Third installment in the uncovering of truths via a reverse engineering of the failure of change and transformation programmes.
Finding: it all started skilfully creating antibodies all round. The company immune system reacted. It was in fact masochistic.
Not unusual. Starting a culture programme in an organization that has very bad memories of culture programmes seems like a bad idea. Yet, people do these things.
Framing ‘the programme’ as another corporate initiative competing for airtime with the other 23 running in parallel, is a bad idea. Yet, people do these things.
Announcing to the world a massive ‘change of culture’ is a good recipe for people to run fast to the bunkers. All that would be missing is raid-air sirens. [In fact, we get raid-air sirens in the form of ‘and we’ve got (name of Big Consulting) here’]
I personally try to avoid labels, not always successfully. The best change programme is the one when change happens and it’s not seen as a programme. That is the aim. Not always achievable, but not less of a noble aim.
One of the principles that we in Viral Change™ consider more precious is what we call ‘Designed Informality’. The change/culture transformation programme is deployed in a rather invisible way ( note I don’t mean secret) so it feels informal, de-corporatized, and it’s in fact informal in implementation (e.g peer-to-peer engagement), with the exception of punctuated activities, but it is well designed in the background by a very structured project team. Only the project team/engine room [we call it in many ways] sees the 100% of the ‘project mechanics’. The rest of the world see peers working with peers, stories of success flowing around and leaders talking a lot about … ‘how can I help you?’
Reminder: ‘The system will prevent itself from solving the problems created by  itself’. Study the geography of change.
Two more to come.