Change Implementation Techniques for Laying a Foundation for New Ways

Technique 1.32 Strategy via Conversation

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This technique is based on the assumption that organisations are already populated with intelligent and aware people, engaged in a collective search for meaning about the direction of the organisation. Conversations explore new ways to define and create customer value, seek out and pre‐empt new competitive space, find ways to change the rules of game in their favour, and raise the bar for the organisation and the competition. This is different from the traditional top‐down strategic approach to these organisation issues.

This involves a developmental path that can build strategic skills throughout the organisation and the process is linked with the ongoing operations of the organisation.

There are 5 key activities in the development path

1 Scanning

2 Thinking

3 Choosing

4 Planning

5 Implementation

1 Scanning

People throughout the organisation are constantly monitoring and evaluating both the organisation and the environment the organisation works in. They are looking for words and actions (predictable and unpredictable) that have strategic implications for the organisation. Furthermore, there is a forum in which to report their findings to the organisation

2 Thinking

Does the new data (from scanning) fit into current business models in the organisation? If the data does not fit, then the model of the business should be questioned. This activity involves pressure‐testing current explanations of reality and models of the business, and developing and exploring alternatives. The thinking process can be both formal and informal.

3 Choosing

This stage involves deciding on a view of the future of the marketplace, and how best to compete in it. Everyone, in choosing, takes accountability for the decision. The decision‐making should involve a broad range of representatives, ie the most diverse organisational cross‐section possible.

4 Planning

This is preparing the decisions for action (ie how will we get there?), and is more than meeting deadlines. If the focus becomes the deadline, this will result in attention staying focused on the bureaucratic form of the presentation, instead of the quality and integrity of the content.

The end point of planning is not a document; it is the value of the process that people engage in. This planning must have inputs from all the relevant stakeholders, ie do not use confidentiality to stop inputs from a wide range of stakeholders.

5 Implementation

This element of the technique involves intelligently executing the actions to which the organisation has agreed. All participants in the plan should be trained and given the support they need to monitor and evaluate the affects. This means people must understand, and be prepared to question, the assumptions and action plans that took great effort to develop in the early stages.

In the end, implementing leads right back into scanning, ie monitoring the impact that your actions, and the actions of others have on your customers, marketplace and community.

(source: Andy Thomas et al, 1999)

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