2.3 - Classifying Change Difficulty

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We are now going to jump into classifications as to the difficulty faced with different types of change initiatives. The degree of difficulty is not uniform by all means, in that many change such as developmental change and transitional change is within what is already somewhat controlled and known. The objectives can be well defined well understood by everyone in the organization. And the goals can easily be built into the annual budget or quarterly performance reports. The focus then is on the execution for success. The planning is not as critical as is the execution.

On the other hand, though, transformative change involves a much bigger portfolio of initiatives and then you can't necessarily do it all at once it's too much change fatigue and easily set in. Before you get to the end of that particular initiative, you need to break it up. Also, there's more different moving parts. You've got interdependent parts, you got intersecting parts and in many cases outside the organization also starts to come into play in the planning process itself. There's also more unpredictability when transformative change is approached, and that you don't really know that end state and requires an iterative approach in that you try to get to that change vision, you're out there, but you don't always get it right. And you may need to step back a little bit and replan refocus, that creates some difficulty in the organization.

Because the certainty and the clarity is not always there. It becomes more of a vision that evolves as you get closer to it to see some extent, this difficulty of transformative change really explains the low success rate of change initiatives. Because there's such a low change rate of effectiveness, it really kind of distorts it. So when you look at the statistics on change success, you need to be careful as to what is being surveyed transformative change, very low, developmental, transitional incremental change, not so much because it is not nearly as difficult. The focus in also in the transformative is on Discovery. You discover as you move forward, without always an insurance of success, because you're really building that future from a problem definition of a directional movement, not necessarily with full knowledge of words.

You're going to end up, you're directionally moving. Yes. But that end state, you're good to know it as you get closer to it. Let's talk then about the scale of change the degree of difficulty. The easiest is the fine tuning. This is the incremental change the minor developmental change in where you're making just minor adjustments to the current organization, processes structure, or the way you do business.

It's basically working, but not as well as you would like so you're making minor changes to it. Next is the adjustment you're doing a little bit more change to the core itself. But again, this is still a systematic approach somewhat predictable, and again, is within the developmental framework of change. The third level though, is little bit where you're talking about The modules are starting to move pieces of the organization around, maybe through a reorganization or a process reengineering, it becomes more transitional, and that you're moving from one state to the next. And you're reforming major parts of the organization. This is within your control area.

And the impact to others is somewhat minimal or within your control or great level of influence. The fourth level then, is much more radical, major commitment is required transformative change. This is very difficult, at best and requires a large degree of focus, as well as how to understand the big picture so that you can break up the change into different chunks that will move you directionally where you want to go and collectively get you there. without trying to overwhelm the organization with too much at one time, scale or change, degree of difficulty changes with the magnitude and the organizational degree of impact. This is a change framework for organizational learning. The reason this is important is that at the core, the core of organizational change is really learning something different.

So, therefore, the field of organizational learning or knowledge management starts to have a direct influence on how you approach organizational change. There's three loops of learning. And this is illustrated really by three different types of thermostats. The first is a single loop learning, where it basically follows the rules. You set the thermostat and the thermostat automatically Keeps it at that temperature, no changes, it just keeps it at that temperature as a control mechanism. This is your fine tuning your developmental within that control area.

The second is more of a reforming, in that you have a decision to make as to what should the temperature be, in which case you're looking at the problems, you're anticipating the rule structure needed for that temperature that day, that hour, it becomes more sensitive, more rule bound, much more necessary complex but involves more thinking as to what is involved with the changing to the temperature, because it's not necessarily what the temperature is being controlled to. But what should the temperature be that is being controlled to this becomes a higher level level of learning, and you're not just controlling one thing, but you're deciding what to control. Triple level learning is really much more advanced and that you're determining the purpose. It's not in the second degree determine what the temperature should be is determining the purpose of what are you controlling, are you controlling the comfort that we feel around us?

Are we controlling energy usage? Are we controlling a electric grid usage across the community? It becomes a sense making, what are we trying to do systems thinking of how our part interacts with a greater number of people that are involved within this framework, then you can see that the focus changes as to are you trying to change something to keep it within a narrow bounds are you trying To change the system to meet different needs, or are you doing something much greater to determine what that organizational system should be? Again, this is a framework of three different models as to how you can think about organizational change. And when you think about it, you come away with different levels of control, different levels of being able to influence and at the root, different reasons for each of these different learning loops involved, not only with the organization learning, but how that applies to the change within the organization, based upon what you're trying to accomplish.

Again, going back to purpose, categories in in that we can categorize it in multiple ways. We've talked about proactive or planned change versus reactionary unplanned, you're reacting to the situation. We've talked about planned versus actual, the gap. Also the emergence of things that are always happening, because everybody in the organization has an influence on what is dynamically happening based upon the decisions that they're making and the actions that they're taking in response to those decisions. We've also talked then about incremental, transformative, punctuated change, where you've got kind of holding back the pressures and all the sudden they're released, and there's massive change. We've talked about the difference of developmental within your control, transitional, you can see the future you pretty much know the future.

It's a small gap, and you can know how to get there versus the transformative change. Much bigger, much more abstract. You don't necessarily know how to define it, but you know directionally which way to go. We've also then got that The fine tuning the adjustments, the modular or the more radical, again, very similar to the developmental, transitional transformative, different little ways of looking at it used in different situation. The takeaway here then is which model fits the change that you are facing? And what does that mean in the planning?

Is it a simple plan, or is a much more complex plan that involves more people, more moving parts of the organization, more time, this thing gets into what we're going to be talking about Next, the basic drivers behind the surface of change and how to bring them into the mix. There's also always keep in mind, the single double triple loop learning because learning is a key component of organizational change. You're learning not only things to do different but your results thinking what needs to be done from a different perspective, a different purpose, you're no longer controlling. You're rethinking what needs to be controlled and within a framework much larger as it relates to others in the organization, within the community within the world, and how the systems really are all connected. We think of things being within a tight boundary. But that boundary is very permeable, and that things flow information, transactions, product services flow freely across boundary lines.

The reality then, and think about this, the reality is that we need adaptive change to meet environmental pressures. Sometimes we may need transformative change, because we've haven't changed early enough and there's the pressures that we need to do. Things, any much greater change significance. However, too often we settle for transitional change, because the transformative change is difficult, particularly if you do not have organizational competencies on how to change, you may try a transformative change, but you settle for transitional to get you a little bit closer. And maybe in the future, we'll do the next step. In reality, though, too often we get disruptive change, we hold the pressure back until it was released.

And then we have to do change. Quickly, dramatically. Not in a nice way all the time in the people that are involved, but it has to be done. Because it becomes a crisis situation a survival situation. You need adaptive change. Sometimes you need transformative change.

Too often we settle for transition Change, and we often get disruptive change. What difficulty Are you experiencing in your change initiative? And how do these models apply and recognizing the degree of difficulty and how you approach that change initiative.

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