Posted: 09/04/2017
Based on a Book by John P. Kotter (Accelerate, 2014, Boston: Harvard Review Press) I wanted to sum up Kotter"s suggestions, and highlight a few things that can give us a framework/help us to ask the right questions. I urge You to read (at least) the 8 steps listed below, where I also include my thoughts WHY they are relevant for ACT and to our work. So first the 8 steps, and then a little explanation (summary of the main ideas in the book). Basic accelerators (the 8 steps): (1) create a sense of urgency the secret sauce that allows behavior to happen - This might be the MAIN problem we discussed before, having no NATO culture and a clear and concise goal (only national interests) so we NEED TO FIND a common goal, that can be transformed into a simple story and articulated by ACT Leadership as well as out Team to send the message and "rally people". I also believe that this story/message also must be tailored, so we also need to figure out what might incentivize people and thus we can offer nut just a common threat, but also something people are likely to work towards (2) establish the core - this is the "tribal core" which can later evolve into a more sophisticated form based on individuals who are committed to take on the strategic challenges, want and able to lead (the nucleus of change agents) This is the Jedi Council, it is US, and COS had sensed this right it does not have to be a lot of people, it is normally 5-10% of the organization who are participating in the "underground guerrilla movement" (3) form a change vision and find strategic initiatives these initiatives are the ones that the management driven hierarchy is unable to cope with are is not able to manage fast enough this might be the toughest nut to crack but I believe this is what we wanted to get into yesterday WHAT are the underlying problems? What are the "wicked problems" we want to solve? This gives us clarity (4) build and evolve a guiding coalition - enlist a volunteer army "tribe" who will communicate information about the change vision in ways that will lead to people buy-in this is also on us, we need to build platform(s) to communicate and involve people who are also seeking alternative ways. It is not going to be everyone, but we need to build up a network (an army of engaged followers) who can help us answer questions, spreading the message and also to reach a "tipping point" (5) enable action by removing barriers - which obstacles slow down or stop strategically important activity and enable the second system to operate we need to identify these as we go along and notify COS he can remove barriers, break established rules, but we need to explain which ones must be broken and why? (6) identify and celebrate wins this is self-explanatory and COS also mentioned this that he wants to invest int he group and I believe he is also willing to "celebrate small wins" as we go along, but we must identify these small milestones (7) sustain acceleration - finding the leverage points which help all the other accelerators keep going this is also important as we should not work overnight all nights, we need to work smart not hard and thus we have to be clear where the leverage points are, where we can get the biggest impact ont he input? (8) institute change institutionalizing wins, integrating them into the hierarchy"s processes, systems and behaviors, helping to infuse change into the organizational culture I believe this must be COS"s office to figure out how to go about it Basic premise of the book: Systems, structures, and cultures built over the past century cannot keep up with the demands being placed on them The SOLUTION is to find an organic way (a second system) that can provide the needed agility, speed, while the old one keeps running and provides reliability and efficiency. This dual (HYBRID/INTEGRATED) system is very similar to what all mature organizations had once at a certain point in their lifecycle, yet did not sustain (so it is long forgotten). There is a practical way to create this HYBRID system and it can be done very inexpensively. It is for leaders, who are willing to see the stark realities of today"s environment and are ready to take on this arduous but rewarding journey. 1. Limits of hierarchy (defining the problem) There is a VUCA world, increasing turbulence, and disruption, yet there is a need to stay competitive and grow profitably. The most fundamental problem is that organizations (past the startup stage) are optimized for efficiency and not strategic agility. The old ways of setting and executing strategies are failing us. Tension between staying ahead of an increasingly fierce competition (transformation efforts long-term focus) and deliver on quarterly results(short term focus) is overwhelming. Hierarchies based on managerial processes do not do well in identifying opportunities in a VUCA context early enough, formulating innovative strategies nimbly enough and executing them fast enough. Change management initiatives are unsuccessful most of the time. What are most organizations doing? - small number of trusted people (at the top) develop a change management strategy - communication between silos does not happen very fast (communication problem) - policies and rules becomes barriers - short term focus on delivering on quarterly numbers (focus problem) - no buy in from most people in the organization people resist change (people problem) - limitations of hierarchies and managerial processes (systemic problem) The solution is building a second integrated (HYBRID system) that is organized as a network and operate the organization with a dual (hybrid) system. Informal network of change agents frequently operate in every organization under the radar and can make things happen faster. By building and army of change agents, who become permanent accelerators, we can change the organizational culture eventually. 2. The hybrid system How is it different? It has hierarchy on one side and network on the other. The network side brings about a "startup culture" of agility, speed, and adaptibility. This network morphs (adapts) as the context changes. The hierarchy part is organized the same as any other hierarchy, but all tasks related to innovation, agility, difficult (adaptive and critical) change and big strategic initiatives that need to be executed quickly are shifted over to the network part. That leaves the hierarchy less encumbered, able to focus on the short term demands and perform more efficiently. If the network is meshed with the more traditional structure, it is not some sort of "super task force" that reports to some level at the hierarchy. It is seamlessly connected to and coordinated with the hierarchy (in a symbiotic, synergistic way) in a number of ways. It is based on a few principles: - many people (change agents) are driving important change at every level of the organization - it is done with insiders (those who already are members of the organization) - change agents are characterized by a growth mindset and they are given a choice (voluntary) and empowered to step forward and act - change agents are emotionally committed (and motivated) they want to contribute to a bigger cause (motivation 3.0) they are motivated in a different way - there are much more leaders (and leadership) in the system as a result the network side is invisible and informal using UNCONVENTIONAL leadership tactics (the name of the game is vision, opportunity, agility, inspired action, passion, innovation, celebration) - the hierarchy"s top leadership team serves as a role model in interacting with the network it is an inseparable relationship between the hierarchy and the network, not just an enhanced hierarchy based on a constant flow of information, trust - this approach finally results in a change in the DNA of the organization (the organizational culture) Keys to success: - Cognitive dominance: the executive level must understand the whole process and also must be able to shift their mindset and be a role-model in interacting with the second system - Change agent selection - 5-10% in a hierarchy structure is enough to be selected as change agents to carry out the necessary mission. Identifying (selecting) the change agents is the critical part (selection criteria based on competencies). - Creating the optimal organizational culture (context) once it has reached the tipping point to sustain the process