This blog is 4-2 of 19 in a series on how to implement an Enterprise 2.0 framework for schools.
The purpose of this blog is to discuss in greater depth the real social, cultural, and political climates of schools, in order to formulate a more detailed and refined change management plan for an Enterprise 2.0 implementation at your school.
You need to be clear in your organisation about what changes are realistically going to come about in your school. It’s easy enough to say “Our school will be a flat mobile, agile environment”. It’s another thing to achieve this. This blog offers two approaches to an Enterprise 2.0 implementation; a bottom up and a top down approach. Consider the following blog excerpt from Tom Davenport discussing why Enterprise 2.0 will not work.
Such a utopian vision can hardly be achieved through new technology alone. The absence of participative technologies in the past is not the only reason that organizations and expertise are hierarchical. Enterprise 2.0 software and the Internet won’t make organizational hierarchy and politics go away. They won’t make the ideas of the front-line worker in corporations as influential as those of the CEO. Most of the barriers that prevent knowledge from flowing freely in organizations – power differentials, lack of trust, missing incentives, unsupportive cultures, and the general busyness of employees today – won’t be addressed or substantially changed by technology alone. For a set of technologies to bring about such changes, they would have to be truly magical, and Enterprise 2.0 tools fall short of magic.
Tom makes a pretty convincing argument that Web 2.0 technologies alone will not create the impetus for your leaderships team to all of a sudden make your school a flat, agile environment. So the question is what will, and how do we get the leadership team to act?
2. BOTTOM UP APPROACH?
There are two high level change management approaches that can be taken in your school in order to begin your migration to an Enterprise model of operation. You can take a bottom up approach i.e. introduce social computing into your organisation one step at a time. This will likely create an increasing level of frustration with your teaching and innovative staff, until the leadership team feels the ‘pressure’ to either change or retire. More likely your innovative staff will leave the school. If this is the approach you wish to take then refer to my previous blog. Do not be discouraged by this and think that this is a lesser approach to developing an Enterprise 2.0 model of operation. It is an approach, and you would not be a pioneer here.
“We also see more direct touch with field reps, so that gathering grassroot or distributed information is easier. Some marketing directors ask sales guys about feedback on what is needed for new service offerings, some HR managers rapidly get best practices, etc. This may not be enough to change the way organizations work, but it certainly is a new way to take decisions and move forward”. Stephanie Lee
“Where most web 2.0 initiatives start from bottom-up – most fail”. Kees Leemens
3. TOP DOWN APPROACH
The other method of change management is the top down approach.
“Top management involvement is critical, reshaping the organizational culture into one where open communications is a habit, where learning is a daily experience, and where sharing is encouraged – there such technologies can have a strong impact”. Kees Leemens
The top down approach is usually the preferred change management approach when considering change management strategy. If you go down this path however, your change management skills need to be more adept, and you need to align a number of organisational elements in order to increase the chances of attitudinal change among your leadership team.
Warning: Being an active change manager does not win you friends. Are you sure you want to be the patsy for this concept called Enterprise 2.0. ??
4. LETS TALK CHANGE MANAGEMENT THEORY FOR A MOMENT
Table 1.0 – Types of Change Management programs and their focus
After studying and working in change management for the last 12 years, I am going to attempt to describe the essence of change management in less a paragraph. Lets start by examining Table 1.0. Table 1.0 essentially shows, if you are going to try to modify individual behaviour you implement programs that focus on the individual. If the target of the change program is group dynamics, you implement change programs that focus on the individuals and the roles they play in groups. If the focus of the change program is about the organisation, you have to implement change programs that focus on the individual, group dynamics, the culture of the organisation i.e. conversation, the structure of the organisation, and finally pressures from the external environment. A change management program is about making all of these programs work in alignment. You are not going to motivate your staff to change if they do not have the personal skills, key influencers are against the idea, the school can not logistically support the change, or the external pressure does not have legitimacy. You have to get all of these right at the same time to increase your chances of change.
Lets briefly address each of these criteria.
Individual change – this means you have to put in place an education program, and good policies that will support your teachers in use. You will have to listen carefully to teachers and administrators negative comments and have key people in place to objection handle. You can not let negative conversation grow and take on a life of its own. Be aware of conversations that are not taking place openly e.g.
The value of an individual to an organization is what they can do for organization and who they know. The thought that knowledge workers would fully impart what makes them valuable to their organization seems to be not in the interest of the individual.
Group change – Using Kotter’s model of change management, you will need to ensure that you have key people in your organisation that can act as influencers. Their job is to guide conversation. Stakeholders also need to understand how there work role will be influenced by the new changes. Make sure you are clear about this in your knowledge transfer programs.
Cultural change – In a nutshell a culture change is about back-grounding old conversation and thought, and fore-grounding new conversation and thought. It takes a skilled communicator and mediator.
Organisational Change – What are the structures in your organisation that are preventing the change. Some of these things can be easy to solve, such as internet filters. Other can be more difficult i.e. heirarchial structures. If these structures prevent an effective Enterprise 2.0 implementation they need to be addressed. A word of warning however, not everybody has the capacity and capability to change overnight. Plan out realistic timeframes for these structural changes.
Environmental Change – Is the environmental change i.e. Enterprise 2.0, a legitimate change for your organisation? One way of getting legitimacy is by defining the business problems in your school. Can social media tools solve this business problem.
“In most organizations, the starting point is technology, to be followed by a search for problem. If a suitable problem is not found then something is invented. This is the wrong way of approaching any problem. The right way is to start with a business problem and search for the best way to solve that problem. The search may lead to specific web 2.0 technology or it may lead to some other solution which is better than using any web 2.0 tools”.
This blog has briefly described the change management issues associated with implementing an Enterprise 2.0 framework. This blog has not addressed the big issues of how the rigid organisational structures can be overcome in order to integrate new ideas into your school. In my next blog, creating a vision for your organisation, I concede the point that schools are unlikely to change their structures. I do however make some suggestions on how we can slightly modify organisational thinking in order to start integrating new ideas into your school.
If you a lucky enough to have a Principal in your school who is serious about moving to an Enterprise 2.o framework it might be a wise idea to employ a consultant to help develop the change management framework.
If you have any comments about this article I would love to receive some feedback and comments.