LEA Podcast #60 | Transformation – what is that actually?

You can find the link to the podcast episode here.

Exciting times: Many organizations are experiencing the need for profound change in order to adapt to new things. Working on their own future viability is elementary for the survival of the organization. How transformation works and succeeds and why this is actually joyful work for organizations right now – in these exciting times when many things are being turned upside down – is what we talk about as guests in this episode of the LEA Podcast.

OLIVER HAAS. Has been accompanying people and organizations worldwide in profound changes for more than 20 years. As a sociologist with an affinity for systems theory, he looks at the pressure points for collective change, but also believes in the power of smart questions to get social systems moving on a small scale. Whether as a leader, internal/external organizational consultant, coach, or mediator, Oliver has diverse and deep insights into organizations of various stripes.

CLAUS-BERNHARD PAKLEPPA. Raised in Germany and South Africa, Claus is an ethnologist, entrepreneur, organizational consultant, coach and sparring partner for decision makers and bridge builder with passion. Claus is founder and co-founder of consulting companies and NGOs, managing director of p4d GmbH and as a consultant has been accompanying people and organizations internationally in a wide range of sectors during profound changes for 25 years.

More information on the soon to be published book “Transformation – Understanding, Enabling and Shaping Profound Change”.

For those in a hurry: Some insights from the podcast

Does it take a crisis scenario for the readiness for profound change to be there?

Unfortunately, it often does, but is not the only way. Even dealing with trends and frameworks can make an organization anticipate that it needs a new push in where to go.

What routines can organizations establish to identify transformational opportunities? 

You have to broaden the ways you look at yourself as an organization. Looking at the organization from the outside almost always helps (what do customers, stakeholders,…). And coupled to this is the question: How do we adapt to meet customer value? Transformation capability has the core competence to ask the question: What will be needed in the future, what is the added value that we provide? This requires a common view.

How do you get this view to last?

It is always necessary to notice and evaluate signals. The signals that are picked up have to be translated in order to decide whether there is a reason for change. Change for change’s sake does not lead to transformation, but to process adaptation.

The two worlds old and new stand side by side (ambidextry). Building a new world in the same system creates a field of tension. The organization should not be transformed in a way that destroys it – there is something worth preserving in the core values of the organization that must be taken into account.

How does transformation work in practice?

The procedure involves two steps: recognizing that change is needed and understanding where the organization should develop. It needs frameworks and resources. The first step is clarified with the picture of the future, where it should go. Then the first step is classic change (knowing and involving the players, changing and trying things out, reflecting and adapting). The difference to change is that not only the practices change, but also the paradigms and principles. This has to be consciously described, designed and communicated – a long way of keeping at it. This makes it all the more important to reflect and pause.

Why is it important and exciting to deal with the topic now?

We are used to taking a strained look at the topic of leadership. At the moment, however, there is a unique opportunity to rethink organizations. How do we want to be in the future? We are facing so many social, global, ethical and economic changes – thinking about these changes and shaping them ourselves instead of being shaped should become a fun way of working on the organization.

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