Tag Archive for: Change

Consulting, although in the area of soft factors, has been a familiar core service of our company for business development for many years. Even as a boutique consultancy, we ask ourselves the provocative question from time to time in the context of strategy development:
Do we still need “consulting” or can it go away? And if it is still needed, in what shape or format?
Yes, that is our latest conclusion. Enabling, the new consulting.

How consulting was understood for a long time

There they were, those gray silverbacks and the large gaggle of motivated freshly graduated master’s students +, usually with excellence exams, who were certainly moving in the upper echelons of the companies. They were given ample freedom, conducted many interviews and collected valuable information in the organization at lightning speed. They routinely matched these with the concepts and competencies of their own consulting firm and documented them in a well-ordered and activating manner on slide decks prepared in a manner suitable for management. In manageable project periods. When they were gone, what remained was usually an excellent concept that had been coordinated with the C-level. Evaluated, provided with an action plan and “ready for take off”. Period.
These times are not over yet. Even today, this approach is still widespread.

That was really “expensive” and only low efficient

The slightly pointed undertone results from my own consternation. First of all, from the perspective of an employee who experienced how her knowledge, insights and experience were incorporated into the Big Concept without citation of the source and were reported without comment as the competence of the consulting firm.

And later, from the perspective of a consultant who came in after the big consulting firms were no longer there to support the levels below the C-level, to understand what was left behind or to work through and implement what was outlined in the concepts. Many a time we were the umpteenth consultancy that struggled to design what others had thought up or mixed for others. It was a miracle when a suitable added value emerged. With the many non-participants. Apart from the fact that, in addition to a high degree of demotivation, it cost vast sums of money.
If these concepts were ever implemented at all. We don’t even want to know how many of these high-end analyses and strategies were buried somewhere, in drawers in the past and in file folders today.

First it should then save the change management

The first attempt to get a bit of sustainability into it was to expand the idea of turning “stakeholders into participants”. Stakeholders should no longer only be asked in (stakeholder) interviews, but should also be involved in the development and implementation of solutions. This is where change management came into play. A large number of change projects were set up, most of them running in parallel, in which the added value and benefits of the high-end concept were explained. Naturally supported by powerful promoters. At least in theory, because with all the operational workload there was/is actually no time for this. Supported by a project management designed internally or by an external consultant and many Gantt charts. So a lot was done to explain and design how to make the concept make the transition from paper to everyday life. This was (at least economically) not bad for us. This was not a bad thing for us (at least from an economic point of view), because in addition to designing and implementing the concept, we also had to take care of change and project management. The external consultants continued to add value. And the so-called stakeholders became only indirect participants in the whole thing.

Even agile approaches did not bring the desired success

In the meantime, agility conquered the stage and now the sprints were supposed to fix it. Classic project management was given a new (admittedly pointy-headed) suit. The mood of those involved temporarily rose somewhat. Becoming a participant was within reach and finally, one’s own competence could be expanded a bit. How inspiring and beneficial. Finally, new faces came into play – Agile Coaches. They talked a lot about how to shape VUCA, the added value of vision and mission, and how to create team spirit. And they had funky tools in their little suitcase, e.g. retrospectives or techniques from Management 3.0. Great, Brought new motivation. And it was good that there were the consultants who created the deliverables in the meantime. Please don’t misunderstand: we are of course also Agile Coaches and continued to make our revenue with the externally delivered value.
However, it was really all just the same wine in new bottles.

Enabling, the new consulting

I don’t know whether we were driven by the fact that we no longer wanted to be primarily the extended workbench (although this will always be part of our service portfolio) or whether the entrepreneurs in us no longer see this incredible use of resources or – and perhaps this is it – we have seen that the greatest potential, namely that of the stakeholders, is not being used at all, but we decided some time ago: Enabling, the new consulting.

Since then, we have concentrated on enabling those affected, i.e. internal clients, whenever we create a deliverable for them. I.e. we apply what we have only talked about with the many approaches of the past. We co-create with our clients and share all our knowledge. Aware and with the intention to make ourselves superfluous at least with regard to this design. In this way, we make it possible for added value to be created directly and immediately by everyone concerned. In this way, those affected become participants and co-creators, and the personal and corporate competencies are strengthened.
With the perspective of creating much more.

The positive effect, which we have already experienced many times, is: the motivation of all participants increases and also their innovative power. Collaboration becomes tangible and spreads its effectiveness. And all parties have a whole lot more fun.

We call this enabling, the new consulting. And we believe this is the future.

You shape the future.
It works well with us.

 

created by: Eva-Maria Danzer

30.10.2021

Until the 1960s, upper and middle management were oriented toward the cybernetic control loop as a fundamental management model. Deviations from the norm were regarded as controllable or regulable by means of “correct” methods. But the changes became more profound, more comprehensive and increasingly rapid. The so-called “disturbance” thus became the normal case, and regulating or remedying it became increasingly costly and complex. Management no longer comes to “rest”, but is an object of constant adaptation to changing conditions.

Yesterday’s recipes for success are no guarantee of tomorrow’s success

What was gently called “change” 20 years ago has today undergone a rapid acceleration, so that some would like to speak of a “revolution”. Economic history shows new phenomena, such as globalization, new work, Internet, multimedia, etc.. These then led to new terms such as, Change Management, Leadershift, Chaos Theory or Business Transformation.

Yesterday’s recipes for success are no longer a guarantee for tomorrow’s success. Many new tools and models are offered: Lean Management, Learning Organization, Knowledge Management, Design Thinking, Agile way of working, and many more.

Suddenly, employees, executives in upper and middle management had to deal intensively and directly with the topics of change, permanent learning, disruption, new formats and chaos management. This inevitably led to a loss of familiarity, status and control, and caused uncertainty. From this state of affairs, a new “recipe”, change management, was established. Change was not only to be seen as necessary and inevitable, but was also to be actively shaped.

Employees not only had to be made less afraid of the new, but they also had to be won over as essential building blocks in the change process and allies for the new.

Change Management – all dimensions of change

As a kind of “container term,” change management is not as clearly definable and adaptable as project or quality management. Management of any kind aims at change. In this respect, all the great concepts of recent economic history were and still are part of change management – Taylorism as well as Lean Management or Knowledge Management. Even more: every merger, reorganization, and even well-managed employee appraisals, every suggestion for improvement or management review meeting is about change. In this respect, the question arises: What is not change management?

In Anglo-Saxon literature, change management is primarily understood as the human dimension of a change. In German-speaking countries, on the other hand, technical aspects are also taken into account. This leads us to the conclusion that change management is about technical, strategic, organizational, managerial and human-social changes, which are realized with a multiple combination of hard and soft factors.

Consequently, the essential task of a change manager is to manage people, information, resources and processes in a targeted manner in order to bring about change and adaptation. The main focus is on human resources management, because changes – as proven by our own projects – are met with resistance, cause fears, resilience and learning blockades.

Another finding from many of our own projects is that change is not possible without the participation of employees.

Change Management

Source: Study Institute for Learning Organization and Innovation, Munich in cooperation with the Institute of Business Administration of the University of St.Gallen

All approaches to change management pursue a common concern: they should create “infrastructures” for change. It is not the changes alone that are important, but their implementation and the provision of a climate and environment conducive to realization. Above all, proactive change management strives to create a change-friendly climate in which new ideas and concepts can emerge.

It’s not just about the new

Today’s change management also aims at continuous sustainable corporate development. In addition to growth or consolidation, revitalization, reorganization, accountability or value enhancement are among the common objectives for the development of organizations. Today’s goal is to create structures in management and a mindset that shape change itself and are no longer fixated on constant constancy. Consequently, in the change process a company should not only acquire the ability to change its own rules according to the learning process, but at the same time to develop rules for the rule changes and thus to become reflexive.

Change Management – step-by-step

Models and concepts for a successful approach to change management can be considered from two main points of view – to change the content and direction, companies should work with common models in terms of content and concept, with Business Reengineering, Lean Management, Total Quality Management or Balanced Scorecard dominating the opportunity scene here so far. When it comes to the question of “how”, there are two answers. Depending on the point of view or the basic model, a more management-technical approach is interested in the typical course of a change process. For the phases of diagnosis, goal formation, planning, decision, realization and for sustainable support control. Human resources managers, for example, tend to focus more on the actors involved in the change and ask about the necessary motivational resources.

Usually, such a process goes through several phases until the psychological changes are stably adopted into the behavioral or attitudinal repertoire.

The Company Journey Guides proceed with minor deviations from the generally accepted seven-phase model:

Shock – Rejection – Insight – Acceptance – Trial – Realization – Integration. Change Management step-by-step.

Extensive changes, such as transformations, cover a period of at least 24 months. In each of the phases mentioned, a different set-up and procedure is useful.

From our point of view, supporting consulting/coaching and facilitation play an essential role for a successful change. This creates a suitable methodological, spatial and temporal structure and ensures sustainability. A facilitator is therefore first and foremost a process designer and structure provider, completely neutral in terms of content and impartial. He/she has a high level of competence in relation to change, groups and conflicts and has a well-stocked toolbox of methods for conversations and creative processes in meetings, workshops and conferences. Thus, he/she is able to pick up people from where they currently stand.

 

Interested?

Please contact us.

We are here for you.

15.04.2021

Today, human “work” is increasingly migrating to the machine and AI is taking over more and more tasks from us. By doing so, it is only driving forward a process that has already begun. Many of the classic “jobs” have been the responsibility of the so-called “low-wage countries” for years. How contemporary is the term “co-worker” – at least in industrialized countries? Is there a change on the horizon?
The one “from co-worker to co-creator”?
(By the way: we always think diversely, even if we “sacrifice” the wording for the sake of reader-friendliness).

Work has a lousy image

In the ant-song from Tabaluga you can hear “Work is half of life …”. And indeed, there were times when a large part of the population of the industrialized countries would have fully agreed with this. And still today we encounter this confirmation from other regions of the world.

Although the term “work” is initially described neutrally as a “purposeful, social, planned and conscious, physical and mental activity”, it nevertheless has a “hidden agenda” attached to it. Work is usually associated with burden and effort, with complaint, and often with “unfair” working conditions. This attribution has its roots in ancient medieval times. And although the Christian, primarily Protestant religion has tried to give work a positive “image” and this was also emphasized again and again in the course of industrialization, it remained so – we still associate with work a matter of the socially lower classes.
It is poorly paid and performed by people with low education. These people supposedly need representatives who enforce their interests and leadership, since they cannot lead themselves.

Perhaps sociology could provide a remedy here. According to its definition, work is a process in which people enter into social relationships that are of central importance in the overall context of life; these include the structuring of time, social recognition and self-esteem.
And, honestly, that was a great try, but who would define “work” that way?

Co-worker, employee, colleague, ….

When it became clear that trying to correct this “hidden agenda” with optical polishes was not really fixing the problem, new names were created for the more modern or educated worker: Co-worker or Colleague and “Senior Associate” or “Executive.” In this way, they distanced themselves from the lower class, which, for example, also had hierarchical levels in the form of the foreman, and created a parallel world. With the familiar social conflicts. And then – for whatever reason – a compromise was reached in the world of Management 2.0+. All of them became the species “co-worker”. Employees of a company who are assigned to a manager. So much hierarchy was necessary after all. Although there is also an ambiguity, because managers are also employees and therefore actually co-workers.
To top it off, all of them are “workers”. Again, “work”. And whatever it actually means.

In any case, it sticks with the “worker”. With the whole worker story in the luggage. With or without a crown. More or less dependent.

Expiration of the term the “co-worker”

That somehow no longer fits the times, does it?
The term “work” is overdue now, at least in the age of the next big digital transformation. Even if it is still a central component of our understanding of the economy, primarily the national economy, which is still valid and characterized by performance thinking.

How unsexy it is today to see oneself as a “worker”. Who among us still wants to “work”?
The term “co-worker” has had its day; it simply no longer has any appeal or hardly any appeal.
At least the “work(er)” part is then best left for disposal. But what happens to the ” co-“?

From co-worker to co-creator
What exactly “co-” is and what does it mean? First of all, “co-“ means “with” or “also” and not “alone”. “Co-” requires others in each case. That is the spirit of the times. Today, we still talk a lot about teams, but now the idea of collaboration is gaining ground. The idea of creating something together. As opposed to every man for himself. By the way, collaboration has its roots in working together with the “enemy”. That really resonates with a lot of transformation potential.

Co-creation is therefore the current and forward-looking approach. There the “co-” is further in it. And something new. This is “creating” instead of “working”.

For some time now, a re-prioritization can be seen in people’s basic motivations. It is no longer the motivation to perform that is most pronounced, but rather that of influencing or shaping and that of connecting. In some sources, the basic motives are supplemented today by “freedom,” the motive that is currently becoming a shooting star. And “influence” as well as “freedom” have little to do with what we conventionally understand by “work”.

It really looks like the shift is coming: from co-worker to co-creator.

Spot on the “co-creator”

Assuming that the co-creator does exist, what distinguishes him from the “co-worker”?

First of all, a completely new basic understanding and a changed attitude. Designing or influencing something oneself does not mean waiting for a task to be assigned. It means becoming active, perhaps even proactive, and getting involved proactively. It is about ownership.

Energy that may be tied up in resistance in the “co-worker” is released in the “co-creator”. Creative potential and joy in self-efficacy can emerge.
What a benefit for the individual and the entire company.

At the same time, the requirements increase. It is important to deal with what one’s own contribution is, where one’s personal strengths lie and can be developed. Attentiveness and care for oneself and visibility in business take on a special significance. Courage is required to defend one’s own point of view. And resilience, should this not prevail with other co-creators. This can also be quite strenuous and takes those affected out of their comfort zone.

These are all future competencies that sometimes need to be developed first. An accompanying qualification offensive is certainly indispensable here.

Effects in the system

However, moving from ” co-worker to co-creator” is not done by changing the attitude and behavior of the “co-creator”.
It has an impact on the entire system and culture of an organization or company.

Co-creators have something to contribute and say, and they want to be heard. For this, it is necessary to create a suitable framework, formulate governance and develop principles of collaboration.

Co-creators have different requirements for their environment in terms of the type and location of the place where value is created. Here, a flexibilization of existing structures would be required. Mobile work and trust instead of control of times would be basic requirements. As would an understanding of which formats are suitable for joint creation and exchange.
Here, at the latest, we are in the center of the transformation to the “New Work” which is taking place anyway.

Leaders First

The shift from co-worker to co-creator can only be considered if leaders internalize and support the shift.
In fact, such an approach requires executives to be engaged in the transition even before implementation.

Co-creators, who take ownership, contribute themselves effectively and thus take over leadership through their role, make classic leadership unnecessary. New and future-oriented competencies are then also and especially required of leaders.

First, however, we need a mindset shift and the development of a supportive attitude in management and among all decision-makers. The following also applies to executives: From co-worker to co-creator.
This journey should be accompanied and begin before the “co-workers” set out on their journey.

Interested in going deeper? Gladly.
Please contact us.

You create the future.
This is something we’re good at.

27.08.2020

 

Whenever transformation is involved, it is stated that a mindset refraim has a key role to play. Many initiatives threaten to fail because people remain in their old “patterns” instead of opening up to the new. Even the best chains of argumentation are of no use. And even horror scenarios or idealized visions of the future miss their target alone. Time to reflect on a very old format and its power – the effectiveness of the circle.

The failure of transformation

Each and everyone is currently engaged in primarily digital transformation. However, many are apparently not making much progress in this area, and it can be often heard  that they are “lagging behind”. Transformation initiatives often drag on for years and seem to be stagnating.

According to the study Shifthappens 2020, two out of every three initiatives fail. If one follows the many analyses and studies that examine this, the disruptive factors are usually the classics of change management: lack of vision or future prospects, too many activities at once and the resulting sand dune effect, incorrect planning, lack of support from promoters.

And above all a culture shock. Whereas in the past, classic silos, services according  to instructions mentality and cascade goals were required, collaboration, self-organization and iterations are now suddenly on the agenda. A 360-degree turn, so to speak, with a clear panoramic view. A bit much at once, for one or the other.

The importance of communication

Communication is one of the central success factors for successful change, which is a transformation. Even if the holistic version of the Change. Lack of communication leads to resistance. And this makes the entire transformation process slack. Helpful communication, in turn, takes the players on the road, involves them, and ensures integration. So far so good. Has been understood.

But what kind of communication should inspire the transformation? Nicely designed slides with many good arguments. The arguments that are plausible to the creator of the slides. Optimized to the point that they convince every member of the steering committee and beyond.

It obviously does not work. This kind of communication does not seem to bring people into effectiveness and action. Rather, it seems to make them persevere. Otherwise, many transformations would not be where they are.

A question of the mindset

It is really not about communication. It is only a means to an end. It wants to move. To bring people into thinking. Change perspectives. Broaden perspectives. Create desires. Arouse interest in co-design.

It’s more a matter of stimulating the mindset to change. To expand it, to move it out of its rigid corset and comfort zone and to go on a journey of discovery.

And this is certainly not possible with a plausible set of slides. But maybe with good stories. Not with one but with many. Maybe with analogies and personal experiences. And with individual wishes and desires. And with the medium of emotion instead of reason.

The effectiveness of the Circle

And this is where the Circle comes into play. A circle is a conversation circle, which allows to reach deeper levels of communication. In literature several names are used for this circle, e.g. Communication Circle or Talking Circle.

The Circle is a “learning format” that is still actively used by many indigenous people today. For the development of their children or to make decisions for example. It has been used as a method of organizational development and facilitation in recent years for organizations and companies and can work true miracles.

For a circle, a group of people (approx. 6-30+) comes together, whose connection consists in answering a common question. These groups sit together in a closed circle.
This can take place around a table or in an open circle of chairs.
The question for a circle is published for all to see.
A talking stick is used, which moves from group member to group member. It can either be passed on directly when a group member has spoken, or it can first be moved back to the center and then picked up by the next member who wants to contribute.

The effectiveness of the circle can be traced back to the setting, but above all to its principles.
Each member speaks in turn and has the right to speak as long as he or she sees it as appropriate and holds the speaking stick in his or her hands.
There is no external dialogue in the sense of questions or debates, but rather contribution after contribution. Sometimes with reference to previous speakers, sometimes without.
Once the circle is complete, it begins all over again.

An accompanying facilitator can at this point set a short summary of the preliminary round or a focus e.g. with reference to the initial question.
In this way, up to four rounds (depending on the size of the group) can take place. Then the facilitator closes the circle.

The Magic of the Circle

The principles of this format allow the minds of all participants to come to rest and listen to each other more and more intensively. Since an answer cannot/should not be given immediately, the attention remains with what has been said. From different perspectives and aspects, a new and extended  view of things crystallizes in small steps. In mini-steps your own mindset changes. By themselves. On the basis of a diverse view, but with your own thoughts and feelings. This is sustainable and works. This is how action is planned.

Interesting is the effectiveness of the Circle. It works through itself. Change happens. Just like that. Without chains of argumentation. Without logic. From within itself. How magical.

To everyone’s satisfaction, by the way. It is astonishing. Everything important comes up. Represented by all. Thus a wonderful example of self-organization and collaboration is created. And thus changing culture. In every circle.

Circles also have success factors

Two factors are crucial to the effectiveness of the Circle.

First is this: the question. It needs to be carefully chosen and well formulated to reach everyone and to raise the potential inherent in the community. Ideally, it should be formulated in several iterations together with representatives of the Circle and the facilitator.

Then the attitude of the facilitator. No, a facilitator is not a moderator. Rather, it is a person who unintentionally shapes the room and “holds” it, i.e. ensures that the Circle process runs smoothly and in accordance with the principles. This is a very special art that needs to be learned.

 

You use the effectiveness of the Circle to make Mindset Refraim.
With us it goes well.