Change potential gauge
…a complex organisation feels the urge to engage in a transition towards a better optimum. Either a corporate mandatory way of working is imposed or the operational and management problems exceed a critical level. The organisation feels threatened and fears extinction.
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Optimise the chances for a successful transition, a change of being, a metamorphosis.
Before you start any intitative, asses the organisation’s change potential, solutions for current problems, level of dissonance within life conditions, barrier identification and overcome-ness, insights into probable causes and potential alternatives, consolidation and support during the transition.
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Change can only occur when certain conditions are met. For example, you may know all the necessary skills to shoot a par round of golf, but only if all the conditions are met (practice, good weather, helpful caddie, more practice, and some luck) it will happen. The same thing is true of change. Beck and Cowan have identified six requirements that must be met in order for change to occur – all of them must be present and met for change to take place. If more than one condition is unmet and the change process is initiated, regression can occur. Change can be initiated by external factors, internal factors, or by choice.
- Potential—Not every individual is capable of change. For a variety of reasons, change may be impossible. There are three possible states of a system that determine its ability to change.
- Open—An open system allows the greatest possibility for change. The individual’s history and capacities are conducive to allow change to occur, with thinking that is flexible enough to change as conditions and realities change. The individual is also capable of solving problems and dealing effectively with barriers. The most important characteristic, however, is that the individual possess multiple world–views and rather than being locked into a single point of view. In general, a person who exhibits an open system will have flexible world-views, will be open-minded and have a personality that enjoys new stimuli, and will enjoy the challenge of a new situation. There are many ways to cultivate an open perspective, not the least of which are education, meditation, travel, and good therapy.
- Arrested—An arrested system is trapped by barriers, either external or internal. Change can happen only if the barriers are removed. Often, you lack an adequate understanding of the situation and how to correct it. To spark change, a greater dissonance is required. Your fear of taking the next step may be enough to arrest the system, and even propel you into an earlier stage if the fear is intense enough. You probably prefer inertia. Essentially, change is seen by your ego as a threat, possibly a lethal one. All patterns of adaptation are maintained intact and defended against change until an equally strong or stronger impulse is able to displace it. The purpose of ritual is to create a strong enough impulse to displace the prevailing complexes and replace them with newer, more complex adaptations. For an arrested system, however, it is entirely possible to break the hold of inertia. Viewing change as a sacred, ritual process can break through inertia. In fact, taking such a broad perspective might also alleviate your fear, allowing you to move forward.
- Closed—A closed system is blocked by bio-psycho-social capacities. The cause may be developmental, environmental, psychological, and so on, but for whatever reason, you are essentially incapable of change under any of the current circumstances. You may lack the necessary intelligences, an actual physical lack (such as low I.Q.), be unable to recognise the barriers. There may also be emotional issues, psychological trauma, social pressures, and on and on. Intense poverty can also result in a “closed” system, leaving the individual incapable of any concerns other than food and shelter. Again, the law of psychic inertia can also intervene to the point that you feel so threatened by change that you will fight to avoid it, or die trying.
- Solutions to solve current and previous problems in order to stabilise any current threats. As an example, a sick person is not capable of systemic change (living a more whole and healthy life) until the threat of death by disease is removed. As another example, a person with an anxiety disorder will have a difficult time working through change without first solving the problems with anxiety. Solutions can come from either internal or external sources (therapy to resolve anxiety attacks, or time to allow the body to heal from disease). Where the solutions are found is not relevant, only that the individual can find them.
- Dissonance—There also must be dissonance within the system’s life conditions. Change only occurs when the systems becomes uncomfortable in some way. A few of the factors that produce dissonance include the following:
- Awareness of an increasing gap between the status quo (current life conditions) and the current means for handling problems inherent in the status quo.
- Enough turbulence to make the individual say “something is wrong” without so much turbulence that the world seems to be coming apart at the seams.
- Complete failure of old solutions to solve the problems of the “new” life conditions may spark new thinking, a release of the energy being used to maintain the status quo, and this may open up a new mode of operation.
- Choosing to “come undone,” a phrase that suggests the Buddhist idea of breaking down the ego structure in an effort to discover the true Self hidden beneath desires and defenses. This process can be achieved through therapy, meditation practice, mindfulness training, art therapy, and so on.
- Barriers—The Barriers to change must be identified and overcome. Correctly identifying the barriers is crucial. Most individuals initially will see the barriers as external (economy, social norms, tyrant boss, etc), but they are often internal (lack of planning, wasted energy, misplaced effort, self-sabotage, etc.). Once the barriers are identified, they must be (a) eliminated, (b) bypassed, (c) neutralized, or (d) reframed into something else. Reframing is a way to change how a situation is perceived. When barriers are not easily overcome, bypassed, or neutralized, the only productive response is to look at the situation with fresh eyes. There are a variety of psychological processes that can be employed, but one of the simplest is “recalling your projections.” One example of a barrier to change is a boss who will not let the individual stretch his boundaries and try new skills. To the individual, the boss is rigid, insensitive, and stifling, just like his/her mother. Very possibly, the individual has projected feelings about the parent onto the boss, distorting the situation. Recalling that projection is a first step in reframing the barrier, thereby opening the possibility of looking at the situation in a fresh way.
Identifying the barriers correctly is often the biggest step in preparing for change, especially conscious change. Many times an individual will attempt to address inner issues in the outer world -- a result of unclaimed projections of shadow material. The honesty required to identify the true barriers preventing change, and perhaps keeping the individual stuck or lost in liminal space, may require a solid friendship, a therapist, a spiritual leader, or some hard, deep self-examination.
- Insights—Insight into the probable causes for why the previous world-view failed and possible alternatives must be identified. Insight is understood as (1) a knowledge of what went wrong with the previous system (read: world-view) and why, and (2) an awareness of what resources are available now for handling the problem better. Some ways to initiate change in patterns includes:
- Insight into how systems form, fail, reform.
- Putting an end to regressive searches into once viable answers that can no longer address the current complexity. Essentially, the individual must understand that the old solutions no longer apply and the new situation requires new thinking.
- New scenarios, fresh models, and other experiences are considered – the individual must understand the situation and demonstrate what the alternatives look like. This is where the new thinking is necessary. Borrowing the tired old cliché, “the individual must think outside the box.” Better yet, the individual must learn to reframe the box into an open expanse where anything is possible.
- The ability to recognize the emergence of new life conditions quickly and to identify the behaviours needed to be congruent with the shifting environment. This might be more relevant for groups or cultures than for individuals, but learning to anticipate when change is on the horizon can make the transition much easier, especially if the individual learns to see the inner signs of imminent change and is able prepare for the challenges that await.
- Consolidation & Support—There must be Consolidation and support during the transition. An individual will not be able to consolidate her/his new mode of being without support. The period of adjustment is often volatile and requires some time to stabilize. The “return” to balance feels good initially, but holding onto the gains made when others oppose the changes requires support. In fact, it is advantageous to have an ally who has been through the change process more than once either first hand or as a guide.
All six of these criteria must be met for the change to have a successful outcome.
|Goal||gauge the organisational’s readiness for a transition to a new evolutionary optimum +|
|So||Before you start any intitative, asses the … |
Before you start any intitative, asses the organisation’s change potential, solutions for current problems, level of dissonance within life conditions, barrier identification and overcome-ness, insights into probable causes and potential alternatives, consolidation and support during the transition.idation and support during the transition. +
|Wish||Optimise the chances for a successful transition, a change of being, a metamorphosis. +|