change management

106: Design your organization to use Change Management and Leadership to pursue enlightened innovation, not targeted amelioration

Do you Introduce Change for Innovation or Amelioration?

HBR Article: Change Management and Leadership Development Have to Mesh by Ryan W. Quinn and Robert E. Quinn. JANUARY 07, 2016. Record: Nov 19, 2017

Podcast Script outline:

Setting the Stage:  Does your change management process to ameliorate or innovate for your organization?

Carol’s Lesson: Epistemologies of change and leadership (that is, how people believe we can know something or can change what we know, and therefore change themselves) typically fall into three groups.

3 Epistemologies

  1.  Change management is a project-by-project endeavor. This epistemology centers on the belief that we have to do it well each time because the culture is resistant, but it can be overcome with some type of intervention(s). A project-by-project endeavor assumes that change management must be led by people of higher rank, who help manage people to overcome their fears and believes. This is a Kurt Lewin idea of the process where we must breaking the pattern, make the change and then reset the organization. This is a machine world idea of how change happens.
  2. Change management through behavioral design. The centers on the idea that if you incentive people then they will change their behavior. Or get a role model out in front illustrating the desired change behaviors and then others will follow. This is a common practice that businesses use and follows behavioral theory.
  3. Build an organizational culture that is working on change. The epistemology here is that you can build an organizational culture that working is on change as something that happens moment to moment, and is resilient and changes as a fluid process. But this requires different capabilities in all persons and a work design that is constantly evolving with strategy. People need the capability to manage in the moment and have things to reference to – we refer to this as the Strategic Corporate Direction. It is the ongoing anchor for all change plus capability development that is recurring in short cycles.


This HBR article is based on an outdated epistemology regarding learning and change. And, therefore, methods work from the idea of amelioration. For example, that change must be externally induced and is episodic. Engage change management. When need to introduce a change. And hierarchy current way of working is fine and stays working the same but with a bit of a shift in culture — enact a change

Authors premises

  1. Need to integrate change management and leadership – this makes sense. Need to focus on how to deviate from the existing culture or it will hold it back.
  2. Simultaneous bottom up – creating a task force that is working on some change with extra training. Capability added:
    • Have a leadership training for new leaders, working on education and developing on new skills (it is a training problem)
    • Reach out to others and get their perspectives and fears.
  3. Introduce a survey tool to find out where the organization is about a change – culturally and personally (e.g. their fears.) This provides information and allows people to feel heard but doesn’t develop new capability in survey participants.
  4. Newly trained person leads by engaging others to create a culture change.
  5. And also top down:
    • The executive ranks deliberate on desired results and set goals with measureable outcomes that all of the executive team agrees on
    • Select people to be trained (tools for change like plan-act-reflect) in the leadership/change management process; make clear the objects, time frame, type of support and rewards expected up front, then give financial and executive support (Ameliorations)
    • Support for the team implementing change; e.g. structure, accountability requirements, and processes, motivation as they engage. Can now give freedom to create own solutions by working on it in the leadership training and can get others in the same class to give reflections and ideas.


They seem to think it is about layers of the organization have to bridge instead of mental frame of what consider (or how manage change: e.g. capability and act on each new change. It is a batch view of change or a continuous improvement view rather than a regenerative way of working.  This leads to “Amelioration projects” rather than innovation evolution, as a way of working.

leadership and change management


  • There is are few solid premises but treated as an add-on they are incomplete. E.g. development people in natural work groups who are doing something together
  • Combine learning and doing- actualizing and potentializing

Change is a daily process tied to strategy and market/customer lives (not inputs) and built into work design and not projects where a shortfall is happening. And for which you then train people in leadership/ change.

Five phases:

Strategy Education and activating toward markets, engaging whole organization.

Culture change by how set up the strategy education and then work design changes. Happens by ritual of development monthly and maybe every six weeks. Has personal development woven in and based on application to daily work not just your one-off task assignment. Move from mental models to systemic frameworks on everything

Processes: set up market field teams and make promises to customers to evolve the effectiveness of their lives. Always in a promise. Always working on change

Education on critical thinking skills and personal mastery. E.g. new decision-making processes. How to self-manage behavior

 Now redesign systems and structures to ensure way of working


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