After 3 lively #orgdna chats on culture since August, you’d think we’d be out of things to talk about. Yet the opposite is true. The more we discuss, the more we find to discuss. Each chat opens new ideas and new threads for exploration.
In discussing patterns of culture, we spent much time on semantics. Vivid concepts like “power” and “fear” often fought with broader and more abstract notions like “purpose” and “ethical behavior” that more of us would prefer to aspire to. This particular thread from friends & contributors Mark Britz and Bruce Waltuck rung especially true as I reread the transcript.
Like Wittgenstein, I’ve always been a stickler for care our word choices. Last month we talked quite a bit about somewhat abstract notions that get appropriated for nefarious agendas, good words like collaboration, transformation and even values. I believe it was Noah or Jim who commented on purpose needing to be saved.
But it occurs to me that a change agent has little more than relationships and words to drive transformative change. The ability to inspire a team to action based on common ground requires that we shape that common ground carefully. What do we seek to accomplish? What are the hurdles? What can we all agree to? There’s a fine line between manipulation and inspiration for the change agent, who, in my view, needs to alter semantic interpretations at the edges to create a coalition. Facts are facts, to be certain. But abstract ideas leave room for interpretation. A skilled change leader helps shape that agenda, recruiting all the while.
So what ARE the skills of a change agent? What must happen for them to become masters in undestanding and navigating “attractors of meaning” as Bruce noted last time, in the tweet above? Let’s discuss.
- Q1. Define “attractors of meaning” in the cultural context
- Q2. How does a change agent build common ground when everyone has their own semantics? a diverse cultural lens?
- Q3. Utlimiately, what are the skills of a change agent?
Here’s an aggregation of our recent #orgdna culture transcripts, with a participant # and a tweet # for each:
We are slowly unravelling the tapestry of organization culture. We’ve got planning threads open in both Twitter dm’s and Slack. Lmk if you’d like to join us there.
Hope to see you !! MON 11/14/16, at 9pm EST. Should be another great one.
Chris (aka @sourcepov)
1 Comment | tags: #orgdna, aggregation, complexity, threads, twitterchat | posted in culture
In September 2014, we launched a comprehensive discussion of social and organizational change horizons. We tapped insights from Margaret Wheatley, framed here: Wheatley on Social Innovation: Do We Regroup? Our general takeaway was that social change inside organizations and out remains incredibly difficult. We agreed there are many in-depth discussions ahead to unpack it all. And we shared an overarching question: How might we best make progress?
Here are the discussion threads we surfaced to guide our chats in 2015. As you have time, review these topics, and tweet out about those you find the most interesting, useful and relevant in the near term. We’ll pick up and extend the conversation in our monthly Twitter exchanges.
Our next #cdna chat is scheduled for Monday FEB 16 at 9 p.m. ET.
- Q1. SOCIAL CHANGE vs. INNOVATION
- a. Gap perception: grappling with ‘what needs to happen’ vs. ‘what’s been achieved’ (Tony)
- b. Innovating within our sphere of influence. (Scott). We discussed this in some detail during our January 2015 chat, with this frame, and the transcript here; thanks to Scott Smith for teeing this up and for being our guest moderator. What more can we learn from this discussion?
- c. Does the conversation take us toward Asimov’s ‘Psychohistory’? (Scott)
- d. Change v. innovation: are both like ‘deviance’ .. in the end, subjective? relative? (Kim)
- e. Not all social change is innovative (Kim)
- f. Midgley’s boundary critique: who decides? who gets marginalized? (Alice)
- Q2. MOTIVATION
- a. Harmonizing motivation (Christy), perhaps via Maslow’s ‘pack’ response? (Jamie)
- b. Gaming self and team to stay in flow (Christy)
- c. Spreading methods (Christy)
- d. Planning for change around adoption curves (Mike)
- e. Does economic pain trump all other motivators? (Jamie)
- Q3. CULTURAL FORCES AND TIME DIMENSION
- a. Cultural resistance: our brains’ firmware seems programmed to hesitate (Scott)
- b. Prescriptive behavior (Redge); market imperatives taken to be givens (Paul)
- c. The function of speed vs. perceived value, and challenge of normalizing (Christy)
- d. Wheatley: we are not in charge of time arc of change, or its scope, reach or uptake (Kim)
- Q4. CHANGE DRIVERS
- a. Visionary leadership (Tony), and a capacity to see a different world (Paul)
- b. Case studies for social change: IBM/Gerstner, Apple/Jobs, GE/Welch (Chris, Redge)
- c. Modeling change from a place of integrity (David)
- d. Empowered individuals as means to disrupt cliques (David)
Click on the hyperlinked author to see the original tweet, or check out the cdna 9/15 transcript to see the conversation. Thanks as always for the investment of time, insights and positive energy. We always learn something.
Chris (aka @sourcepov)
2 Comments | tags: #cdna, culture, planning, social change, social innovation, threads, vision, wheatley | posted in change, social change