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Principles in design of change processes

A change process is a journey of exploration. The principles you need to apply are not the same as you usually work with. Here I have collected some of the most important principles.

The purpose of the journey is to find a new and improved set of well functioning solutions to the challenges you are facing. This means these solutions are interconnected and you need to keep that in mind in the whole process.

So the first principle is to give up your habits and habitual thinking.

The second principle is to give up the habit of discussion and have a dialogue instead.

Collective dialogue works if all the participants

  • Give up goal orientation
  • Explore different points of view
  • Co-create new points of view
  • Play, imagine and construct ideas and new practices

Inner dialogues work when you formulate your own points of views clearly, listen for the inspiration in other points of view and shuffle them all and re-formulate your new ideas. This is really hard work, so it takes some time. It is hard work because the brain uses at least 25 percent of the total energy of the body. And usually people need to sleep before they have made sense of all the impressions. Technically the brain rebuilds itself while you sleep.

To achieve dialogue you have to introduce these rules:

  • Find the spirit of free play with ideas
  • Leave the weapons outside
  • Give up goal orientation
  • Explore different points of view

The third principle is involvement and transparency

If you invite people to participate in the exploration of possible futures, you will benefit from their experience and knowledge. They will know why new set of solutions are necessary and the probability of gaining their support for the new set of solutions will grow.

If you do not invite them from the beginning you can involve them along the way. In the worst case they will be very surprised when you introduce new solutions without telling them. They often react with confusion, skepticism or  even anger.

They will always ask: Why is this important and which consequences will it have for me?

You need to keep the whole process transparent if you want to have access to their experience and knowledge and to avoid surprises. It is always a good idea to inform as open as possible about the progress.

The fourth principle is to be over prepared and under decided. On the journey of exploration you need to be able to react if something unexpected and important happens on the way. You have to be prepared for the unexpected and you have to decide along the way as you learn what is needed.

The fifth principle is to have the end in mind all the time and take the first things first.

You will benefit a lot from reading Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of highly effective people.

Categories: Design tasks
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