The 7 C's of Change

Method / Change and Organization

The 7 C's of Change
Guido Bouwman , Entrepreneur, Netherlands

Creating vital organizations by the 7 C's of Change

Many organizations are struggling to cope with the impact of trends arising from 7 C’s:
1. Context: The dominant paradigm of the organization
2. Contract (Psychological): The multidimensional optimization
3. Communication: The non-dialogue
4. Chaos: The stability dynamics
5. Coaching Change: The classical evolvement belief
6. CO-Creation: Diverse objectives & multifarious information
7. Culture: The malicious and irrational abuse of power

Organizations can make employees sick and employees can sickening organizations. By means of trends, changes and developments - in relation with the 7 C’s – the burden in organizations can become greater than the bearing capacity. Due to this a situation of distress occurs, the organization is ill or is becoming ill. Organizations have to feel an urgency to change. A feeling of discomfort has to come into existence that the current situation is unwanted. The ‘sickness’ has to be shared, recognized and acceded. Furthermore, current and new employees has to be capable to accomplish change. The organization must get ready for a new way of working.

By means of the incremental and sequential COPE7model the foundation is created of a vital organization:
1. Context: multi contextuality – enrichment of the result by looking through several perspectives.
2. Contract: positive perception and feelings about the exchange relation with the organization - bilateral engagement with the organization.
3. Communication: open, honest and sticky communication – real listening and talking.
4. Chaos: Allow chaos and because of that deal with and accept that things go the way they go – out of organized chaos comes the (desired) order (coach chaos).
5. Coaching Change: Negative and positive feedback – organize pro activity.
6. CO-Creation: creation of real profitable strategies – originates from existing knowledge, best practices from other branches, unused potential and innovation.
7. Culture: Know the psycho gram of yourself, your CEO, your manager and your team.

Change within the COPE7context is an organic process. With other words, organizational change originates from 7 steps. It’s not: something happens – reactively undertake action and keep repeating this every time something occurs, but it’s change as a result of the will to become better as an organization. Organizations develop and transform within their internal and external context. Changes create ‘movement’ in an organization. This ‘movement’ nowadays often originates from the fact that organizations have to change considering their financial developments or because they cannot cope with the current situation. Not changing means putting yourself out of the game.

It’s better if the movement - as a principal requirement - is already based in the organization. The difference between reactive and pro-active principal requirement is that proactive organizations are better organized to see (grasp) weak signals of new developments, to judge the impact on their organization and to pro actively adjust their policy.

The pro active organization has developed a kind of radar. They ‘feel’ the weak signals of new developments and determine and discuss - in an early stage - the impact of this on the organization. Employees in general (the ‘outer ring’ of the organization) and the field employees in special often detect these weak signals at first because they are in close contact with the market – with the customers. As the ‘old’ developments show their last convulsions, new developments - often underground - grow steadily. How do you notice these developments?

If you hit a cross between the transition of old (upper stream) and new (under stream) developments you can distinguish 4 quadrants:
* Quadrant I is ‘knowing what we already know’. This is the quadrant of maintaining status quo.
* Quadrant II is ‘knowing what we do not know (yet)’. In this quadrant you will find the Best Practices of other industries. What operates very well in another industry could – with some adjustments – function also in your market.
* Quadrant III is ‘not knowing what we (ever) knew’. This is unused potential. We ever knew this, but through impoverishment of our daily tasks we do not use this knowledge anymore.
* Quadrant IV is ‘not knowing what we do not know (yet)’. In this quadrant creation – the real innovation - takes place.

The punch line of this story is that pro active organizations are capable to start a movement from the under to the upper stream. To ‘pay a visit’ – as a basic organizational attitude – to the quadrant model on a regular basis and discuss the developments of the under to the upper stream delivers the ‘translation’ of new policies or tangible products of services. This market alertness also enriches the output of Key Issues and a strategic SWOT. Enrichment because it fertilizes the strategic and tactical plans with new insights. In this way an organization organize her own pro activity. The change – as it happens – has become part of the organization by the way the organization copes with it.

A COPE7organization:
1. Is capable to look from several point of views to her internal and external context and to lay the point of departure for her strategic pro-active and synergetic ability.
2. The employees exhibit a high involvement (high intrinsic and extrinsic motivation) and a great sense of responsibility due to the formalization and the allowance to practice their psychological contract within the organization.
3. The communication is open and honest by which the daily dialogue is tangible, understandable and addressed to realize the desired output.
4. They understand that too much ‘old’ organization order leads to chaos and ‘new order’ can only come into existence if they accept chaos as a transition period towards a new – yet not comprehended – order.
5. The best practices of a new order only reveals itself as the executives (apparently also the CEO!) – within the defined context of the organization – create the conditions and give the employees a wide berth to experiment and stimulate them – in retrospection - with giving meaning to new findings.
6. Innovative policy only originates if they are capable to trace back a recognizable and profitable strategy from the best practices.
7. The preliminary steps leads organically – facilitated by top management – to the desired pro-active and synergetic organization culture.

The levers of a pro-active and synergetic COPE7-organization are:
1. Employees with a highly intrinsic motivation (their own needs are met) & extrinsic motivation (their work is appreciated by colleagues and customers).
2. An effective (do the right things) and efficient (do the right things right) cooperation.
3. Employees with a great problem solving attitude.
4. Employees who have the ability to learn constantly (who also see the meaning of it and like it).

The output of a COPE7-organization is being measured by:
1. Excellent financial results and cost control.
2. The satisfaction among customers.
3. The satisfaction among employees.
4. Quality.
5. Creativity & Ability to innovate.
6. The ability to create.

Executives play an important role in this COPE7-organization process. They go through the change as an employee, but next to it they must lead this organizational change. This is a two-valued change path and asks for self-reflection, coaching and empowerment. The goal of this is to enable employees, to create the organizational conditions for employees to outshine. This means that executives must assign the mission, vision, core values, key issues and the strategy of the organization as concrete and understandable as possible. So understandable that employees in following their executives encounter meaning and inspiration. So concrete that they give the best that they have, because they have a sensible and inspiring exchange relationship with the organization.

A COPE7organization develops her own structures and systems to get the best out of the organization and out of every employee. Every organization that deliberately chose for this change process at this place knows her own ‘laws’. Her own manners to deal with, her own work structures, her own team appearances. In collective deliberation the best decision-making, systems and processes, hierarchy and leadership will come into being to obtain the desired result. This is not fixed in advance, because the best way, the best system or the best method is created by the 'new ' cooperation. In this way organizations create their own uniqueness. They cannot be imitated because they create their own organization with their own DNA figured in.

A pro-active and synergetic COPE7organisation ‘reads’ the whole of the organization. Because of that the outcome of seeing is enriched. They also see the interactions and their interdependence better than before, they understand why the ‘old’ organization could not function anymore and what must happen to construct a new organization to become and stay sustainable vital. The sculpture is already present in the rock. The desired vital future is already present in the current organization. COPE helps to reveal this. Every day!!

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Other Views by this Author: Coping with Change: The Future Is Already Within! | Change Management: the future is within!

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