Organizational Change Map
Organizational change can be done in many ways. In fact, there are many different types of activities that can contribute to a successful reorganization. But how do you start? What elements do you need and how are these things connected to each other? At Fæbric, we have developed a map to facilitate you in your organizational change project. We have designed the map on basis of our experiences in organizational change. You are invited to use it freely. If you have feedback or questions, please reach out to us.
How it works?
On a normal map of for example a country you can see cities and roads. It gives you and overview of different cities you can visit and the different routes you can take. However, the map does not tell you which cities to visit and which routes to take. For this, a guide may advise you, taking your context and preferences into account and accompany you on the road.
The Organizational Change Map works the same as a normal map: It gives you an overview of the different activities and different routes you can take to realize your organizational change. How do these roads connect, what are the advantages and pitfalls of possible short tracks and what are the implications for the organization, the people, and the timing? Based on your preferences and needs, we can advise you which route to take and accompany you along the way.
In terms of Music Thinking, the Organizational Change Map is focused on the AGILITY cue: The cue to decide how to work together in which constellations and when to do what.
Key elements in the map
Here is a short description of the elements, instruments, and players that you can find on the map:
Stakeholder feedback loop
In everything you do and in every step of the route, involving your stakeholders is the most important activity to do for a successful organizational change project. Each stakeholder will have its own approach; some formal, others informal.
Everybody within the organization is invited to townhall meetings. The goal is to update, engage and involve the whole organization in an ‘all-hands’ meeting. The best practice is to involve your stakeholders in setting the agenda and intensity.
Each organization comprises management to facilitate the trickle-down of goals and responsibilities. Management is a distinctive stakeholder as they represent a group of employees, being one themselves and they represent the interests of the organization as a whole.
Board of directors
Group of directors who are accountable and end-of-line responsible for the overall change. Typically, board of directors are ahead of the pack and tend to have a short span of attention. The approach is to keep them actively involved and engaged throughout the entire change process.
The employees are represented into to the formal body of workers council. Their legal jurisdiction and position in the internal system may drive the workers council into defensive attitudes, while mostly representing the interests of the employees. Co-creating with workers council members accelerates the quality and adoption of the change.
In writing, the inciting incident is an episode, plot point or event that hooks the reader into the story. Screenwriting guru Syd Field describes it as ‘setting the story in motion’. What was the event that set the organizational change in motion? For example, the appointment of a new managing director.
After the inciting incident, you may decide to look for help from the outside. You explain your need to the outside through a thoroughly developed change question. For the outside this is the client question.
Mapping context is the process of opening the field and building a shared understanding of the context that you are in. A context map contains everything that is going on within your organization.
There may be other initiatives going on that relate to your organizational change project. These initiatives are essential context and should have a place on the map.
Next to context mapping you may also explore your ecosystem in an alternative way. For example, this can be done collectively together with your members of your stakeholders and methods like Lego© Serious Play©.
Having an overview and understanding the playing field is essential. Therefore, stakeholder mapping is a good starting point. The goal is to know and understand the players with the most influence (on the design challenge/change question).
An organization is a system. To get an understanding of how the different parts of the system interact, you may make a systemic mapping to reveal the impact and influence among members of the system.
In order to further explore the system’s connections and interactions you may enact and visualize the organizational constellations. It is a method to reveal the hidden dynamics which operate within the organization. It is a potentially powerful method to become aware of, perceive, and recognize the impact of systemic relationships on organization structure and process.
Organizational change has an impact on the company’s culture. Therefore, it is important that the organizational change project connects from within (bottom-up) instead of independently designing the new organization and trying to project it on the organization in a late(r) stage (top-down). The ideal way to start the project bottom-up is to form the workgroup by means of an election process in which people throw their hat in the ring and the organization elects the workgroup. The workgroup should contain an epic owner with mandate and experience. There are advantages to let this be an external candidate.
On the context map you mapped the current situation. With scenario generation you start to envision what you want the future state to become. We recommend generating at least one minimum scenario (minimum of what you would like to achieve), one maximum scenario (maximum of what you think can be achieved) and a few unexpected, exaggerated scenarios.
Scenario building blocks generation
The scenarios contain scenario building blocks. It does not really matter if you start with generation scenarios or with generating scenario building blocks, since you will most likely develop them simultaneously.
After generating multiple scenarios and gaining feedback on them, you generate one ‘final’ scenario. This scenario will represent the desired future state of the organization.
Design research is an instrument to grasp a deeper understanding of employees (or other stakeholders like customers). There are many ways and methods to do this. One of the most used qualitative research methods is probably doing interviews. Doing qualitative research links to the EMPATHY cue: The people-centred cue to see with the eyes of your customer, empathize with them and search for insights that matter to them.
Here you cluster your findings from the qualitative research and label your findings. From this, you make themes and choose together the most important ones.
Using the themes as a basis, you take all the input and research into account in order to come up with a design challenge. Design challenges are always formulated as How Might We (HMW) questions. The power of ‘how might we’ in comparison to for example ‘how can we’ is that it opens up the creative space. By using the word ‘can’, many people are tempted to think in terms to limitations and will probably say: “We can’t do that because…”. The word ‘might’ does not immediately trigger the question whether we can or cannot do something but is allows us to think in terms of possibilities.
An aspirational persona represents a role model the (future) employees of the organization should behave. There is only one aspirational persona and should be in the core of every role.
Here you envision what the future will bring and what your organization should look like in this envisioned new context.
You will have to decide what you will do if paradoxes arise along the way. For this, you define guiding principles. Whenever decisions must be made, you use these. Therefore, it is important that everyone agrees on the guiding principles.
The aspirational persona, the aspirational vision and guiding principles link to the PERSONALITY cue: The cue to work from the heart of your organization: from your why and brand values to the holding space you provide for your stakeholders.
Begin early to put everything together visually in the organization design. Develop a visual language with clear explanation and meaning to speed up discussions and decisions. Here you visualize and explain the new organizational structure. We recommend a version 0.5 - 0.9 maturity of the organizational design before prototyping, depending on the size of the organization. The bigger the organization, the further the organization design should be developed before prototyping.
If you formed the prototyping teams, you need to brief them, such that they get an understanding of the organization design, the prototyping trajectory and what is expected from them.
In order to test and to iterate on the organization design, you need to prototype it in real. In this prototyping trajectory we like to include ‘play to change’ since it brings a positive mindset, has a high level of engagement and therefore benefits the organizational change.
The prototyping teams work together on one central point: a digital realization platform. Next to the documentation of the prototyping, the realization platform contains official documents like the request for advice and a social plan. It also includes the backlog of the prototyping team. Documenting everything properly is important because agile often only highlights WHAT you have to do and WHAT you have done, while explaining WHY you have done something is necessary for people to embrace the new organizational structure. Therefore, next to being a platform for teams to work together and documenting everything, the realization is also a means to communicate the organizational change, especially to the people who are not actively involved during the design and prototyping of the new organization.
Evolving organization design
During the prototyping the organization design evolves further together with the team and the stakeholder feedback loop.
In this stage, the leadership (and followership) shifts. The job of the workgroup is done and (new) leaders step up to thrive towards the newly defined teams and roles. It will be crucial to first let the new members see, feel and sense the change and the essential parts of the design. They have to understand the road that all stakeholders have walked and the further road to go. If this is not done properly the new members bring in their unfiltered experience from outside the organization and bring the change in jeopardy.
Because of the prototyping the organization feels its impact and starts moving towards the new organization.
Version 1.0 party
The prototyping phase is best closed with a version 1.0 party, which means that the organization design is ready to be implemented. This does not mean that the organizational change is over! A new phase of implementation starts where you have to tackle challenges like setting up tooling.