more space planned for common use, the more workers will communicate and learn from each other

iv) human scale - smaller work areas and less separation between them will facilitate more informal learning

v) functional convenience - space designed to increase the opportunities for chance encounters will increase the likelihood of informal learning

. Not realizing the importance of relationship networks and interpersonal relationships. You need to treat these relationships as collaborative partnerships that embody a willingness to empower staff, who are treated and recognized as equals; recognize and endeavour to satisfy each other's wants and needs; the focus is on the commonalities rather than the differences in staff. The way you approach others largely determines how they respond to you. This is different from the traditional relationship models that are characterized as

- transactional (only valued for the tasks they must perform, ie staff are treated like commodities)

- paternal (similar relationship to caring parents and their children, wher the former provide security and additional benefits, and the goal is control)

- adversarial (characterized by mistrust, tension and conflict, such as in a passive-aggressive form and "win- lose"situation).

. Not realizing that the hierarchical organisational model is based on differentiation by status. It focuses on the differences rather than similarities in the organisation. Hierarchy is based on 3 assumptions: stable environment, predictable processes and outputs, ie

" other words you know where you are, what you do and what will happen..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

Furthermore, power and authority is in the hands of a few people in the 'command and control' concepts of hierarchical organisations.

"...In the traditional model, intimidation and threats were established means for motivating performance. While command and control still remains influential, when power is in the hands of people, appeals to authority are less convincing..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

Generally, the suitability of the hierarchical is increasingly eroded in the uncertain world environment we all operate in.

. Not realizing that people will resist when they perceive threats to status, certainty, autonomy, relationship to others around them and fairness. Furthermore, when this happens our ancestral brain takes over and it overrides our ability to think, create and innovate.

. Not realising that resisters can act like an early warning sign by identifying potential flaws in the change process.

. Not understanding our 9 basic human instincts when asking people to accept change (Andrew O'Keeffe 2009), ie loss aversion, emotion before reason, first impressions to classify, gossip (social chitchat), confidence before realism, empathy & body language, contest & display, social belonging, and hierarchy & status

. Need to understand concepts of neuroscience (the study of anatomy and physiology of the brain) and its integration with other disciplines, such as psychology (the study of the human mind and human behaviour). This helps explain why organisational change, etc can be so difficult. For example

- change is pain as it provokes sensations of physical discomfort

- behaviourism has limited long-term application if it is based on incentive and threat (the carrot and the stick approach)

- humanism has limited application in engaging people if it is practised using an empathetic approach of connection and persuasion

- focus is important as the act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain

- expectations shape reality as people's preconceptions have a significant impact on what they perceive

- attention density shapes identity as repeated, purposeful, and focused attention can lead to long-lasting personal evolution

In summary, neuroscience states

"...Is the answer to all the challenges of change......on solutions instead of problems, let them come to their own answers, and them the focus on their insights? Apparently that's what the brain wants..."

David Rock et al, 2006

Successful management practices, such as "open-book management", continuous improvement like TQM, etc use this approach.


"...there are four elements of brain function that are deemed most applicable to business leadership: the ability to think more creatively and use intuition by improving attention and changing thinking habits; the ability to interconnect......which is enhanced when we have lower frequency brain waves to slow down our thinking......and the need for positive feedback to help create and reinforce new ways of operating; the health effects on the entire body from the brain working under chronic stress and with excess adrenaline...evidence from magnetic resonance imaging of the brain which shows that, far from being born with a fully wired brain, we progress through life with our grey cells constantly making new connections..."

Catherine Fox, 2007m

"...if we want to hard wire a new behaviour we just need to give our new mental map enough attention over enough time to ensure that it becomes embedded in our brain. So if business management wants to improve people performance......our job is to support employees finding different ways to approach situations, giving them time and plenty of positive feedback along the way..."

David Rock as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2007m

" offers a deeper understanding of the reasons people find change so unsettling and insight into the way people approach new tasks or manage upheaval. It also helps us to understand how the human brain uses mental resources to deal with ambiguity, resolve conflict, or find creative solutions to complex problems..."

David Rock et al as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2007m

. Not understanding how the brain works. This means the need to by-pass the preferred initial limbic, survival response to change, to the cognitive part of the brain so that a more reasoned, rational response occurs. An example of the limbic response is when walking along a path and you see something that resembles a snake. Your initial limbic, survival response is to jump/run away as fast as possible. On further investigation (cognitive response), you notice that object has not moved and is a stick. Thus one of the challenges in change is to get beyond the limbic response to the cognitive one. Remember:

- the part of the brain that registered physical pain is the same part that change impacts on

- we are hardwired for 50,000 years of cave man living where change was more than career threatening ‐ it was life threatening.

- exercise is important

"...The brain appears to be designed to solve problems related to surviving in an unstable outdoor environment, and to do so is in nearly constant motion..."

John Medina, 2009

- research has shown that regions of the adult brain are just as malleable as a baby's and thus at any age, connections can be created and existing connections strengthened. It is "use it or loss it"!!!!!!

- the brain wants to save energy and the cognitive thinking response uses considerably more energy than the limbic. Thus the limbic response is the preferred response by the brain.

. Not realizing that resistance has merit. The resistors who have a good understanding of the organisation can provide valuable insights about how proposed changes might be modified to increase the odds of success.

. Not realizing that conflict and resistance are largely the result of unmet emotional needs in people. These emotional needs fuel resistance and defensive responding. On the other hand, they can provide the basis for productive collaboration by establishing a platform of trust by effective and honest communications while respecting other points of view. Part of this involves acknowledging the emotional contract that underlies every rational need.


"...Learn to suspend judgment and to develop an attitude of curiosity. Understanding the cognitive dimensions of empathy helps you to focus on the importance of gathering a sense of what others are feeling, experiencing and intending. By adopting an attitude of genuine curiosity and by suspending judgment you focus on getting to the heart of the other person's experience. By keeping your eyes engaged with the speaker, asking questions for clarification, remaining open and paraphrasing what you hear, you overcome resistance and create the conditions for effective collaboration..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

. Need to be aware of the tendencies to mindlessness which involves becoming cognitive misers and tuning out, losing opportunities to become aware of other perspectives. It is better to cultivate mindfulness by using mental skill exercises including meditation and creative mental tasks so that more adept at managing many of the cognitive, emotional and behavioural disturbances that often impede our progress.

. Not understanding and accepting that you as an adult are the decision maker about your personal and professional life. Some habits, such as defensive routines (blaming others what happens, etc), work well as a child but shouldn't be carried into adult life where you should take responsibility for who you are and what you want to be. Remember:

" one can make you feel inferior without your consent..."

Eleanor Roosevelt as quoted by Martyn Newman, 2007

"...ndividuals can create their own unique lifestyle and are therefore responsible for their own personality and behaviour. They are creative actors rather than passive reactors..."

Alfred Alder as quoted by Martyn Newman, 2007

"...we can all find reasons to blame others for circumstances and even for your personalities, but in reality you never actually give away responsibility. The only thing you really give away is are still completely responsible but by giving up control you lose your ability to direct your life and lead effectively......responsibility, control and a sense of independence, or autonomy, go hand-in-hand......there is a powerful connection between the level of overall responsibility you accept and the level of personal emotional capital you are capable of building..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

. Not realizing the importance of increasing an optimistic attitude and decreasing pessimism. Optimistic people have 3 important characteristics

i) they look for the benefits in every situation, especially when they experience setbacks; they are committed to finding answers and possess an expectation of success

ii) they see valuable lessons in every problem or difficulty, ie focus on what to improve upon and do differently next time

iii) they focus on the task to be accomplished rather than on negative emotions, such as disappointment or fear

"...optimism and resilience in the face of the adversity is the greatest long-term predictors of success for individuals and organisations. An overwhelming body of research demonstrates that optimists perform better at work, regularly outperform the predictions of aptitude tests, and have the greatest resistance to colds and other illnesses, and they recover faster from illness and injury. Optimists also make considerably more money!......your ability to deal disappointment in a positive, constructive way will do more to enable you to succeed and say more about you to other people than any other single factor..."

Martyn Newman, 2007


"...Many psychologists suggest that 95 percent of your emotions are determined by the way you talk to yourself......the way people explained events to themselves- their explanatory style. In other words, when things go wrong do you explain events in terms of your own fundamental incapability, thereby demotivating yourself and forestalling future attempts to succeed, or do you spin your interpretation of events in such a way as to encourage learning, adaptation and renewed efforts at success? The difference between being paralyzed by setbacks and bouncing back is, more often than not, how you explain the events happening to you and around you - your explanatory style..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

. Staff can learn to be more optimistic and less pessimistic by realizing that our reaction to any event is under your control, ie

"...If you respond in a positive, constructive way, you will maintain a generally positive attitude. When your mind is calm and clear you will become more creative and alert. You will also be more likely to see alternative ways to solve problems, and keep moving towards accomplishing your goals. When you respond in a negative or angry way to a problem or difficulty, you trigger a series of nervous reactions that shut down the most creative part of the brain. Instead of going into a 'react and respond' way of thinking, you develop a 'flight or flight' mentality. You can learn to think and succeed like an optimist by changing your explanatory style, even if you are a confirmed pessimistic......If you change the definition of a problem to a situation, a challenge or an opportunity, your response to the problem will be positive and constructive, rather than negative and angry. If you look at every problem as a potential opportunity, you will almost always find a prospective will benefit that you can take advantage of..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

. Not realizing that feeling good about ourselves (self-regard) is a solid defence against emotional difficulties and is a means of achieving our potential. This needs to be built upon a platform of solid achievement and knowing who you are. Otherwise, it can remain, at best, unconvincing and, at worst, arrogant self-absorption. Self-regard is built on 2 pillars: a feeling of self-worth or self-liking or self-esteem (liking and accepting who you are) and a feeling of self-competence (a feeling of being on top of the situation and possessing the expertise to manage life's challenges). Your level of self-regard is important in determining what you make happen in your life, ie the higher the level of self regard, the better you perform. Self regard is the result of the collection of your perceptions of yourself as determined by your experiences, choices, achievements, failures, ideas, emotions and opinions. There is a direct relationship between your performance and your level of self-regard and it is the benchmark in evaluating performance. Furthermore, the feedback you receive about how well you deal with certain challenges has a significant bearing on how confident you feel about your abilities.

. Need to be careful of negative self-talk or gross negative distortions. These can cause emotional distress and dysfunctional performance by clouding your judgment. This involves all thinking only in absolutes or extremes, ie seeing "black or white with no shades of grey". Imbued with this attitude, you jump to immediate conclusions; use stereotyping or labelling; form negative expectations or have pessimistic expectations. On the other hand, there is some research (Francis Flynn, 2011) that those who feel guilty work harder, perform better than other staff, are more likely to help others and promote the organisation.

. Not realizing that people need to have sufficient emotional resources to overcome their own egos so that they can help other people feel good and become successful, ie

"...empower others to own the group's success by building their people's competence and by listening to their views......make it possible for people to achieve things that they initially thought impossible......increasing performance that consists of creating positive expectations of people - psychologists refer to it as the Pygmalion effect......the phenomenon of self-fulfilling prophecies provides plenty of evidence that people act in ways that are consistent with other people's expectations of them..."

Martyn Newman, 2007

. Not realizing that the mere comprehension of a statement can result in tacit acceptance of its being true, whereas disbelief requires a substantial process of rejection. The brain appears to process statements as true more quickly than those judged as not true.

. Not realizing that attitudes such as criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt are poisonous for developing good relationships. Contempt is considered the worst as it communicates disgust; contempt leads to greater conflict and negativity; people in contemptuous relationships are more likely to suffer from infectious illnesses such as flu, colds, etc. Contempt attacks the immune system; fondness and admiration are antidotes.

. Not realizing that stress, depression, etc can lead to drug/substance abuse and addiction. In some organisations drinking is an important part of the culture and can include drinking with the boss. Of all the drugs, alcohol currently provides the biggest challenge for organisations. Other drugs such as marijuana can be very harmful, ie 1 in 4 people in psychiatric wards have a marijuana addiction (Lyndall Chris, 2008a).

NB Marijuana and heroin come from the same group; both are depressants. To get a marijuana user hooked on heroin, all you have to do is spray some heroin in with the marijuana during the drying process. Once hooked, most people don't get off, ie the chance of getting off, if you go into detox, is 12%. Other drugs such as cocaine, ice, etc can cause devastating negative impacts. One of the best ways to handle this is in an organisational context is to have regular testing.

. Not appreciating the different types of stress. Good stress is planned and controlled. It involves strengthening your brain and increasing performance. Bad or toxic stress is un-planned, uncontrolled and exceeds the capacity of your system to handle it, ie to adjust to it and to have time for rest and recovery. You feel a diminished sense of power and control plus your performance is greatly reduced. Toxic stress is usually externally sourced, eg a natural disaster, a bad boss, etc

. Stress can bring out the "dark side"of people as they generally overuse or exaggerate their strengths (Fiona Smith, 2011i). Some examples

- boldness can become narcissistic (News Corporations ‐ Rupert Murdoch)

- detailed-oriented and hardworking can become demanding and micro-managing (former Australian PM Kevin Rudd)

- charming and interesting can become manipulative and deceitful (former David Jones CEO Mark McInnes)

- confident and assertive can become arrogant and self-promoting (former Telstra boss Sol Trujillo)

- quick on the uptake can become not listening to others and impatient in waiting for others to catch-up (MD, Datacom Australia, Peter Wilson).

Some other characteristics that can become detrimental include

- excitable (intense and energetic becoming moody and prone to overreacting)

- sceptical (perceptive and shrewd becoming cynical and mistrustful)

- cautious (careful and thorough becoming reluctant to take risks)

- reserved (Independent and businesslike becoming stoic and disconnected)

- leisurely (cooperative and agreeable becoming covertly resistant and insincere)

- bold (confident and assertive becoming stubborn, arrogant and smug)

- mischievous (charming and jocular becoming irreverent and untrustworthy)

- colourful (outgoing and animated becoming "showboating"and overwhelming)

- imaginative (innovative and creative becoming off-the-wall and unrealistic)

- diligent (detail-oriented and hard-working becoming perfectionistic and demanding)

- dutiful (supportive and loyal becoming ingratiating and deferential)

. According to Margaret Wheatley (2009), 4/5th of our mental capacity decreases when we are under stress. This is linked with

- "fight or flight/flee"reaction (this is more obvious in males than females)

- the loss of our ability to see patterns (this is important for us to understand meanings)

- default function operates when overwhelmed. This means we revert to automatic routines that we are familiar with, eg entrenched beliefs and behaviours

- impaired learning, as learning requires a relaxed nervous system. This highlights the importance of slowing things down and conducting deliberate critical reflection.

. Not appreciating the difference between empathy and sympathy. These two involve understanding the other person's emotions. Sympathy involves feeling the other's emotions as if they were coming from you; empathy involves understanding the other person's emotions but not becoming overwhelmed. Empathy involves observing, watching and imagining what the other person feels, ie being able to distance yourself from others' emotions. Careful questioning, use of supportive body language (facial expressions, hand movements, breathing patterns, etc) and the use of an appropriate tone of voice can help others feel understood. Too much sympathy will result in one becoming overwhelmed and unable to help, ie in extreme cases it can cause "burn-out". Not showing empathy is to treat people in a mechanistic way. Empathy skills can be learnt.

. Not realising that fear is our dominant emotion and it is

"...often the thing that is standing between us and our ability to make things happen..."

Seth Godin as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2010c

Fear is part of our survival mechanism and is linked with our amygdala (part of the brain that controls fear, rage and reproductive drive). It provides the basis for resistance, ie reasons not to do something differently and to stay with status quo, etc. Conquering fear is learning to live with it and go ahead and do things; to accept feelings of insecurity and discomfort by doing things differently.

. The best work environments are allowed to be personalised by staff, ie decorated as they see fit. Research has shown (Fiona Smith, 2011k) that when this occurs, well-being and productivity lift by over 30% and stay there. Thus when managers start rearranging staffs' stuff and work environment, the results can be disastrous to productivity. Generally a "clean"environment with its absence of decoration and its cluster of tidy desks is not a good environment to work in.

. Not understanding the importance of light. Lighting impacts upon our moods. In good, natural light people are cheerful and alert for up to 8 hours. However, in poor artificial light, the number drops to 2; outdoors on a sunny day, the number rises to infinity.

. Not understanding that organisations have gone from complicated to complex (Daniel Kahneman et al, 2011). This means that there are

- many diverse, interdependent parts interacting and they are in constant flux so that the final outcome is unknown; the same starting conditions may yield different results;

- seemingly simple actions may produce unintended consequences

- rare events are becoming more significant than average ones

. Not understanding how to handle uncertainty/ambiguity. The following types of people are needed (Fiona Smith, 2011e)

- mystery seekers (attracted to unknown areas & problems with no obvious solutions)

- risk tolerators (make decisions despite incomplete/insufficient/ambiguous information; tolerate risk of failure)

- future scanners (question deeply; see links others miss; look out for any signals about future)

- tenacious challengers (resolutely pursue difficult & challenging issues & problems; at home with conflict)

- exciters (create excitement & energy in others)

- flexible adjusters (willing to change & make adjustments)

- simplifiers (understand & communicate the essence of issues)

- focusers (able to focus on pivotal elements)

. Not appreciating de Jager's 4 laws of change (Peter de Jager, 2010)

i) law of inertia (people will stay where they are, unless they have a reason to change)

ii) law of status quo (the more people have invested in the past, the more difficult it is for them to change)

iii) law of resistance (when you try to change people, they will actively resist)

iv) law of speed (change does not happen instantaneously, ie the bigger the change, the longer it takes; change is a process, not an event)

. Not understanding that change is difficult and people need support, ie set up a support structure to help people develop the courage to leave the old status quo.

. Not accepting that questioning and dissent are important parts of the change process and they need to be well managed

. Not understanding the difference between so called "hard"and "soft"skills. Hard skills are those that produce an immediate, visible and measurable result, eg trained in how to prepare accounts. It usually involves a person getting a mastery over an inanimate object. Soft skills usually involve interaction with other human beings who

- have a mind/will of their own

- suffer from short attention spans

- are prone to personal trials and tribulations

- have their own biases, prejudices, experiences, etc

- have their own agenda that is not necessarily aligned with the organisation, etc

Soft skills are difficult as they involve behavioral modifications and require constant management feedback, involvement, encouragement, attention, etc..

"...Acquiring a soft skill imposes a management burden. In a world where time is at a premium and management wants effortless solutions to pressing problems, those superficial "soft skills"are a poor fit..."

Peter de Jager, 2010

"...The difference between good and poor managers has nothing to do with their ability to deal with inanimate objects, and everything to do with their ability to manage interactions between subtle and fickle human beings..."

Peter de Jager, 2010

. Not understanding that manipulation involves using a combination of soft skills, eg trust, sympathy, persuasion, empathy, etc  and body language to deceive you. The most extreme manipulation is the "con". Con artists have certain qualities in common, like psychopathy (absence of empathy), narcissism and ruthlessness. We feel that we can spot liars and cheaters by their shifty eyes, averted gazers, touching their faces while speaking, etc. Unfortunately successful con artists are able to synchronise their body language with the lies that come out on their mouths so that we believe them. Furthermore, there can be moments of intense vulnerability for scams such as depression, isolation, loneliness, sickness, loss, busyness, etc

"...con artists love funerals and obituaries, divorces or scandals, company layoffs and general loneliness......appeal to our vanity..."
Maria Konnikova as quoted by Carlos Lazada 2016

Con artists come to the rescue with lovely, perfect, credible stories which are powerful tools of deception, ie as unsuspecting people get immersed in a story and let our guard down. Once we get emotional/financial ownership of the deception, we have a hard time letting go.  If contrary evidence appears, we find ways to explain it away, minimise its impact, ie
"...Our personal attachment overshadows our objective knowledge......focus on the rationale that retroactively justifies our choice rather than actually base our choice in the moment on the most pertinent rationale..."
Maria Konnikova as quoted by Carlos Lazada 2016

Some of the ways to prevent this type of manipulation include
- maintain objectivity
- recognise your emotions
- set limits

From studies the 10 most values job skills are soft skills (see below) 

The 10 Most Valued Job Skills*i



Key Attributes


Enthusiasm/positive attitude

The ability to remain consistently positive and optimistic and to maintain enthusiasm in all work tasks and projects


Good communication skills

To be proficient in both verbal and written communications




Taking responsibility for originating tasks/new ideas/methods and having the ability to think and act without being prompted



The ability to consistently speak the truth and be honest at all times, and encourage others to do the same


Liking people

The ability to relate well to others (of all types and ages) in order to successfully accomplish the tasks and goals the job



The capacity to follow through strongly to completion, despite setbacks and/or obstacles


Ability to work in a team

The ability to effectively cooperate with others in the performance of job assignments


Good organisational skills/ability to work well under pressure

The ability to organise oneself and others and to work consistently and without getting overloaded, even when pressure is high


Willingness to learn

The capacity to maintain a mind that is open to new ways of doing things and willing to accept constructive feedback



The ability to turn up regularly for work on time and work hard on a consistent basis


i) This is based on analysing over 40 worldwide studies of of medium to large-scale organisations (2009 ‐ 2012) (Tim Baker, 2013)

The importance of soft skills are also displayed in the 16 traits of the world's most successful people (Napoleon Hill as quoted in Business Insider, 2014)

i. definite aim in life (from time to time, a definite aim and action plan for achieving it may be modified)

ii. self-confident (self belief in their ability to achieve things)

iii. show initiative (go beyond accomplishing the norm)

iv. imaginative (use the creative power of imagination to achieve things)

v. active (turn knowledge into action)

vi. enthusiastic (have a passion for what they are doing)

vii. self-control (learn how to handle their and others' emotions)

viii. go beyond what is required (outperform their expectations)

ix. likeable (build an active network around them)

x. separate truth from bias (don't take things at face value)

xi. focused ( concentrate their energies and skills toward setting goals without becoming distracted by irrelevant issues)

xii. persistent (successfully handle the obstacles, setbacks, challenges, etc that inevitably occur)

xiii. resilient (understand that failure is an essential part of education and a stepping stone to success)

xiv. sympathetic (work in harmony with others; don't dominate)

xv. work hard (willing to put in the hours, ie do the hard yards)

xvi. empathetic (understand others and treat them the way they would like to be treated)

. Be careful of stereotyping, ie all members of a group are classified as the same. It is "judgments of representativeness" (the similarity of an individual to the stereotype of the group is unaffected by the size of the group). They are representative and are less about probability (likelihood). Remember:

"...judgments of similarity and probability are not constrained by the same logical rules. It is entirely acceptable for judgments of similarity to be unaffected by base rates and also by the possibility that the description was inaccurate, but anyone who ignores base rates and the quality of evidence and probability assessments will certainly make mistakes..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

We have a preference to selectively help people who are like us and we can draw possible erroneous conclusions about an individual from statistics of the group

There is a difference between awareness of stereotyping and endorsement of it. But our subconscious cannot distinguish between the 2; it is more about a language of association, ie white is good. Generally most people do not want to express their bias openly and/or admit their biases to themselves. In fact there is a preference to selectively help people who are like you, ie maintain the status quo.

"...We're each part of several groups, defined by race, gender, religion, family, alma mater and so on, and when we go out of our way to help an in-group member, we don't see that as a bad thing ..."

Matthew Hudson, 2013

Remember: attitudes influence behaviour, and different circumstances can bring out different attitudes and influence behaviours

. Need to understand that social media is another communication tool to help make change more effective,as it

- is fast, uncontrollable and convenient

- can go direct to target, selected audience

- can use multiple directions simultaneously (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, etc) to wider audience

- provides continuous, real-time feedback in multiple ways with obstacles to change being identified earlier

- allows communication across silos

- increases feeling of ownership/engagement/ involvement, etc as staff able to have greater participation, ie build a more collaborative culture

- able to bring staff together to learn by sharing experiences/stories & practising new processes etc, plus supporting each other

- idea generation, ie a mechanism to share ideas

- large source of data, ie need to be analysed

In many ways, the purpose of social media is to get attention.

. Not understanding the "inverted U"concept, ie more is not necessarily better; it can make things worse. It is all about limits. It is linked to the s-curve (see earlier). It has 4 stages, ie

- stage 1 (relation is linear);

- stage 2 (relation levels off, ie area of diminishing marginal returns);

- stage 3 (extra resources have no effect on the outcome);

- stage 4 (more resources are counterproductive).

In graphical terms it looks like

organisational development change management

The same strategy that works well at first stops working after a certain point. Some examples

i) happiness v. income, ie in USA happiness improves with initially increasing income but peaks at US $75,000 and then decreases

ii) arousal v. performance, ie right amount of arousal maximises performance but too much arousal can reduce performance

iii) alcohol v. health, ie a small amount of alcohol is good for you, while too much is bad for your health

. Need to understand another way to look at resistance. For example, Industrial Revolution with mechanization, etc resulted in land-owners and artisans losing to industrialists and factory workers. But

"...economic growth is not just a process of more and better machines, and more and better educated people, but also a transformative and destabilizing process associated with widespread creative destruction. Growth thus moves forward only if not blocked by the economic losers who anticipate that their economic privileges will be lost and by the political losers who fear that their political power will be eroded. Conflict over scarce resources, income and power translates into conflict over the rules of the game......which will determine the economic activities and who will benefit from them. When there is a conflict, the wishes of all parties cannot be simultaneously met. Some will be defeated and frustrated, while others will succeed in securing outcomes they like. Who the winners of this conflict are has fundamental implications...... If the groups standing against growth are the winners, they can successfully block economic growth..."

Daron Acemoglu et al, (2012)

This equally applies to organisations, ie winner and losers. If the losers hold too much political and/or economic power so that they can successfully resist change, it will not happen. Need to find a way to handle this negative power, ie counter it or accommodate it, destroy it, embrace it, etc

Need to understand how to handling failure and/or success

· Fixed mindset v. growth mindset will determine how you react to anything that tests your intellectual abilities. Fixed mindset people believe that talent is a fixed thing, ie you are born with it or not. These people tend to dislike challenges and stick to things that they know and like. In contrast, growth mindset people believe that you can grow your talent and thrive on challenges

"...when they were failing, they were learning...:

Carol Dweck as quoted by Megan McArdle, 2014

· Imposter syndrome involves

"...successful people...... believe that they haven't really earned their spots, and are at risk of being unmasked as frauds at any moment. Many people deliberately seek out easy tests where they can shine, rather than tackling harder material that isn't as comfortable..."

Megan McArdle, 2014

Linked with this is self handicapping = deliberately doing things that will hamper performance so that provides an excuse for not doing well, such as a student going to a movie rather than studying for the exam the following day. This can provide an excuse if he/she fails.

· Work

"...Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly..."

Alain de Botton as quoted by Megan McArdle, 2014

For the extreme fixed mindsets, the tipping point quite often never happens, ie they fear nothing so much as finding out that they never had what it takes

· How we treat success is linked with how people act when they face the possibility of failure

· Research has shown that people who achieve through hard work rather than talent are better learners. For example, students, who through their talent find secondary schooling easy, will not necessarily perform well at the tertiary level if they have not learnt to work hard.

"...the ability to learn from their mistakes, being knocked down and to pick themselves up - the ability, in other words, to fall gracefully..."

Megan McArdle, 2014

Need to understand the past to be able to influence the present & future, ie trends. In reviewing Henry Kissinger's book, World Order, (Penguin Press) Hillary Clinton states

"...his knack of connecting headlines to trend lines - very long trend lines in this case......he traces the Indian view of order back to the Hindu epics; the Moslem view the campaigns of Muhammad; the European view to the carnage of the 30 Year War...... The Russian view to the hard school of steppe, where an array of nomadic tribes contended for resources on an open terrain with very few fixed borders......Asia......all of the region's rising powers, China included, had their own visions of regional and global order, shaped by their own histories and present situation..."

Hillary Clinton, 2014

. Need to understand multi-tasking or task switching. What is often called multi-tasking is more rapid task switching. Technology and social change are fuelling the rise of multi-tasking, eg handling a work query while in the supermarket queue. All this means that less time is wasted. On the other hand, we can feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things we can do at any one time
- US Bureau of Labour Statistics (Tim Harford, 2015) states that 50% of high school students when doing their home work are also listening to music, watching TV or otherwise multi-tasking
- research have shown that we should focus on one thing at a time. For example, consider the performance of drivers who chat on the mobile phone compared with drivers who are drunk. Chatting drivers are not as aggressive as risk-taking as drunk drivers but they are unsafe in other ways, ie they took much longer to respond to events outside the car and failed to notice a lot of visual cues around them. In other words, using a mobile phone is as dangerous as driving while drunk. The problem with talking while driving is our limited mental bandwidth
- multi-tasking does not improve with usage, ie people who systematically overrate their ability to multi-task, display poor impulse control and  multitasking ability.
- there is a cognitive cost to multi-tasking, ie

"...Students struggled to answer questions about the predictions they made in the multitasking environment. They have successfully juggled both cars in the moment - but they haven't learnt anything that they could apply in a different context...... suggest that the feeling of understanding may be an allusion and that, later, we find ourselves unable to remember much, or to apply our knowledge flexibly. so, multitasking can make us forgetful - one way in which multi-taskers are a little like drunks..."

Tim Hartford, 2015

- multi-tasking can improve the performance of scientists. Research has shown that top scientists were constantly changing the focus of their research, eg in reviewing the first 100 papers of some famous scientists it was found

"...the most productive cover 5 different research areas and move from one of their topics to another an average of 43 times. They would publish, and change the subject, publish again, and change the subject again...... subjects must have overlapped. The secret to a long and highly productive scientific career? Its multitasking..."

Tim Hartford, 2015

- during multi-tasking at least 1 task needs to be familiar that it is done without thinking
- some research (Tim Hartford, 2015) has shown that people have the bedroom recollection of uncompleted tasks, ie when leaving things unfinished, you can't quite let go of them mentally (call the Zeigarnik effect). This may explain the connection between facing multiple responsibilities and indulging in rapid task switching, ie

"...We flit from task to task because we cannot forget about all of the things that we haven't yet finished.......because we're trying to get the nagging voice is in our head to shut up..."

Tim Hartford, 2015

- focus and multi-tasking appear to be in conflict. They overlap if you regard multi-tasking as switching tasks rapidly, ie changing focus. Tasks now blend into each other instantaneously
- linked with multitasking is task switching, getting distracted and managing multiple projects. These are connected, eg the practice of having multiple projects invites habits of  rapid task switching. Task switching slows the subjects down and scrambles your thinking. Your performance falls in areas of reading comprehension, problem solving, etc. On the other hand, task switching helps with creativity, ie divergent thinking improves,

"...Involuntary multitasking produces a  greater volume and variety of answers, and their answers are more original too..."

Tim Hartford, 2015

This is contrary to the thought that great work can only be achieved through superhuman focus, thinking long and hard.

It is our ability to change focus that gets creative juices flowing
- "low latent inhibition" (this involves filtering out irrelevant stimuli). This is a subconscious filter that allows us to

"...walk through the world without being overwhelmed by all the different stimuli it hurls at us..."

Tim Hartford, 2015

Yet people whose filters are a little more porous or prone to being distracted have a big creative edge

"...the act of switching back and forth can grease the wheels of thought..."

John Kounios as quoted by Tim Hartford, 2015

Some extra creative mechanisms linked with multitasking are
- new tasks can help us to forget bad ideas, ie doing something new induces "fixation forgetting" (leaving us free to find another answer)
- "opportunistic simulation", ie a new task prompts us to think of a solution to an old one

- one way to ensure that things are getting done is by writing down every single commitment with the next thing that needs to be done. Regularly review your list of next actions.
Six ways to master multi-tasking (be mindful, write it down, tame your smart phone, focus on short sprints, procrastinate to win & cross-fertilise)
i) be mindful
- need to be able to identify when multitasking or focusing is most appropriate
- make two separate lists, eg one for activities is best done with Internet and another for activities is best done off-line. Connecting and disconnecting from the Internet should be deliberate acts

ii) write it down
- document your thoughts into specific actions and review them regularly
- need to feel relaxed about what you are doing and what you have decided not to do right now

iii) tame your smart phone
- the smart phone is a great servant and a harsh master
- disable needless notifications
- arrange a filing system so that your e-mails are classified and filed away where appropriate

iv) focus on short sprints
- focus for 25 minutes and rest for 5 minutes
- work in 2 hour sessions
- prioritise, eg deal with urgent matters first

v) procrastinate to win
- if you have several interesting projects on the go simultaneously, regularly switch from one to the other; such task switching can unlock new ideas

vi) cross-fertilise

"...creative ideas come to people who are interdisciplinary, working across different organisational units or across many projects...... good ideas often come when your mind makes the unexpected connections between different fields..."

Keith Sawyer as quoted by Tim Hartford, 2015

. Need to understand the impact of silos on organisations and their thinking.

"...silos are fundamentally a cultural phenomenon which arise because social groups and organisations have particular conventions about how to classify the world......commonly held ideas, beliefs and practices of any society of any kind..."

Gillian Tett, 2015

Silos are like a classification system that is fundamental to human culture

Even in today's world of increasingly interlinked systems, our lives and minds remain fragmented. Many large organisations divide and then subdivide into numerous different departments which often fail to communicate with each other, let alone collaborate.

"...people often live in separate mental and social "ghettos", talking and coexisting only with "people like us". In many countries, politics is polarised. Professions seem increasingly specialised, with a tiny pool of experts. Silos proliferate: or at least they do if you take the word to mean the presence of self-standing, independent entities that seem semi-detached from the wider system. It is not difficult to work out why these patterns exist; we live in such a complex world that we need to create structure to handle this complexity......the simplest way to create a sense of order to put ideas, people, and data into separate spatial, social and mental boxes. Silos help us to tidy up the world, classify and arrange our lives, economies and institutions. They encourage accountability..."

Gillian Tett, 2015

Some of the downsides of silos include
- self-interest of the silo dominates that of the organisation, eg much time and effort is wasted with each silo defending its own position against each other, rather than pushing what is best to the whole organisation
- creates incentives for managers to protect existing product ideas and past successes, rather than trying new things
- lack of communications between silos, eg fragmentation can cause information bottlenecks, stifle innovation, etc
- create tunnel vision/groupthink/mental blindness which can cause people to do stupid things
- not evaluate risks effectively

Most companies start as customer-driven and lose focus when they grow and turn into silo organisations. They have to relearn the basics of how to get close to their customers and understand the new skills of being part of a digital partnership

Some examples of the impact of silos
1. Sony
(initially a disruptor but then lost the plot)
In the latter part of the 20th century, Sony had a reputation for innovation. Some examples are
- 1960s and 70s it produced radios and television sets
- produced the Walkman (late 1970s) that changed the way millions of consumers listened to music
- in the 1980s it produced camcorders, digital cameras and video recorders
- in the 1990s Sony jumped into computers and developed a vast musical/film empire, generating such hits as Star Wars and Stuart Little
Could Sony adapt to the Internet with its high-speed connection networks, etc?
Sony tried to produce a digital version of the Walkman suitable for the Internet age in 1999. Using different proprietary technology, they offered 3 different types of Walkman. Initial reaction was favourable as Sony had creative consumer electronics engineers, designers, computer division expertise with video games and owned a musical label with such artists as Michael Jackson. It was thought that this combination would be unstoppable.
The reason the 3 different devices were developed was due to the lack of collaboration between the different departments, ie they were acting like silos and could not agree on a single product approach. The different digital Walkmans competed with each other and cannibalised each other. Thus Sony, which once had utterly dominated the world of portable music, had failed to move into the digital age.

2. Banking
Before the GFC, the financial system was so fragmented that is almost impossible for anyone to take an interconnected view of the risks were developing in the financial markets and banking world. Large financial organisations were split into many different departments, or silos. The senior management running these departments/groups, etc did not understand what other departments/groups were doing. For example, UBS (Swiss bank) prided itself on being ultraconservative and risk averse, yet ended up taking terrible risks with sub-prime mortgage portfolios because traders in America did not know what the traders in London were doing - and vice versa

3. BP
In 2010 one of BP's rigs suffered an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, spurting oil out into the sea and causing terrible pollution, etc. Investigations revealed that BP was an organisation with numerous bureaucratic silos based on technocratic, specialised fields.

4. CIA
After 9/11 it was found that the CIA and other intelligence agencies failed to foresee the threat posed by Al Qaeda in 2001. One of the reasons for this was the pattern of individual departments hoarding data and not sharing it with others.

5. Britain's National Health Service
This bureaucracy made many disasterous decisions over the procurement of the IT system between 2008 and 2011.  Management was ordering IT systems in one department and not consulting anybody else

6. Obamacare (2013)
The outcry over the computer glitches that dogged the launch of is the same story about a lack of consultation

7. General Motors (2014)
A similar tale emerged when GM admitted that some of its compact cars, such as Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5, had been fitted with faulty ignition switches that could slip from the run position to the accessory position while driving. This cut the engine power and disabled the airbags. Apparently some engineers were aware of this fault in 2001 and that it would cost around 1 dollar per car to fix!!! Despite people dying in car crashes from it, the information was held in a tiny bureaucratic silo. Furthermore, the engineers who handled the switches had minimal contact with the legal team that was worried about reputational risk

8. Medical profession. Each specialty is very protective of its area of expertise. For example, in Harvard University, Sleep Medicine Centre is around the corner from the Joslin Diabetes Centre.  It is well-known that sleep disordered breathing is linked to diabetes, eg 80% of diabetics have sleep disordered breathing. Yet these 2 centres had never contacted each other until an outsider organised it and now they are doing joint research (Joanne Gray, 2015j)!!!!!!

Some ways to handle the negative impact of silos is to
- regularly move staff around between different teams, etc to ensure that they have a more complete picture of the organisation and encourage them to collaborate
- create venues/meeting places, etc where staff from different groups can regularly meet informally
- continually reorganise teams, eg a large hospital (Cleveland Clinic) in Ohio changed the classification in medicine from doctor specialisations, (eg surgeon, physician, etc,) to organising medical professionals according to body parts
- have a remuneration system based on the performance collectively rather than individually, eg Blue Mountains Capital (hedge funds in New York)
- classify data in different ways
- get a wider sense of vision for the whole organisation
- step back and look at how we classify things with new eyes, eg compare things with something else
- develop "deep collaboration" and "concurrent engineering", eg Apple did not pass products sequentially from engineering to design to manufacturing to marketing to distribution. Instead these various departments collaborated simultaneously. Also the Apple engineers knew that the music companies had no incentive to help consumers download music over the Internet as they feared that people would listen to music for free, so they developed "iTunes" store (a website where music companies could sell songs to consumers). Furthermore, to boost sales, the engineers designed the platform so it could be accessed by anybody, using any technology
NB need to

"...have the ability to question boundaries, challenge classification systems and try to re-imagine the world..."

Gillian Tett, 2015

Steve Jobs had an unique way of jumping across boundaries and challenging rigidities he saw. For example, at university he dropped out of formal studies. On the other hand, he continued to attend the campus and study courses that interested him like Japanese Calligraphy. At that time it had no immediate benefit. Yet years later when he was creating his designs for Apple's computers, he blended his training in information technology with the seemingly unconnected calligraphy skills to create the multi-typefaces or proportionally spaced font, eg

"...You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards..."

Steve Jobs as quoted by Gillian Tett, 2015

. To fully understand another culture you need to immerse yourself in it, eg live/work in it, marry into it, etc..  In response to the question "where should I start my career", the answer according to Natalie Cope counters with "Do you want a job or a future"? If you want a job, stay in your native country; if you want a future, go overseas to regions like Asia!!!!

"...there is no substitute for in-country experience. The knowledge, learning and skills to be gained are invaluable. In-country experiences will lead to an appreciation of local business, political, ethical and regulatory environments. It helps build cultural sensitivity and understanding, and it will allow you to foster rich and meaningful relationships. Having local knowledge and long-term relationships based on trust and mutual understanding will be paramount to commercial success......many of the perceived challenges of doing business with Asia are real. The countries, cultures and markets of Asia are vastly......different and legal barriers, along with moral and ethical quandaries. No one will ever be able to prevent all mistakes and misfortune..."

Natale Cope, 2015

5 5 1 Product

1 Month

Start your Change Management Plan today

With our FREE Basic membership

FREE fast start guides to review your organizations

FREE access to change management knowledge base

FREE change management case review



Become a Member - the benefits:

  • Ability to download a hardcopy(s) of the entire 5 x volume knowledgebase
  • Copy, paste and print content of interest
  • Be personally notified about regular content updates
  • Receive advance copies of the newsletters (including interesting articles)
  • Receive notification of upcoming events like Change Management Masterclasses

designed by: bluetinweb

Free 1:1 Consultation

get a free 1:1 consultation to apply
the relevant concepts to your specific
change management project