There’s no doubt that an organization, whether a bootstrapped startup or a Fortune 100, is filled with complexity. Your team is a complex, adaptive, and evolving system. Managing a team is not a linear, bounded, or overtly analytical activity. It takes patience, creativity and constant insight into the complexity thinking of your group.
Inspired by Switch: How to Change the World When Change is Hard and the metaphor of “Direct the rider, motivate the elephant and shape the path,” agile coach Deborah Preuss worked to create the organizational change management game Fearless Journey.
The rider on top of the elephant has no power to control the elephant. He needs to influence the elephant and move the elephant. You need to use influence to make organizational change.Deborah Preuss on the “Rider and Elephant” metaphor
The Fearless Journey game highlights your team’s hard-to-reach goal and how to bring about change even when you don’t have the power to do so.
- Start by having your team decide on a shared Goal. (Preuss says that “When everyone’s smiling, you know you’ve found a big enough goal!”)
- Players write cards with Obstacles outside their control and the Situations that stop them from reaching the Goal.
- Together your team designs Influence Strategies to resolve obstacles respectfully and boldly, applying Fearless Change cards with 48 Patterns of Influence.
- Don’t forget to get creative and add your own complexity twists!
How do you handle complexity thinking with your team?
Preuss says that most people yearn to bring about change but don’t feel like they have the permission, power, or even the organizational rules and structure to do so.
Fearless Change focuses on people asking: If all points of influence went away, what would be your dream goal? It gets them focusing on the real obstacles by getting them to say What If, which she says typically brings the shift at the gut level
“When we start talking about self-organization, we take away the tools that management has been told to use,” Preuss says. “How do we work then? We work at the human level.”
The formal organiational structure is always where resistance to change comes from. Fearless Change lets people leverage the informal work chart–how work really gets done. This game is perfect to inspire change agents.