Work through the chaos

Organizational Change: Seeing Through the Disorder to Achieve a New Order

Help, my organizational change is not going as planned.

Even an organizational change initiative that has been well planned can feel messy.  Margaret Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science said, “that it is only with disorder that we can find the new order.”  Your ability to use the change process to see through the disorder, to achieve your intended outcome is critical to your success.

Where I learned to drive there was a traffic rotary or roundabout. The Micmac rotary had three lanes and about seven on and off ramps.  The rotary actually had a very orderly and predictable traffic flow, but to me, it just looked like chaos.

Micmac Rotary, Dartmouth Nova Scotia (Circa, 1963) Courtesy Government of Nova Scotia

So, before I attempted to drive the rotary, my Dad taught me about its on and off ramps and traffic flow. We also practiced some driving techniques that were essential to successfully drive the rotary. Although driving the rotary was different than learning about it, because I understood its pattern and the driving process I was able to navigate it successfully.

Organizational change is similar. All organizational change moves through a natural process. This change process is based on the peoples’ readiness to make the transition. When you understand this process you can sift through the noise and disorder of the transition to more effectively navigate the white space of your organizational change initiative.

Four tips that can help you see through the disorder of your organizational change

  1. Look at the reactions and responses of the people affected (change recipients) within the context of the change continuum. Many times what appears as disorder or resistance to the change is really a very normal response given where the person is on the continuum of change. Remember your organizational change can only progress at the speed of the change recipients’ readiness.
  2. Assess and evaluate your transition outcome indicators. These are your markers. They help you see the order in the disorder of the white space.
  3. Expect to make adjustments to your plan.  Sometimes I hear leaders become frustrated because “things are not going according to plan”.  Just like you adjust to the traffic, road or other conditions when driving; you will need to adjust your plan based on the readiness of the change recipients, and other internal or external factors.
  4. Reaffirm your intended outcome and ensure the change recipients have internalized the outcome. If you launched your change with only a vague idea of what will be accomplished, take the time to clearly articulate your intended outcome. Then ensure the people affected have internalized the outcome.

Helping you turn organizational change into your competitive advantage.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.