Welcome to my world. My purpose is to share informally stuff that just may help you or your family or your organization and our world to realize it’s potential.
I am all about CHANGE.
Ever since her MSOD days at Pepperdine, Donnan had been searching for ways to facilitate system-wide alignment and to accelerate change. For her, the WST process has been the most effective methodology for achieving both. She reflected on her learning.
- The importance of aligned leadership. Breakthroughs in the ICT executive team enabled breakthroughs in ICT as a whole. When leaders speak with one voice, provide a unified direction in vision and strategy, demonstrate a sense of urgency, and walk their talk, it gives organization members the confidence to act in alignment for the health of the whole. On the other hand, when leaders are not aligned and give conflicting directions, this causes conflicts and confusion that cascades all the way down the organization.
- The critical roles of the event design team. The ICT case would not have been a success without the effective use of the event design team. In addition to bringing in data from across the ICT organization and mirroring the organization’s current state as part of the design process, the event design team members took an active role in facilitating different modules in the summit, listening to the participants during the summit, synthesizing the participants’ daily feedback, and refining the summit design based on their feedback. The teamwork within the team was critical for the smooth execution of the summit.
- The real work of transformation occurs between large group interventions. While many people focus on how a large group event “releases the magic” of a paradigm shift, the real work of transformation occurs after the event or between events in the “implement and sustain change” phase. ICT is part of a global organization that has experienced and continues to experience tremendous growth and challenge. Managers are typically overloaded just running and delivering today’s business; requests to transform the business for the future are often overwhelming. Moreover, saying “no” to lesser priorities remains difficult for the organization. As a result, finding the resources and time for transformation remains a challenge. ICT’s experiments with a mix of structured and emergent approaches yielded two major lessons. First, do not launch more actions than the organization can handle, and second, focus more on cross-functional improvements that optimize overall results rather than local maximization.
- The lead and lag indicators of success. Organization change is a journey that takes time and requires incredible patience. Following a large group interactive event, the lead indicators of success are team spirit, confidence, commitment, relationships, energy, trust, inclusiveness, transparency, and alignment. These are difficult to measure but can be felt, observed, and captured in anecdotal stories. Later, improvement projects lead to more tangible results, such as behavioral and engagement changes. However, only when the improvement projects are successfully implemented can improved business results be seen. These are the lag indictors of success. Executives and managers must understand that the easy-to-measure lag indicators of success will come if they recognize, support, and nurture the difficult-to-measure but equally valuable lead indicators of success. Many change initiatives fail because executives insist on instant results, give up too soon and move onto the next change.
- Transforming how the organization deals with change. The ultimate measure of organization development is the degree to which the ability to change again is enhanced or diminished. Without any doubt, the WST process has helped people in ICT build a change capability. Realizing that transformation is a journey and not a destination, ICT people are no longer paralyzed by change and are more likely to embrace change as an opportunity rather than a threat. They have developed greater capacity and capability to act in aligned ways. In reflecting on the organization’s journey, Dekkers said, “Today, our ICT community is better mobilized and motivated to change.”
- WST needs to be repeated regularly. In today’s complex, chaotic, and uncertain world, an organization’s ability to learn and innovate at the individual, team, and organizational levels allows the organization to adapt. Change is a constant and the days of returning to stability or business-as-usual are gone. To ensure a sustained long-term journey, the WST process must be repeated to regularly restore whole system alignment while adapting to internal and external drivers for change.
In conclusion, each year that the ICT has used the WST process, it became more and more competent to self-direct and master its own change process. The organization is becoming better at doing what it says it will do, more respected by its customers, and more agile. ICT people is learning how to learn in real time as an entire function.