Centre for Integral Transformation  


Change Management and Beyond


The nature of the Centre for Integral Transformation’s engagement model means that we are constantly at the very heart of changes which organisations are going through. We also instigate changes within our clients via our Cultural Transformation Programme. These changes can take many forms, structural changes, changes in technology (applications or infrastructure), changes in the way things are done (or where they are done), and, most significantly, changes in the way people think and act.

As in our approach to everything we do, we have the concept of ‘The Full Spectrum Approach’ (described in more detail elsewhere) which means we are concerned about individuals, culture, infrastructure and systems (in their larger context).

Ways of looking at organisations

The author Gareth Morgan identifies eight ways of looking at organisations, he describes these as metaphors, and they are;

  • Machines

  • Organisms

  • Brains

  • Cultures

  • Political systems

  • Psychic prisons

  • Flux and transformation

Of these the four most commonly in use are; machines, political systems, organisms and flux and transformation. The important thing about these different ways of looking at organisation is that they give way to different models which have been developed to manage change. Take for example Michael Hammer’s Business Process Re-engineering (which looks at the organisation as a machine), in a survey of 99 completed initiatives two thirds were judged to have failed. Even more concerning is that those who undertook these change programmes often failed to keep up with their competitors who had not been through these changes. It is not that BPR is wrong; it is simply that it is one of a set of tools to be used carefully, when appropriate, and with full cognisance of all of the other aspects of organisational change.

Different Models

At the end of this paper there is reference to some books outlining different models to effect change in organisations, change in teams, mergers and acquisitions, etc.

As an example of what we at Integral transformation institute see as the kind of failing which exists in all of these models we shall take Kotter’s ‘eight step model’ from the Harvard Business School. The eight steps are;

  • Establish a sense of urgency

  • Form a powerful guiding coalition

  • Create a vision

  • Communicate the vision

  • Empower others to act on the vision

  • Plan for and create short-term wins

  • Consolidate improvements and produce still more change

  • Institutionalise new approaches

In, and of themselves, these steps seem very well constructed and eminently pragmatic and sensible. For example we all know that ‘quick wins’ help keep momentum going and give positive feedback to the organisation. But consider this, the ‘culture; of the organisation is ‘changed’ in step eight. Nothing wrong with this, it is after all a difficult task; why not leave until the end. Here is the problem, in order to ‘change culture’ you need to know what it is currently, and where you want it to be in the future. It is not some ‘optional extra’ to be picked at the end, it is fundamental as pointed out in the runaway bestseller ‘Built to Last’. It is for this reason that we are keen proponents of Richard Barrett’s ideas and tools about cultural transformation set out in his book (see further reading). This where the culture is measured now and a future state decided upon, and part of the work of the Change Programme would be to bring about this new culture in parallel with any other changes taking place.

Why Beyond?

If ‘change’ is a different way of doing what we do now, then at best it can be incremental, but consider the changes taking place today, they are fundamental. Organisations who wish to survive and prosper must not just ‘change’, they must ‘transform’, to make fundamental changes and to make them continuously on onto the future. In the words of Richard Barrett you must aim for a state of ‘evolution’, a continual state of change and transformation.

When looking at the models available we do not see a single solution, there is not ‘one size fits all’, there is no ‘silver bullet’. You have to take the best from each of the models and tailor them to fit your needs, and most importantly, your culture.


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