Leading Change Projects #KSSDarzi17

A change of location and a change of pace....

Day 1.

We moved away from LSBU to The Foundry in Vauxhall for our 1st Leading Change Projects module.

The day started with a 'Check In'. This took the shape of a conversation in pairs about what we have learnt about our organisations so far: What shapes the behaviour in our organisation? How does leadership work within the organisation? How are decisions made?

Learning to see the world as a system and acknowledging the dynamics of the systems in order to affect change.

We reflected on what makes change happen and how to make it 'stick';

  • 'It's hard to get change when there aren't seeds of success.'
  • 'If you are not part of the problem you can not be part of the solution.'
  • 'Finding common ground and being visible.'
  • 'Capture collective learning and knowledge about change, appreciating organisational memory.'
  • 'Most of all it is about relationships and getting buy-in.'

1 + 1 = 2

Relationships: just because you know 1 doesn't mean you know 2. It is all determined by the relationship.

To demonstrate the importance of understanding the 'Rules of Thumb' of an organisations and gain insight into the reasons for repeating behaviours we used Boid theory to show flocking patterns which change depending on the rules they work by.

A further exercise showed that with a few simple rules we can bring order to chaos with Sierpinski triangle emerging from a random chaos game.

Complex Adaptive Systems

Autopoesis, Cognition, Dissipative structures and Emergence

Looking at problems and thinking about things differently

By thinking about how to overcome problems in a new way there is opportunity for improvement

In order to tackle any problem you have to understand the nature of it, Prof Keith Grint explained his work on identifying kinds of problems we might face and the different approaches that are needed to address them.

Using the models described over the course of the day we took the time to think about how this plays out in the organisations we have worked in and how these behaviours can affect those within the system.

'We interpret the world through our experience of previous relationships'

'Changing a system needs a change of identity'

Day 2.

The Power Lab. with invites extended to our sponsors.

An concentrated experiential learning experience which highlighted the traditional roles and behaviours within organisations. Fellows and Sponsors were randomly allocated into roles within our novel organisation; working as tops, middles, bottoms and customers. From here the fun started....

During this accelerated process we observed classic patterns within organisations emerge and identified predictable behaviours for each of the different groups of participants.

  • Tops feeling out of touch and stressed with too many decisions to make and information coming from all directions
  • Middles feeling torn trying to please both tops and bottoms and inevitably ending up 'nice but naff'
  • Bottoms initially feeling enthusiastic and keen to work hard (even if they had given up their shoes) and later feeling disempowered and disengaged 'The lens of neglect skews interpretation of any well being act.'
  • Customers struggled to identify the decision makers, many of them bypassing management and going directly and poaching Bottoms from the original organisations in order to get their work done.

For many of us this was a light bulb moment. The visceral experience, the immediate adoption of roles and demonstration of behaviours we have seen in organisations. It highlighted our innate tendencies and the need to do something different to manage these and not fall into the same old patterns.

Ideas of how to avoid falling into old patterns

Expert witness

We had learnt the theory, had practiced it in our learning environment and now we had the opportunity to explore the lived experience through our expert witness Helen Atkinson, Strategic Director of Adult and Social Care at Surrey County Council. Helen consolidated our learning and echoed her experience of many of the challenges we had identified.

Day 3.

Project planning

A lecture by Dr Uly Ma from LSBU introduced us to project planning models and techniques. From the complex PRINCE 2, PMBOK and Agile systems to PERT charts, Gantt charts and Swimlanes. For many of us we will adopt a more pragmatic approach combining models of project plans adapting them to fit the organisation and size of the project.

We must remember that people are irrational and we work in a world of uncertainty - Brexit and President Trump being two phenomenas which are currently shaping project environments.

We discussed the importance of goal setting and establish time scales to meet agreed targets

Managing Expectations

Action Learning Sets

Formative Assessment: a 10 minute presentation entitled The relevance of Flow, Improvement Science and Systems Thinking in relation to your quality problem.

If research is designed to find out what is possible and audit is to find out what is actual then improvement science describes how to reduce the gap between the possible and the actual.

This gave us the opportunity to sound out ideas about our project as many of us had now been in post for several weeks. It helped us talked through the issues we had identified and rationalise the way we would approach a problem. We were able to critically appraise some of the different theories and models we have learnt about so far.

Common themes:

  1. Questioning the question
  2. Taking a step back to appreciate the wider system
  3. Reflecting that we really do have 'Wicked' problems

Authored by Shirmilla Datta and Jenny Palfrey

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