What is ‘Coding’ and why should you care?

The future of change management? I wonder if the point of the article was not so much about ‘code’ but understanding the power of a ‘language’.

Taken out of context of any particular code, and code engine; is not the issue here to understand what ‘code‘ does and what a code engine could produce – the key here is understanding the code and using it to best effect, or even stretching the possibilities of the limitations of the language. That’s how new language is born!

Language to human intelligence is like code to ‘artificial intelligence’ – arguably, the language defines the edges of capability to ‘instruct’ something else to perform a task – and the limit of the ability to communicate the task (how, what, why etc) lies in the language and more specifically, the translation of one language into another, sometimes through an innocent third-party language.

So, the understanding of ‘code’ (being an analogy for language applicable to ‘[artificial] intelligence’) is the important part – understanding what the code is for you, and the code for the receiver of the instructions, and the translation requirements (perfect or more likely, imperfect) between the two.  So, code is really ‘communication 101’ – the sender and receiver model.

Sender Receiver Model

Try as I might, I don’t seem to be able to find a model that doesn’t use the ‘encode-decode’ terminology, in a non-technology sense.  Interesting in itself.

So, what is there to think about?

  • Those that don’t ‘have’ language (Autism spectrum, people requireing reasonable adjustments in the workplace, or simply, ‘not able to get emails daily’)?
  • Those that do have language, but have the wrong one (English as a Second Language, IT-Geeks trying to speak to ‘Business Freaks’)?
  • Learning a language that has no ‘words’ – symbology, syntax, understanding?
  • The phenomenon of ‘jargon’?
  • Where does behaviour fit in? Can you say something and communicate something else?

So, I have been very obvious, and provided some of the underlying issues with every piece of change management practice I have ever attempted. Bugger trying to get people to do something, or change behaviour – it would seem that organisations fail miserably (and continue to fail without learning from their mistakes – that isn’t good science!) at simply being about to make ourselves (or as executives, communicate to our employees) in a way that they understand – using their ‘code’ or something that is close enough so they can ‘get it’.

 

By the way – the most successful change management practitioners are YOUR ‘code engine’ – they can do the encoding of your language (verbal, behavioural, symbolic or otherwise) into something that those receiving can decode.  I’m available. 😉

Careening into a ’24×7 Society’

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How can a society be anything other than 24×7?

There was a recent doco that I watched, looking at cognitive ability-enhancing drugs (Horizon; Pill Poppers. BBC). The initial part of the documentary focused on how drugs are ‘discovered’ and then looked more closely at some of the therapeutic uses of various drugs, specifically Ritalin.

(Incidentally, it is estimated that the average ‘healthy‘ person will consume more than 14 000 over the counter pills in their lifetime…)

The documentary touched on the benefits to the lives of those children and younger adults with behavioural and other cognitive issues, where correctly identified and treated.

Here’s where it gets absolutely fascinating!

The next part of the documentary looked at those professionals (specifically surgeons, but other professions as well) using medical supplements and pharmaceuticals to maintain concentration and alertness during complex procedures. Specifically ‘Ritalin’, a product traditionally used to treat behavioural and concentration disorders, but included other prescribable drugs too (incidentally, seeking to provide the sort of concentration and focus seen in aspects of the Autism spectrum and Aspergers’ Syndrome, though in less debilitating [sic] circumstances).

The ‘new’ uses of these drugs for people ostensibly without behavioural and concentration issues is bringing astounding results, including the reduction [sic] of some risks associated with surgeries requiring patients to be under anaesthesia for many hours, where the handoff to a ‘fresher, but different’ surgeon introduces a risk to the patient which could be higher than the risk of the primary surgeon soldiering on, or a less experienced surgeon to take over, to rest the primary surgeon

Don’t get me wrong – I am the first to want the best doing my neurosurgery (touchwood!) with the lowest amount of risk! However, what happens to these ‘cognitively enhanced’ professionals when they stop taking concentration and performance enhancing drugs?

What is the effect of a future organisation who is ‘cognitively enhanced’?

What are the ethics, and how does this apply in an organisation that isn’t surgery, but simply seeking a competitive edge? Does this mean that people with attention or cognitive underperformance can now be gainfully employed, or does this mean that healthy people are now expected and encouraged to be even further ahead of the curve, or worse, frowned upon if they aren’t!

Does this mean that only the wealthy (those that can afford) or executives can be cognitively enhanced, and therefore the divide between exec, management and operational front line becomes wider, leaving a bigger void in-between, and much harder to make the leap across? The Australian Public Service already has programs addressing the (widening) gaps between APS, Executive Level and Senior Executive Service, so it is reasonable to think that non-government organisations have the same issues, because the APSC is not renowned for its ability to move fast, or being on the leading edge of career progression and staff development.

How do we manage the change management plan for that? How do we support operational staff (have nots), management (want to haves) and the executives (haves) to work together (which they are less and less if you read recent treatises on ’employee engagement’) and to support career progression?

Does this phenomenon already exist, or does this make way for individuals to be identified to be ‘enhanced’ and become better strategists, better ‘somethings’ and the role of change management is to console those not ‘tapped on the shoulder’ or left behind or at least, divert the attention of those not fated for meteoric stardom?

Socially, are we expecting people to function at a very high rate for the whole 24 hours – not just at work? If we only do this professionally, what happens when we are returned to our ‘dull selves’ after work? Or perhaps even, on the way home from work (while driving)? What will this do to our relationships and our families?

Does this mean that the risks of the interim state are the responsibility of the individual or the organisation?

Or do we just stay ‘turned on’ in our 24×7 society and ‘expire’ sooner? Is this a cost we are prepared to bear?

Messy business, this…

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Organisational parasites

 

Picture of the Earth, surrounded by a fractile image of many coloured trees all interconnecting

Ecology of things

If normal flora and fauna are beneficial, are organisational parasites beneficial?  If I said: Point out someone in your organisation who could be described as an ‘organisational parasite’ (I wouldn’t ask that!), I am sure you could, very quickly.  If I asked; What do you plan to do about the parasite? What would happen next?

It is a very simple thing to make an analogy of an organisation with a biological organism – in fact, it is very common to consider that the structure and function of an organisation is what it is, because that is what it needs to be: the same reason that the heart, lungs, gills, eyes, brain, abdomen etc. is what it needs to be and where it needs to be to most effectively do what it needs to do.  Structure and Function is the basis of most organisational development, design and business process management practice, even if this concept is only intuitively and tacitly understood, if not explicit and up front.

I personally, would always favour an organisational change manager or business process engineer with a background in biology, ecology or human anatomy every time.  Why? Because they have a sense of what is going on, and the essential ‘cosmic interconnectedness‘ (thanks Douglas Adams for the concept – however to make it more sensible, lets call it ‘Big Data‘) that they are tweaking, fondling and grossly dismembering, in a way that even the most sophisticated financial analyst, with their finger on the pulse, cannot.  And that is because of the relationship of the organisation to that of something living and actual, rather than theoretical and symbolic, which I have yet, in my experience, failed to come across, in those who ‘don’t get it’ because they are focused on the bottom line, or the left and right sides of a ledger.

So, it is a known fact that there are advantages of some parasites in the human body – do [some] organisational parasites come with advantages too?

There is argument (bloodless, but quite fierce) to support the concept that humanity is either currently ‘attempting to evolve‘ into our next genetic mutation, or is on the verge of evolving (whether we like it or not) with the event horizon of ‘the Technological Singularity‘ fast approaching.  Some cite evidence of this ‘attempt’ to evolve in the higher incidence of Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Downs Syndrome etc, as a way of the species attempting to find a new genetic or neuro-intellectual deviation or mutation which is able to ‘cope’ or take advantage of the new ‘pressures of existence’ – pressures which include the need to ‘think’ a different way to be able to synthesize the vast quantities of data into information, and therefore knowledge and wisdom, which we have never, anthropologically, had to deal with before.

Image of a symbolic brain, with connections from the internet to feed it with more and more data

Getting fed!

So, as cultivators and repair-practitioners of organisational cultures (in the current context, we could also be talking ‘cultures’ in the same biological vein as ‘culturing likeness in a petri dish for the requirement of studying or altering behaviour and action on the world around the culture’ – a definition which quite well describes the organisational change manager, in my view) do we have the scientific background to understand what we are looking at, down the microscope, now or in the near future?  Do we have the biological engineering equivalent in our organisations to reliably predict what the changes we propose will have on an organism, in the context of the organisation, which moves within an ecosystem, that has arisen through a process of anthropological evolution to ensure that the current structure and function of an organisation is exactly what it needed to survive – to now – but may not be able to cope with the environmental pressures that the world will place on it, in the near future?

Evolution has always been at the behest of the changes to the environment of which genetic diversity seeks to take advantage – and vice versa.  So, that would make the change manager role one of understanding the environment, and the actors on the environment, and then seeking to provide an environment to encourage the growth of sameness (or culture) that would promote or highlight the ‘piece of diversity’ that takes advantage of the identified changes.  Else, the change manager seeks to introduce a ‘piece of diversity’ to a receptive (by design or accident) culture which in turn, effects the environment to change in a desirable way.  Or both, at the same time, considering the myriad of cause-and-effect reactions, flavoured by emotional and behavioural diversity already existing in the organisation. When looked at it from this perspective, how would you rate your skill level at achieving this, rather than ‘communicating something’, sending an email, or ‘engaging’ with a stakeholder?

So, for the change manager, does this mean that, as well as understanding the structure and function of the organisation, it is also a requirement for us to understand the symbiosis in the organisation of the parasites and the normal flora and fauna of the organisation – so that we can be change managers gardening and tending the ecology of those organisms/organisations that we seek to serve?

What eco-management skills and capabilities do you have, in relation to yours or any other organisation? Further, if you don’t currently have the skills to keep a whole ecology alive (for how can you achieve change within an ecology if you don’t consider the whole of it, including the individuals, the individual ‘species’ and other collectives, and their relationship to the greater whole – which may even include the external factors acting on your ecology?) where are you going to get those skills, and how do you know when you have them?  And how do you know those evolutionary changes (for it is EVOLUTION of the organisation we are seeking to influence here, don’t mistake me, nothing shorter of ‘evolutionary engineering’) are going to achieve the desired effect – or if the desired effect is something for now, or something for the future, when the changes actually come to bear on the organisation?

wisdom

Getting Jacked in

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Or: How to be part of the future, when living in the technological past:

So, welcome to the 20th century. Dont I mean, the 21st century? Nooo… I currently live outside of the city limits. This poses some problems, most of which revolve around ‘patience’.

Patience to wait for tradespeople

Patience to wait for news

Patience to wait for visitors

Patience to wait for technology.

Its a virtue. I’m told.

At times like these, my mind considers a 12-step program, but then, I don’t have the patience for more than 3 or 4 steps. Got anything shorter?

When and how did I become an instant gratification monster? As a Milenial I shouldnt have this driving need; I should be happy with Betacord, Cassette tapes, ‘life before the interwebs‘, landline phones, travelling to the corner store for some bread and milk, and stopping for a chat with the woman in the pet store, who asks after my dogs (which she names in order of age), and enjoying a coffee, sitting on the porch watching my horses feed.

So, why the guilt? Why do I feel somehow ‘less’ without something smart or ‘i” in the palm of my hand or lap? Why do I nurse technology to see just how far from the house I can walk before the wifi starts to fade – why am I considering getting a more powerful wifi modem? Do I really intend to watch TED Lectures from the stables, and hook up wireless, wifi, infra-red cameras (which I will barely check) on the boundary fences and select paddocks? I live in the country – why am I so suspicious of my neighbours with the attack-dogs (one with only three legs)?

Is this particular post, an ironic, oxymoronic attempt to seek absolution for my technical guilt, when I thought that I had put all that ‘confessional farce‘ behind me years ago?

I wonder, in today’s age, why it takes:
*more than 15 hours of telephone complaints (resolved by 1 online complaint to the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman)
*10 hours of telephone technical support
*repeatedly refusing offers of mobile connectivity (there IS no mobile reception here, why do you keep offering it to me when you KNOW your own provider doesn’t provide reception here?!?)

to feed the obsession that I feel I *should* have to get reconnected, when I have a sublime coffee in my hand, and an Australian Shepherd who keeps bringing me a ball to throw?

Shouldn’t I remember life back in the dark ages (or am I thinking of the FUTURE Digital Dark Age?) when there was no personal or professional digital identify – or at least, there will be no discernible distinction between a personal and digital identity, in a Technology Singularity, post-human world? Does this still make me human, or am I transitioning to a higher state?

Instead, I seek to get my family ‘hooked’ – I am so concerned with perpetuating the ‘digital virus‘ at home and at work: I ‘drop round’ to make sure my mother’s wifi works at optimal speed, ensuring the laptop and iDevice that I got her has constant connection; that everything is ‘virus free’ (who would want to plant a data virus on my mother’s ‘Smurfs’ app usage?); I make sure that my FaceTime and Skype connections to my father are working; I video chat with my niece on her birthday; I facebook my cousin while she is in the waiting room, while her son is in surgery in a hospital.

I wonder if I should be feeling some sort of guilt about secondary and tertiary bullying to ensure that my 90-year old grandparents become hooked; and that we can all participate in digital e-Health (lightyears before the government) so that my grandfather can videochat with any of his 8 children, 47 grandchildren and exponentially increasing great-grandchildren and 5th generation offspring with his third generation iDevice tablet and 5th generation smart phone, if he or my grandmother become unwell? It seems that we trust our private family technology network before we trust the phone to call an ambulance!

And yet, we still insist on printing documents at work.

In thinking about this, making the choice to quit my last job when my boss didn’t trust the technology that he had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in ensuring existed to facilitate virtual connectivity and productivity, because he wanted me to remain geographically located with him, instead of with my stakeholders, doesn’t seem like such a bad decision. Except when I am interrupted checking my email, on the way to getting milk and bread by the pet store owner, asking after my dogs.

However, this seems to be a common bullying tactic by dinosaurs to remain surrounded by their food, in their lair – the resistance to allow employees to actually use the technology that they spend 15 hours per day designing, planning, installing, training and patting each other on the back for achieving would seem significant. Have *I* failed in implementing the change management plan which gives my former boss the comfort to evolve, or did we reach the limit of his genetic, professional predisposition to transition into the universe he chose to create (over spending time with his family)? Was I really seeking to ‘un-plug’ myself, create a digital sabotage event and identity schism between my actual and digital personalities; to create a scenario where I would not be able to reconcile with my digital self in a healthy multiple-personality disenfranchise, breaking the cycle of personal violence between my actual and digital self; seeking some solitude, a good coffee and a pat for the dog?

What would you miss? Asking my grandmother of 92 years, of all today’s ‘mod-cons‘ (many of which I could not possibly do without), which does she think she could not bear to part with? Every time, she says, without hesitation and a wry smile: ‘Running water’.

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The Plan (Planning v Execution)

‘The plan is only good for the first step’

‘The second step in a plan should be to look at what happened after the first step and plan a new step’ (???)

I was watching TV today, and noticed the new strategic plan of the Liberals – Our Plan. I was asked to ‘download the plan now from … ‘

Interesting, given that I cant download the plan, because I can get neither mobile nor hardwired internet service where I live. The only provider is Telstra, and they wont lease the infrastructure to a reseller in my area for a competitive price, nor does any mobile service provider reach into the nooks and crannies of the valleys and dales of where I live. Its been 7 weeks and ongoing since Telstra assured me (and continues to) that if I sign here, I could expect that my services would be now more than 14 days away. Well, at least they sought to start charging me within 14 days at least.

Anyhoo… putting aside the beating up the partially sold off public asset (helloooo liberal government of the past), or rather, simply sharing my experience, and you can make up your own assumptions about service provision; AND the fact that I CANT actually download ‘Our Plan’ to actually look at how, having sold off my ability to connect with the world (in the interests of balance, the Labour government’s NBN is no good either – my location is not in any future delivery location mentioned by the plan, during the life of the implementation – but I still gotta pay taxes to make sure that everyone else around me will get it – thats the nice kinda guy I am – while taking up their offer of moving into the country and keeping the farming industry alive, in a manner of speaking – at least keeping the ‘equine belt’ around Melbourne alive), I was wondering about the ‘plan’.

Regardless of what the plan actually says, and the policy changes that it proposes (interesting, that we finally see a policy, rather than a statement that ‘your policy wont work’), I do have a concern about the change management effort that will go into delivery of what I assume are multiple, interconnected strategic and tactical legislation, regulation, policy and operational changes across a 5-pillar society – or at least thats what the television add promises, anyway. Or at least, promises to ‘give it a crack’ if I* vote them back in. ‘Our Plan’, being the Liberal’s plan, certainly not MY plan (Am I the only one who is sick of the tendency of agencies at the moment, to make every online service ‘my’ account, or some variation of?).

Now, I don’t really consider myself part of a 5-pillar anything, let alone a 5 pillar society. Certainly not part of a society that affords me the same basic rights at law, including marriage, adoption or general rights of inheritance (but I digress into the same-sex marriage issue, so I will turn back to stay the course). The fun part here is ‘how’? How are these policies going to be implemented? They are fully connected up. They are wholly and totally interdependent. They promise to dig into the top 5 ‘wicked problems’ of Australian society, spanning beyond our own borders, and addressing issues over which our government has NO control and no ability to address the cause (so I presume, they will be addressing symptoms – not a good start for any policy upon which one wants to wager the life and death of ones’ constituents and ones’ relationship with near and far global neighbours).

So, in summary, no Australian government (of any persuasion) has been able to address these issues; they are complex, ‘wicked’, interconnected, critically dependant, and the government has (at best) the ability to control 15-20% of the causes, so ostensibly, has to address the symptoms. That is what I get from the television add, but have yet to be empowered to get to the detail – which i presume is written – hopefully, it has more multimedia than that!

I hope I will be pleasantly surprised (and a little excited for a potential job prospect) to hear that there has been proposed a new ministry for the ‘management of change to our society’ – or something like that. How comforting would it be to know that there was someone (other than ourselves, since we don’t control the resources to do it ourselves) accountable to ensure that the dependencies were managed, the risks were being addressed, the resistance (from internal or external ‘forces’) to change were being addressed, and people were being ‘taken along with the change’. That those of us who arent 24×7 digital citizens (I must do something about that – or rather, poke the person who is accountable – AGAIN, the Right Hon Minister for Digital Identities and Engagement, you know who you are) – the itinerant, the homeless, the illiterate (nearly 50% of us), the newbies (nearly 50% of our population growth and more than XXX% of our workforce over the last 10 years has come from migrant workers, either temporarily or permanently) with ESL (LINK) issues – these (lets call them, ‘stakeholders’ or ‘end users’, to really ram home the point) differently impacted people, inheritants of the ‘5-pillar policy positioning which psephologist will ponderously pour over in times to come’: how will they be helped, coached, encouraged, even simply ‘made aware’ of the detail of how they will experience and contribute to (if at all) a future world that they will become the custodians of (them, and their illiterate and innumerate children) AND have the confidence that ‘this bit’ they get get on one side, doesnt mean they have to give up ‘this essential bit’ that they have to give up on the other hand, in the comfort that ‘things will be better if they do’?

How will they get this assurance, given the experience is that this has NEVER been able to be delivered in the past, by any government, so there is no experience on which to base any hope?

Project managers, program managers, change managers, organisational psychologists and C-suite executives of large organisations know that this hasnt happened without HUGE cost – usually significantly more than proposed at the time of ‘the plan’.

Consider the Education Ministry in China as an example of a ‘large organisation’ with very little diversity (a generalisation I know, but I am making a point): School Superintendents of a district, covering a number of headmasters and their schools often span more than the entire population of Australia in the number of their students, with a budget of more than the federal Education Ministry in Australia – and they aren’t even at the Provincial Government (essentially, our state government) level in terms of policy and implementation, and they arent even considering this sort of sweeping, societal change – but you can bet, they have an overarching view on what is going on, and how they plan to do it.

Consider also, the red herring: Australia is a proud multicultural society.

We value diversity. We value individuals (unless they want to marry someone who is the same gender as themselves – stop me now!). We value the fact that we have all types and all shapes. We are a nation of red herrings, with limited commonality in our membership. However, ‘the plan’ seeks to address that – or at least cater for that.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to apply for the role of CEO of the Ministry of the Changing Society – oh yeah, that position is currently held, under another title – Prime Minister. The question that is going to ‘bake your noodle’ is whether I would be able to do a better or worse job than the current and previous incumbents. However, the issue remains – there is diversified accountability for the operational delivery of each of the policies so they remain undelivered in a connected, dependant, risk-managed way, when looked at, as part of a grand ‘plan’. Incidentally, NO Prime Minister in the history of Australia (or any other country that I can think of, offhand) in the history of democracy has been able to deliver.

And there is no real understanding, at least by me, of what happens if we set off in another wrong direction, or how we will find out (until its too late) that the direction is NOT the right one. Nothing gives me comfort that we have more than a plan – a way to check on how the plan is going; who needs more or less support; who’s holding up their part, and who isn’t; and, how much of the budget they are spending. Lets hope (against hope) that the plan to fix everything doesnt boils down to ‘oh, we couldn’t afford that, even though it is a critical dependancy of this other thing’ – despite the experience. Just read the Hansard (you could try and get it from your digital society peer citizenry) or simply turn up to Question Time at parliament, and make a tally of how often ‘we don’t have the resources to do that, so we cant be held accountable’ comes up.

However, I hold onto hope, despite the evidence, experience and history that I have to base that hope on, whatever ‘The Plan’ is, that the ‘end users’ have a voice and can actually participate in their own society.

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*I, being us, or at least the ‘us’ of democracy. Interesting enough, regardless of whether I am a millionaire or living below the poverty line (which I feel like, but thankfully am not, yet, not being a consistent, 24×7 plugged-in member of the digital society) I only get one vote… maybe, those who need help more should get a more ‘worthy’ vote, and those who need government help less should have a differently-weighted vote. How much fun would THAT be?

Its the door!

My mother emailed this to me, I presume, as something that seemed amusing:

___________________________________________________________________

Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was?

Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what’s known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next.

Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

So it’s not aging, or senility, or old age, it’s the damn door!

Thank goodness for scientific studies like this!

____________________________________________________________________

My mother thought this was amusing, but there is actually some truth in it, which nicely fits into the jigsaw puzzle with what we know now about memory, sight/vision and the ‘power’ of narratives (especially ones with have chapters with beginnings and ends).

I have always wondered about ‘chapters’ and books – as an analogy of walking from one room to another, with the ‘expectation’ that there will either be continuity or thematic continuity, if the rooms are in the same house, for example. From a VERY young age, we (at least, where I went to primary school) were taught about paragraphs with beginnings, middles and ends, and the power of writing that had a very strong first paragraph and last, or first sentence and last in a paragraph – to the point where we were told (my memory of just this example has kicked into gear!) that the paragraph should be able to ‘stand on its own merits’ with only the first and the last sentence, as the middle bits are simply clarification of the latter and former.

I am wondering if the fact that memory is ‘chunked up’ into chapter-like portions, similar to below, naturally, or it is some sort of continually self-reinforcing, pan-cultural, meme – a question of nature v nurture.

Do we chunk our memory because that is the best way of using it (the argument *against* gets stronger, particularly by the Homo Evolutis scientists, who argue that our offspring are changing they way they consume and manage ‘data’ – similarly those who are looking at the Autism and Aspergers’ Syndrome spectrum) or are we ‘taught’ to do this, because it is something that we have always done and it worked for us (note, use of past tense)? Is this meme of ‘memory chunking’ breaking down in transmission capability, because of the demands that modern society is placing on the brain to assimilate more and more data and/or information, at the ‘cost’ of the capability to turn that data and information into knowledge that can be used or applied, through the process of wisdom?

Doing what we always did may not get us what we always got – it may get us extinct!

I find it interesting from the change management perspective, because much of how we seek to engage with people is from the comfortable position that there is commonality in the way we construct memory, vision etc (translating into ‘experience’), when it is likely that the opposite is true and becoming more prevalent. Is the intergenerational divide getting wider, simply because of the way that our grandchildren’s brains are evolving faster than we can change our behaviours and underlying assumptions/values to accommodate? How will we bridge the gap, and are we too busy to do it ourselves, and have to pay a change practitioner to tell us how to do it, and hold our hand while we do (at least at work, anyway)?

My head hurts… time for a glass of wine…

Poster with a crossed out picture of a velociraptor, claiming that there has been 25915000000 days since the last dinosaur 'incident'

Phew!

How to be counterintuitive (or not)

If the universe is counterintuitive (Standard Model of Cosmology and the existence of ‘Dark Matter’ and the phenomenon of ‘dark flow‘) then how can we expect the people we work with, or seek to support through a change to be anything less?

A Picture of ‘our’ universe

Theoretical physics and cosmology today are looking for answers as to why the universe is doing many unexplained things – like expanding at a faster and faster rate, when all we know about physics requires the universe (at least our universe*) to be slowing, as it loses energy to somewhere…

Creationists the world around also purport testimony and documentation that for the last 6000 years or so, things have been pretty well explained, logical and actual.

Apparently, despite the occasional Red Herring, there is a logical, sequential, common-sense [sic] approach to everything – it is the basis on which project management plans, change management plans, organisational strategic planning and even our daily task lists are made.

So why all the mess and failure? Why are things illogical, non-sequential, and not common-sensical? It seems that there is truth in ‘The Inconvenient Truth of Change Management‘!

People, as a product of the [this] universe, no matter how it came into being, ARE the Red Herring!

In government, we value diversity – we crave it, we court it, and we protect it. Yet, all the plans, strategies, transformation programs and whole federal agencies are born, grow and die, as a result of the fact that we no longer have a barrel of fish, with an occasional Red Herring – we have specifically selected a barrel of Red Herrings, which occasionally have some consistency. But we still make plans to help, change, transform, based on the (false) assumption that we are dealing with a homogenous cohort of ‘beneficiaries’ of all our careful deliberations. In fact, we fund the assumption: how often have you, as a change practitioner, been told to slim down your change strategy because there isnt that much different about the stakeholders that we addressed in the (failed) project last time, to this time?

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A picture of Diversity!

‘We cant afford to address the problem, so find some consistency, and address that.’

‘The budget is only provided for delivery, so do the best you can to get the most people using the thing as well as can be expected, with anything that is left over.’

‘Just communicate [broadcast] something – do it more often. Thats all we can afford.’

So, paraphrased, is that something like what you have heard, time and time again, so that the actual skill you develop is ‘redefining success’ rather than actually asking the ‘meek who inherit’ whatever it is that you have been asked to give them whether they think that they have successfully been delivered the benefit they were promised, or even less well defined, expected?

Douglas Addams wrote: ‘Space is big. Really big…

Put predictable. Or it was.

William Blake wrote: ‘To see the universe in a grain of sand…

So, the previously predictable universe is a reflection of all of us. Ergo, NOT predictable.

Herein lies the problem; we keep behaving, funding, assuming, planning and expecting that it IS predictable. Which is isnt. Which we arent.

So, we can give a name to the demon – counterintuivity. However, taking advantage of the fact that we now have power over that which we can name how do we gain the skill to know how to apply a counterintuitive approach, which is likely, given the above, to be the most effective in any given situation that applies to people. More importantly, once those skills (whatever they are) are gained, how do we, as practitioners make a buck from it?

Man [person] can not live on altruism alone…

T.

*There are emerging theories around ‘the Multiverse’ – see ted.com – ‘Sean Carroll: Distant time and the hint of a multiverse’ and ‘Brian Greene: Is our universe the only universe?’

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