Organisational Change Management Volume 2

More on Connectedness

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. Connectedness

- relies on verbal communications, not print or video. It involves staff talking through their difficulties and problems, rather than management circulating posters and videos.

- is different from the authoritarian and command approaches that are supposed to be quicker, but can involve continual, time-consuming battles with self-interest.

- is occurring successfully when people begin to say "we hold ourselves accountable"rather than "our bosses hold us accountable".

. The concept of "problem-identification" (not solution selling) is intrinsic to connectedness. If this occurs, the ability to handle change is increased for the following reasons:

- people who understand the real problems are ready for solutions

- it reduces the chance of polarity developing between management and staff

- if everyone recognises the problem, it is likely to be solved much faster and meet all needs

- selling problems involves everyone in the solution. As Bridges states

"...Selling problems is an investment that pays long-term dividends in making people readier for a particular organisation transition, and for the world of continuous change..."

William Bridges, 1991

. Connectedness does not mean abandonment by management; rather it means setting the context for change, ie

- preparing the players

- understanding what they know and don't know

- working with them

- watching their performance

- giving them feedback

- creating an ongoing dialogue with them

. There are 4 basic conditions for successful connectedness:

i. share all information (including financials, forecasts etc.), ie open-book management thatresults in productivity gains and improved financial literacy of the workers

ii. give full staff responsibility and accountability with skills to understand key drivers and what influences them

iii. base compensation, recognition and rewards for staff on the success of the organisation, eg bonus, stock ownership.

iv. the system and processes must be wholly transparent

. To achieve connectedness, management should focus on 3 activities:

i. recognize staff's contributions and treat them like valuable assets. Personal recognition must reflect genuine respect. (People on the front lines are quick to recognize mere PR gestures or attempts to manipulate)

ii. commit to maximizing opportunities for everyone's personal growth and development

iii. ensure that everyone not only understands how his or her role fits into the organisation's overall purpose but also how he or she might contribute personally to achieving it

. Connectedness involves mutual commitment in which management treats staff not as a cost to be controlled but as an asset to be developed. For their parts, staff commit time and emotional energy to making the organisation as effective and as competitive as they can, ie as basic as a difference between a mercenary (chasing money) and a professional soldier (chasing national glory).

. Connectedness does not mean that hierarchies are abolished; rather it means that the instructions derive their authority from a logic that's understandable to all and not from the position in the hierarchies

. Grow and divide3M use successful project teams, consisting of an entrepreneur with an idea and a small team that believes in it, to grow into departments. Some of them grow to become separate divisions that restart the process with their own project teams. Thus instead of carving small units out of larger ones in order to facilitate control, 3M encourages these small units borne of innovation and entrepreneurship to grow into larger divisions and departments.

. Using "biological terms"- there is a need to link the organisational anatomy, psychology and physiology. Even with the organisation's anatomy (a structure built up, not down) and its psychology (its eagerness to trust the individual), management cannot assume that the desired bottom-up flow of ideas and proposals will occur spontaneously. The organisational physiology ‐ the flows and relationships that link all the parts of the organisation to one another ‐ must also be made right to function effectively.

. Management has to achieve a sensitive balance between discipline and support to motivate front-line staff to superior performance. Empowerment of front-line staff does not mean abdication or anarchy should follow.

. Although the vertical process of "information up and control down"has allowed organisations to develop highly efficient operations that support the expressed strategy, it contains no means for challenging that strategy. Unquestioned and unquestionable verities become enshrined as the organisational way and will stifle any change process

 

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