Change Management LO7120

Hays, Joe (
Thu, 02 May 96 08:52:00 EDT

Replying to LO6993 --

The title of this submission captured my attention immediately, for
obvious reasons: I work in a unit named the Change Management Division.
We do organizational development. Were I not extremely interested in the
concepts, principles, and applications of the learning organization, I
would not be on this network.

I am an educator and a specialist in organizational least my
business card says I am. What I am mostly is a novice, but a caring and
concerned one. My methodology, if historically idealistic, has been
consistent, and adheres--whenever possible--to the premise than change
implies learning and vice versa. (I won't argue that change occurs
without learning; that's a debate for another time and place.)

The theory and practice I've touted in the classroom are continually borne
out in my experience working with clients. The Change Management Process
begins and exhibits throughout--if NOTHING else--learning. It is
predicated on learning, requires and stimulates learning, and results in
and can be measured by learning. A consultant and client cannot work
together in any measure without learning taking place initially. For that
matter, a class of students and an instructor cannot work together without
mutual learning, adaptation, and accommodation. This all involves a
negotiation, explicit or implicit, of the psychological contract.

For an organization of any size to CHANGE, lots of individual and
collective learnings must take place. It's not just a matter of learning
new processes, procedures, or technology--which is challenging enough--but
also learning (or generating) new forms of communication and interaction.
To DO business differently, one must learn (or come up with) new rules.
Without an understanding of the "old rules" learning and practicing the
new rules could be difficult or resisted. When we speak of mental models
and paradigms it is the often presumed and left-unspoken rules and
understandings about the way things work that is the essence. To learn
(to do things differently) requires (or at least is optimized) when the
rules are exposed and clarified, their pros and cons deliberated, and
their effects on the rest of the system understood.

To the extent that organizational members are involved in this dialog, and
do not have the short-hand version imposed upon them, organizational
learning is fostered and, thus, change is enabled. It takes a long time,
frequently, and there is no guarantee that DESIRED change will take place,
but change is likely to occur when people learn--that's our nature. The
typical change model, though no one would agree, is that DESIRED change is
designed and installed by those presumed knowledgeable; organizational
learning is secondary. People accommodate to the change: if they don't
resist too long or are seen as not standing in the way, everything is
okay. Learning entails discovering ways to make the change more palatable
and more likely to sustain. Worker involvement is encouraged.
Communication is abundant. All usually too little, too late. Everyone
knows that buy-in is necessary: no one knows how to purchase it.

The best change comes from within. When people see the need for change
and/or can envision a better world, they will want to change, and they
will undertake to learn whatever is required to make the change possible.
Here is where leaders, teachers, and other change agents can assist.
Helping the organization to learn to acquire, process, and use information
relevant to the organization and its environment, presenting tools and
methods that individuals can employ on their own, and making it fun and
productive to talk about rules fertilize the collective mind and provide
the language and experience interacting necessary to enable change from

I employ a wide range of Positive Conflict tools and approaches to
stimulate what has long been called the "unfreezing" stage. This is where
people begin to call things into question. Positive Conflict might
provide another vein for continuing dialog. Let me know.


"Hays, Joe" <>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>