Effective change is co-created
Change tends to be unpredictable and emergent, so it is not really something that can be ‘ordered’ or ‘managed’ – it can only be facilitated and accompanied.
Change can feel threatening and like an intrusion when imposed from the outside or ‘from the top. Accordingly, change tends to be most effective if those people concerned with it – across functions and hierarchies – take proactive ownership. This can be achieved through participative processes, where those most concerned with and effected by change are involved in co-creating approaches and solutions.
At the outset of a client assignment, I care about building a good initial working relationship with clients and building mutual trust, so we can work well together.
Consulting on change in organizations is then to me about getting to know and starting to understand the organization through immersion, through being present and participating in some of the day-to-day things going on. This is helpful so I can start noticing pertinent aspects and can accordingly facilitate growing awareness among clients. Together, we can look at potential patterns and routines, and at how to ‘disrupt’ those towards change.
Then I consider it important to start with good inquiry, involving people throughout the organization and consulting them for their thoughts, ideas and opinions. It is important to hear many voices and gather perspectives. I recommend to keep involving people throughout the whole process of designing and experimenting with new approaches and implementing them, to grow their sense of buy-in towards and ownership of issues and action.
The theories that most inform my evolving practice as underlying philosophies are social construction, complex responsive processes, and relational practice. I also work with Appreciative Inquiry as a methodology.
Hosting a really big conversation
As desired, I also work with colleagues from Achordus (www.achordus.com). Achordus is a unique process that brings together 100 to 10,000 people into an engaging, worthwhile online conversation. Achordus combines a proven methodology and process to help create a participatory, involving dialogue where useful discussions on pressing issues can take place between senior executives and staff within global organizations, or between organizations and their stakeholders in a community. The web-based collaboration platform provides state-of-the-art communication technology and is professionally facilitated. Famously used by e.g. IBM, Nokia Siemens Networks.