Change or Churn?

As organisations try to change, they start with intent and move to action: it’s a process rather like throwing the engine into reverse on an oil tanker. You get a lot of churn. The water is thrashed into life: there’s a lot of noise and movement, but possibly very little changes.

Change or Churn?

I found myself asking this question of an organisation part way through a large cultural transformation programme: are you changing, or stuck at churn?

The churn is satisfying: it gives all the business and apparent effect of change, with one crucial difference. Nothing is really changing. We’re just busy.

I subscribe to a co-created and co-owned model of change, where we create the intent for change at the top and give permission throughout to shape what it looks like. There’s less churn, but more change. Maybe less apparent splashing, but more actual movement.

It takes a lot to engage in co-created change: because we relinquish some control of the story, even if we still own the narrative.

In the Social Age, we need organisations that are agile, reconfigurable, adaptable. And we need organisations that can do this without too much splashing: just purposefully and effortlessly adapting. True agility.

So ask yourself if you’re changing, or just contributing to the churn.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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12 Responses to Change or Churn?

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