Tag Archives: large complex organizations

water flowing into hands

Truths About Transformation – Part II How Far Is It From Here to Transformed?

 

Transformation demands that the organization get serious about matching how it originates, orients, and conducts business with the nature, qualities and characteristics of the New Millennium Era business paradigm.  To do this it must unlearn some amount what it has learned before attempting to transform. The first article in this series talked about how to tell if your initiative is indeed a transformation, or just a regular change.  This article offers insight into the target/transformation paradigm as the goal you’re working for when you transform.

In short, there is an entirely new ideology that organizations strive for when they transform, although it is difficult to discern and express beyond what people will be doing differently on a task level for most organizations.  I can offer a metaphor for CIOs to keep in their minds and guide their conversations…

Regardless of how much change management business-side leaders employ there is a lingering insistence that this work should create or follow a machine-like pathway for change to occur – that is, business-side leaders approach change as if the organization is a machine or assembly line, and when they begin to realize that it isn’t they bring change management specialists to make it that way.  In fact, most modern organizations are like organisms with many inter-related systems and overarching controls and channels for information flow and direction.

Furthermore, the real depth of complexity of the ‘organism’ organization is only evident when leaders begin to consider making changes. When it comes to transformative change, the magnitude is exponential and this is because the organization is attempting a metamorphosis from an organism of systems to something I and other organizational psychology professionals refer to as ‘flux’ (continuous transformation). Diagrammatically, this concept looks like this…

heirarchy  image006  image007

How most leaders regard     How the organization really is    How the organization will
the organization and              right now.                                      operate in its future state,
approach transformative                                                               which is the whole point of
change.                                                                                              transforming.

The above depiction is not news to most IT leaders. Helping business-side leaders to come to terms with this, is another matter and so I can offer some grounding points for CIOs in their efforts to deal with gaps in understanding and promote a more appropriate way of getting transformative change through.

THE NEW ‘SUCCESS’ MINDSET

Hallmarks of the mindset that is indicative of an organization that is ready to do the work to shift paradigms/lead and manage transformation include:

  1. Knowledge that future success cannot be predicated on the past – at least not for the next 20 years
  2. Understanding that universal, predictable, and very specific qualities and characteristics underpin the transformed state and are the target
  3. Knowing that a tried and true recipe for failure is to approach transformation work as if the organization is a like a machine rather than like an organism
  4. Recognition that Industrial Age paradigms are so deeply embedded that breakdowns and breakthroughs should be pursued and managed as a necessary process of transformation at the organization, team and individual levels
  5. Acceptance that the new paradigm is so foreign that it will take disciplined effort to transform from being like an ‘organism’ that grows and evolves, into a ‘flux’ that is never the same from one day to the next.
  6. Acceptance that in order to save time, money, and the mental, physical, and emotional health of people, preparing the way for transformation work in advance is necessary – and this is accomplished by targeting the paradigm shift in addition to applying classic change management.

So, all of this begs the question ‘How far do we need to go to transform?’.  I.e. ascertaining the depth and nature of the journey can be a big help.  Not only does this thumbnail enable some preparation to be made, it adds a degree of predictability amidst the sea of unknowns that typically accompany transformative change.

TAKE THE TEST

Mark where your organization is at in making the from and to characteristic shifts the cultural and operational norm using the continuums below. Identify low marks as areas that need more preparation before spending capital dollars on transformation. Average the percentages to get a sense of the scale overall scale of work:

FROM                                                                                    TO                                                                      

Work and Effort Application Method :

Separate People, Command     1  .  2  . 3  .  4  .  5         Continuous Connectedness & Collaboration
& Control

Prevailing Leadership :

Reward & Punishment          1  .  2  .  3  .  4  .  5         Inspiration & Individualized Meaning

Information Flow :

Withholding Information = Power          1  .  2  .  3  .  4  .  5         Sharing of Information = Power

Success Measurement :

Weaknesses Against Goals          1  .  2  .  3  .  4  .  5         Contribution of Strengths to Goals

Thought Capital Management :

Compliance & Conformity          1  .  2  .  3  .  4  .  5         Ingenuity & Innovation

Most organizations have made progress on the above through the application of matrix managed structures. To be clear, you are aiming to tip the balance on the shift in mindset and paradigm and not aiming to secure a wholesale shift in every corner of your organization.  Preparatory work to shake loose the Industrial Age thinking and methods should focus on the most steeped/rooted areas of the organization and the most advanced/aligned areas of the organization.

Leading Multi-Generational Workforce – Millennium Era

 …the millennial generation — people between 18 and 34 years of age — will become the largest generation in the modern workforce, even bigger than the baby boomer generation. This finding highlights how the overall generational makeup of the workforce changes each year as boomers retire and more millennials enter the workforce…

https://www.recruiter.com/i/5-tips-for-leading-your-multigenerational-workforce-to-success/?utm_content=buffer513c0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

 

Paradox : A Gestalt Theory of Change

by Herb Stevenson

Underlying the application of Gestalt theory to organization development, consulting, and/or coaching is an approach that Arnold Biesser, M.D., characterized in 1970 as the paradoxical theory of change. This theory, which has become the foundation of practice at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, flows from the primary premise that meaning manifests through the differentiation, dissolution and integration—a form of absorption—of polarities. This article provides an understanding of the theoretical concepts that underpin Gestalt theory as it relates to polarity, paradox and dilemma.

http://www.clevelandconsultinggroup.com/articles/paradox-theory-of-change.php

 

Matt Taylor on Organizational Transformation

I take the position that organization transformation is random and the result of
accident and chance. Transformation cannot be made to happen. The
conditions that give rise to it can be understood and they can
be made present in your enterprise. Transformation emerges as the
consequence of many definable and fairly easily created circumstances. It is
neither easy nor difficult. It does take a well designed and persistent effort
over an extended period of time and this is something that few organizations are
willing to sustain. There is no easy path to transformation and a group of
consultants cannot come into your firm and do it for you.

Organizational Transformation – Matt Taylor

 

Organization Theory and the Transformation of Large, Complex Organizations

Since the late 1990s, the transformation of large, complex organizations has become a topic of considerable interest in industry, academia, and government, especially in the context of a global economy linked to increasingly pervasive technology.  Such transformation is understandably of particular interest in the United States because, in many ways, it is defined globally by its enormous and influential government and business organization as well as by the reputation of some of its most prestigious academic ones.

Dissertation: Donald H. Rumsfeld