Weblog Entries for May 2006
May 31, 2006
James and I are off to Reboot 8 in Copenhagen this afternoon. Last year's Reboot was excellent and I have high hopes for this one, despite being part of the programme. I'm not sure what James and I will end up talking about, but it's a safe bet that some improv games will be involved. Looking forward to meeting lots of friends.
May 30, 2006
Lawyer with sense of humour: shock, horror, crisis probe
From Marty Schwimmer, I learn of an erudite ruling by the domain arbitration forum in the matter of Morgan Stanley v Meow. This relates to a dispute over a domain name - mymorganstanleyplatinum.com - purportedly registered by a cat. Here's the money quote from the findings:
Respondent maintains that it is a cat, that is, a well-known carnivorous quadruped which has long been domesticated. However, it is equally well-known that the common cat, whose scientific name is Felis domesticus, cannot speak or read or write. Thus, a common cat could not have submitted the Response (or even have registered the disputed domain name). Therefore, either Respondent is a different species of cat, such as the one that stars in the motion picture Cat From Outer Space, or Respondent's assertion regarding its being a cat is incorrect.
If Respondent is in fact a cat from outer space, then it should have so indicated in its reply, in order to avoid unnecessary perplexity by the Panel. Further, it should have explained why a cat from outer space would allow Mr. Woods to use the disputed domain name. In the absence of such an explanation, the Panel must conclude that, if Respondent is a cat from outer space, then it may have something to hide, and this is indicative of bad faith behavior.
On the other hand, if Respondents assertion regarding its being a cat is incorrect, then Respondent has undoubtedly attempted to mislead this Panel and has provided incorrect WHOIS information. Such behavior is indicative of bad faith.
A bit more Clippinger
Cultures, like people, can run out of ideas. They can exhaust themselves in the face of events and ideas they can no longer predict, explain or control. When they do, they revert to the repetitive assertion of the simplest and most soothing of their founding ideas. These attempts to ward off the unknown through the ritualized assertion of familiar core beliefs are what anthropologists call a ghost dance. The name is taken from a Sioux Indian ritual dance designed to resurrect ancestors. Sioux warriors believed the dance made them impervious to the bullets of the U.S. Calvary in the 1870s.Clippinger then embarks on a whistle stop tour of new discoveries in science, behavioural economics and complexity theory to suggest we might want to move beyond conventional free market thinking. He doesn't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but does suggest we transcend thinking based on each of us acting rationally and selfishly, by recognising that we have evolved as collaborative creatures. He proposes a new conception of the Commons:
What may seem to be a bizarre ritual is in fact a well-documented practice of all cultures, traditional and modern. Many events in contemporary American life can be understood as a ghost dance of denial: ritualistic behavior that people hope will ward off unpleasant social and economic realities...
In our time, the ghost dance can be seen in a celebration of laissez-faire capitalism, radical individualism, and the alienability of all human activity and nature for market consumption.
The commons is a social regime for managing shared resources and forging a community of shared values and purpose. Unlike markets, which rely upon price as the sole dimension of value, a commons is organized around a richer blend of human needs for identity, community, fame and honor which are indivisible and inalienable, as well as more tangible rewards.He argues that the internet offers a means of amplifying this kind of collaboration:
Human beings share a common genetic heritage with all forms of life, and we are therefore indivisible and interdependent with other species. Far from evolving as independent, self-actualizing and materialistic actors, human beings emerged as a relatively small and vulnerable species 150,000 years ago because we developed a unique set of social contract algorithms based on language and cooperation. How oddly appropriate: the Internet and related technologies are simply allowing us to give fuller expression to our evolutionary legacy.It's a rich and informative article, see if you can find time to read the whole thing.
May 29, 2006
Another Lovemarks detractor
In other words, the role of the marketer is to ‘drive’ people to 'love' you so much that they no longer use their reason and hand over loads more cash to you – more than if they still had the use of their reason. And you do this by emotional advertising.Needless to say, I'm with Alan on this one.
Never mind the fact that each one of these six propositions is flawed in its own right. Look at the instrumental, self-seeking motives. Look at the attitudes it displays towards people – ‘the consumer’.
Kevin Roberts’ arguments sum up everything that is wrong with marketing today.
May 28, 2006
I had a great lunch yesterday with Tom Guarriello and his wife Karen, at my local organic pub. This is the third time I've met Tom, and the first where I haven't been jetlagged, which certainly helped the conversation along. That was especially useful when Tom explained phenomenology to me.
On 26.08.06, I am going to gather every branded possession of mine into a warehouse, douse them with petrol and burn the lot...How's that for a piece of performance art? When you read Neil's blog, he turns out to a little less iconoclastic than you might think:
Until recently, I thought I knew who Neil Boorman was. I felt sure how the outside world regarded me because I had spent a fair amount of time engineering an image. I found the best way to understand and articulate 'me' was through the owning and displaying of things made by brands. They provided a source of comfort, a reassurance of my own self worth, they project my identity to others around me...
The reality however is only just becoming clear; with every new emblem of identity I add to my collection, I lose a piece of myself to the brands. They cannot reciprocate the love I give. They cannot transport me to the places I'm promised exist. I am not, nor will I ever be remotely similar to the people that appear in their ads. It is a lie, a lie I have believed in for too long.
The fact is that branded consumerism sustains competition in the marketplace. With no competition, there is no impulse for manufacturers to producer better products with greater value for money. Brands are wealth creators; they provide employment across the globe, and ultimately they make our lives infinitely more comfortable. So I have been keen to avoid the No Logo supporters' calls to 'bring it all down'. Yes, I am burning all my own branded possessions, and I will be attempting to live my new life brand-free, but the book is really an experiment to see if it is actually possible to disconnect from branded consumerism.
May 27, 2006
Open Space and Sugar
The space you use for these things has a part to play, and Thursday's was just about the best you could get. We were in the East Room, atop the Tate Modern here in London. This has full height windows down three sides, including panoramic views of the Thames. It's so great to work in natural light. Plus my client was particularly inspired on the catering front. She banned the standard-issue sticky buns for breakfast in favour of bacon butties with brown sauce, as well as healthier fare. I particularly approved of having jaffa cakes with coffee and ice cream at the close (the latter an idea I lifted from my friends at NPR) (illustrations courtesy of particpants on Flickr).
This reminds me of a slightly more serious point about facilitation, which has been front of mind for me recently. I find myself talking about not adding any more sugar to processes. I mean this metaphorically rather than literally as you can see.
Open Space is a constant re-education in a minimalist approach to facilitation. Harrison Owen, who invented the whole thing, advises that - once you've explained the process to participants - you mostly need to stay out of their way, focussing on picking up the empty coffee cups.
Our world is often over-stimulating and one of things facilitation can offer folks is a bit of a break and space to reflect. I am continuously learning the benefits of making fewer and smaller interventions. A lot of the people I work with are "techniqued-out" and weary of what my friend Rob Paterson calls "consultant tricks". They've all done that thing where you group Post It notes on a wall etc etc. There's so much to be said for letting people get on with it and not overloading them with instructions.
Another aspect of this is avoiding fiddling with the process. Often when hosting Space, I think my job is to listen to a variety of suggestions from particpants for fine tuning how it works, and not implement them. What I often find is that behind these suggestions is a passion or frustration that could make a great offer for a new conversation, within the OS process - so my intervention is usually to encourage the particpant to consider that option.
For instance, someone may come to me half way through the day and say, this is very interesting, but perhaps you could... you know... lead us towards some clear conclusions this afternoon? I will usually get curious about the sort of conclusions they personally would like to see and find out if they'd like to host a conversation about that themselves.
This sounds easy but it does require a certain level of impulse control. Perhaps for now I'm just sublimating my desire to interfere into eating more jaffa cakes.
(Bonus link: the Anecdote boys have an interesting chart on the low intervention rate in Open Space.)
I often wonder where my disaffection came from. What compelled me to once write "Branding Is Dead" etc.I find myself resonating, even though I've written a lot about branding here. More and more, I'm finding most of what gets said in and around the word "branding" just irritates me. I won't say all talk of branding is wrong or useless, but it seems very prone to generalisation and abstractions. The reality of how individuals make meanings out of symbols and lives is fascinating. The theory, on the whole, is a bit boring.
I'll tell you why.
I dont like branding. I don't like brand theory.
I like markets. I find them much more interesting.
Clippinger on collaboration.
Tim Kitchin pointed me to this fascinating paper: Human Nature and Social Networks by John H Clippinger. As Tim summarises, this gives strong evidence that humans are biologically programmed to collaborate, tending to undermine the ravings of "Social Realists" who think the only way to get economic man to do things is to bribe or cajole him.
Clippinger quotes Robin Dunbar's work Grooming
Could it be that language evolved as a kind of vocal grooming to allow us to bond larger groups than was possible using the conventional primate mechanism of physical grooming? ...If conversation serves the same function as grooming, then modern humans can at least groom with several others simultaneously.This idea really lodged in my mind last week. I increasingly sense that beneath the surface of our supposedly rational conversations something rather more significant is going on. I rather like taking the notion of grooming from the animals and seeing social discussions between humans as a variation of it. Even heated arguments and flame wars may on some level be like the play fighting of animal cubs.
Clippinger explores how we use language to create social signals that support collaboration:
Instead of having to impose such cooperative mechanisms from above or through formal monitoring and intervention processes, highly sophisticated cooperative behaviors can be evoked by creating a context in which the appropriate social signaling takes place. Once given the appropriate signals and rules, groups can spontaneously self-organize and control themselves.This tends to support the notion of creating simple rules for groups that leave them more scope for self-managment, rather than overspecifying. Open Space facilitaiton strikes me as a very good example of an approach that provides simple social signalling and allows large groups of people to self-organise very effectively.
He also examines how our language can be classified into higher and lower registers. High register language is intended to reduce ambiguity by raising precision. By limiting meaning in this way, it supports precision but also may tend to exclude more people from understanding. (Jargon would be a low-register term to describe high-register language.) Clippinger goes on to note that
Often in an attempt to be more precise and therefore less subject to misinterpretation, high register terms are used to issue orders and tasks on the mistaken assumption that the more specified a term is, the better command intent is communicated.If I follow Clippinger correctly, he argues that high register language requires more rational processing by the listener in an effort to understand the speaker's intent; with low register language, the process is nore intuitive. Here's how he puts it, see if you think I'm interpreting this right.
Unless the task is very technical and well-specified (which even many technical tasks are not), the more effective and reliable course is to use low register terms. Low register terms provide clear signaling, whereas high register terms require the recipient to interpret and improvise within the context that the commander has identified.I think when working with improvisation games, or using Open Space facilitation, the "undervalued competences" Clippinger describes have more space to emerge. I also think this is part of what makes highly function networks, such as those creting Open Source software, formidable.
The reason that people are able to infer command intent is that, over tens of thousands of years, they have evolved mirror neurons and the ability to construct and confirm common theories of mind through shared experiences. These are extremely important and often undervalued competences that are overlooked because of the mistaken assumption that interpersonal directives can be fully and unambiguously specified through high register communications, or less graciously, bureaucratese. The challenge from an edge command and control perspective is to understand those conditions whereby intent can be most readily and deliberately framed - appropriate language registers, shared experiences, and internalized social protocols.
Finally, I really liked Clippinger's working defintion of trust:
Trust is the consequence or state when one or more members of a network perform according to mutual expectation.
May 24, 2006
Sometimes our sense of self is reliant on external sources. Being “available” is one way of feeling better about ourselves and in turn convincing ourselves that we really “matter”. The 24/7 thing with phones/blackberries is also a way of saying we are available to everyone all of the time which in turns means – to no one body most of the time. The relentless availability culture is in my opinion a charade that is an avoidance of “intimacy”.Makes sense to me, and reminds me that I wanted to make a related point about presentation "tools".
I suppose presentations has the same linguistic roots at the word presence but I wonder if our presentation tools, like Powerpoint, tend to reduce our actual presence. I used Powerpoint this week for the first time in ages and I now wish I hadn't. The next speaker did without and I think as a result he was much more available to the audience than I was.
Technorati and Edelman flirting
Richard Edelman announces
Today, Technorati and Edelman announced that Edelman will have an exclusive right to offer Technorati's analytic tools in Chinese, French, German, Italian and Korean, starting with French in July and continuing into early 2007.I was relieved to read Edelman colleague Steve Rubel elaborate that
These localized versions - which will include keyword/tag search and more - will evolve into more robust public-facing sites that everyone will be able to access beginning in the first quarter of next year.Phew, so it's exclusive but only for a few months. That's a relief.
But I'm curious about why it's exclusive at all. Richard Edelman's blog offers a series of reasons for why this deal has been done, but none explain to me what is so great about Edelman having some kind of exclusive deal here. He recites some important but familiar mantras about how blogs are important and its good to keep track of them. Agreed, but that doesn't explain why this deal is exclusive.
Perhaps we get closer to the bone when he says,
we will have the ability to improve our work product; specifically, to make PR people valued contributors to the discussion, not the often-reviled spinmeister or hype artist lampooned in the media. Participation in this world cannot be on the basis of "pitch a story, hope it appears." It will be based on an articulate, visual, factual presentation, with both positives and negatives acknowledged. We have to raise our game and we will..Except, of course, the exclusive nature of the inital deal is not about rehabilitating "PR people" in general since they (and the rest of us) won't get to play. So why not come out and admit that this is being done for Edelman's specific advantage... and maybe drop a little of this shiny white knight routine?
Peter Hirshberg of Technorati assures us that this is
all about supporting the international growth of the blogosphere.but only offers this vague explanation of the deal with Edelman:
Edelman is providing support for this accelerated development effort.What's missing from this is some detail. Like what specific expertise is Edelman going to offer Technorati to make this development more effective? Does Edelman have some unpublicised expertise (a PR firm with unpublicised expertise ?) in linguistics or pattern language that Technorati needs? Is any money changing hands here? Is there going to be a blog to let us know what lessons they're learning in this collaboration? Or is this really simply a smart competitive deal to give Edelman a bit of head start and a higher profile. In which case, don't BS us that this is all for the greater good of humanity.
So if Steve or Richard could tell us more, that would be good. That will stop the cynical among us from suspecting this is just another one of those "alliances" which is more like the less popular kids in schools hanging out with the cool kids in the hope some of it rubs off. Of course, it's an interesting trend that the image conscious might now want to take on the cloaks of geekery. Perhaps Edelman could give their staff some ballpoint pens to stick in their shirt pockets too.
May 21, 2006
Public Insight Journalism
Michael Skoler from Minnesota Public Radio offers this label for what they are doing to embrace the expertise of their listeners: They know more than we do. Here's a snippet of his argument:
Our approach to citizen journalism is different from other news organizations. We are not turning over editorial control to our listeners and web readers in a separate section labeled citizens speak. Rather, we are embracing people in our audience and the public at large as smart, connected, engaged partners who often know more than we do. We bring their knowledge into the newsroom and into our daily reporting. In many ways, this is a more radical shift than simply handing the pen or the microphone to nonreporters...It's very easy to become "either/or" in looking at the future of mainstream media, as if blogs and journalism are either completely different or completely the same. Skoler charts an interesting course through this.
Public Insight Journalism has slowly won over most in our newsroom. First, because it regularly makes our coverage stronger. Second, because we are not abandoning the best of mainstream journalismour professional judgment, practices, ethics and standards of reportingbut are instead deepening our reporting and judgment through the power of a vast network of sources. At its best, PIJ solves problems we journalists regularly face
(Thanks to Rob Paterson for telling me about this. Disclosure: I've consulted to Rob on his work for National Public Radio)
The one percenters
Ben McConnell writes about The 1% Rule: Charting citizen participation, showing how a small, active minority of contributors take responsibility for most of the content of Wikipedia (and other community-based sites). This reminded me of James' post - Why Hells Angels Know Best, citing how Harley Davidson turned its business round by embracing, rather than scorning the "one percenters".
It's easy for organisations to stigmatise the one-percenters. Marketing types often sneer at fanatical customers for their lunacy in being more passionate about the organisations' product or service than the professionals are. Focus groups exercises tend to average out the views of a wide customer base rather than looking at the core enthusiasts. New business drives focus on acquisition of the new rather than enthusing with the existing customers.
Seems to me that this is a mindset worth reviewing.
(Thanks to Rob Paterson, whose emails prompted me to post this)
Improv to Performance
I'm joining a few friends in putting together a series of workshops leading on to a live Improv show. The workshops will be on Tuesday evenings in central London, starting on May 30th. Those going to the workshops will then put on a public performance on 4 July. The core of the group is made up of several of us who went through the same process a few weeks ago, which I reported here.
We need some new folks to join us so please let me know if you're interested. We're still working out the cost of the workshops but it will be minimal. This offers a great opportunity to improve your skills at improvising. Regular readers will know that I think that ability has applications way beyond performing to an audience - but having an audience does led an extra level of engagement to the learning process!
May 19, 2006
I had lunch yesterday with Flemming Madsen, who runs a successful business helping organisations figure out who is influential online. You tell Flemming what issues concern you, he'll try to figure out who the key influencers are. What he does is to add a layer of analysis above the standard tools which measure popularity. That's significant because authority is rather different from popularity. For some subjects, you might find BoingBoing has the most linked posts, but that doesn't mean their voice is the most influential. I'm going to take a test drive of Flemming's systems in a couple of weeks and I'll keep you posted.
May 18, 2006
Blogs and Social Media Forum
I spent yesteday at the Blogs and Social Media Forum. Turned out to be an interesting day. This was an event about blogging that had attracted a large audience of people from business who were clearly taking the whole thing seriously. Hmm, I thought to myself, this is different... less revolutionary, maybe blogging in the UK has crossed a threshold of credibility. Or as Ray Jordan of Johnson & Johnson put it, it's gone from Cult to Culture.
Ray's speech was funny and interesting, as he showed us what it's like to try to start a blog in a large corporate. J&J has created a system for sanctioning websites that is awesome in its complexity. Ray was refreshingly honest about the challenges he faces trying to introuduce even the most inoffensive blog to the corporate culture.
Lee Bryant from Headshift and Ruth Ward from Allen & Overy gave an impressive case study showing how they were using internal blogs with great success inside a law firm.
Lloyd Davis ran a mini-Open Space late morning, and I lent a hand. Lloyd managed to strip the Open Space process to its bare essentials as we only had about an hour for the whole thing. No time to run through all the principles, timetabling and what-have-you that you'd do for a full OS event. And it worked... remarkably well. Lots of good conversations, on subjects that cleary engaged the audience and would not otherwise have made it onto the agenda. Well done Lloyd.
(And I had a much better time than Suw Charman did at the Beeb's WeMedia shindig the other day...)
May 16, 2006
I've been busy lately (hence rather few posts). At the start of the month, I was over in the US helping Rob Paterson, facilitating an Open Space conference for NPR. It was great to meet Rob in the real world and find we could collaborate together so well from the get-go. This was another of those experiences that really underline the value - often less visible to the outside world - of being a long term blogger.
I was also able to scoot down to Richmond VA to meet Mark Brady, another long standing blogging friend. One of the things we talked about was a shared frustration with branding-as-usual. Mark is spending a lot of his time now on development, trying to create more vibrant communities within the city.
Back home, I've been doing more work for my friends at Policy Unplugged, using Open Space again for a large firm of business advisers. Yesterday we ran a half-day conference on the future of the Further Education Sector. Next Monday (with James) I'm part of the team running Web 2.0 for Good and later that week I'm running an Open Space for the BBC on the subject of user-generated content. Next month I'll be faciliating an experimental event called What's Right With These Young People, in conjunction with Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Foundation.
I suppose we've all had the experience of finding ourselves on the spot and having to make it all up. But I don't know if many of us will be able to match the story of the man mistakenly rushed into a BBC studio the other day. Mistaken for a computer expert in reception, the man was actually there for a job interview. Full marks to him for making it through the questioning, and for casting, well, a different light on the media we watch. Watch it on youtube.
May 14, 2006
The Fetish of Change - chewing it over
My post responding to Christopher Grey's polemic The Fetish of Change has provoked some great reflections by other bloggers. I really appreciate the way blogging allows us to chew over essays this way.
Mike Dewitt really enjoys Grey's thinking, though he questions Grey's conclusion that, "the implication of the issues I have outlined, ultimately, is that the whole business of change management should be given up on". Well, maybe we shouldn't give up completely, but I'd say we might want to notice the mechanistic assumptions that seem to pervade the way change is talked about.
Annette Clancy also resonates with Grey. I'm going to quote a great chunk of Annette's thoughts because I couldn't be more articulate if I tried.
I’d offer an additional perspective which is that (a) we are always resistant to change and (b) we are always changing. So many managers and leaders I work with are grappling with having to implement or deal with the fallout from change. They enter into the relationship feeling scared, utterly inadequate and hiding in their academic understanding of the “value” of change. I have moments when I genuinely think they’ve been brainwashed into believing that it should be simple and straightforward. Which of course it’s not. How could it be when we are grappling with that paradox?So let's question the assumptions of "change management" - and let's also keep challenging the assumptions of its separated-at-birth twin, branding. Because the language of brands often carries with it these dubious command-and-control notions that branding is somehow directed with authority by a few smart people at the top. (See my previous thoughts here and here.)
Ask anyone about the value of an academic approach to fitness, weight loss, saving for a rainy day and see how effective it is to talk at people about something they are willingly losing or giving up by not doing things the “new” way. It simply doesn’t work. Most of the time people are scared about what they are losing – sense of self, dignity, finance, position etc…our identity is completely challenged by change processes and yet…
We all change
- We recover from relationships that don’t work
- We learn to move on from the death of significant others
- We adapt to being in relationships with others where our sense of self has to evolve and accommodate difference
- We deal with our children leaving home
And somehow, at the end of it all we survive. Change processes that tap into what we already know about change, our capacity for both hating and managing together with our ability to survive and move on are the most meaningful change interventions I have seen work. I’m privileged to have been part of designing some of those processes also and like Johnnie I believe in the power of open spaces (using that technology and others) for genuine and meaningful connections between people. Safe places that address and manage power relationships are they only ways to effective real change in my humble opinion.
May 8, 2006
links for 2006-05-08
Reuters reports sceptically on this exercise in customer engagement. Found via Stephan Liute's newsletter.
The fetish of change
"In today's increasingly competitive business environment..." Do you sometimes find this piece of copy a bit wearisome? I know I do.
So, I suspect, does Tom Coates, judging by a piece he wrote recently about changes at the BBC: is the pace of change really such a shock?. It generated some interesting comments, including a link from Will Davies to The Fetish of Change by Chris Grey. Grey calls this a polemical critique of the current orthodoxy surrounding change, and I must say I found it a fascinating read. I don't know who Grey is but I assume he is an academic who has chosen to let loose a little; I get the feeling that he has really done his research but the piece is thankfully short of endless attributions to thousands of other academic treatises none of us will ever read.
I enjoy the way he makes explicit, and challenges, some assumptions built into the way many organisations talk about change. I went through it and pulled out a few morsels.
Change is a notion which is drawn upon in a largelyunthinking, but very significant, way so that it takes on an almost magical character. Change is like a totem before which we must prostrate ourselves and in the face of which we are powerless...He gives a number of compelling examples of how many people's lives were far more chaotic in the past than they are today. He continues:
In retrospect, the past seems more stable than the present because it is familiar to us, and because we experience the past in a sanitised and rationalised form. Yet, it is possible to point to any number of periods in the past when, for those alive, it must have seemed as if the world was changing in unprecedented and dramatic ways: the collapse of the Roman Empire; the colonisation of the Americas; the Renaissance; the Reformation; the Enlightenment; the Industrial Revolution; the World Wars.
In management and organisational thought,we look from, or through, a number of metaphors which have the effect of legitimating the fetish of change. Perhaps the most longstanding is the mechanistic metaphor of the organization as machine. This, as I will discuss later, licences a vision of the change manager as an engineer. But in terms of the justification of change, the more important metaphor is organismic... This stresses first the idea of the organisation as distinctfrom the environment, and second the necessity of adaptation of the former to the latter... In less abstract terms, this means that as an organisation changes, it contributes to the rationale for change in other organisations, which in turn provides a rationale for change in the original organisation... In short, I am suggesting that organisations collectively generate a 'treadmill' of change, which is then seen as a problematic environment to which an organisational response must be made..He hits top form when he points out the futility of many change processes:
The most striking thing about change management is that it almost always fails. Despite (or, who knows, because of) the reams of worthy academic treatises, the unending stream of self-congratulatory 'I did it my way' blather from pensioned-off executives and the veritable textual diarrhoea of self-serving guru handbooks, change remains a mystery. And I do not think that the answer is just around the corner: rather, change management rests upon the conceit that it is possible systematically to control social and organisational relations, a conceit shared by the social sciences in general (Maclntyre, 1981).Grey challenges the two common excuses for why change processes fail ("it wasn't implemented right" and "people are too resistant"). He suggests that these are fig leafs to cover deeper flaws in the assumption that what worked in one context can be easily mapped onto another. He also offers a sharp critique of the two common "solutions" to these supposed issues - leadership and consultation. Grey goes on to suggest
By and large people resist change because the change is damaging to them. And damaging not for psychological reasons of fear and uncertainty, but for quite straightforward reasons. I am not much given to economistic explanations but, in this case, they do offer a tempting alternative to psychologistic ones: most change management initiatives entail, at least for some, more work, less pay, or no job. If they did not, they would probably not be resisted.The way I put it is this: too often, conversations about change treat it as something done to other people at another time; as something that people must be talked into. The reason I enjoy working with processes like Improv and Open Space is that they support a much more emergent notion of change, one that gives participants more initiative. Open Space also works by letting people speak their own truth, providing some kind of sanity check against the kind of gobbledigook of change that Grey challenges here.