Dealing with different world view and potential conflicts.
This a continuation in our series looking at change management.
I was once on a contract where I had support from the executive and the staff where all on board. It was an ERP platform which allowed all departments to access their relevant information from one multi-relational database. Yet there was one manager that could not be persuaded. This was partly due to more work being required from his department (although it would benefit others) but also the sharing of information would undermine his position. It would mean losing his uniqueness to the organisation and therefore a threat to his powerbase. Basically, it was not in his interest, so he began to undermine the project to other staff, disillusionment set in and, despite our best efforts, the project failed. Although the adopted program would have been beneficial to the company, it was not to everyone’s taste. Change management is an art form, so how do we deal with conflict and entrenched world views?
Psychological barriers to accepting new information.
From a point of view of psychology there are limits to what can be achieved. Most people view of their external environment (and their place within it) is formed in their teenage years. When they grow older, they either don’t have time, or become disgruntled to assimilate new information. For example, it has been shown that most males in the UK above a certain age have as their favourite song “Creep” by Radiohead as they related to that track whilst they were growing up. They tend not to like new music unless inflicted upon them by their teenage dependants in some desperate attempt to appear “cool”. But they will still say “it wasn’t as good in my day”.
Change management, bringing people together.
This is not so much a process of ageing as attitude. I have found older people who have limited exposure to computing more able to adapt as they have a desire to “get things done right” as compared with the younger generation who think everything should work like an iPhone app. Yes, it is one of the variables when dealing with a group of people that come with different cultural, professional, ideological baggage. Each with their own vested interest and you need to organise that group around achieving a single purpose.
Churchill once said, “there is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them”. So how can you mould an unholy alliance in a world that treasures individual expression?
Next in the series the “CATWOE” methodology.
About the Author:
Malcolm Ford has over 12 years experience working within software development and implementation space for business across the UK. He has designed training courses particularly for imbedding change across organisations.