Collaboration brings with it change and complexity and uncertainty. How are we going to do this? What will happen next? Why should we work like that?… are some of the questions that mark the beginning of a collaborative project. It’s all a state of mind! A matter of perspective.
I’m Chandni and I’m new at Anecdote. My first blog is about my experience in managing collaboration and change and an interesting technique – a 10-second test!
To pursue my passion for knowledge, narratives, complexity, people, culture, and change, I’ve flown all the way from UK (where I did my MBA) via Mumbai (India, where I am originally from) to Canberra. My journey at Anecdote started on October 22 and I’m having a great time doing what I really love.
In my previous roles (as Chief Knowledge Developer and Head of the Knowledge Initiative at an ITeS company), I always thought that bringing about change in the culture was a simple thing. Our workforce was young and spirited and we were innovative and had an open working environment…what could be difficult about that?
Well, I was obviously very wrong and spent a few years figuring out why some people share what they know quite easily, some literally ‘find’ obstacles and put them in the way or some simply don’t want to be disturbed. So I divorced the explicit aspect and started exploring the social aspects of knowledge-sharing behavior, and in talking to people I discovered that narratives have a unique power that often remains untapped. Aligning the right technique to the right situation, that’s where the trick lies. I’m guilty of missing target too!
Let’s change that.
At Anecdote, we continuously seek and design techniques to deal with the complexity within organizations by understanding the ‘story behind the story’. What stories are people saying about an event or experience in their workplace?
Now, (this is my MBA talking) a lot has been said about how denial is the first stage in change management. And collaboration initiatives are a big change for people sometimes. BUT the more important aspect is that there are reasons and stories that form this denial in people’s minds.
Here’s an interesting technique I stumbled upon on Ken Thompson’s blog. He has some good collaboration techniques listed, but this one is a great insight. He calls it a 10 second test to assess people’s reaction to change.
How can you quickly find out what each team member’s number one concern is about working in this scenario?
Dr Lewis recommends you get each of them to repeat the following 5 words out loud without thinking about it too much:
“We can’t do that here”
Listen carefully to which of the five words they stress – if its:
We – they are worried about their Identity
Can’t – they are worried about their beliefs and values
Do – they are worried about their skills
That – they are worried about their behavior
Here – they are worried about the environment
It might then be useful to probe the domains the participants seem most concerned about using anecdote circles to collect stories about the concerns that in fact may be the cause of their resistance or concern.
When you try it out, let us know how it went for you. We’d be happy to hear your story ☺