Saturday, December 1, 2012

Transformation Can Start From Anywhere: Think Fractals

Its a common misconception that transformation can only be successful if it starts at the executive level of an enterprise. In reality, transformation can start anywhere. Transformation can be successful at the individual, team, division or the enterprise level. 

Transformation is like throwing a stone in a pond. You can throw the stone anywhere, but eventually the ripples will affect the whole pond. Obviously the size and placement of the stone will affect the speed of the ripples, but even a small stone in the corner of the pond will influence a wide area. We should never underestimate the potential of a stone!

An individual or a small team can be the catalyst for transformation at the enterprise level. As this unit (individual or enterprise) engages in healthier language, behavior, and relationships, the impact on performance and well-being will quickly be noticed. This improved health will be noticed by those touching these areas and the effects will permeate and replicate --- just like ripples in a pond!

A recent client engagement involved transforming an Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO) where after transforming only a few programs, a ripple pattern of greater health emerged and began to move across the organization.

Think Fractals

Urgency for renewal, budget, openness to change, and other factors will dictate the breadth of the initial transformation, but you can start just about anywhere. Transformation follows the rules and patterns of a fractal. Just like the fractals found in nature where the shape of a small twig and a giant redwood follow the same pattern, the pattern for transforming a small group or an entire enterprise are reasonably identical.  

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