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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Overcome Resistance to Change by Enlisting the Right People

Just completed teaching a course at Columbia University on Change Management in Analytics.  Used some thoughts from this article.   Good thoughts.

Overcome Resistance to Change by Enlisting the Right People

Todd WarnerSeptember 13, 2016 Harvard Business Review

Change initiatives fail when senior leaders don’t see that their organizations are social systems. Organizations are defined by bundles of local relationships, social expectations, and unwritten rules that exist between thousands of people. These people create tribes — collections of like-minded people who build patterns around how work gets done. This system is highly resistant to change, as anyone who as ever tried to “impose” change on a system knows.

Tribes in organizations tend to be small, and may cut across formal silos; they have their own power structure, and their own ways of rewarding and punishing deviance.  You see this in on-boarding, for example, where new joiners take cues and align with co-workers, replicate work habits, and learn day-to-day, despite organizational attempts to “teach” through formal on-boarding programs.

The secret to changing an organization is to understand the fundamental units that make up the social system — these local tribes — and to invert the change process so that tribes own the change. To influence tribes in organizations, you have to give up control, and recognize that every change always goes through a process of localization as it gets executed.   ....  " 

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