Change from the Bottom Up LO5274

Rol Fessenden (
01 Feb 96 09:35:22 EST

Sb: Change from the Bottom Up LO5166

Joe DiVincenzo, responding to re-engineering from the bottom up, said, "Is
there not an organization tendency to 'suffocate' the accomplishment by
taking what seems to be accomplished and force fitting it into the old
culture (or paradigm)?"

My limited experience is that change generated from the bottom up --
especially when truly systemic change -- tends to be understood only
superficially by the top doggies. They are then likely to want to extend
the success without fully understanding the 'how' of it, and they do that
by implementing the mechanical part of it without paying attention to the
soul of it. Mind you, this is for truly systemic change, which is not all
that common at the bottom or at the top. Because few people have real
pror experience with systemic change, it is unsurprising that people do
not recognize it.

This lack of recognition works in both directions. If senior management
is trying to implement a systemic change, it goes mostly unrecognized for
what it is by the lower levels.

As a result of senior management's leverage, making changes from the
bottom up is extraordinarily challenging. At some point very soon after
the big guys recognize the success, then someone who understands what is
happening and who has credibility, with them has to take them through some
kind of re-education process. The timing of that is critical. Too soon,
and they will not recognize the success. Too late, and they will already
have big roll-out plans.

My guess, not based on personal experience, is that the best approach is
to begin bringing key people into the change process ver quickly after it
begins to flow in a constructive direction. Then these people can observe
and bear witness to the process for others. Wish I'd tried that. Oh,
well, it was a learning experience.

Bill Hobler's suggestion to give the original team a strong role in
subsequent expansion efforts is very sound. Senior management needs to
acknowledge these folks as the true masters of this re-engineering.

 Rol Fessenden
 LL Bean