You are previewing The Science of Successful Organizational Change: How Leaders Set Strategy, Change Behavior, and Create an Agile Culture.
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The Science of Successful Organizational Change: How Leaders Set Strategy, Change Behavior, and Create an Agile Culture

Book Description

Every leader understands the burning need for change–and every leader knows how risky it is, and how often it fails. To make organizational change work, you need to base it on science, not intuition. Despite hundreds of books on change, failure rates remain sky high. Are there deep flaws in the guidance change leaders are given? While eschewing the pat answers, linear models, and change recipes offered elsewhere, Paul Gibbons offers the first blueprint for change that fully reflects the newest advances in mindfulness, behavioral economics, the psychology of risk-taking, neuroscience, mindfulness, and complexity theory.

Change management, ostensibly the craft of making change happen, is rife with myth, pseudoscience, and flawed ideas from pop psychology.  In Gibbons’ view, change management should be “euthanized” and replaced with change agile businesses, with change leaders at every level.  To achieve that, business education and leadership training in organizations needs to become more accountable for real results, not just participant satisfaction (the “edutainment” culture). 

Twenty-first century change leaders need to focus less on project results, more on creating agile cultures and businesses full of staff who have “get to” rather than “have to” attitudes. To do that, change leaders will have to leave behind the old paradigm of “carrots and sticks,” both of which destroy engagement. 

“New analytics” offer more data-driven approaches to decision making, but present a host of people challenges—where petabyte information flows meet traditional decision-making structures. These approaches will have to be complemented with “leading with science”—that is, using evidence-based management to inform strategy and policy decisions.

In The Science of Successful Organizational Change, you'll learn:

  • How the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world affects the scale and pace of change in today’s businesses

  • How understanding of flaws in human decision-making can help leaders guide their teams toward wiser strategic decisions when the stakes are largest—including “when to trust your guy and when to trust a model” and “when all of us are smarter than one of us”

  • How new advances in neuroscience have altered best practices in influencing colleagues; negotiating with partners; engaging followers' hearts, minds, and behaviors; and managing resistance

  • How leading organizations are making use of the science of mindfulness to create agile learners and agile cultures

  • How new ideas from analytics, forecasting, and risk are humbling those who thought they knew the future–and how the human side of analytics and the psychology of risk are paradoxically more important in this technologically enabled world

  • What complexity theory means for decision-making in the context of your own business

  • How to create resilient and agile business cultures and anti-fragile, dynamic business structures

  • To link science with your "on-the-ground" reality, Gibbons tells “warts and all” stories from his twenty-plus years consulting to top teams and at the largest businesses in the world. You'll find case studies from well-known companies like IBM and Shell and CEO interviews from Nokia and Barclays Bank.

    Table of Contents

    1. About This eBook
    2. Title Page
    3. Copyright Page
    4. Praise for The Science of Successful Organizational Change
    5. Dedication Page
    6. Contents
    7. Acknowledgments
    8. About the Author
    9. Introduction
      1. How to Set 3 Million Dollars on Fire
      2. Reports in Drawers and Personal Change
      3. From the Laboratory to the Sweat Lodge
      4. Defenders of the Faith—How to Prove Something Works
      5. Spoiler Alert—The Whole Book in One Diagram
      6. The War Between Validity and Usefulness
      7. The Path Ahead: Change-Agility, Strategy, and Tactics
        1. Change-Agility
        2. Change Strategy
        3. Change Tactics
      8. How to Read This Book and Make It Useful
    10. 1. Failed Change: The Greatest Preventable Cost to Business?
      1. The Change Problem—How Bad Is It?
      2. Evidence on Change Failure Rates
      3. Does All Change Fail the Same?
      4. Does Failure Always Mean the Same Thing?
      5. Change Masters and Change-Agility
      6. Failed Metaphors—The Fantasy of the Static Organization
      7. The Change Problem as a People Problem
      8. Change Myths
      9. Everybody Is an Expert on People Issues—Or Are They?
      10. Putting the Change Manager Out of Work
      11. From Change Management to Change Leadership
      12. Change Leadership and the Human Sciences
      13. Conclusion
    11. Part I: Change-Agility
      1. The VUCA World and Change Strategy
      2. 2. From Change Fragility to Change-Agility
        1. The Systemic Change Model
        2. Agile People
          1. Growth Mindsets
          2. Learning Agility
        3. Agile Culture
          1. Culture Change Maxim—The Fish Rots from the Head
          2. Agility and Innovation
        4. Agile Structures—Beyond Hierarchy
          1. Project-Based Business
          2. Self-Managed Work Teams—Industrial Democracy
          3. Holacracy
        5. Agile Processes—Ideas, Execution, Learning
          1. Agile Idea Management
          2. Agile Execution
          3. Agile Learning Processes
        6. Conclusion
    12. Part II: Change Strategy
      1. Change Strategy
      2. Strategic Coherence
      3. How Change Strategy and Change Tactics Interact
      4. Consequences of the Strategy-Tactics Split
      5. Favor Continuous, Rather Than Discrete, Involvement
      6. Change Strategy—The Road Ahead
      7. 3. Governance and the Psychology of Risk
        1. Psychology of Risk—Knowing the Mind of God?
        2. Six Systematic Flaws in How Humans Think about Risk
        3. Planning Fallacy and Consulting Fictions
          1. Psychology of the Planning Fallacy
          2. Consulting Fictions
          3. Estimating Better
          4. The Deterministic Fallacy—Point Estimates
          5. Understanding Project Variance Using SOCKS
        4. Uncertainty—What to Do When Risks Are Unmeasurable
          1. Normal Distributions Do Not Help with Abnormal Events
          2. Managing Uncertainty—Pre-Mortems
          3. Risk Governance Is a People Problem, Not a Math Problem
        5. Managing Aggregate Change Risks
        6. Conclusion
      8. 4. Decision Making in Complex and Ambiguous Environments
        1. Complexity
          1. Inadequate Ways of Dealing with Complexity
        2. Two Tools for Solving Complex Problems
          1. How to Understand Cause and Effect in Complicated and Complex Systems
        3. Ambiguity and the Human Side of Analytics
          1. Twenty-First-Century Analytics—Big Data and Beyond
        4. The Human-Machine Interface—Where Data Becomes Wisdom
        5. The Human Side of Analytics
          1. Big Data and “Pilot Error”
        6. Conclusion
      9. 5. Cognitive Biases and Failed Strategies
        1. Cognitive Biases in Business
        2. Perception Biases
          1. Confidence without Competence
          2. Hubris: The Dark Side of the Bright Side (Optimism)
          3. Hubris and the Deepwater Horizon Trillion-Dollar Errors
          4. Green Light, STOP! The Halo Effect
          5. The Ostrich Effect
        3. Problem-Solving Biases
          1. The Availability and Confirmation Biases
          2. Getting Cause and Effect Wrong—The Narrative Fallacy
          3. Reports in Drawers and How “Passions” Drive Change
          4. Facts Do Not Drive Change; “Passions” and Values Do
        4. Solution-Selection Biases
          1. Trusting Guts, Trusting Models
          2. Weighing “Bias-for-Action” and the Quick Fix
          3. Reorganizations
          4. Copying the Herd, or Leading Like a Lemming
          5. Escalation of Commitment and the Sunk Cost Fallacy
          6. Confronting Escalation
        5. The Wisdom (or Madness) of Crowds
        6. Conclusion and Implications for Change Experts
    13. Part III: Change Tactics
      1. The Road Ahead
      2. 6. Misunderstanding Human Behavior
        1. How to Not Get Invited Back to Dinner Parties
        2. Folk Psychology
          1. Limitations of Folk Psychology
          2. From Folk Psychology to Folk Management
        3. Gurus and Pop Psychology
          1. From Pop Psychology to Pop Leadership
        4. Psychology: Science in Its Infancy
          1. Nineteenth-Century Psychology and Its Legacy
          2. Psychology Turns to Science in the Twentieth Century
        5. Psychological Myths
        6. Neuroscience
          1. Why I Am a Neuroskeptic
        7. The Century Where Brain, Mind, and Behavior Come Together?
        8. Conclusion
      3. 7. The Science of Changing Behaviors
        1. From the “Science of Mind” to the “Science of Behavior”
          1. Bad Behaviorism—Not So Good in Theory
          2. Bad Behaviorism—Both Ineffective and Coercive
          3. How Rewards Can Be Harmful and Punitive
        2. The Cognitive Backlash Throws the Behavioral Baby Out with the Behaviorist Bathwater
          1. The Limitations of Strictly Cognitive Approaches
        3. Neobehaviorism
        4. Behavioral Specificity—Checklists
        5. Safety Behaviors HSE—Environmental Behaviorism
        6. From Change Agent to Choice Architect
        7. Nudging in Society and Business
        8. The Mastery of Habit
          1. Creating Good Habits
          2. Breaking Bad
        9. Changing Behaviors through Training and Development
          1. If Business Is Practical, Why Is Business Education Mostly Theoretical?
          2. Getting Hard Results from Soft-Skills Education
        10. Getting More Behavioral Change and Greater Accountability from Soft-Skills Programs
        11. Conclusion
      4. 8. The Science of Changing Hearts and Minds
        1. The Craft of Changing Minds
        2. Resistance to Change
          1. Spotting Resistance to Change
          2. Managing Resistance
        3. From Change Management 101 to “Wicked Messes”
          1. The Core of Change Management 101—Participation and Involvement
          2. Wicked (Social) Messes
        4. Influencing with Facts
          1. When Facts Fail
          2. The Backfire Effect
          3. Using Facts Effectively
          4. Linking Influencing to Changing Behaviors
        5. The Mindful Leader
          1. Defining Mindfulness
          2. Anecdotal Benefits of Mindfulness Practices
          3. Science of Mindfulness Practices
          4. Where Can I Buy Some?
        6. Conclusion
      5. 9. Leading with Science
        1. Toward a Science-Based Craft
        2. Business versus Science: Two Examples
        3. What Is Science?
          1. The Demarcation between Science and Prescience
          2. How Is Business Like Aristotelian and Copernican Science?
        4. Antiscience and Pseudoscience
          1. The Financial Costs of Pseudoscience and Antiscience
          2. Saving Money by Stamping out Antiscience
        5. From Antiscience to a Scientific Mindset
        6. From Prescience to Evidence-Based Management (EBM)
          1. Types of Evidence
          2. Implementing Evidence-Based Management
          3. Not 1920’s Scientific Management, or 19th Century Positivism
        7. Leadership, Reason, and Science
        8. Leadership and Farsight
        9. Conclusion—Science-based Leadership and Human Flourishing
    14. Bibliography
    15. Index