Communicating the 'WHY' and 'WHAT' of change.

In 1990, Peter Senge wrote "The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization"His writing had far-reaching accord, and still holds true today. One particular aspect of his work was around what he framed as "Systems thinking". Systems thinking is the ability to comprehend and address the whole, and to examine the interrelationship between the parts in order to integrate disciplines. This ability is vital when it comes to communicating the link between the 'Why' and the 'What' of change. 

Comments such as "Oh this is just another thing they are piling on us", or "How does this fit with what we are already doing?" can be heard during a change process when people are uncertain of how the initiative fits with everything else.

This is where Senge's System's Thinking is helpful. One way I have found to show the inter-relatedness of elements within or influencing the change is through the use of models. These can be in the form of venn diagrams, compare and contrast grids, cascading circles, matrixes, triangles or squares.

As an example, the diagram below outlines the core elements to be considered when implementing change. The intersecting labels show what is obtained through the integration of the various elements. Each of the main elements can be broken-down into sub-categories.

Seeing all the elements in a visual form is easier to 'digest'. It also helps people understand the inter-relatedness of different elements; the system, and how they are contributing to it.

As you go forward into this coming week, consider how you are communicating both the ;Why' and 'What?' What are the different elements and how do they inter-relate? Why is the change important to other parts of the system?

Have a great week!