Why even the 'right thing to do', with many benefits and advantages is rejected.

It is easy to see what's wrong, with many things. Particularly if you approach them from the outside. Particularly if you're armed with the acquired wisdom of Best Practice.

One example is the old-fashioned idea of what a 'Change Advisory Board' (CAB) should be. That is a regular (daily, weekly, monthly) meeting, with lots of people, who look at a long list of changes, and discuss them, one by one, until they get through the list, or everybody in the room has lost the will to live.

It is a bad idea for many reasons - very good reasons. So we produce a list of benefits of a proper change management system, with standard changes taking the place of the trivial, repetitive, and similar ones that kept turning up at the old CAB, and do all the other good things.

Then, six months, or a year, later, we go back and find that the old CAB is back in all its horrible tediousness.

How can this happen?

Things are as they are for a reason - even if it is a bad one

I think, from the ABC, and human perspective, we need to understand one awkward truth.

Some people actually enjoy the long, repetitive, groundhog-day type meetings, sometimes, mistakenly, called 'CABs'.

Life is challenging, change is risky, we know 'IT Heroes' are a poor role model, but, perhaps, we ought to realise that there is something rational about the old-style 'CAB'. It is the tortoise, hermit crab, or ostrich solution.

If change, when ignored, disappeared, it would even work.

When things are dangerously out of control, a regular, very formal, authoritarian meeting can be like a night light in the nursery. 

It doesn't keep the monsters at bay, but it enables you to feel relaxed enough about them to sleep.

What can we do?

If we want to make a change to an organisation, it isn't enough to be rational. Just saying why it is a good idea, and listing a lot of benefits, often sounds, to the organisation as.. 'just saying'.

You need to find out why things are as they are. Who does the current 'CAB' satisfy? Who is the person who sleeps happier in the false belief that it is protection? How did it come about? You might find that the person who first organised it is now quite senior, and is pleased with the solution he put together many years ago - if you don't convince him, he's not going to be happy if you kill his 'baby'.

Good, sound, excellent, even, as your ideas are, you have to accept they have one very big flaw. They were 'Not Invented Here' (NIH). You may see that as an advantage, and, rationally, it might be, but, if you actually want things to change, rather than just the pleasure of being right (which is just the other side of NIH, if you think about it), then you need to overcome this barrier, so that the right people want to RIH --- Reinvent It Here. Then it might work

The moral of the story

First find out why things are as they are. Then you'll understand what will keep them that way. That way you'll know who to persuade and what you need to use to persuade.

If you don't do this first, then you'll keep being surprised that organisations reject the obviously sane, rational, more effective and, even, more efficient solution, in favour of how they do it.

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Centaurs: Organisational Change Management & horse riding.

Centaurs: Organisational Change Management & horse riding.





Part of the problem with organisational change is perception. People see it as something you do, like driving a car, or riding a bicycle. It isn't, though, like that, it's more like riding a horse.

If the horse wants to make a dash for home, or throw you into the ditch, that's what it'll do.

You have to help the horse see things your way, and agree to go where you want it to go, and you have to be aware that horses get tired, and need feeding, because, if you don't feed them, rest them, and give them time to play, they become sullen, resentful, uncooperative and, eventually, die.

It's also best not to walk behind a horse - with organisations it isn't alway obvious where the behind is. [though you might guess]

If you wish to be good at organisational change, you need the equivalent of riding lessons - and, if you've learned to ride a horse, you'll know that riding lessons involve lots, and lots of practice.

You also learn that you can't ride a horse on autopilot. You have to be one the horse and aware of it's every twitch and mood. You have to be fully engaged with the horse - with top riders, the horse and the rider seem to be one creature, with one mind.

Some believe that that is where the myth of the centaur came from - seeing horses ridden so that they looked like one creature, part horse, and part man.

That's the aim. To be like that, when you work to change an organisation.

 

 

 

 

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