Inertia & Breakthrough
It is inevitable that there will be existing processes, procedures, rules and policies that slows down, or even entirely blocks change from happen in larger organisations. For example, if you need to run new digital services sold online, through an existing financial due diligence and approval process, it may be dead on arrival. New business initiatives, new ways of working, new operating models needs to be able to co-exist with existing structure in the organisation.
Our answer to deal with this is to set up a micro-system of new ways of working to avoid getting sucked into the inertia of the existing. In this micros-system, you emulate your future operating model. You run experiments designed for learning, and for making change happen with speed & flexibility. Once it works, once the organisation master the approach sufficiently, you can scale and replicate the model, and transition into companywide change.
The major difference and benefit of this approach is that you can start doing business in a new way day zero. And thanks to the experiments designed for learning, you are building long-term capabilities at the same time as you make tactical business progress.
A micro-system of new ways of working protects you from the inertia of existing processes, procedures & rules.
How we Operate Change
The heart of this approach is about experimentation and learning. Simple but rigorous tools, methods and process to refine actions in a systematic, small-scale manner, figuring out what works well and what does not, with limited risk and exposure. It helps do deal with uncertainties, risk and entering unknown territory, both externally and internally.
The tasks of running experiments designed for learning cannot be neither micromanaged, nor delegated. Top leadership needs to take a consultative and participative role in the definition and design of the experiments, as well as the learnings. Afterall, the experiments implicitly segways the entire company into the future. Just like the experiments themselves depend on simple and rigorous tools, the governance by senior leadership needs to be simple, and rigorous.
For the initiatives to thrive within their own micro-system, there needs to be a well-functioning interface with the existing (infra)-structure. For example, a new digital business model might operate with completely different financial expectation and rules than the 20x bigger legacy business, but still be required to plug into the existing budget process. Or, there might need to be a special exception process to request technical expertise from HQ. Regardless of the scenario, it is a crucial that leaders are engaged to create the right conditions for the micro-system of change initiatives to thrive within the larger organisation.
There is always a risk that change never happens, no matter how strategic and important it is. First because there is a strong force protecting the legacy business. If you start tinkering with the entire organisation structure, you put your “bread and butter” at risk. Even if that risk is manageable, the sheer workload of transforming everything at the same time probably makes it practically impossible.
Creating a micro-system within the existing organisation allows to test, validate and establish new initiatives with minimal disruption on existing revenue streams. And as it is a “micro” system, it will be possible to manage it end-to-end with reasonable resources. The impact is that you get impact in the market immediately, and build up relevant future capabilities step by step.
How we help
We have extensive experience of building up micro-systems with different kinds of clients to operate change We bring blueprints of how that can work, and tools and methods required to co-create a solution that works for you. Out of all the things we do, this is perhaps the most powerful way we transfer knowledge on how to lead and manage change.