People Innovation Excellence

Transforming Organizations Using Whole System Transformation


JWC – In an era where everything are changing swiftly, individuals and organizations are demanded to be able to adjust themselves with the alteration. Self and organization transformation are essential, something that need to be implemented to keep up with the pace with and avoiding the possibilities of being left behind by competitors. This urgency is echoed by Roland L. Sullivan, a master of world organization transformation during Knowledge Sharing event with the theme, “Why You and Your Organization Must Change Immediately”. This event was held on Tuesday (5/24) at Binus Campus JWC, Senayan.

“Transform yourself and your organization as soon as possible or you will be left behind and down-and-out,” said Roland during the session opening. In this session, Roland explained that this swift and unexpected changes are caused by technology and globalization. Unfortunately, it is hard to find people from management level who can understand, let alone prepare to adapt with this rapid transformation. Quoting a research from IBM, Roland said that organizations and companies should create an open and collaborative culture by encouraging their workers to connect and learn together. By doing this, they can survive amidst this rapid change. “We must have agents of change in an organization to accelerate during the current sustainable transformation. We need an organization which is steady enough and well prepared to face this kind of situation,” said Roland.

 According to Roland, there are four methods for organization to respond to these changes. In order to adapt, organizations can use human resources division, organizational development, change management, or Whole System Transformation. The last method is suggested by Roland to be used in transforming an organization as a whole. Roland emphasizes the upper hand of this method by comparing it to change management. He admits that change management is more popular among organizational transformation experts or HRD. However, change management only focuses on the work of low level individuals. These individuals only know how to solve problems and deemed as “additional”. This method often fails because of the workers’ resistance and implemented without a change of thought pattern. “Change management will only become one of the biggest cost within the organization,” said Roland.

As an alternative, Roland suggests Whole System Transformation (WST), an approach which is more systematic and comprehensive. WST has been used by many world organizations, including multinational companies such as Airbus and Boeing. WST is a proven method which can help companies leaders become stronger and undergo major overhaul within their companies. WST is also transferable through internal change agents who can boost and maintain the positive changes in the long run. WST is also supported by excellent academic basis, from research, theory, and social psychological practical from latest organization, whether in a minor or major scale.

 Further, Roland explained the advantages of WST. This method can break social barrier in organizations, build authentic relationship, and involving all members of the organization. WST integrates talent and leadership development, business and strategic planning, adapting the organization culture, change of blue print and continuous execution.

Roland adds that WST has five major impacts. First, WST can change the behavior and mindset of company executives. By involving all member of executives’ team, they can be honest with each other and create blue print of change to transform the whole organization.

Second, WST is more trustworthy as learning model for internal transformational change agent. By adapting WST, these agents will avoid the role of internal “police” (neutral, not affected by HR values), understand transformation and change, competent as facilitator, and become expert in managing relationship.

 Third is regarding the meeting design for transforming all workers. In implementing WST, there is big possibility for all the workers to gather or meet each other in one place to accept and discuss the changes initiated by the leaders of the company. As a result, the CEO need to create a special team to design this meeting. An important point of WST is that the purpose and result of this transformation is designed by the CEO and this team, which must represent the whole organization.

Fourth, WST can facilitate an interactive meeting between all staffs. In this context, the executives of the company should have “one head and one heart”, not only among themselves, but also with all members of the organization. “The most important thing in this moment is a commitment and real act to materialize these transformations in the future,” said Roland. This meeting is arranged by the team of change design which was assembled during earlier stage.

Fifth is concerning about how to build and maintain transformational ability in the future. Every year, organizations will go through a cycle of change and transformation. Hopefully, the organization can learn from past experience and reduce the role of external expert or consultant management of change in adapting with this cycle.

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