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I was unsure what to expect from Participative Transformation, so I subtitled it ‘Learning and Development in Practice of Change’.
Before I started reading the book, I shouldn’t have had a glass. I don’t know how many times I have read page 2.
It did improve, however, very quickly. Roger Klev and Morten Levine, the authors, don’t hesitate to share their thoughts. They write that “mundane perspectives are given the same space as well-founded position,” and comment on change management theories.
They also point out that Jack Welch’s recipe is not the best way to go. Instead, you must do it your way.
How to Manage Change Yourself
According to the authors, it is better to have collective reflections to help you face the future’s uncertainties. You need to work together to create your own vision of the future and change based on your collective wisdom.
It’s crowd-sourcing for changes (although I’m sure they wouldn’t be grateful that I simplified it like that).
They emphasize the importance of problem solving, reflection, and participation in the continuous learning process.
People Must Want To Change
They state that employees are essential to the success of any organization moving to a new working model. Because people need to understand the changes and learn the skills to do the job in a new way.
They don’t create change, they just add to it by an individual “enacting” the change. It is impossible to force change and expect it not to succeed because the only way to achieve actual change is for an individual to follow the requirements to change.
How to deal with resistance to change
Chapter 6 is about resistance to change. The authors offer a very interesting and valid perspective on the classic “They don’t want to Change” comment.
They argue that it is simplistic to say people don’t want change, especially since everyone will have an opinion about what needs to change. Klev and Levin wrote:
“People would rather be in control of change than be changed.”
They explain that resistance is not a fundamental human trait, but a learned consequence from having to deal with the consequences of many ineffective changes that have failed. It’s more like a “Spare the drama” comment rather than an “I’m not capable of change” response.
It could be that they were unable to trust the management in the past and then decided to go against their word and make a lot of redundancies.
Or because they know that the solution is bad, but the people who implement it don’t and won’t hear.
Getting To Participative Change
Bottom line: You need your team to be involved in the change if it is to succeed.
The second half of this book discusses many techniques. They discuss how to conduct organizational analysis, and there is a chapter about search conferences.
I was particularly interested by the World Cafe approach. I didn’t realize that paper tablecloths could be so useful, but drawing on them can mean a lot more than just trying to exchange ideas in writing.
These are the authors’ explanations:
“Long monologues are eliminated when people write down a word or draw something while they talk. Writings and drawings become a common reference and a map of the discussion. It is easy to see where your past and where you want it to be. The map is visible to everyone as a shared memory, or a half-structured collective memory.
They tell the heartbreaking story of a community that needed to change and used the World Cafe method. Despite their doubts about the method, the community leaders persevered and achieved amazing results.
Although I won’t be using a full World Cafe anytime soon, I can definitely recommend it.