The 3 Ds of successful organisation change
Leadership Coach, Front of Room Leader and Systemic Change Guide

Before coming of age, Hogwarts students learn to apparate. For health and safety reasons, they have to pass a test. Only then are they allowed to teleport themselves from one place to another. In short, they must first prove that they’re able to get to their desired destination – in one piece. And what they learn is useful for you as a leader of organisational change.

After all, you don’t want to get from A to B broken as you practice the tech-free version of Star Trek’s “Beam me up, Scotty.” To avoid that, a Ministry of Magic official who comes to the School of Wizardry to teach the 16 year olds the art of apparating, gives them a helpful mantra:

Destination

Determination

Deliberation

All three Ds are crucial to arrive at the destination unharmed. With one D missing, you might leave behind a part of your body you cannot be without. Or you might end up in an undesired location. 

Let’s bring the three D’s to your desired organisation change.

Destination

You might think you’re clear about the change you want to create. Yet, a conversation with an outsider can uncover where your vision is blurry. It can also shed light on the current reality from which you start, and clarity on both is important. 

As long as you’re unclear about your current reality or the destination, you cannot pack your bag wisely. Here are some questions to become ever clearer: 

  • What does the result of your intended change initiative look like, in a nutshell? 
  • How will people interact differently with one another after the change? What will you see and hear?
  • You can drill even deeper: How will their thinking shift? 

Determination

You want people to take more responsibility, to show more initiative, to spot problems, and to create solutions for them. You want them to identify opportunities and to come up with ways to turn those opportunities into gold.

Now let’s look at how determined you are. Look back at your recent meetings. Has someone come up with an idea, raised a problem, or pointed out a weakness in a plan? Perhaps someone challenged you as a leader of the organisational change you want. Has someone proposed how to do something different than what you’ve suggested?

Now try to remember:

  • What did you think?
  • What did you say? 
  • What did you do?

Can you remember your reaction? I imagine that if someone challenged YOUR idea, you might have had a reaction to that. It could have been a thought: “They don’t get it.” Or “They’re always so negative.” You might have said something polite and moved on. A lot of leaders do.

Or you may not remember such a situation. Then pay attention to your reaction when others have different views in the coming week.

It’s worth becoming fully conscious of your reactions, because you might resist some aspects of the change you want. Human beings have conflicting needs and desires. You might want people to show more initiative. But you might also want them to propose only things that you agree with.

What to do about that? Here’s the great news: You can influence your own thinking and behaviour. You have so much more influence on yourself than on others. So you have all you need to get a big stumbling block to change right out of your way.

Deliberation

I find this the most fascinating of the three Ds. Yet it might get that little bit less attention than Destination and Determination. What does deliberation mean? Merriam-Webster defines deliberation as the act of thinking about or discussing something, and then deciding carefully. You might add to that: considerate of all the facts and implications.

But how conscious of your own behaviour’s hidden drivers are you? And how about the others on your senior leadership team? Let me explain these questions.

When you deliberate to transform your organisation, you base your decisions on data. And you generate new data at every step of the process. However, deliberation is only thorough if we can shed light on our own blind spots. To see all facts, we need to uncover the unconscious beliefs that drive our own perception of event, our interpretation of them, and our resulting actions. We need to understand that we make different sense of the same facts than others. We need to accept that we look at the world through our subjective lens. And that this lens informs our opinions.

Turn the camera around

Hence, before even starting the change process, turn the camera around. Uncover the mindset(s) with which you embark on your initiative. If you mainly see the problems outside of yourself, then it’s wise to assume that you have not yet uncovered how you co-create the results you don’t want.

As Bill O’Brien, late CEO of Hanover Insurance has said: 

“The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.” 

That’s why change has to start with you. You might need the help of a coach to uncover your conflicting intentions and to become glass clear about the destination and how to enroll others in your vision.

When you bring Destination, Determination, and Deliberation to the table, you significantly increase your chance of successfully bringing about the change you want.

Get in touch to become a successful leader of organisational change.

For leadership coaching and developement, get in touch

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