To cope with change, organizations need to do one thing — change.

There is just one step that needs to be taken. It’s not even a big one. Welcome change. Don’t resist it, welcome it. Everywhere.

Peter Brownell
Sep 1, 2020 · 4 min read
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From static to dynamic

This is the paradigm shift: from static to dynamic. Stability does not arise from keep things the same, it now arises from being dynamic, from the ability to constantly evolve and adapt to meet the environment.

This need to see that stability is a state of dynamic balance, rather than a fixed point, applies at every level: to our inner world, to our relationships with those around us and to whole systems or organizations.

Change is not chaos

In an a rapidly changing environment, a static perspective might feel safe, but that comfort is a lie. It’s simply a mask. It hides the reality. The chaos behind the mask is growing, we’re not aware of it and definitely not dealing with it. In a dynamic context, like one where an organization is suddenly dealing with a remote workforce in a recession, trying to limit change will inevitably result in chaos. Too many unmanaged variables, too much dissonance, and an inability to handle the edge cases will eventually add up.

Adopting a dynamic perspective, by accepting that change is continuous and that evolving should be part of our day-to-day, does not create chaos. The continuous integration of refinements provides a much more stable environment than the manufactured consistency of a static mindset.

From “command and control” to feedback

In a static environment organizations operate primarily on command and control. Power resides in a few people at the centre and the majority of the work is achieved by managing (controlling) the energy of the workforce.

In a fully dynamic organization, the primary operating process is feedback. Power is distributed throughout the system, and individuals coordinate their efforts through feedback.

There are very few, if any, organizations that operate purely outside of command and control. It may not be a desirable objective anyway, but it’s not the destination that counts — it’s the journey.

The path to creating an organization capable of continuous change, involves learning how to use feedback to identify what changes need to take place, making a small change and then getting more feedback.

That’s it. That is the thing that you need to aspire to achieving. Simply being able to constantly take another step, and then seeing if it took you in the right direction.

Establishing a self-managing, dynamic organization, in practice

  1. Learn how to give and take feedback. Educate everyone in how to really do it. Feedback is not just disguised criticism and judgement. To really do feedback, you need to welcome emotions to the workplace.
  2. Establish the foundation processes and practices that enable teams to reflect on their work, and provide feedback to each other. Start with retrospectives.
  3. Change your leadership practices:
    * Learn to distribute authority (not just responsibility) by establishing dynamic job roles.
    * Evolve (and share) leadership to focus on providing vision, ethics and problem definitions — not prescribing solutions.
  4. Keep looking for where to change next. Take small steps. Keep changing.

The feedback loop

But they will be faster. They will be able to cope with massively complex problems. They will innovate at a pace that a static organization cannot comprehend.

Organizations as we know them will be replaced.

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Some help

We can help. The-Organization.com works to support those on this journey. We’re exploring the path. We can share what we’ve learned on the way. We provide tools, training and consulting to develop dynamic businesses.

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Developing the capacity for organizations to embrace the…

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Peter Brownell

Written by

It’s time to change the world. It’s time to create the future that we need. I seek the inflection points that can make tomorrow a better place.

The-organization

Developing the capacity for organizations to embrace the future

Peter Brownell

Written by

It’s time to change the world. It’s time to create the future that we need. I seek the inflection points that can make tomorrow a better place.

The-organization

Developing the capacity for organizations to embrace the future

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