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The Myth of Managing Change, part II

Back in November of good old 2009, I started with part I of ‘The Myth of Managing Change’. I concluded the first post with the issues often caused by the ‘classic’ change approach. Binney and Williams call this model ‘Organizations as machines’ – Leading. The ‘machine’ model is based on the common view that change can be planned and needs to be done TO organizations, and that ‘they need to change’, being led from a hero leader who knows the way.

The authors then present an alternative model: ‘Organizations as living systems’ – Learning. Here, the notion is that the potential for necessary change is naturally within organizations, and ‘just’ needs to be released. Learning should be encouraged. Care must be taken for keeping a healthy balance between change and stability.

The paper closes with a suggested ‘Leaning into the future’ model which combines Leading and Learning, both contrasting models discussed earlier. The authors conclude that in order for change to be successful, it needs to be driven both top-down and bottom-up. Leaders of change must combine assertive leadership with facilitating and listening skills, being responsive to others. There’s a lot more to it, see the paper or book:

Binney and Williams published their book ‘Leaning into the future’ back in the 90s (you can get a pretty cheap used copy online), and there is an interesting review online.

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