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Published 07 Nov 2014

8 Design Principles for Organizational Transformation

By Xplane

Xplane combed through their clients experience for successes and failures, synthesized the best research from change gurus, and found patterns among organizations that navigate change successfully. The result: Change DNA - eight design principles for organizational transformation.

Organizations that thrive in changing circumstances behave more like organisms than machines. They adapt and evolve rather than reprogram and retool. They share a common DNA that helps them bend without breaking. There are eight specific traits that support a healthy, robust approach to change.

Xplane launched a series of discussions about these eight Change DNA traits and want to hear your feedback - what are your experiences, success stories, lessons learned, and case studies? Do you agree with the patterns showed? The goal is to evolve this picture and collaboratively design a resource for organizations in transition all around the globe. "Here is to being the change we want to see in the world!" Xplane

Source: Xplane Website

  1. Clarity

    Change begins with clarity about the current state, the future state and the terrain that lies between the two. Asses the existing situation with honesty, driving alignment about the starting point and case for change. Create a clear vision of the future state and what success will look like. But don't mistake that crear view for a short distance! Diagnose the factors and forces that will impact the journey.

  2. Inspiration

    Success and failure leave clues all around us, Search inside the organization for barrier and bright spot that build empathy and understanding. Look outside the organization for new ways of thinking about challenges. These insights become guiding principles authentic to each organization.

  3. Visual Alignment

    The future doesn't exist yet, so it's especially tricky to see. Visuals make the invisible visible. Shared mental models are critical for maintaining alignment among people working collaboratively over space and time. Visuals accelerate this alignment by removing the ambiguity words often hide.

  4. Co-creation

    People support what they help build. Communication alone is insufficient for engagement. Fully engaging stakeholders in a co-creative process brings diverse perspectives, increases the quality of ideas and instills ownership. The effect is an army of evangelist ready to create change instead of a mob of victims fighting it.

  5. Action

    Actions speak louder than words. Change requires new behaviours and new values. The best way to express new priorities is to courageously and visibly model them within the organization, early and often. Successful organizations keep their words to actions ratio low.

  6. Transparency

    Ambiguity and uncertainty are natural byproducts of change. The antidote to ambiguity is not certainty it is trust. Trust is the result of two-way communications, shared goals, and a history of promises kept. Establish a tempo of activity with open communication and transparent program structure that ensures visibility of successes and failures. Trust doesn't require perfection, but it does demand responsiveness.

  7. Harmony

    Change does not happen in a vacuum. It has a ripple effect, and where it encounters friction it will slow and eventually stop. Consider the organization as a system in balance. When changing one part of the system, understand how other parts will need to shift to reinforce the change and maintain congruence and harmony in the system.

  8. Resilence

    Failure - in fact, repeated failure - is a core characteristic of successful change. Its counterbalance is a continuous improvement mindset that values rapid iteration, safe sandboxes for experimentation, and responsive feedback loops. Resilience and adaptation mechanics are designed into the best change programs.

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