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Knowing where you are, before starting down the path to where you want to be can only be common sense.

Knowing where you are, before starting down the path to where you want to be, can only be common sense. That applies to any journey, and no more so than for transforming an organisation’s culture.

An underlying principle of the Imaginist’s Change Equation methodology is that the connection between people and process never gets out of alignment during a change initiative. (I am including customers as ‘people’ – organisational change must be designed from the outside in, not the other ways around, or it will fail.)

So just mapping the organisation’s processes will never give you the route map for change. You also have to focus on the organisation’s culture – ‘the way we do things here’. The OCAI-online toolkit provides a very useful and intuitive way to develop an ‘As-Is’ > ‘To-Be’ culture change route map. Developed by Marcel Lamers and Marcella Bremer, and based on the Quinn Cameron ‘Competing Values Framework’, it takes only a few minutes to complete the self-assessment exercise.

I was once asked to come and talk about my Change Equation methodology to a Global company’s transformation team. The plan was to start with an ‘As-Is’ > ‘To-Be’ culture map created by their programme manager (15 minutes), introduce my methodology and discuss how it might be applied to get them from A to B (1 hour) and wrap up with some action planning (15 mins).

It made sense to start with the ‘As-Is’ picture. But you have probably guessed what happened. The team comprised 8 quite senior people from across the company and none of them accepted that the ‘As-Is’ picture represented where they thought they were. The team thought they knew where they were – they had identified the systems, processes and data repositories, but their lack of clarity about the company’s current culture was a stumbling block they could not get over.  An hour into the meeting, and still no closer to agreement, I suggested that we postpone the discussion about the A to B journey until they had a clearer understanding of their starting point. The last I heard, the programme manager left the company, the initiative was abandoned and they never did achieve the ‘To-Be’ objectives.

Please note, I am not advocating spending ages doing a detailed As-Is > To-Be analysis. Rather the exercise should be undertaken quickly and with as wide a participation as possible, to give people on the ground the opportunity to get involved and discover what we consultants know already – that the gap between what is being done around the company and what is supposed to happen can be as great as 80% apart.

So knowing were you are before you start, makes perfect sense. In fact you can’t really move forward with a culture change programme unless you have a shared understanding of the starting point as well as agreement on where you want to end up.

 

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March 23, 2013 - Posted by | business change management | ,

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