I know I should - but how?
New and powerfully effective ways of changing organisations: Appreciative Inquiry, Simureal, World Cafe, positive psychology - you've heard of them, you want to use them if they'll create change in your organisation that actually sticks but you don't know where to start. And why should you - most of us only know how to manage change the way we manage most things, by coming up with a plan at the top and trying to get everyone else to conform to it. That's not how you actually affect how people behave. To do that you have to get people to realise why things need to change, how things can be better and to actually help you to do this. Overcoming resistance to change? No - there shouldn't be resistance if you're doing it right:
This is just a term for the overall philosophy behind how we help organisations change effectively and for the better. Basically it means that in order to be more successful, organisations should think about what they already do well and focus on that, both to do even better at that area and to learn from how they approach that task or function successfully how to change they way they approach things they're not good at. It's more productive to say 'A is great, let's make everything as good as that' rather than 'B is terrible, what the hell are we going to do?'.
Closely related to this is the idea of working with strengths. This means that people should be doing things they enjoy and can loose themselves in because a) they are better at doing that than anything else; and b) they will work much harder at doing that than anything else. You may think that suiting the roles to the people, rather than forcing people to do everything their role 'should' include won't work as there are some roles which are essential but which 'nobody' likes. In some cases that's true, but you'd be surprised what some people can loose themselves in doing well.
Appreciative Inquiry is the most flexible tool in the change management arsenal. It is useful in so many change situations, not just for the organisation as a whole but also for departments, teams and even individuals. All Appreciative Inquiry is is a practical way of doing positive psychology, i.e. how to get a group of people or just one person to stop focusing on how they are failing to do one thing but rather to focus on how they excel at doing something else. This then allows you to unpack what it is they do that allows them to excel at something and both think about how they could apply these techniques to whatever it is they're failing at and to realise how good they could be at it. The latter is important - not only does focusing ono what's going wrong tend to make the discussion about blame and reacting to past mistakes but it puts people in the mindset that this is the way it's always going to be, that things can't be any better. That kills all motivation to try and improve.
This is fantastic. It basically allows you to illustrate to people who normally work in separate departments and on different sites how seemingly small and, to them, perfectly justifiable, deviations from established procedures can cause havoc over time unless there is good communication between people in different departments and divisions as to whats been done and why. Essentially over the course of a day or a few hours you simulate months of activity in an organisation by simplifying non-essential elements and speeding up the timeframe. In some work we did with an manufacturing company we showed how people in distribution making up rushed orders by 'borrowing' small numbers of components intended for other deliveries and not entering this information into the computer tracking software properly quickly led to chaos as the computer system began issuing impossible orders to all concerned.
An effective way of encouraging the sharing of ideas and experiences, this technique allows people brought together to learn from each other to join and leave conversations at will in a casual setting. It is enormously efficient as it prevents people from spending hours trapped in formalised discussions about topics which they have nothing to contribute to and enormously productive as people relax and open up to each other and begin scribbling ideas down on tablecloths.
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A little about us...
We work with organisations that are struggling to change how they work. We help avoid and reduce resistance to change and other problems so that people get stuck in to making change actually happen, saving you time and money.
We do this using several techniques, including Appreciative Inquiry, that make it possible for the people affected by the change to see it as an opportunity that they can get involved in rather than a threat or burden that’s being imposed on them. That way they can become your partners in change rather than the source of problems to be overcome. If you and your organisation need help with this call 0845 055 9874 or email email@example.com to arrange for a free 30 minute initial consultation.