Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Most Important Change Initiatives

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Effective change initiatives possess the following qualities

. They are connected with real work goals and processes

. They are connected with improving performance

. They involve people who have the power to take action regarding these goals

. They seek to balance action and reflection, connecting inquiry and experimentation

. They afford people an increased amount of "wide space": opportunities for people to think and reflect without pressure to make decisions

. They are intended to increase people's capacity, individually and collectively

. They focus on learning about learning, in settings and contexts that matter

. They acknowledge that many business problems are symptomatic of deeper issues

The most effective initiatives create positive environments by incorporating 4 cornerstones

1. New guiding ideas - too often organisations are governed by mediocre ideas. On the other hand, important ideas to organisational transitions are

- openness (developing a genuine spirit of inquiry and trust)

- localness (decisions should be made at the lowest possible level of the hierarchy),

- intrinsic motivation (people, individually, are actually motivated to learn)

2 Innovations in the infrastructure - new practices and policies to channel activity in new directions, eg

- new Governance structures

- new vehicle to exchange information across boundaries

- new systems of measuring success

- new ways of integrating learning and working

3 Theories, methods and techniques - these represent bodies of knowledge that guide effective practice,

- they must be practical

- they must be able to work on important issues

- they must have the potential to lead to significant progress on these issues.

4 Prioritising time - the fundamental problem is not lack of time but lack of time flexibility. Everyone is busy; the real struggle is being able to prioritise one's own time. The best ways to handle this are

- integrating initiatives ‐ as different people get involved with organisational change, initiatives proliferate. It is better to combine several different initiatives into one and concentrate on the important, key issues

- scheduling time for focus and concentration - a great deal of leverage can be obtained by rearranging time to encourage a focus, concentration and intensive work, ie schedule activities in one block rather than a series of blocks.

- trusting people to control their own use of time - there is a need to get away from the "chain gang"model of time management, ie the speed of the gang is determined by the speed of a boss, as suggested by

"...Unless the boss is visible, and riding hard on the staff, they won't do anything..."

There is a need to allow people to schedule themselves up and be rewarded for the results produced, instead of the boss being visible. Letting people schedule their time is a great organisational trust builder

- valuing unstructured time - quality of managerial work often depends upon large amounts of unscheduled time for "day dreaming", talking about significant subjects without immediate pressure to produce results, for the impromptu conversations that help people deal with ambiguous issues like learning and change. Providing informal slack time by giving people time to encounter one another casually in the course of their workday can have enormous benefits. The concept of slack time is problematic for traditional managers who think in terms of quantifying productivity. The tight measurement of time at work does not take into account the broad spectrum of thinking, conversation, decision-making, research and inquiry that constitutes work (knowledge work) in today's organisations.

- building capabilities for eliminating busy work ‐ with fewer people to do the same amount of work, unnecessary tasks and wasted efforts need to be eliminated.

- saying no to political games playing - too much time can be spent on non-productive activities.

- saying no to non-essential demands - reduce the work that is not adding value to the customer and/or is not a statutory requirement.

- experimenting with time - is there some old, limiting policy that controls the amount of time flexibility? Do you know the reasons that the time-related policy was put in place? Can another policy accomplish the same goals, while simultaneously allowing time flexibility?


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