Pack #8

Creating Change

Change is a process, not an event. What supports change in one system at a certain point in time, might not in another system at a different point in time. But there are some principles that it seems we can creatively apply in the ways that seem most fitting to our own context. Here are some of those principles.

FEATURED VIDEO

Culture Change with Pedro Morgado

Here I speak to Pedro Morgado from Wodify about their cultural change, it's benefits, how they did it and more. Enjoy.

Episodes

Section Introduction - Pack 8

Introduction

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This pack is designed to help people consider a shifting global context which requires us to build different types of organisation and see to reconsider traditional organisations, work and our own mindsets. It includes "perspective" episodes designed to provoke new thoughts, "reflection" episodes to make sense of new insights and a "mini-workshop" to share insights related to change management in a group.

  • Section Introduction
  • The Straight Line Instinct
  • The Destiny Instinct
  • Losing Control
  • Ice or Liquid
  • The Implications Map
  • [BONUS] Daily Anchor Canvas

Ultimately this whole course is about change and change is extremely complex and often misunderstood.

One misunderstanding is simply that we think that change is something we do, without realising that change is constantly happening anyway. In fact, change can’t be stopped, even by the most conservative of people.

Another misunderstanding is that change is often assumed to be something we plan and execute. Whilst there’s little harm in a bit of planning and forward thinking, what this forgets is that all changes have implications. Some implications are as we intended, and others not. Those unintended implications are often positive and negative. A new solution breads a new problem. I think of it almost like we’re constantly trying to untangle a never ending thread with new knots to be discovered a long the way.

Linked to this fallacy is another, whereby people fall pray to the straight line instinct and assume linear causality. That if I do this, then this will happen. But as I said, when I do this, loads of stuff might or might not happen beyond what I could have imagined. In this sense doing really is the only thing to be done.

> For a bit more on this, I refer you back to the ‘Changing World Pack’ and the episode “Implications Map” episode

So it’s often said that change is a process rather than an event and I think this is closer to the truth. It’s a never ending journey to go on, tickling the system along the way, pulling at the threads we can pull.

But perhaps the misunderstanding that is most common is that there are a set of tools and practices that 'just work’. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. If anybody tells you they’ve found the secret recipe I urge you to apply some thorough skepticism. The famous American activist and community organiser Saul Alinsky in his book Rules for Radicals says that:

“There can be no prescriptions for particular situations because the same situation rarely recurs, any more than history repeats itself. People, pressures, and patterns of power are variables, and a particular combinations exists only in a particular time - even then the variables are constantly in a state of flux. It is the principles that the organiser must carry with them in battle. To these they apply their imagination, and they relate to them tactically to specific situations."

So in this pack I will share what I believe some of these principles to be for what I call “Organisational Activism". Principles that with the right creative application can create bottom up change in complex systems like organisations.

Find The Others

Principle

Read Transcript

This pack is designed to help people consider a shifting global context which requires us to build different types of organisation and see to reconsider traditional organisations, work and our own mindsets. It includes "perspective" episodes designed to provoke new thoughts, "reflection" episodes to make sense of new insights and a "mini-workshop" to share insights related to change management in a group.

  • Section Introduction
  • The Straight Line Instinct
  • The Destiny Instinct
  • Losing Control
  • Ice or Liquid
  • The Implications Map
  • [BONUS] Daily Anchor Canvas

It’s worth seeing change in an organisation like a movement. It is in fact a type of social movement, there’s no doubt about that, and I think that actually seeing it as such is more practical and effective than through the lens of ‘change management’.

But I also mean the term movement quite literally, how do we create movement? How do we make things move?

Well the old way was always to look for things that were bad and focus on them. Energetically though, I equate this similarly to pushing a heavy rock up a hill. The alternative is to find where there is already energy and give it an extra push. Like pushing a small snowball down a hill, watching it grow and speed up along the way. The second is far easier than the first.

The most effective application of this is to find the others. That is to say, find the other activists. The ones who want change. Who share your vision. Who get stuff done. There is a famous Gallup worldwide survey that says that only 13% of people are actively engaged at work, 60% are disengaged and 27% are actively disengaged, trying to sink the ship. I argue that focussing on the 27% is an uphill battle and to a degree so is 60%. Apathy being something very difficult to move to action.

So my suggestion is to focus on the 13%. Find them. If that 13% can do some cool stuff, they will soon turn some of the others. Sooner or later the group will grow. And since some studies report that it takes 25% of a group to change the social norm, the movement can quickly reach tipping point.

Building a movement like this can move quicker because it uses existing momentum. That 13% can then grow because other people want to join the party. In my experience this is a faster, more effective and more fun and healthier way to create change. So I urge you to ‘Find The Others’.

Who are they? Who shares your energy? Who wants change?
They might be the most quiet person there is. They might be obvious. But finding the others is the way to create movement, reach the 25% and ultimately change an organisation.

What will people move for?

Practice

Read Transcript

This pack is designed to help people consider a shifting global context which requires us to build different types of organisation and see to reconsider traditional organisations, work and our own mindsets. It includes "perspective" episodes designed to provoke new thoughts, "reflection" episodes to make sense of new insights and a "mini-workshop" to share insights related to change management in a group.

  • Section Introduction
  • The Straight Line Instinct
  • The Destiny Instinct
  • Losing Control
  • Ice or Liquid
  • The Implications Map
  • [BONUS] Daily Anchor Canvas

The tendency to over-strategise a change process often makes the mistake of being overly theoretical, namely by forgetting that this is a group of humans. If our aim is positive change and movement then it begs two questions:
* What does positive change look like for people?
* What will they move for?

With these two questions answered a group is ready to get going.
This is because as Peter Senge said, “People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” So putting people in the driving seat is the key to unlocking their energy for change.

So my suggestion is that we put a pause on planning change too much theoretically, and instead that we gather people and ask them a series of questions. I often run this as a workshop and it can have some really immediate impact and enduring energy:
1. What things do you care most about improving?
Once we get all this out in the open, you’ll see that there are clear clusters. This is really relieving to people to finally see that actually there are fewer problems than they thought, and these changed are surprisingly widespread.
2. Then ask people, to gather around the cluster they care most about changing
3. Then ask them to plan some experiments to make this change happen.
I often recommend doing this in short cycles of say 6 weeks and the re-assessing how the experiment is going then before carrying on for another cycle.

Time and time again I have done this in organisations, and the results are often surprising. One is that when asked to focus on what they care about, people tend to start moving. Second is that by focussing on what they care about, this change tends to sustain. I’ve come back to an organisation over a year after doing this process and found people are still working hard to affect change in their chosen area. Because when we offer people the opportunity to focus on what they care about, they move.

Agile Activism

Principle

Read Transcript

This pack is designed to help people consider a shifting global context which requires us to build different types of organisation and see to reconsider traditional organisations, work and our own mindsets. It includes "perspective" episodes designed to provoke new thoughts, "reflection" episodes to make sense of new insights and a "mini-workshop" to share insights related to change management in a group.

  • Section Introduction
  • The Straight Line Instinct
  • The Destiny Instinct
  • Losing Control
  • Ice or Liquid
  • The Implications Map
  • [BONUS] Daily Anchor Canvas

Because change isn’t linear, plans rarely happen as expected. So the best approach is often to work in cycles or sprints, just like a self organised team of software engineers would for instance. I call this ‘Agile Activism’.

The way this works is to first decide on what the dream is. This can be vague and fluffy, that’s kind of ok, they key is that it’s attractive. For instance, this might be something like “To create a radically transparent organisation where all is shared”.

Once you have that vision, then decide a cycle length, say 1 month. And plan what you’d like to achieve in that month. This isn’t a plan of the actions that you’ll take but rather the events that will occur, the results. This is your MVC, your Minimum Viable Change. It might be for instance that “One team has moved totally to open digital channels”. Make a little list of these.

And then ask yourself: for that to happen, what needs to happen? And this becomes your list of actions for the group to take. Put a name, and a date next to them.

Then, plan for a retrospective type meeting at the end of the cycle, to plan the next one. The key is that we are clear and driven on our goal, and that we apply ourselves for one cycle. Then we will gather to decide what to do next.

If repeated over and over again, there is no reason for this to ever stop. Change becomes a journey that you have some basic structure for so that you can always duck and dive as needed.

Inviting Humanity

Read Transcript

This pack is designed to help people consider a shifting global context which requires us to build different types of organisation and see to reconsider traditional organisations, work and our own mindsets. It includes "perspective" episodes designed to provoke new thoughts, "reflection" episodes to make sense of new insights and a "mini-workshop" to share insights related to change management in a group.

  • Section Introduction
  • The Straight Line Instinct
  • The Destiny Instinct
  • Losing Control
  • Ice or Liquid
  • The Implications Map
  • [BONUS] Daily Anchor Canvas

It’s often forgotten that organisations are just groups of humans. That’s pretty much it. And as discussed humans operate largely on the basis of our emotions whether we’re aware of it or not, and most often we’re not.

Well something magical can happen in an organisation when we do bring our emotions to the room and when they’re fully accepted.

I once facilitated a leadership retreat for an executive team. We sat in a circle and each person took it in turns to answer the simple question "what do you need?” by picking a card from the pack. One leader had hardly spoken since the retreat had started the previous day and then he very calmly, with a contemplative look showed his card and said “I need to be heard and I need to matter”

Silence

One colleague simply said: “Wow. I’m sorry you don’t feel you do.” It’s amazing how impactful a few words can be. The room opened up and the conversation got honest. People became more authentic and things got real. All it needed was one person, at the right time, to share what they really needed.

It’s amazing what happens we bring ourselves to a situation and I think that hosting conversations where we can all do this can really change the vibe and can create a real opportunity for change.

Edgar Schein said that an organisation’s culture is like an iceberg, with 90% of it being under the surface. Above the surface we have the visible artefacts and mostly our behaviours. And under the surface we have our beliefs and I would add our emotional motivations. Surfacing them can be an amazing call to change.

Work Sheet

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Victims & Creators

Principle

Read Transcript

This pack is designed to help people consider a shifting global context which requires us to build different types of organisation and see to reconsider traditional organisations, work and our own mindsets. It includes "perspective" episodes designed to provoke new thoughts, "reflection" episodes to make sense of new insights and a "mini-workshop" to share insights related to change management in a group.

  • Section Introduction
  • The Straight Line Instinct
  • The Destiny Instinct
  • Losing Control
  • Ice or Liquid
  • The Implications Map
  • [BONUS] Daily Anchor Canvas

Moaning, gossiping, complaining aren’t without their uses, but often these are behaviours we practice at our own disservice. This is something sometimes referred to as the circle of concern.

Imagine a circle, within it are all the things you’re concerned with. These are all the things you are concerned with. Then within this circle, draw a smaller circle, this is the circle of influence. In other words, there is a greater circle of things that you are concerned by and within that there is a smaller circle, a smaller percentage of these concerns that you can actually influence.

100% of your focus should be on the small circle. There may be concerns, that if you reduce the size of their scope become things that can now fit in your circle of influence, but regardless it is in your circle of influence that you must focus.

I’ll give you an example: During the Brexit referendum, I felt angry. I was concerned at the state of so-called democracy. But this is a concern. It was unlikely I would be able to do much about it. But the question we must ask ourselves is exactly that: “What can I do about this?” In my case, I felt I could write a book. Other people might have more influence than me but for me this is where I felt I could have an influence.

This simple mental model for me allows me to think of the things I care about most deeply and take control over them in the way that I can. Within the scope of my influence. I am for instance concerned about the state of mainstream education, I would love that system to change, but currently that is a concern. I can however influence my own child’s upbringing by adopting a democratic approach to their education. This is within my influence.

So it might be useful for you to make a list of your concerns, but only if it is for you to focus on the follow-up question: “What can I do about this?”. What can you influence?

A blunt way of putting this is that focussing on your concerns, that is to say moaning, gossiping, complaining, is ultimately the attitude of a victim. Moving on from that to focus on what you can influence, is the attitude of a creator. Given the choice of being a victim or a creator, the answer is pretty simple.

Work Sheet

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Everybody, Anybody, Somebody & Nobody

Fable

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This pack is designed to help people consider a shifting global context which requires us to build different types of organisation and see to reconsider traditional organisations, work and our own mindsets. It includes "perspective" episodes designed to provoke new thoughts, "reflection" episodes to make sense of new insights and a "mini-workshop" to share insights related to change management in a group.

  • Section Introduction
  • The Straight Line Instinct
  • The Destiny Instinct
  • Losing Control
  • Ice or Liquid
  • The Implications Map
  • [BONUS] Daily Anchor Canvas

'This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody,  Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.’

Work Sheet

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