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Turn on a dime, Viral Agile Change

Misunderstanding #3: Change as top-down!

The third big misunderstanding is top-down change… cascading through the organization reaching the lowest levels. Therefore most change programs don’t do much and often need a flavor-of-the-season or year change programs that follow, also offering little in terms of real change…

We are in the network era. It is the era of bottom up change. Or to be more precise bottom up meeting top-down. When you create mass movements, you need distributed leadership across the social network, which really means that top-down only helps amplifying the change happening at the bottom. That means you have Backstage Leadership supporting the change and not management (or truly little of it to set a direction)

But one thing does help in supporting the bottom-up change. You can take the same change ideas and practice it at the top, mirroring to the organization that you truly support the distributed practices that are happening in the masses. A great place to start is Patrick Lencioni’s – Five Dysfunctions of a team – the folklore story of management change which is actually for the top leadership team and often misunderstood as meant to be “teams” of bottom-dweller’s in organizations.

Tomorrow, we shall talk about another misunderstanding #4

Srikanth Ramanujam is a Coach and teacher focusing on helping organizations with new ways of work. He draws from the best of ideas, frameworks, methods and practices and his work and offerings include:

  • Application of Complexity practices, Design Thinking, and Systems thinking to Organizational design
  • Cynefin and Sensemaker offerings towards organization strategy, innovation, complexity informed Design Thinking, Culture change, Organizational culture, safety, agility scans, and associated strategy/action
  • Product Management and Product Development – customer-centered agility using LeSS works – a Product Development and R&D technique that focuses on high forms of Agility and technical practices
  • Application of creating sustainable change in the culture of an organization through the practice of organic and network theory practices – driving change though Viral Change – to create a social movement of beneficial behaviors that scale quickly.

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