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Designing the whole change process


After doing this task you should have four different designs for your process:

  • 6½ Disciplines of your change process
  • A logical model of the connections in your change process
  • A break down in possible workshops and in-between projects
  • A timeline for the whole process

Each of these designs should be a drawing that gives an overview of the process.

6½ disciplines in breakthrough learning

Usually a change process takes time. As a process designer you often are asked to make a one-time event, like a meeting or a retreat. This does not guaranty that the change process becomes a success. In the book 6 Disciplines in Breakthrough Learning by Calhoun Wick et. al. they identify these 6 disciplines that you should include in your design:

  • Define the desired outcomes in business terms and in very concrete and visible signs
  • Design the whole process from design to follow-up
  • Introduce directly applicable ideas and methods
  • Provide training and access to help as an integrated part of the process
  • Document the outcomes continuously
  • Provide feedback and adjustments in the whole process

I recommend you to include elements from the toolboxes of project leadership and process leadership on top of these. They are part of the directly applicable ideas and methods.

An overall logical model of the change process


A process design usually follows an overall logical design. One example could be Theory U as presented in Presence by Peter Senge and others:

This overall model will give you a series of steps you can follow in the design of each of the steps. A process has a Desired Outcome and each step should produce Outcomes that are the foundation for the next step. An overall model usually has a logical model and a timeline. In some case I use Peter Senge’s Five Disciplines in the learning organization as the overall model. In this case I have to organize the disciplines into an overall model and create my own timeline. Your overall model should be chosen according to the purpose of the process.
In general your overall logical model should fit with the unit of change: Community, Organization, Team or Individual. It should also fit with the topic of your change process Theory U applies in all change situations but you could find more specific models like the Team Performance Model by Forrester and Drexler. The overall model will make it easier for you to find ideas on which exercises to choose.

The idea is to have a solid progression throughout the process. You will need this model to make the first draft of the program for the process.

Timeline
Your next job is to make a breakdown of the process into a timeline, which could look like this:

With this timeline you can begin to estimate the length of the change process and the different events and projects you will need in order to make the change process a success.
If you are working in a small organization with a small topic like “better meetings” you will not have to make this drawing but it is always a good idea to have a sketch to focus the conversation with the client.
With these two overall designs in place the next step is to begin to choose and design the exercises. The main reason is that the details that need to be coordinated are found in the design of the exercises because all the connections will show up here.

Inspiration from existing methods for change in organizations

There are hundreds of different methods for change processes in organizations and communities and there are thousands of exercises you can choose from. The most precious criteria for choosing between methods and exercises is the Purpose of the process. To give you a general idea of the kinds of purposes you will be dealing with The Change Handbook identifies these categories of methods.

The main difference between these categories of methods is the purpose:

  • Planning methods are designed to create long term transformation in the organization and will normally involve all the aspects of the organization
  • Improvement methods are usually designed to create short term changes in some of the aspects of the organization
  • Structuring methods are designed to change or transform all or some of the structures of the organization
  • Adaptive methods are designed so they can be used for change and transformation in all or some of the aspects of the organization
  • Support methods are designed to support the other processes

A process is a negotiation of the interests of people who can promote and oppose the implementation of the results from the process and even the process itself. Most of the methods can handle this diversity of interests and groups of possible participants. The only thing you have to find out is if there are really strong conflicts of interest. There is only a few of the methods that are designed to handle strong conflicts in a constructive way. If you expect potentially strong conflicts of interest or people with strong personal conflicts to participate in the process, you need to look for methods based on mediation. Prosperity Games is a good choice because it was designed to handle strategic planning between competitors.

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