Making Space for Change

Making Space for Change

“Who likes change?” When I ask this question at the beginning of Change Management workshops, invariably a lot of hands go up.  When I then ask the group to keep their hands up if they like change that is imposed on them by others, virtually all the hands go down. We seem to be energised by change that we initiate ourselves; when the change is based on our goals, desires and values.  We are considerably less energised when change is based on someone else’s priorities and we haven’t been consulted before we have to implement it.  When I linked this recognition to the often quoted statistic that 70% of change initiatives in organisations fail (Professor John P. Kotter, McKinsey & Company),  it made me think about how to approach change differently. As is often the case with these sort of epiphanies, there is usually a connection with something that’s happening in one’s own life and in mine, my thoughts came when I had just been introduced to Open Space Technology (OST). Open Space Technology is a process of self organisation that can be used to build ideas, find solutions to problems and, most importantly, to engage and enable people in making things happen. I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Harrison Owen, the originator of Open Space Technology, and I asked him what he thought were the ideal circumstances in which to use OST. He replied with the following three scenarios: When there is a large and diverse audience who are faced with a complex problem that they don’t know how to resolve. There is energy and enthusiasm about finding a solution. An answer is needed...