Change Implementation Techniques for Laying a Foundation for New Ways

Technique 1.27 Working More Attuned to Systems and Fundamental Causes

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Answer the following questions to help understand the laying of the foundations for the change process

1 What are the events going on in current reality?

List the symptoms of poor or flawed process as you typically first perceived them: defects going up, quality going down, sales dropping, turnover arising, cost increasing, etc

2 What are the patterns of behaviour underlying those events?

List the short‐term actions that you have taken in the past to respond to crises, perhaps without thinking much about long‐term consequences, ie we saw defects going up, and we adapted by running the factory more hours, so that production level of good products stayed the same.

2. What is the systemic structure in this situation?

Are you are taking some adaptive action? For example, running the factory longer hours and thus focusing your attention away from other actions ‐ such as revamping your own quality or inspection practices.

4. What mental models keep reinforcing that systemic structure?

How does the way you see the world lead you to the same approaches time and time again? It sometimes may take some reflection to answer this question, because you're looking for attitudes so prevalent and basic to your thinking that you rarely notice them. For example, upgrading computers is justified in terms of improved productivity. On the other hand, most people still use computers as typewriters. It might be more cost‐effective to spend money on training to help people to use the equipment they already have.

5. What is the espoused vision you want to create?

What are the goals and aspirations of the organisation? What do you really want to create, in business terms? Is it higher pay, a higher quality product, faster cycle time, a broader customer base, etc?

6. What is the vision underlying your behaviour?

Consider the answers to the first four questions ‐ do they add up to the vision of the fifth question? If your current actions, responses, systems and mental models are played out, would they lead to your desired vision? Most answers are no.

7. What, then, is the vision in use that an observer might deduce from your actions, even if you haven't explicitly chosen it?

The mismatch between an espoused vision and a vision‐in‐use, creates organisational anguish, mixed messages and wasted resources

8. If you had an organisation seriously focused on creating your desired vision, what mental models would have to be present?

Generally, people don't change their mental models under pressure. But gradually, as people re‐examine the issues of themselves in conversations like this one, they may see how the mental models of the past reinforce problems, and that may pave the way for deeper changes in attitudes

9. Desired systemic structures, patterns of behaviour, and events: if you moved toward your vision, what behaviour might you see?

How would you know you were doing well? What kinds of systems would you develop, if you wanted to achieve your goal? How could you reinforce the behaviour that you wanted to create? What would seem to be the highest leverage actions?

(source: Daniel Kim et al, 1999)

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