Change platforms - change comes from the grass roots

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Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt

This is an interesting article, for emerging Mutable Businesses, from McKinsey.

It was pointed out to me by John Blackham, CEO of XSOL, a New Zealand company producing what can fairly be described as a “change platform”, based on advanced business process modelling.

A key insight is that change doesn’t only come from the top as is often claimed. Although I think acceptance of change at the top and institutionalised rewards, not necessarily just financial rewards, for “change champions” are probably necessary, they are far from sufficient. The people who do the work, at the bottom of the pyramid, often have a far better idea than the CEO of what the company actually does. These workers must be empowered to make and embrace change – to become change champions – just convincing the CEO is not enough.

On the other hand, if convincing the CEO isn’t sufficient for successful change, the CEO, by him or her-self, can probably set up a dysfunctional culture that makes effective change all but impossible. From that McKinsey article: “In 1996, Harvard Business School professor John Kotter claimed that nearly 70 percent of large-scale change programs didn’t meet their goals, and virtually every survey since has shown similar results”.