Amazing change much needed, American author tells USB


Whole system change, that seeks to bring together large scale change in communities and companies, is not merely about "nice' or "easy' change: we must head for "amazing change', said Dr Steve Cady, American publisher, teacher, and consultant on whole system change.

He was speaking at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) monthly Leader?s Angle talk series.

Cady is the co-author of the recently published book, The Change Handbook. He is a graduate faculty member at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, in America, where he is director of the Institute for Organisational Effectiveness.

"There are two ways of thinking about change. The depth and breadth of agreement on the future is directly related to who is going to get it done! In other words, if the leaders make the decision, the action plan is likely to end up on their personal "to do' list. The key is to get to a place of joy by involving everybody.'

There are different names to this emerging field of whole system change like Large Group Methods, Whole System Change/Improvement, Large Scale Change, Enterprise Wide Change, and more. The underlying theme is to bring about transformation by involving every role player in a system.

Cady said when we see amazing change, we see characteristics of success summed up as psycho-emotional change, actions and results.

"Psycho-emotional change causes people?s beliefs and attitudes to change. Actions cause change to accelerate, behaviours to align and people freely choose to stay or leave. Results lead to the development of leaders and innovation starts to emerge.'

He termed the ingredients needed for amazing change through whole system change as the diagnosis, visioning, first steps, supporting mechanisms, resistance and transformation "formula?.

"There has to be dissatisfaction with the current state and a desire for something better. Visioning equals inspiration and hope, and the first steps are groundedness and commitment while supporting mechanisms of safety and trust that need to be in place. There is also a certain amount of resistance, hopelessness and defensiveness. All of this equals transformation and a state of joy and way of being. When these "ingredients? are in place for your needed change, it will work,' explained Cady.

He advised the top leadership of companies to have design teams that are representative of the workforce. Management should also develop ways to have even more people in conversation as part of the change process, even if it is by the use of technology.

Cady?s final recommendation for leaders is: "Craft a "draft? vision (strategy) for what is possible and that gives meaning. Develop a leadership roadmap for engagement, thus creating an ever-widening circle. Pose questions like: What is the purpose? Who needs to be involved? What conversations need to take place?'

The Leader's Angle series of talks is presented by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), the USB Alumni Association, USB Executive Development Ltd (USB-ED) and the Institute for Futures Research of the University of Stellenbosch, in association with FinWeek and KPMG.