The secret to easy organisational change: hacking the org.

ImageOur secret is out. After years of us pretending there is no easy answer to organisational change, readers of our book The agile Manager (small a) have found our secret formula hidden right near the end on page 264. Now that it has leaked, we might as well publish it here. That way, you don't need to buy the book, or engage expensive consultants like us. Get the secret technique the consulting industry doesn't want you to know. Just apply this pattern to adopt any new ways of working you want.

We tried to put people off at the start of the book, saying:

    if some consulting firm claims that they have a solution for how your organisation should find its way, you should find someone else. Exactly what approach will change the behaviour of a group of hundreds or thousands of people can only be discovered by experiment. Every organisation uses different methods to follow a different journey. Any model named after a company is a snapshot of that company at some past point in time. Those organisations are constantly changing, or should be. Case studies are interesting sources of ideas which may or may not apply.
    The solution to advancement is unpredictable; in fact, the very idea of a solution is invalid. The journey is unknown except in hindsight. The only things that are common across organisations pursuing new ways of working and managing are the principles and general theoretical models which we apply along the way

because we figured nobody ever reads the whole book [camel-antelope]. But apparently some do, so sadly the secret has been revealed.

This one simple trick will amaze you. You don't even need white ring-binders full of swimlanes, RACI charts, and role descriptions. No software. Just this amazing secret technique revealed FREE to you here (slightly improved from the book, so boy! aren't you glad you didn't buy it*):

    Mrs Beeton’s rabbit stew recipe famously started with “First catch your rabbit.” Easy to say and hard to do. All the “recipes” for cultural change say “You need executive support”. But what if you don’t have it and can’t see that changing? What if you care enough about your organisation to try to fix it anyway?
    Here we bring all the ideas of this book together to provide a model for how you might succeed without that all-important executive mandate.
    Do what you can without permission, which will be some or all of these:
    • an Experiment Programme (p241).
    • an Improvement Machine (p226) as part of continual improvement.
    • a working group (235).
    • teams working in new ways, buffered (p166) by their manager.
    Where three or more like-minded managers are fostering innovation, join them up in triads for mutual support. Now you are growing clusters of three innovating teams, and building a pile of proof-points.
    Sooner or later:
    • some executive will find out “what you are up to” and it will come to a head: either leadership recognise better, or you go work somewhere else.
    • there will be a crisis, and a desperation for new ways of working, which you will have well advanced and ready.
    • a tipping point is reached where everybody starts working in new ways by default and senior management can’t do much about it.
    Once the executives buy in, willingly or not, they will learn the need for new ways of managing and governing. The organisation will move to Open Leadership. Bam.
    In terms of our earlier growth model (p234), you have only now grown out of Explore mode. Your mandate has been increased to look at incubating new ways of working for the organisation. You can bring those interested triads together into a tribe to begin truly incubating an agreed new way of working for all of your organisation.
    Once we think we have something workable, we seek a mandate to roll it out across the organisation (remember: iteratively, incrementally, with feedback – not big-bang!). If executive management have been on their own journey of learning, they will be supportive of the wider mandate and we can roll. If not, try to hold the line: keep the new ways alive within a tribe, or fall back to triads Keep the candle burning: no state lasts long in a VUCA world. A new opportunity will come along soon enough.


ImageThere you have it. A simple organisational hack which we have never known to fail. If you need any help with it, we can be found any evening stocking shelves in our local supermarket. We've done ourselves out of work by giving this magic process away.

*If you were foolish enough to buy the book before you knew just how easy it is, you can find amendments and improvements here.

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