Monday, May 30, 2016

"CIO Master" XXXXII: How to Fine Tune a Digital Learning Organization

There is no panacea, no magic bullet with regards to change management.

Digital means the increasing speed of change and hyper-connected, always-on businesses. Change Management in high mature organizations are no longer just a one-time business initiative, but an ongoing business capability. Change Management and Strategy Management need to go hand-in-hand. But more specifically, how to manage change effectively to improve its success rate, and how to fine tune a digital learning organization?



One of the items that affect changes in organizational structure is how it is done. Planned vs. radical way. Studies have shown that leaders that have offered democratic participation have reached far better outcome than those who have been autocratic in their approach. Planned change and participative management are central to success. To change an organizational system, you must first understand the concept of the true meaning of organizational system & learn the art & practice of the learning organization. Leadership that understands the organization as a system is part of the answer. Sometimes, the radical change is needed when you want to change some things not just organizational system only but the holistic eco-systems which are centered on the cultural system, morale system, social system, material system, and  functional system. The other times, an organizational system may not need a total remodel. A few areas need improvement while others need new processes. Once the "why" is known that "what" can be the focus and the "how" will follow as it will be easier to answer the question with all the variables and goals identified and defined.


To change an organization's culture, there MUST be buy-in from the top executives: We can't change anything without changing the culture, sometimes in big ways and others we make small system changes. There are many who discount the necessity to plan and cultivate organizational culture. The point is that we can do all the right things during the change process but still fail when the organization eventually moves back to well known long time practices. In an era of poor decision making by management from top-down, you need to allow a 'bottom up' approach, too. Then a change agent must be brought in to work with every tier, establishing a common language for the organization and dealing with the most challenging issue - what is NOT spoken. There are change agents making cultures conscious. Start by building trust with yourself, because if you don't trust anyone, including yourself, then bringing about change in an organizational system will be daunting.


There is “no one size fits all” formula for change management: To manage change effectively, you should take into consideration that no two organizations are the same and the same applies to the leadership. Today we see that many companies are moving toward open structure and more freedom to those who are linked with the front line jobs. Perhaps one key to the question is allow for leadership at many different levels throughout the organization. If people don’t feel that they are valued, it is often difficult to bring around changes. This means that employees are a part of the decision-making process and how the company is operating. Leadership and decisions making at many different levels are often likely to drive out the best in the people, organizational innovation and culture. Trust is fundamental but in an organizational system if you want to change something, you also need to follow the step-wise scenario:
- the first point is the pressure coming from the management and with clear business goals (implication from top management)
- the second point is an explanation to justify why and legitimacy in time. Knowing the "why" is important to determine the "how."
- the third point is to indicate the strategic goals coming from the top management are achieved bottom up, and how operating people have their own trajectory in respect with the real contribution and the individual know how.
- qualify the departure state and the state "dreamed" at the end (middle management)
- work after on the HOW especially who contribute and when (operating people)
- don't forget one eye on the final objective and the second eye on risk management for emergent events.
-Enjoy and stay in a positive attitude


Changing an organizational system is an ambitious project that would imply to consideration of several factors. A holistic approach would be recommendable for radical changes. Since it is the system, the key elements in Change Management include vision, value, culture, goals, process, and measurement., etc. Incremental changes should also have plans and take logical steps,  There is no panacea, no magic bullet with regards to change management, but the well thought out planning, the changeable people with learning agility, and robust, but not rigid processes are all success factors for building change as an important dynamic digital capability.



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