Second instalment in the uncovering of truths via a reverse engineering of the failure of change and transformation programmes.
Many programmes are not programmes but a tsunami of activities. Each activity is like fireworks. Lots of people enjoying it, admiring it and then going home at the last bung. Until the next one is called in. Here we go again.
A series of fireworks is not a programme to understand pyrotechnics, let alone learn about them. A series of fireworks is entertainment. Many ‘change transformation programmes’ are a series of entertaining activities, a summer music festival al fresco, a great social placebo that makes us feel that ‘something is happening’.
An offsite, away day, leadership conference, annual retreat, executive conference with no clear plan for ‘the day after’ is a corporate flash mob. Appear in time, leave in time, do something together in between, feel good. I am invited to many of these but I limit my presence to the ones that have a ‘day after plan’, whether I am part of it or not.
All those ‘one off things’ only make sense in the context of a structured journey. They are not the journey in themselves. They are the geographical points on the map with no itinerary. No journey, get fireworks, pray for change, enjoy your busy-ness.
These corporate flash mobs are not completely useless because, in fact, they are rituals. Rituals are hard to change and challenge. They provide the glue, the tribal check point of belonging, the Valium for corporate restlessness. This is what they achieve. Fair enough. And good enough, perhaps. Who knows? But let’s not pretend these are in themselves ‘a change programme’.
A leadership development programme is not a succession of workshops.
A change transformation programme is not a quarterly offsite.
A culture change is not repeated event management.
We can do better. It has to have purpose and a sustainable 24/7 mobilizing platform that takes care of longevity.
Recap. Yesterday we saw that, in fact, in many cases of failure, there were too many people involved and too much debate, not the opposite. Today I offer the second post-mortem finding: fireworks and flash mobs disguised as change programmes.
Three more to come.
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We have been running enterprises with very tired concepts of empowerment, ownership, accountability and other little challenged pillars. The truth is that there is mythology embedded in all those concepts. Old traditional management thinking will be unsuitable to win in the post Covid19 scenario.
Dr Leandro Herrero is the CEO and Chief Organization Architect of The Chalfont Project, an international firm of organizational architects. He is the pioneer of Viral ChangeTM, a people Mobilizing Platform, a methodology that delivers large scale behavioural and cultural change in organizations, which creates lasting capacity for changeability.
Dr Herrero is also an Executive Fellow at the Centre for the Future of Organization, Drucker School of Management. An international speaker, Dr Herrero is available for virtual speaking engagements and can be reached at: The Chalfont Project.
His latest book, The Flipping point – Deprogramming Management, is available at all major online bookstores.