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Organisation Change

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Organisation Change

Organisational change of any sort will usually be triggered by either a problem or an opportunity, although there is a special trigger for change that could be called “just for the heck of it” or “because we’re human and can’t stand still”. There are other drivers for change (new CEO with new ideas), but the main two are problems and opportunities - current or future - real or perceived. The problem or opportunity may have origins either internally (problem might be excessive staff turnover - opportunity might be new capabilities) or externally (problem might be new major competitor - opportunity might be new technology available). A further distinction is important - hard versus soft - where ‘hard’ concerns material assests (things) and ‘soft’ concerns people. Conversation style and content is crucial to the success of the change process. Oddly, most change is ‘hard’ (technology - structure etc) even though ‘soft’ might be more beneficial. After all, the ‘advantage of our organisation is our people’. Perhaps it’s because ‘soft’ problems are the hardest to manage. Soft change is hard.

Organisation transformation

Some people regard this as diferent to change, and some as a special case. Transformation is like a metamorphosis, a radical change involving structure, function, and every other aspect of the organisation’s being. It is sudden, and the new organisation barely resembles its origins. These massive maneuvres typically occur with mergers, acquisitions, and CEO or Board change. There is usually disruption in the form of downsizing, closures, restructuring and other activities that have many unintended consequances along with some degree of success with intended outcomes. Members are invariably impacted, with fear and stress a standard part of the package. It is possible to undergo metamorhosis without destroying the creature trying to emerge, but it requires much more attention than is typically demonstrated.

1) Organisational change triggered by problems

Organisational problems are sometimes described in terms of the symptom, and sometimes the cause. For example, inneffective meetings are the symptom of poor communication and ‘meeting’ skills, and the cause of poor decisions. An alternative view might put poor decisions as the cause of lower profits. Poor decisions may therefore be a symptom in one view and a cause in another. For that reason, the following table ignores the distinction between cause and effect and uses the descriptive words heard within organisations.

Furthermore, a problem has to be ‘seen’ or ‘felt’ by someome in order to be identified and described. It is just as important to recognise the impacted persons as it is to recognise the problem. It is commomn that a problem is confined within one group, or one group is particularly disadvantaged. For this reason, the following Table identifies the people associated with the problem, and the people who ‘see’ or ‘feel’ it.The Table below shows one way of defining problems - according to where the problem is ‘seen’ to reside, and where the effects are most felt. To avoid a maze of lines, only the problems associtated with the Board are shown, but exist between all others. There are problems that are caused by the Board that are felt by the CEO, or the Executives and so on. There are also problems perceived by the Board that are due to behaviours at other levels. This table provides an easy way to look for and identify problems - between each stakeholder ‘type’ and each other stakeholder type - some shown here - 36 in all when this list is used.


Literature on organisational problems tends to put problems into clusters such as the following. Many of the organisation’s problems belong within one or more of the following categories

People focused problems

  • meetings
  • communication
  • leading/following
  • individual performance
  • team performance
  • decision processes

Organisation focused problems

  • climate/culture
  • technology & market changes
  • performance, planning, workforce
  • change, transformation,
       restructure, merger, acquisition

2) Organisation change triggered by opportunity

Opportunities for change may originate externally by the trading environment, or internally by the ownership of new capabilities or capacities. The external opportunities are random and unpredictable, but the internal opportunities may have been planned by way of development programs and/or re-distribution of work to current capabilities. To this end, organisations invest in development of technology, processes, and people.

3) Organisation change just for the heck of it
(E.g. Vision)

Even if the rest of the world stood still, and there were no internal triggers such as change of CEO or new skills acquired, there is good argument and convincing evidence that many organisations would introduce changes anyhow. It’s our human nature. And it’s called being competitive - a powerful human driver. That single action would send a ripple through the competitive environment and have an impact, causing others to change - and away it goes. So change is a natural state. get used to the idea of being in a state of flux - living in white water.

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“Doing” Organisation Change and Organisational Transformation

Regardless of the trigger for change - problem, opportunity or human nature, change efforts will cause more problems, more opportunities, and more displays of the unpredictable nature of humans. Change and transformation both (should) begin with relevant assessments to compare what the organisation ‘is’ and what it is capable of, and comparing with what is needed. It begins with having the right people using the best processes to assess where the organisation should be going - the strategic intent. The important point there are: the right people - the right skills - using best processes (analysis and decision-making). We can help with the development of the ‘right’ skills and the decision-making processes. However, this typical and highly mechanistic and formal plan ignores a most important ingredient - people. We can help with the whole tricky business of designing a program for organisational change or organisational transformation that has the best chances of working and sticking because it not only acknowledges humans, but leverages that power source.

Deltapoint uses services and tools to help deal with these problems and opportunities.
A service is an activity we perform such as workshops and coaching.
A tool is something we supply and leave behind for continued use
Services include assessments, workshops, coaching, mediation, counselling, training, and development programs. Tools
include assessment instruments, frameworks, models, specific ‘action’ mechanisms, and educational aids. In particular, we use, transfer skills in, and supply tools for Strategic Conversation as the core component of ALL our organisational change services and tools.

Our services - helping organisations change and transform

Organisational Change Services

Deltapoint services operate from Brisbane (Australia) and can be delivered to or conducted at your premises, or ‘away’ at a suitable venue, or over video-conferencing facilities.

Our services are all concerned with organisational change, and the central role of conversation during the phases of change.
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