The 3C’s of Transformation

Hacking your way to Transformation – The 3C’s of transformation

Martec’s Law as defined by Scott Brinker states that “Technology changes exponentially; organizations change logarithmically.” Or put slightly differently, technology changes rapidly and seems to be constantly accelerating while changing how an organisation thinks and behaves is difficult and slow.

Why? Why is it that we can’t get organizational change to keep pace?

Simple. It has less to do with pace and everything to do with the grey matter that keeps your ears apart! More accurately, not so much the mind or the brain, but more specifically, the mindset – it’s those unseen processes or sets of predefined/pre-programmed/learnt responses to tasks or situations that are the problem.

Let’s face it, in an organizational context specifically, transformation or its close relative change are almost always driven by someone or something else and the most frequent reactions and responses are either hostility or ambivalence. Change, which, seems so immediate and unexpected often brings hostility to the table. Transformation, and the perception of a long drawn out process, brings the ambivalence and that thought that “if we just keep quiet and drag it out, it will eventually go away.”

When it comes to Transformation, there are only 2 mindsets (though they go under many names and guises); “fixed ideas” or “growth ideas” and successful transformation has 3 core ingredients. Collaboration, Commitment, and Creativity.

Mindsets, simply do not change overnight. Granted, no major discovery there, so the first step is awareness. Simple question. How many times today, or during last week did you catch yourself having “fixed ideas” as opposed to “growth ideas”?

Step two, create an environment conducive to the results you want to see – there really is no point in having a whole bunch of growth ideas and no fertile soil to plant them in. I would suggest you have yourself a “culture hackathon”. “A hackathon is any event of any duration where people come together to solve problems” (just in case you’re worried, hacking is creative problem solving and does not have to involve technology, computers, passwords, data and there is nothing illegal about it).

The thinking is simple: If it is true that it is the people who create and drive the culture (and therefore the inherent challenges that are symptomatic with it), then surely it stands to reason that we should also make finding the solution to the problem theirs too – put the thinking, where the thinking belongs.

Step three, set some rules for the hackathon

  1. Diversify the hackers – the problem was created as a result of a certain way of thinking, get a diverse group of people together who are both external and internal facing to get some fresh thinking and perspectives.
  2. Promote creativity. Make it a safe environment, consider going outside the normal working environment. Consider using a good facilitator who is able to bring some impartiality, get the conversation going and who can provide a system, process or framework for the hackathon.
  3. Pose a problem that has no simple solution, that no individual can solve or that requires collective input. A degree of complexity and something outside of the everyday, generates greater interest, purpose and accountability.
  4. Allow the hackathon to be a decision-making forum. Set some parameters up front if needs be, allocate a budget that requires no further approvals (or tell them there is no budget and see the creativity fly).
  5. IMPLEMENT the decisions and MEASURE them against real business indicators.
  6. Review and Repeat.

Whilst transformation can often seem like a long, daunting, resource intensive and complex process, breaking it down into small steps that deliver real results makes it that much more effective and easier to achieve.

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