Change is at the surface of almost everything these days. We think, breathe and act change. Many leaders of the organizations whom I work with, struggle with the question how to implement changes in their community. They’ve for instance invented a brilliant leadership model, they’ve developed a magnificent work-process to increase the customer satisfaction or they’ve formulated a set of new brand-values.
How can you as a leader implement such a change? You could think of just communicating the new leadership model, the work-process or the set of values, for instance, through a management letter or another sort of (hard-copy) document. But you already know that just dropping a few pages in some-one else's inbox won't change either the thinking or the acting of that other person. Maybe e-learning solutions could help us?
Through automated systems we can guide our colleagues through online games or learning environments to develop their knowledge about the leadership model, the work-process or the set of values. Indeed, this approach opens up opportunities. This thinking requires an active contribution of the employee. We may expect that these kind of interactions are able to influence someones thinking. But what about the acting?
Out of sync
We know that communication via an IT-system is not very powerful if people don’t often meet each-other. In Harvard Business Review I’ve read about the Allen Curve. This curve estimates that we are four times as likely to communicate regularly with someone sitting six feet away from us, as with someone 60 feet away. And that we almost never communicate with colleagues on separate floors or in separate buildings.
Recent research has shown that as distance-shrinking technology accelerates, proximity is apparently becoming more important. Studies by Ben Waber show that both face-to-face and digital communications follow the Allen Curve: out of sight, out of sync. Therefore I propose an approach in which not solely IT, but rather IT combined with dialogue plays a crucial role.
I believe that we focus too much on the levels of cognitive knowledge (what?) and personal competencies (how?) when it comes to change process. Simon Sinek shows that change is all about the why-question. At this moment I’m working on implementing changes for large groups in organizations, focussed on the why-question. With our company Something is going to happen, we actually design tailor-made and playful journeys for organizations to establish spaces where leaders and employees can connect their own stories about the why of the change.
Blend of spots
Through a blend of on-line and off-line spots we service all the employees to follow their own journey to discover their own direction in this change-process, for instance through the following interventions:
- Personal audio-invitations from the leaders of the organization, to step into the change process, by using cell-phone technology (For Dutch readers: check ook mijn eerdere blog over de inzet van mobiele telefoons in leertrajecten);
- Blind dates, to connect leaders and employees randomly to each-other to invite them for an inspiring dialogue at an unknown spot outside the office building;
- Use podcasts or radioshows to have qualitative dialogues with a small number of people, but with a much wider approach (For Dutch readers: lees mijn eerdere blog over radio in organisaties);
- Tests at the workplace; to stretch the ambition of each-other, both managers and employees design ‘moments-of-truth' for each-other in the real work; these moments become laboratories, where people can exercise new approaches and new behavior.
Change is everywhere. We think change. We act change. We breathe change. There are more and more reasons to change our repertoire of change-interventions in organisations. I’m up to make it more personal and more playful. Are you with me?
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