Ok, the method never dies, because ‘it’s a trick used twice’. People wanting to go from A to Z need a method. Cooking, travelling, winning elections and loosing weight, they all need methods. So what’s the fuss about?
The traditional view of change and ‘management of change’ (‘change management’) has been one of a method. Methods have steps and people like Kotter have defined them a long time ago. HR, consultants, academics, most practitioners, want to ‘compete on method’. Naturally, people want to know what the best way to go from A to Z would be. But the intrinsic problem with the ‘method approach’ when applied to this broad and messy area of ‘change’ is that, inevitably, it reduces change to its mechanics.
I have described before three models of change: Destination, Journey and Building. The destination mindset focuses on arriving to Z. The Journey one has a greater interest in how to reach Z. The Building model is motivated by ‘what is built’ in that journey, perhaps going to that Z destination.
The Destination Model loves ‘the method’, their practitioners are methodists, and spend quite a lot of time saying that my method is better than yours. Busy as they are on this, they often forget to build the capabilities for another destination, and for another, and for another and perhaps for any destination.
The focus in today’s organization is on creating the conditions for change (any change) instead of how to change now from A to B. It’s change-ability more than change-programme.
These conditions require
(1) a particular Organizational Operating System (imagine philosophy, principles, algorithms [here, when x, we do Y], processes and behaviours, all in one) in which
(2) a Mobilizing Platform is ‘installed’ (grassroots, peer to peer, storytelling).
Organization Operating System + Mobilizing Platform + = Viral Change™
The method is not dead. The announcement of the title is not correct. There will always be methods, and Viral Change™ has one. But we need to focus on creating conditions for the travel, not signposts.
The 2015 organization, 4 key questions are:
(1) What is the behavioural DNA that we need to become the company we want to become?
(2) Can we create it, shape it, make it real and live?
(3) What are the written and unwritten rules, the non negotiable, the ways of doing, the philosophy and style, the fabric in action (‘Organizational Operating System’)?
(4) In that context, how do we work? How do we mobilize people, engage them, and make them activists of the collective destiny? How does our whole become bigger than its parts? How do we lead in wholeness? (‘Mobilizing Platform’)
Leadership needs to master all these, and in so doing building an architecture and a future.
Give back to the methodists what belongs to a ‘change method’, and to leaders what is about building a remarkable organization.