In today’s blog post, we break from our usual format to bring you an interview with John Hackett of Franklin-Hackett. I first met John at a business analysis conference a year or so ago, and I’ve really enjoyed hearing about his innovative approaches and reading his blog. I recently caught up with John for a ‘virtual’ chat, and John shared some really interesting insight:
So, John, you engage in a rather intriguing discipline that you describe as “Organisational Change Alchemy”. Can you tell us a bit more about what this involves?
Well firstly, thanks for inviting me to contribute to your fantastic blog, Adrian!
Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to talk about how change in organisations has been carried out historically.
Organisations tend to think of change in a very structured way, which means they usually try to implement it in the form of a time-limited, specific and managed approach. Hence why we have “change projects”. It’s an attempt to implement change in a controlled way.
This situation exists because the dominant mindset within organisations states that change is a short term phenomenon that has to be planned and structured in order to avoid disruption and reduce “risk”. It treats change as something that comes in, does stuff and then goes away again.
So traditional change methodologies accommodate this mindset by being heavily structured and focusing purely on specific areas such as business processes or purely on IT.
The problem is that in reality, change is actually a constant and emergent phenomenon. It is also complex, in that there are multiple elements that work together to create a situation, all of which have to be considered when implementing change. The structured approach of traditional change interventions is at odds with the emergent nature of change. The tendency towards a narrow focus when implementing change means that many traditional change interventions fail to address all elements and result in poorly embedded outcomes.