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Change Management – an orgtology perspective

change-management

Change is what makes life possible. The human ability to create intent beyond purpose is what sets us apart from the normal evolutionary change that occur in other animals. I.e., we can be revolutionary. E.g., a hawk can choose to catch a rabbit or a mouse, but it cannot choose to become a vegetarian. The hawk's choice is locked into its purpose. Humans on the other hand, can make choices beyond algorithmic purpose. E.g., to abort a child is an intent that directly challenges a highly evolved purpose.

This ability of humans to create intent beyond purpose, is what made immense innovation and technological advancement possible. It is how artificial intelligence came about. When natural algorithms are disturbed, stress is an immediate result. In so, change creates discomfort. In an evolutionary process, change is slow and consistent. It happens unnoticed. But with revolutionary change the shock is sudden, and in so, the stress immediate. This creates a myriad of psychological problems.

Within this age of AI, change is no longer solely a human domain. It seems then that the field of change management must change. Most of the current change management models have originated in the previous century, starting in the 60's. This was a human controlled environment since most of what happened in organisations were human controlled. In so, the 8-step Kotter model, the ADKAR model, the plan-do-act-check cycle, etc., are all designed for change that human's control. Yet, today more than 60% of the average organisation can function without human intervention. With the German induced industry 4.0 project, we now have "dark factories". These operate entirely through cyber-physical systems (robots). With the introduction of machine learning, systems can now change themselves, create their own algorithms, and work independently. With block chain technology systems can create cyber security beyond government control or influence. With crypto currency machines will be able to pay machines. E.g., a driverless car stopping at an unmanned energy station, recharging, and paying for the service without human intervention. This is already happening. We are entering a new future where organisations can change themselves. This might leave current change management models within a space of irrelevance.

Orgtology gives a scientific solution to integrate human and systems intelligence. It divides the organisation into predictive and abstract parts. Like body and mind, these elements must co-exist within Org. We need algorithmic thinking to drive performance and we need abstract thought to stay relevant. Together they create an inverse duality through which Org can be both, relevant and performing. In orgtology, we call it the relevant and performing organisation (RPO). In so, from an orgtology perspective, change management is about creating equilibrium between the concrete and abstract elements of Org. For that, linear change procedures will simply not suffice.

The basic assumption on organisational change – from an orgtology perspective

If organisations exist through projective and receptive interaction, then managing an equilibrium between them is the best way to manage change, because the receptive part of an organisation is about keeping things operational, whilst its projective part keeps it relevant.

In so, relevance without performance would lead to irrelevance, and vice versa. One cannot exist without the other. Thus, where Org must change, it is about adjusting the equilibrium between internalised process and the disruption of that.

Following are the dimensions that an Orgtologist would use to effect change management.


1. Split running Org from changing Org

This is very much a case of separating trees from the forest. A tree is a physical thing, whist a forest is an abstract idea. We for instance talk about a "concrete forest" as an idea of an interdependent infrastructure of tall buildings.

To ensure that an organisation is "change ready", we must drive a construct that supports meaningful change. We must also make sure that the risk and stress that mostly accompanies change is well contained.

We do all this by dividing organisational components into a generic construct. We call this construct "Level Zero". The depiction below shows the basic flow of Level Zero.

The top three boxes (resources, core business, and relationships) are the receptive parts of Org. They are concrete and algorithmic. We can automate them, and they can run consistently.

In a consistent world, Org would need to do nothing else. But we live in a world of constant disruption, therefore we must change. For that we have the projective elements (transformation and risk). They are abstract and unpredictable. We can automate the process of transformation and risk, but the substance is creative and non-repetitive. As mentioned earlier, the receptive elements drive performance whist the projective elements drive relevance.


"Level Zero" orgtology model for developing a process construct.


2. Understand why it is important to split things

We split running the business from changing the business because performance and relevance hold different rules. The former efficiently repeats a known past whilst the latter effectively enters an unknown future. From a scientific perspective the units of measure will differ for each.

In so, to respectively understand and work with performance and relevance, we must split them. In that way we can measure and manage them. Where something is internal, we fix the process. Where something is external, we create strategy for change. Where that is not possible, we contain and plan for risk. In orgtology, internal means within control, whilst external means beyond control.

Org is no more than activity and resources organised around purpose and intent. Purpose drives performance and outputs, whilst intent ensures relevance and outcomes. In the end, it is about efficient purpose. Therefore, the task of outcomes is to empower outputs. E.g., BMW will communicate their manufacturing process in detail to their engineers (outputs). This will ensure their performance. At the same time, their marketing team will relentlessly negotiate an increased value for their products (outcomes). This will secure their relevance. The less resources and activity Org needs to negotiate a favorable market position for its product, the more efficient it will be.



3. Know where to fix the problem

As with any living entity, Org evolves and slowly matures, to the point of "death". Throughout history, there is no entity that could claim eternal relevance. Everything ends.

The first bel curve depicted below shows how an organisation will be born, reach peak performance, and then decline to a point where it no longer exists. This cycle could be three months, as the case with many start-ups, or thousands of years, such as the case with old religious organisations. It is a natural process, but with the human ability to create intent beyond purpose, we can cheat this process.

In the second depiction, I show how Org can move out of this curve and begin a new one. The best place to do this, is at peak performance, because this will create the least amount of disruption. E.g., where organisations retrench and cut costs, it shows change beyond the peak performance point. Through constantly moving out of a declining curve, we ensure a constant evolutionary slope. The "R" points are the points or revolution. This is where we drive strategy and change. To know when to do this is the stuff leaders are made of. In orgtology, we call this the X-Factor.

The last depiction shows a Sigmoid Curve. In that, the blue bel curve shows the receptive performance of Org, whilst the red area shows its projective strategic part. It is in the red part where we drive change. That would be change with the lowest possible stress. Form an orgtology perspective, this is the most scientific way to drive organisational change.


4. Know what to fix and then fix it

In orgtology, understanding precedes influence. In traditional models, most use the SWOT analysis to understand the current reality of Org. From this perspective, one would split Org into the "good and bad" for the "internal and the external". Problems is that in a cyber-physical world, the boundaries of Org have become incredibly blurred. We can no longer base the inside of Org on our payroll. We have entered a world of teams who constantly work across boundaries. Whilst writing this, I am reminded of my meeting with company A in 30 minutes. After that I have a meeting with company B, and this afternoon I will be working with company C. Their locations and industries all differ. Yet, whilst working with them, I'm on their team. I'm part of them.

From an orgtology perspective, purpose creates the "internal". When entities join within the boundaries of a collective purpose, they become "one". This is not a fixed state. It is a matter of time and focus.

To understand the current reality of Org, we use the DOEP analysis. I created this model in 2017 to understand Org beyond SWOT. DOEP stands for people Dynamics, Opportunities, risk Exposure, and Process efficiency. We use interviews, questionnaires, and documents investigation as methods to gather data around DOEP.

Our next step is to create an understanding of the future. We use a 5V model for this. I created the model in 2006 to help EXCO teams draft a "vision ladder" that gives clear guidance to where they want to be. The model consists of five vision statements. V1 is an ultimate dream. It is a non-quantifiable statement of intent. E.g., "all organisations run on orgtology systems". The next question is "where do we want to be in nine years to enable that dream?" This is V2. V3 then asks the same question for 6-years. "Where do we want to be in six years to be closer to V2. V4 then works with a 3-year vision. Lastly, we ask, where do we want to be in 12-months to get closer to V4. In so, we have a clear path to our ultimate dream, as defined in V1. As we climb the 5V ladder, the statements become more specific and quantifiable (SMART). I have been using this system for quite some time now with extraordinary results.

Once we understand our current and desired realities, we can ask "what must we change to close the gap?". This becomes our strategy. To execute, we use project management method, thus turning our strategy into a well-planned project.



5. Maintain a strong culture of diversity an inclusion

Of course, change brings both anxiety and growth. Human's experience both elements in an incredibly unique way. Therefore, change will not work if Org does not have a culture that is conducive to such.

Each employee joins Org with a unique identity. It is this uniqueness that creates diversity. Org needs this diversity to grow. It brings new perspectives and drives innovative thinking. Yet, if not contained, diversity could lead to chaos. Therefore, as we embrace difference, we also need an intense sense of sameness. This sameness in encapsulated within the organisational purpose, intent, business model, and values. The way in which we integrate sameness and difference will decide how happy our employees are. It is a matter of allowing people to express themselves within the boundaries of purpose, intent, and values. Of course, this is all easier said than done.

From our experience, the best way to ensure a functional organisational culture is through dialogue, coaching, and mentoring – from a "soft skills" perspective at least. There are also several process-based activities that help to ensure a strong organisational culture, e.g., recruitment, discipline, employee relations, etc. Yet, to help employees integrate their uniqueness with the boundaries of Org, there must be constant dialogue.

The depiction below shows how dialogue around difference creates cohesion whilst when directed at sameness it stimulates growth. As with everything else in orgtology, we manage an equilibrium between receptive (sameness) and projective (difference) elements. Sameness gives us certainty whilst difference drives the needed chaos that will enable change. In so, difference becomes the X-Factor of Org.


Model for culture and inclusion developed by Derek Hendrikz for orgtology application.


Conclusion

Orgtology presents a scientific model to organisational change. It goes beyond the traditional "check list" culture, to drive a system that will constantly be "change ready".

There is unambiguous evidence that we will remember this decade, the 20's, as a time of immense change. We have robots running our operations, we can farm without soil or land (vertical farming), we are on our way to Mars, and we can run international business operations from the comfort of our living rooms.

Unfortunately, fast change brings immense complexity. Its no longer about getting happy employees on board. We need systems that create balance between certainty and uncertainty. We need to redefine human roles within Org. In that, the way we manage change needs to change. I believe that orgtology gives a scientific solution to achieve relevance and performance in constantly changing world. That is the essence of Org.



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Join the Orgtologist Certification Program (OCP) and become a Certified Orgtologist with the International Orgtology Institute

The program is highly suitable for senior managers, directors, executives, and those who aim for senior positions within an ... " title="" style="box-sizing: border-box; background: transparent; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(48, 83, 133); transition: all 0.2s ease 0s;">organisation. The OCP has four parts. They are: orgtology theory, organisational design, strategy, management and leadership. This is an advanced program. To enroll, you must hold a bachelor's degree with three years of work experience. On completion, you can enroll as an Orgtologist with the International Orgtology Institute (IOI).


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© Derek Hendrikz: 2021-05-20

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