The Power of Co-Creation In Managing Change: PART ONE
Change management initiatives within organizations concentrate on execution of action. The directive for change comes from the top down, and frequently results in resistance to that change. Another approach is possible, however: one that almost always results in a noticeable improvement in efficiency of the change’s implementation. By ignoring the enormous potential for improvement in the development of organizations by persisting exclusively with the top down initiative direction, executives are causing the organization to experience unnecessary struggles and failures. This can be corrected through the understanding and application of a few key organizational development principles.
Co-Creation, The Change Management Secret
Organizations are gatherings of people. This can be forgotten by executives who have adopted a mechanistic point of view. When the people of the organization are able to develop themselves successfully, though, the organization they operate within develops with success as well. The way people develop themselves can be termed the “creation process.” This process leads the individual from desire to realization, and is always at work. Even those who are unaware of the creation process do apply it.
The creation process consists of several phases. From the organizational development perspective, two phases are most important: Idea and Materialization. The first is the initial conceptualization of the idea. The second is the manifestation of this idea into reality. For example, if a person’s desire is to drink a cup of coffee, they must first imagine doing so. Then they can choose from different actions to materialize that idea into the physical world. Whether they walk to a café downtown or the coffee machine in the next room, they are materializing the idea.
Central to this law is the understanding that it is not possible to take action to materialize the result without first having had the idea.
Organizations Develop Like People Because They Are Made of People
It is here where top down-directed change initiatives in organizations fail. Significant issues with implementing successful changes are clearly now resulting from large organizations trying to get front line staff to materialize those changes without their first having shared the idea. When a small, select group of people thinks of the ideas for change, and then assigns the carrying out of those changes to a larger, different group of people who have not shared the idea, materialization is going to be troublesome.
From the law of creation it is apparent that taking successful, friction-free action on an idea which an individual has not thought of first is impossible. It is therefore clear why most organizational changes are doomed before they even begin. Most co-workers and managers who must take action on the idea have not been included in the creation of the idea. This common cause of failure in change management is logically the result of lack of awareness and application of the creation process.
It is now clear why large organizations especially frequently have issues with implementing successful changes. Since the law of creation is largely unknown its principles are ignored. The result are the all-too-common symptoms of problems in change programs: resistance with managers and co-workers, lack of participation in execution of change, and low quality solutions.
One could be confused into thinking these symptoms are the true factors of success or failure in change initiatives; however, they are actually indications of an ineffective approach to managing change. The discovery of the potency of deliberately applying the creation process to change is the understanding that people cannot participate in a change they have not first thought of—and that resistance is the logical result!
In Part Two, we’ll investigate some key misconceptions in change management.
Paul Brand is a management consultant working with global blue chip organizations such as Shell, Heineken, Sony, ABN AMRO Bank, Ahold, and EON. Evolving from an operations perspective, Paul’s focus moved into providing specific expertise on growing and nurturing the innate ability to change.
Paul leads organizations through the confusion of change management from “just another management methodology” to the understanding that change management is about the development of people. With his book, Change Your Mind, Change Your Business, Paul’s purpose is to dispel the common misunderstanding and even negativity surrounding change management, and how you can begin successfully applying it in your own environment.
For a free assessment of your own change management skill set, and more information about Paul’s book, Change Your Mind, Change Your Business, click here.