July 18, 2011 at 5:48am
A major feature of management in organisations is ongoing change. Change itself has changed (see Gary Hamel's video on the home page of the MIX). But whilst more and faster change might necessitate management 2.0, management 2.0 also introduces yet more change. So how can change itself be managed (if that's still the right word) in a 2.0 approach? And how does change 2.0 borrow from web 2.0 in doing this?
Change management simply doesn't work. We've known this since at least at least 1995 with John Kotter's book Leading Change where he suggests that in over 70% of the situations where substantial changes were clearly needed, either they were not fully launched, or the change efforts failed, or changes were achieved by over budget, late, and with great frustration.
And over a decade later in A Sense of Urgency, Kotter refers to the same problematic 70%.
This is reinforced elsewhere too, for example, Standish Group's 2009 report describes a marked decrease in project success rates, with 32% of all projects succeeding which are delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions. 44% were challenged which are late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions and 24% failed which are cancelled prior to completion or delivered and never used."
Some of the problems with the approach seem to include an over-reliance on logic vs emotion, which Kotter tried to correct for in the Heart of Change. The emotional basis for change has also been further developed by Mixer, Dan Pink (again, see the videos on the home page / MIX TV).
But going beyond this, change itself has been made more difficult as organisations become more socially oriented, trust with traditional sources of authority falls, and cynicism increases. Plus of course, the need for change to be more successful, ie engaging people's passions rather than simply their obedience (using Hamel's triangle) is increasing too.
The corollary of this is that change can be enabled to take place more deeply but that it needs to be supported in a different, more democratic way. Web 2.0 helps. The Arab Spring is an example - web 2.0 was only one instrument used in the revolution, but this, together with the values of web 2.0 created more change that most organisations could hope, or would probably want, to see.
It may not be the whole story, but change management can at least partly be improved by drawing on some of the values of web 2.0 (some, but not all, of which, are addressed within Gary Hame;s challenge essay):
Change is easier when it's ongoing and incremental, rather than sudden and transformational eg involving a mjor change in direction. To help ongoing incremental change, organsiations need to ensure their people have the full information on what's happening, ie including the organisations business and financial results, knowledge of competitor activties, changes in shareholder expectations etc. All this is vital if the organisation si going to help its people sense change, and consider appropriate actions etc. Web 2.0 can obviously help in this process, by broadcasting information, allowing employees to contribute to this, and enabling discussion between everyone as well.
Successful change management involves everyone in the change - at least in agreeing on the how, and ideally the planning the what as well. This takes longer to do, but once agreement has been reached, implementing the change will be much quicker and deeper because everyone(or at least a much largere proportion of people) will be on board. Web 2.0 can obviously help with this as well.
As above change requires a meritocracy of ideas - about what the change needs to be, and how it will be done. It also needs a meritocracy of people. The leaders who manage steady state ./ business as usual may not be the right people to manage change / create the future. Often the most appropriate people will be those who are the best connected, eg the mavens and connectors who can ensure that change grows naturally through organisational networks. Tools like social network analysis can help identify these people, and social networks can help give added exposure to their voices.
As well as listening to their people, organisations need to be much more committed to learning from other organisations. Tools including both process and survey benchmarking help here as do having things like more permeable organisational boundaries. And organisations also need to maximise their learning internally as well, by, for example, allowing and investing in experimentation to increase the rate at which they learn. We 2.0 can help this process by increasing the organisation's ability to share information and distribute learning from one part of an organisation to another.
Organisations don't change - people do, and when groups change they do so in communities, ie places where there is some common experience and shared mindset. These can include functional business group, but can be based on psycho and demographics and a range of other things. Encouraging communities to develop helps change to take place. And web 2.0 helps communities to be set up, maintained and grown.
"Everyone hates change." It's complete nonsense of course. Everyone hates coersion. Please like or at least acept change when they're involved and have a say in defining how change is going to work for them. We 2.0 features from discussion groups to liking or voting help provide opportunities for everyone to have their say.
People will be involved in change, they won't resist it, and change management will therefore be more successful.
Apply the principles of web / management / change 2.0 to introducing this approach to change, ie emphasise the vlaues of transparency, collaboration, meritocracy, openness, community and self-determination...