Monday, April 29, 2013

Who's urgency are we talking about?

Kotter's Sense of Urgency
John Kotter is a very smart man.  I think he's done us all a great service by creating his 8 phases of leading change.  However, even Kotter recognizes that the 8 phases are insufficient.  In 2008, he wrote a book called a Sense of Urgency.  He recently wrote an article in HBR (November, 2012) where he proposed adding accelerants to his 8 steps:
(click to enlarge)
Unfortunately, he lost me with the very first word at the heart of the diagram, "creating a sense of urgency ..."  That implies that the change agents are doing something to the change recipients.  Remember Kanter's updated quote:  "change is an opportunity when done by me [pull], but a threat when done to me [push]."  

Seely Brown's Pull vs. Push Model
The addition of the push and pull labels is inspired by the thinking of John Seely Brown & John Hagel.  I've been a big fan of John Seely Brown since I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at U-M business school over 20 years ago while I was a senior and he was the chief scientist for Xerox's Palo Alto research center.  The following table illustrates Brown & Hagel's point that top-down "push" mindsets are becoming obsolete, while emergent "pull" mindsets are enabling innovation and change:
(click to enlarge)
At the heart of the matter is that expert consultants push, while collaborative consultants pull.  Kotter is an expert consultant.  

Organizational Change Context
You know me ... had to create my own visual of this model to better understand my own point.  I modified the popular 2x2 matrix of psychological motivation theories.  See what you think.


Post a Comment

Template developed by Confluent Forms LLC; more resources at BlogXpertise