“Chris Rodgers’s ideas provide for a much richer understanding of why and how change really happens, and more importantly how it can best be managed. I would strongly advocate all managers, not just those with “Change” in their job titles, to invest in understanding these ideas if they want to give themselves a much better chance of landing long-term, sustainable improvements in their businesses.”
– Board Direct of Human Resources (from Informal Coalitions sleeve)
Elements of our approach
There are three main elements to our overall approach to change facilitation that we have shared successfully with our clients. These are:
- Raising managers’ awareness and understanding of how change really happens – making sense of the complexities, uncertainties, and ambiguities (‘wiggliness’) that they encounter every day..
- Developing their capabilities in, and deployment of, the informal coalitions change-leadership agenda, so that they can engage more purposefully and skilfully with these dynamics.
- Using the Enabling Change framework to help managers weave together the formal and informal aspects of their change-leadership task and to ‘tell the story’ as the change process emerges.
Any one of the three elements can be introduced independently, as we have done on various occasions. Alternatively, they can be combined into a coherent approach to the leadership of organizational change. In many cases we have provided this support directly to line managers. On other occasions we have worked indirectly, as a peer reviewer/mentor to in-house specialists who are fulfilling the change facilitation role.
Our approach ensures that clients retain control of the change agenda and process. At the same time, they gain the benefits that we can provide in terms, for example, of consultancy advice, constructive challenge, informed facilitation, leadership coaching, and capability development.
An outline of the Enabling Change framework can be downloaded from the Our Frameworks page. Consistent with the wiggly world/informal coalitions perspective, this does not offer a rigid, ‘n-step’ prescription for managing change. Instead, the its aim is to stimulate and support sense-making and action-taking conversations about the design, orchestration, communication, and delivery of specific planned changes – whenever and wherever these arise.
Recognising and working with these hidden, messy and informal aspects of organizational change is the distinguishing feature of the stance that we take on organizational dynamics – as it is of all of the consultancy, coaching, and facilitation that we provide. This makes the difference between the mechanistic application of conventional theories and approaches to ‘change management’, and our informed facilitation of real-world organizational change and development.
“Thanks a lot for your contribution yesterday! Very valuable for my team.”
— Director of Production in Dutch energy company.
One crucial aspect of this perspective is recognition that managers can act with the intention of bringing about specific changes in people’s practice and organizational performance. But neither they nor anyone else can guarantee the outcomes that will emerge. This is not a sign of failure. It is a natural dynamic of organization. The leadership task is one of approaching the challenges that emerge with purpose, courage, and skill. Our contribution, as facilitator, is to encourage, assist, and enable them to do this more effectively than they might otherwise have done.