A philosophy of change management

When an organisation or team or network seeks to bring about any form of change they require and expect the individuals affected to behave differently in some way. Peter Fryer describes his philosophy of small changes.

Usually change involves :

  • carrying out new processes
  • conducting existing processes differently
  • relating to others in different ways
  • acting on their own initiative more
  • or many others

Most change is a threat not an opportunity

However, because most people tie up their identity with what they do, many changes are resisted if they are perceived to threaten their identity. Also people behave in accordance with how they see the world, which is based on their experiences, skills, beliefs and values etc., and therefore any required change must be in accord with this world view if it is to be sustained.

Three principles of change

Therefore I believe that change facilitation should be based on three principles, that:

1. Changes must be small enough to be accommodated and owned by the individuals concerned so as not to threaten their identity. Therefore, it is better to make several small changes over a period of time rather than a single big change.

2. Most successful change is iterative and many small changes can have large effects especially after going around the organisational system a few times. The trick is to help the organisation identify these key small changes (i.e. trojanmice).

3. If people are to behave differently they need to view their world differently. This firstly requires that they appreciate there many different ways of viewing things and secondly they acquire the skills to do so. When we see things differently we invariably behave differently.

The key principles and practices of Change Management need to be practiced in a safe environment – a great way to do this is playing a change management simulation game with your colleagues.

For more details see Peter’s article on An organisation case study in complex adaptive systems.. Peter can be reached via Trojanmice

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