Within the Constrained organisation, there are multiple change conversations taking place, but each is somehow isolated: it’s energy is constrained. It’s rather like an aircraft on the runway, with the chocks still in place: it doesn’t matter how powerful the engines are, it’s not going anywhere until the chocks are removed.
This is characteristic of an organisation that is churning, not changing: it’s active, it’s motivated, it desires change, but it’s not yet fully in motion.
Our mechanism to remove the chocks is not to push harder: that’s an application of the wrong type of energy. Instead, we need to create a space for conversations, outside of the project, outside of the formal space. We invite people to come together in unusual configurations, cutting across functional areas, to co-create the change story. We provide a common narrative structure to these groups, but let them fill in the words. These co-created stories are owned by the communities: framed by the organisation, but co-written, and they form the levers that will let us remove the chocks.
We can call these ‘Bridging Conversations‘, and i’ll explore them in more detail in a subsequent post.
These stories chart the activity taking place, but contextualise it within the whole change journey: so instead of the organisation telling us where the change is going, the community documents it. They draw their own map.
With these stories as levers, we have the first element we need to unlock the energy: we can use them to remove the chocks and start to get movement.
Our challenge then is to align the energy: an organisation in churn has movement, just that the movement is random and counters itself.
Here, we can continue to use narrative approaches: telling stories through change. These stories will let us align the momentum, to find common direction, around shared energy.
As individual elements of the change story are amplified, and owned, by individual communities, around a shared narrative, we gain momentum, and with momentum, we can start to achieve Dynamic change.