Coordinating change

Published by Tony Quinlan on

Changing people in an organisation can become a battlefield. With, often, a change team or department (also known as Organisational Design, Strategy, etc), Human Resources, Training and Development (also known as Leadership these days) and Communications all staking out territories and defending their professional honour. Even when it’s not that bad, the different perspectives and disciplines of these groups leads to deeply confusing attitudes and approaches. With "people" in the middle, subject to a confusing series of programmes and initiatives.

And none of the above groups are wrong or superfluous – indeed, each of those deparments are important in making change happen in big organisations – but what often seems to be lacking is coordination between the different approaches.

In my experience, when these disparate departments do get together to talk, too often the jargon each uses gets in the way of any real communication and shared understanding. And hence they tend to retreat back to their office enclaves, determined not to be undermined by these strangers.

Yet it doesn’t take much to get them to share ideas and work effectively together.

The first step is to snap them out of abstracts and jargon. It takes a neutral figure without jargon of their own and without a biased agenda.

The second step is to find a common object on which to focus that allows everyone input – and allows everyone to understand each other’s input. And that usually means a person. Or a set of different persons.

And then progress begins.