Earth 2 Mars

Dec 06 , 2023
Change Methodologies | How to choose the right one

Change can be messy, complex, layered and not straightforward. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and no golden path that guarantees 100% success. In the same way that each individual is unique, each organisation should be approached differently.

To better understand the current state of change methodologies in practice, we conducted a poll on the methodologies change managers and others in leadership are using for their change and transformation programs in May 2023. The results provided a nuanced picture:

  • Hybrid (68%): Leading the pack, hybrid methodologies are about an agnostic approach blending  traditional and modern methods to tackle change.
  • Prosci/Waterfall/Prince2 (17%): Reflecting a commitment to structured, sequential processes, these approaches carry the legacy of industrial and information age practices.
  • Pure Agile (2%): Embracing adaptability and collaboration, pure Agile scored the lowest which is a result of the lack of structure that change still needs.
  • Human-Centered Design (13%): Focusing on the importance of putting people at the heart of change, there’s a lot more room for organisations to build the skills such as  co-creation, co-design and collaboration that form the foundation of human-centred design. 

It’s important to recognise that the conflict in change methodologies often stems from the conflicting values and beliefs held by different stakeholders. The battle is not methodology against methodology but rather a clash of principles with the stakeholders. To bridge this gap means finding the right balance and alignment between contrasting values.

The values associated with traditional approaches are deeply rooted in the industrial and information ages. This means that things like Institutionalisation, governance, and individual knowledge are highly prioritised. Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms’ book “New Power” identifies how you can recognise old power values by:

  • Hierarchical Structure: Often hierarchical and centralised, with decision-making concentrated at the top. A top-down approach, limiting the involvement of broader communities or stakeholders.
  • Control and Exclusivity: Old power models emphasise control, exclusivity, and ownership of information. They rely on closed systems, maintaining secrecy, and limiting access to information or resources.
  • Top-Down Governance: Decision-making and governance are typically top-down, where a select few hold power and determine strategies, policies, and actions without significant input or participation from others.
  • Professionalism and Specialisation: Old power values professionalism and specialisation, often valuing expertise and credentials over broad participation or diverse perspectives.
  • Long-term Commitments with Limited Engagement: Individuals might have long-term commitments to organisations or institutions, but engagement and involvement in decision-making can be limited.

In contrast, new power values, emphasise informal, democratised technology, radical transparency, collaboration, and co-creation. Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms help us recognise new power values by: 

  • Participation and Peer Coordination: It encourages people to contribute, share, and collaborate in a networked fashion rather than relying on top-down control.
  • Sharing and Openness: New power thrives on openness, sharing information, and resources. Platforms and systems that allow for transparency, sharing, and collaboration are valued.
  • Distributed Governance: It emphasises a more decentralised approach to governance and decision-making. Rather than being confined to a select few at the top, new power models distribute authority more widely, allowing for more inclusive decision-making processes.
  • Crowdsourcing and Co-Creation: Encourages crowdsourcing ideas, feedback, and contributions from a diverse range of people. Co-creation involves involving communities or networks in the development of products, policies, or initiatives.
  • Fluidity and Adaptability: New power structures are often adaptable and flexible. They can respond quickly to changes and are more dynamic compared to rigid, hierarchical structures.
  • Engagement and Mobilisation: Recognising new power involves the ability to engage and mobilise people towards common goals or causes. It values the ability to create movements and harness collective action.

Think of traditional approaches as structured, and new power values as flexible.

The dichotomy between old and new power values highlights the need for balance. Relying too heavily on traditional approaches may stifle collaboration, while an overemphasis on new power values might introduce risks and lack structure. As the poll results show, hybrid methodologies, demonstrate that change managers and others in leadership are recognising the value of marrying the best of both worlds.

Successful change methodologies are not about choosing one over the other but about using the right  approach or even a blended approach that aligns with the organisation’s values.  

The methodology you choose needs to align with the organisations values to be effective. We believe in the power of a values approach because it allows change to have the best chance of success. Ultimately having an aligned approach is what’s needed. 

Keen to learn more?

If you want to learn how to apply methodologies using the ‘New Power’ values approach, get in touch with us

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