From Leading Change Projects to Leading Changing Organisations
Simon Phillips writes about how change makers are needed to lead change, now!
We are living through a dynamically changing paradigm shift. The days of the complex and far-reaching strategy may be over. There are almost too many variables to make any assertions about the future. We may be able to see a few months down the road, we may be able to anticipate a time when some elements of business life return to a familiar pattern. But we cannot be sure.
So, how do we make decisions and how do we go about making those decisions stick?
The answer lies in the mindset of a Change Maker. A Change Maker is comfortable in an environment where little is certain, where every thought process delivers more complexity, where today's decision may need to be reassessed tomorrow.
Change Management as a discipline has evolved over the past few decades. As it emerged in the 1980's and 1990's it was a consideration at the end of technical, logistical and procedural projects - "Let's ensure everyone knows what is happening and apply the new rules as quickly and efficiently as possible." As time went by and lots of money, time and effort was wasted trying to retro-fit less than optimal solutions, it transformed into something that was more engaging up-front and far-reaching - "We need to look at our culture if these changes are to be successful."
Now, the picture appears to be changing again as a result of a number of unanswered huge questions:
I recently developed the diagram below to illustrate how the most agile of businesses will respond to the unprecedented levels of uncertainty we are facing currently. Many businesses (and their leaders) will be feeling Stuck right now and what they need to do is to transform their organisations, their teams and their own mindsets into ones which are capable or failing fast and often.
The Uncertainty-Busting Matrix is essentially a learning framework and a recipe for leadership teams to acquire the mindset of a Change Maker. How quickly can we fail (and learn)? The rate of failure has an underpinning measure too - how creative can we get? Without creativity, there is no raw material to work with.
An experienced Change Manager knows this, they know how to engage stakeholders rapidly and effectively, they know how to learn from every experience, they know how to collaborate, they know how to set out measured and achievable activities, they know how to cope when things don't work out as hoped or even expected. Look around your organisation, within your teams and identify the Change Makers - they will naturally lead you through these times.
Simon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org