Managing the Chaos of Organizational Change

Organizational change can be confusing for people. That confusion will be magnified if the change team doesn’t share a similar stance to managing the change.

Lean Change Management helps align people in the organization around the change by using canvases. But how do make sure the change team is aligned on their stance for managing the change?

Lack of alignment with the change team can cause fragmentation in the organization. If I think the best way to make the change work is to push changes down the throats of people, others in the organization who share that bias will align with me. If my co-worker, on the change team, thinks allowing change to emerge organically is the best approach, those who share that bias will align with that co-worker.

That fragmentation creates two camps which are opposed to each other. The lack of cohesion on the part of me and my co-worker will lead to fragmentation that can stall the change.

The Fragmentation Prime from explains this in more detail and it is part of my recent presentation with Andrew Annett from Agile and Beyond a couple of weeks ago.

Fragmentation_DETAILThese 5 types of fragmentation happen because of lack of cohesion between member of the change team.

Cohesion_DETAILWhen team members are doing whatever they think is right to get from the current state to the future state, that lack of cohesion dissipates the energy of the entire change team that leads to fragmentation.

It is possible to address this, but it does take some effort on the part of the change team! Here are some tactical approaches you can do to create cohesion with your change team:

  • Team Working Agreement: Create a visible set of team norms and create safety to allow each team member to challenge others who don’t stick to it.
  • Emergent Purpose Exercise: Have the team break into groups of 4 and create a picture, or metaphor that represents their vision for the team.
  • Retrospect with the change sponsor: Assuming you have one, review your team vision monthly with whichever executive is sponsoring the change. Sometimes lack of cohesion on the change team can be a result of weak executive sponsorship.

Organizational change is hard enough, don’t make it harder by letting your ego get in the way. Sometimes, as a change agent, your strongly held belief needs to take a back-seat so the whole team can focus on the greater good.



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