CHANGE & CHANge & CHange & change

Changes and change management are in all likelihood the most discussed subject in organizations all over the world, beside economy. How many kilometers of text, methods and models produced on the topic one might just guess. However, the subject/the area will for the coming decades keep on producing new methods, new models and new books since our desire to find ‘the’ way, ‘the universal’ way to make this happen – seems to be intrinsic.

For someone who has listen to pundits regarding change and been taught the most prevailing models one might wonder; why don’t we use them in daily life?

One answer, is that the models probably are too complicated. When the ‘change’ occurs one can’t remember all steps in the model even though they’re often aided with metaphors like the change mountain, the ice berg (done to death) or as a whale, dolphin or a fish. So how can one make it easier? How can one simplify it or to rephrase Einstein; ‘…to simplify it as much as possible but not more than that’?

One way to look at changes (which by the way is the only thing on the planet that stays the same; the cycle upon cycle of change. All of creation is in a condition of constant change.) on a high logical level or high grade of abstraction, are that here are two kinds of change; things that come together and things coming apart. The former is sometimes called development or construction (from latin ‘to build up’) and the latter disintegration or destruction (from latin ‘to build down’). Both of them are necessary for change to happen and are always connected to each other. To view things on high logical levels ease the understanding and also ease to see things as a whole or an entity. From our experience most changes fail due to the ability of the persons involved in the changes to understand the intention behind the change and to view the change as a whole (one only sees and understands parts of the change). On top of this or – depending on how one views – on the bottom of this, the prevailing assumptions, prejudices, preconceived ideas etc. (all summarised on a high logical level with the word; presuppositions) simultaneously interfere or involve.

Why would we otherwise have schools in the Western world that look like they do? As the journalist Tracy Kidder express it: ‘Put twenty or even more children with approximately the same age in a room. Put them behind benches in rows, let them wait in lines, and force them to behave well. It’s like a secret committee – now lost from history – has been studying children and when they’ve found out what the children didn’t like or wanted to do, then the committee decided that all children shall do that’.

How come that our corporate organizations look like they do? On Gigaom’s site the guest writer Dave Kashen put it like: ‘Why are companies using organizational structures that are thousands of years old?’, and then shows examples of modern contemporary ways of organizing businesses.

So, when change occur, how can one simplify the change? How can one view it from a logical level – as high as possible?

Is the change itself something we need to build up (construct), to build down (destruct) or do we need a combination of them?

Where do we (figuratively) construct things without destructing?

What’s the intention behind the change?

What are the existing presuppositions?


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