January 17th, 2023 | From our CEO
Organizational hierarchies and functions are suitable for the preservation of the status! They are not good for surviving the next couple of years, and they are hindering your ability to succeed with change. The traditional hierarchical top-down approach to change will simply not do the trick for you anymore. It is time to finally let it go, and embrace social influence and network thinking inside organizations.
4 Reasons a Hierarchical Top-Down Change Approach Will Not Work
First, however, let’s just look at four reasons why it does not work. A hierarchical top-down change approach empowers the maximum number of people in the organization to:
- (Secretly) veto the strategic direction
- Change agreed organizational priorities, so it fits with personal priorities
- Slow down innovation and knowledge flows
- Hinder bottom-up passage of business-critical feedback
It is time to re-think, how your organization approach change, so we can avoid those 4 reasons.
Rethink Change. Embrace Networks and Social Influence
Your organization is full of people connecting (and not) connecting to each other. Chit-chatting when needed. Asking for help. Trusting each other. Drinking coffee with each other. Some lucky ones even consider each other friends. Just people being people.
Most people are part of several tribes, groups, and networks. If you want to succeed with change, then you must understand how this plays out.
Don’t Get Hit by Analysis-Paralysis
Get an overview, but don’t aim for perfection.
I am not telling you to create an accurate and real-time depiction of the existing network structures in all its glory. I have seen too many times, where change leaders have been hit by analysis-paralysis and have spent 3-4 months on building their network overview, and then failed ever to draw a conclusion or acting.
Your goal as a change manager is to:
- Know just enough to understand how existing and future network structures and dynamics can support or block your change
- Identify those trusted individuals across the organization that others seek out to make sense of things
- Act with laser focus and no hesitation
Fluid and Agile Change
You must establish direct two-way communication lines to tribes, groups, and networks across the organization. Then you must make sure you listen to them, and listen, and listen… and when you have gained their trust, you can invite them to co-create the necessary interventions and activities to succeed. The best thing that can happen is that the most trusted individuals inside your organization become insiders, so they will speak your case at the water cooler.
If you succeed, your organizational priorities will not be vetoed or diverted, and business critical information, knowledge and feedback will flow freely.
Let me know, if you want to talk about, how others have transformed their approach to change.