Over the next few weeks, I will be finalizing a point of view on Journeys, a way of dealing with transformations that fits the demands of today’s reality. For now, let me share the first bit of this publication:
Transformations in the ‘10s
Some twenty years ago, large scale transformations were complex but manageable by addressing them as a project. Based on the desired outcome, the work was broken down into work products, progress, milestones and deliverables were closely monitored, and changes in the context of the project or change were identified and dealt with in order to minimize their impact on the work in progress.
Speed of change
However, due to a number of developments like speed of technological change, information overload, new collaborative structures and highly educated workforce, two major factors of uncertainty are becoming increasingly influential on the way projects and changes are governed: emerging realities and disruptive forces.
The thought behind the concept of emerging realities is that the farther a point of time, the harder it is to predict the situation at that point of time. Because of the increasing speed of technological, social and economical advancement, the amount of time over which the future is reasonably predictable decreases even more.
Due to this fact, the predictability of the value of the end state of a transformation decreases. This means that especially for transformations that take a longer time, the foreseen end state at the start, might become useless as time progresses. This calls for a shift in approaching transformations. Developing a way to deal with reality as it emerges is key to delivering valuable results at the end of a transformation.
As a transformation is planned, a way to achieve is formulated. The how of a transformation relies heavily on people knowing, wanting and being able to do the things that need to be done in order to make it happen. Sudden disruptions can heavily influence this. Because of the vast amount of available information, “knowing everything” at the start of a transformation seems possible, but “knowing the right thing” is an illusion. As time progresses, new insights can be highly disruptive and cause paradigm shifts. This then leads to the need for re-assessing the way to achieve. The basis on which people joined the transformation changes accordingly, leading to a possible lack of intent and insight for the change and the way it is achieved. If not guided carefully, this can lead to a loss of power with which the transformation is executed.