There is a familiar dilemma around change: if we focus on small and manageable projects, it’s easy to define, easy to achieve, but ultimately often fragmented and ineffective when it comes to addressing the wider challenge. But if we focus on the wider picture, the broadest magnitude of change, it falls outside the remit of any manageable programme and often is so daunting as to be almost unmanageable. There is often little sense of a middle ground.
Within the Dynamic Change Framework, I try to address this through the 16 resistors, and 16 amplifiers, of change: the intention is to build a diagnostic approach to allow us to segment resistance, a structured way of identifying which parts of the organisation are most Resistant, deeply Constrained, and fully Dynamic. I’m prototyping this diagnostic at the moment, I look forward to sharing some early results soon.
It’s an easily stated truth that change is difficult, but we do nobody any favours if we stick to the easy but ineffective projects, or become paralysed in our consideration of the massive and overarching complex ones. We have to find a way to align the energy of multiple small projects, so that the overall movement generates momentum, momentum within a framework, co-created and co-owned by the community itself. That’s the model of Dynamic change: framed by the organisation, but co-created and co-owned by everybody within the organisation.
Today I’ve been working in an Open Session with a group from the National Health Service in the UK, a session that I will repeat on Friday. This view of change is familiar in this context: the National Health Service is intractably complex, politicised, frustrated, and struggling. Change will not be driven from the top, but neither is it possible to fully change the system from the bottom.
The approach of co-created change that I favour would look instead at how we create the conditions for change to occur, how we build the Socially Dynamic Organisation which is able to change repeatedly, and easily, because its strength is held within its communities, and the deep connection and dynamic tension between the formal and social systems.