Overview of The Change Curve

We can observe three ways that organisations change: none of them are fixed, and many will touch upon all three, but very few will achieve the top state, becoming Dynamic and thriving in constant change.

The Change Curve

Where does your organisation sit on the Change Curve?

Resistant organisations are ones that see change around them but deny that it will affect them. Often they believe that their mass and momentum, the bricks and mortar, the footprint and infrastructure that got them this far will somehow make them immune to change. They expect that others will be eroded or swept aside but that they themselves will continue to thrive as they have done for so long. This is a fallacy: in a changing world history, size, and excellence in the current world maybe the very things that make us unable, or possibly unwilling, to adapt to the new one.

Change Curve - The Antibody Effect - churning

Resistant organisations deploy antibodies: they attack and root out dissenting voices, they marginalise or deny permission, they seek to maintain the status quo that they are so heavily invested within. When change does affect them, they heal over it and form layers of scar tissue that make them ever less likely to truly adapt. You cannot change a Resistant organisation, at least not with pressure from outside, you can simply wait for it to fail and pick up the pieces. Fortunately many organisations only have pockets of resistance, but that may be enough to make them unable to truly adapt.

Change Curve - the Control Effect - chocks away!

Constrained organisations, by contrast, understand that they are operating in a new world and are actively doing something about it. They have allocated budgets, set projects in motion, recruited and motivated key people, and believe that they are dealing with the issues at hand. In two years time we typically see that they still understand the challenges, some projects have delivered and others are still running, some people are still leading, some have moved on, and others have drifted in. The energy is not aligned, with success being judged on a project by project basis whilst the juggernaut itself continues to move forward. Constrained organisations are well-intentioned but fall into lethargy as control effects takeover and they fail to truly take both the brave formal and engaged social decisions that will transform.

Organisational Change: the Control Effect

Many organisations are constrained, well-meaning, but ultimately failing to adapt in holistic, comprehensive, and effective ways. We can help these organisations to change if we are able to overcome the resistance, but the starting point for that may be to realise that we ourselves are part of that resistance. To change, we need to map the landscape, create individual agency, and generate momentum by building a change community and creating opportunities for individuals to invest themselves in the future state and co-create it with us.

Dynamic organisations are rare, but I would argue that to be excellent we must become dynamic, because only a Dynamic organisation can demonstrate true agility, and ability not just to survive but to thrive in times of constant change. A Dynamic organisation is able to adapt at speed and do so again tomorrow without great expenditure of emotional or physical collateral. Being Dynamic is not about a system or process, not simply about money or time, but rather about mindset, community, and a deep understanding of stories, co-creation, and amplification.

Aspects of the Socially Dynamic Organisation - Diversified Strength

Organisations that manage to move through this curve become not just Dynamic, but Socially Dynamic, empowered by the communities that they nurture and value.

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.
This entry was posted in Change, Change Management and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Overview of The Change Curve

  1. Pingback: An Overview of the Socially Dynamic Organisation | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  2. Pingback: Future of HR: Guided Not Governed | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  3. Pingback: A New Model for #HR: Enabling, Guiding, Adapting | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  4. Pingback: Sharing Extracts From ‘The Change Handbook’ | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.