Kategorie-Archiv: Allgemein

„…and they rowed with full power – in the wrong direction.“

Reading Heidegger’s second major work (Beiträge zur Philosophie – Vom Ereignis) is like climbing the last hundred yards of the Mount Everest: Every little step takes a decade and is quite challenging. But with each step, the view gets more and more amazing: The question of the relation of „beying“ and „change“ has never been asked! How can we dare to state that we understand anything about change management? We follow blindly some unreflected methodological techniques, we do „stakeholder interviews“, create „personas“, map the „change journey“, do some involvement workshops to decrease resistance – but on what basis? What is the red thread that guides us? How can we know that we have to go faster, when to slow down, when to be absolutely clear and when to compromise? How do these techniques help us define what is the „right“ thing to do?

The problem is that we try to solve the mystery of change with the same mindset that create the urgency of change in the first place. Coming from a „technical“ mindset, so Heidegger, we try to plan, calculate, manipulate and exploit everything. In change management we exploit psychology in order to get people to do and like what we want them to do or like. We are too blind and impatient to reach any kind of fundamental insight on the concept of change. We are in a state of „Seinsvergessenheit“ (oblivion of being) and try to bring „meaning“ and the good of change to our teams. We do not know what we are doing because we never think what is means „to be“.

Here, Heidegger’s fundamental ontology of being is a fruitful soil, starting with the question of the „meaning“ of being (see „Sein und Zeit“) and evolving over the years to the question of „truth“ of beying. The meaning of being is determined as a „care-structure“ (Sorge, Besorgen, Fürsorge, etc.) with the tyically German „Angst“ as a basic mood and directed towards its final completion: Death. Wow. Truly existentialist timbre, but indeed pointing to a common experience of being driven by fear and underlying worry – so we „manage“ and try to control things, work and hustle. In his later work Heidegger’s formulation of his core question changes to the „truth“ of beying. This is a new aspect. Heidegger uses the term „bergen“ (discovering) of truth which is related liguistically to „Geborgenheit“ (shelteredness) in context with truth. Very interesting. So – how can truth help us feel safe and sheltered in change?

First of all, we need to differentiate the traditional definition of truth from Heidegger’s understanding: Truth is not seen any longer as a judgement of conformity of e.g. a statement and „reality“ but as a process of discovering, removing layers of a phenomenon to enable to show itself from itself. So, truth can never be dogmatic but is a task of being „on its way“, in process of discovery of something hidden, which is already there and very close to oneself. So close that it is hard to recognize it!

Truth is a matter of our core essence, our „Wesen“: In our everyday being this essence may be veiled, but still referring to the truth since being covered up bears in it the possibility of disclosure, a future projection of ourselves, an option waiting to be understood and realized. Truth means to find home to oneself. We may live a life based on concepts and focused on outer things (Seiendes) with which we deal day in and day out. This is what Heidegger calls living „uneigentlich“ (inauthentic). But in some moments, this crust of everydayness gets thinner; and in crisis (or though contemplative, thorough thinking), it might even break. Trough these cracks the light of our true self shines trough, calling us to wake up. These moments are the „Lichtung“ (opening, glade). Heidegger describes the experience of sitting still in solitude, joyfully present at the“bonfire of beying“. In my research, these awakening moments had enormous firepower: They kicked off turbulences and resulted in a major life shifts. In the end of one case, a peaceful, integrated state of being was reached. This person is now able to manage organizational change smoothly from an inner balanced position of an authentic self.

Truth has great potential to set the ground for any change that shall be sustainable in the end. On a false presumptions, all change efforts are in vain. It is like a ship going „full steam ahead“ – and after weeks and years wondering why they never arrive at their destination, tired, frustrated, accusing each other.

Starting this journey of discovering and understanding the inner truth of ourselves, our teams and organizations seems to be an ultimate ride and at the same time providing us with stability and orientation. My hypothesis: There is no real change without „real-ness“ of what is already there, but only covered up. Being truthful is the openness for what is hidden. What an exciting, challenging adventure, with no need to row all the time, but mindful awareness to set the sails in the right direction…

Stay bold and enjoy the ride!

9. „Self-Lessness“ and the Loss of Self

„Serving the Company“ – A leadership mode and it’s side effects

Loyal „Serving the Company“ appears as one deeply rooted phenomenon with the managers I interviewed. All of them quite successfully managed major, ongoing challenging change. I first found the servant leadership mode with women and thought „hey, maybe this is a gender issue“. They worked „like a bull“, trying to make change work, to support the system, to make the impossible happen. And they succeeded! The company flourished, the re-organization settled back to normal…. but they were worn out. They were in this mode where only the outer shell was acting, like a well-trained dog, robotic, reactive; they were still professional but the spark was gone. Doubts about the purpose arose, questions about the future came up, a somewhat restless exhaustion increased … On the way through the change they lost themselves through their selfless service.

Today, I was shown that this „Self-Lessness“ might also be an issue for men: Within the busy-ness of the daily busi-ness (finishing the next milestone, solving the next problem, maneuvering, positioning, negotiating) something gets lost on the way. This „something“ seems not retrievable by our little handy compensation strategies: „Oh, I just need a week off; oh, when I get upset, I listen to loud music, go running, then I feel better; oh, I don’t sleep well lateley, that’s why I don’t really feel like myself lately“.

Analyzing my current interview, going through all the codes, re-arranging them to find out what kind of story they are trying to tell me, it gets clearer: The high commitment to the job, the professionalism and dedication to make it work – all of these great and important attitudes and skills! – silently lead to a Loss of Self. The „heart“ starts to send more and more signals – until the person cannot go on even ONE MORE DAY. A cut. Not negotiable. Not controllable.

The Loss of Self appears as a loss of connection to one’s very own emotions, one’s purpose, one’s sense of identity. Everything drowns in a blur: People can hardly describe the situation, words are missing, a confusion what one did, why and what to do next in one’s life arises. Since the outer persona is still functioning no one really notices – not even the person himself! A good Potemkin-Show, a „Potemkin-success“. Then, suddenly, almost out of nothing a mysterious „IT“ (like an inner „ET“, an extra-terrestrial, unknown entity living within us) suddenly breaks up the facade, takes control and decides finally to stop us. This is what I call the „awakening“. It is an awakening to reality, realizing our deep confusion we are stuck in.

After this experience, the brain starts to try to understand it, regain some sense of control and arrange with this new „me“: What happened? Why do I react that way?“ And later: „When did it start that I disregarded what truly fulfilled me? When did it start when I compromised important values?“ And even more later: „What drives me that I risk to lose myself in the outer world and its demands? Where do I have to be careful in the future in order not to tap into the same mistake again?“ and so on. Meaning making stories have to be re-created in order to connect our past and future in a somewhat coherent identity. This is a very individual and unique path.

As a researcher, I am interested in the more general possibility of dealing with the problem of Self-Lessness in Change Leadership: Is there a way to live the beauty of non-egoic selfless serving change leadership and not feel like a hollow shell afterwards?

I am truly fascinated how managing change is deeply interconnected with managing ourselves. What might the research project bring up next? The discovery journey will continue…



8. Neue Geborgenheit im Wandel

Neue Geborgenheit im Wandel 


„We’re not getting out by Christmas; deal with it!”(ehem. Kriegsgefangener Admiral Stockdale im Interview mit Jim Collins; Collins 2001, S. 85)


Es ist Weihnachten. Familienzeit. Es ist friedlich, hier in meinem kleinen Haus. Meine Gedanken verweilen bei meiner verstorbenen Oma, unserer eisernen Lady. Sie wäre kurz vor Weihnachten 100 Jahre alt geworden.

Meine Oma, von einzigartigem Sarkasmus, Karten zockend, rauchend, unverwüstlich. Mit 80 Jahren fuhr sie in ihrem roten Mazda noch mit 160 km/h auf der Autobahn, manchmal auch auf den Gefühlen ihrer Mitmenschen herum, hart und herrisch. Im Jahr 1919 geboren hat sie die Auswirkungen des Ersten Weltkriegs sowie den Zweiten hautnah miterlebt. Viele Geschichten ranken sich um das Erlebte, eine dunkle Zeit. Ihr Mann sei bei der SS gewesen, später im Gefängnis, so munkelt man. Auf der Flucht vor „den Russen“ war ihre erstgeborene Tochter umgekommen. Erstickt vom Kissen, das ihr Husten dämpfen sollte – so munkelt man. Aus Hunger wurden Kartoffeln vom Feld stibitzt, Baguettes des Bäckers aus seinem Fahrradkorb entwendet, die Sahne auf der Milch in den Kannen abgeschöpft – so munkelt man. Sie brachte ihre Kinder durch. Mit eisernem Willen. Doch das Gefühl einer unsicheren Welt, ein Flüchtling ohne Heimat zu sein, blieb – bis in die nächsten Generationen. Die Angst saß tief.

Die Herausforderung des Wandels

An einem Punkt im Leben erfahren die meisten Menschen einen tragischen Verlust: Den Verlust einer vertrauensvollen, kindlichen Sicherheit. In Lebenskrisen, aber auch kleineren Ohnmachtserlebnissen, machen wir die Erfahrung unserer Verletzlichkeit angesichts einer unberechenbaren Welt. Es gibt keinen absoluten Halt, kein absolutes Vertrauen – in Bezug aufs Leben und andere Menschen. Diese Ent-Täuschung geht oft mit einem Verlust eines grundlegenden „Seins-Vertrauen“ einher. Genau dieser Verlust macht Veränderungen schwierig und ist der eigentliche Kern des Widerstands.

Dieses Phänomen können wir genauso bei Veränderungen in Organisationen und Unternehmen beobachten. Insbesondere wenn es um identitätsbedrohende, schwer „verordnungsfähige“ Veränderungen geht, wie z.B. die Entwicklung einer neuen Kultur im Rahmen eines Mergers oder der Versuch einer visionären Neuausrichtung, erklärt dieser Vertrauensverlust den Widerstand viel besser, als es rationale Erwägungen es könnten.

Neue Geborgenheit als Antwort

Der Begriff der Geborgenheit ist ein einzigartiges deutsches Wort, das im Englischen kein Äquivalent hat. 2004 wurde es zum zweitschönsten Wort der deutschen Sprache gekürt – nicht ohne Grund meiner Meinung nach.

Inmitten der Auflösung von Familienstrukturen, einem Verschwinden der Religion als Orientierung, munterer Pluralität von Werten und Lebensentwürfen, gibt es eine Sehnsucht nach Heimat, Sicherheit und Verlässlichkeit, Ordnung und Vertrautheit.

Die Entwicklung einer Neuen Geborgenheit als grundlegendes Lebensgefühl kann aus einer existentiellen Vereinsamung und Unsicherheit hin zu einer Verbundenheit und neuen Klarheit führen. Das „Neue“ dieser Geborgenheit besteht nicht darin, die kindliche, naive Sicherheit wiederzuerlangen, mit Positiver Psychologie die Schattenseiten zu verdrängen, sondern die Unsicherheit auf höhere Ebene zu überbrücken und integrieren. Jim Collins entdeckte diese Qualität in einem Interview mit dem ehemals kriegsgefangenen Admiral Stockdale und bringt sie auf den Punkt:

„Face the brutal reality – but never ever lose faith.“ (zitiert n. Collins 2001, S. 83-87)

Neue Geborgenheit bedeutet, die Realität in all ihrer Schärfe bewusst anzuerkennen und trotzdem niemals das Vertrauen zu verlieren, dass es gut werden wird.

Die Bedeutung von zwischenmenschlichem Vertrauen

In meiner Forschung geht es darum, dieses Phänomen tiefer zu verstehen und die Schritte zu identifizieren, die wir gehen können, um diese Art der Neuen Geborgenheit entwickeln zu können. Von Bedeutung zeigt sich immer wieder das zwischenmenschliche Vertrauen gerade in Veränderungssituationen.

Veränderung bedeutet immer, in „den Nebel“ der Unsicherheit zu gehen, da keiner von uns die Zukunft vorhersagen kann. Als Führungskraft oder Change Manager bedeutet dies, Menschen dazu zu bewegen, einem zu folgen – in diese Unsicherheit des Nebels hinein. Es gibt keine Gewissheit und keine Garantie, dass es gut wird.

Was bewegt jedoch Menschen, anderen zu folgen? Ein unsichtbares Band: Vertrauen. Vertrauen in unsere Kompetenz, Vertrauen in einander im Sinne eines Wohlwollens, einer Fürsorge, dass keiner zurückgelassen wird, dass möglichst viele gewinnen.

Es muss „Sinn“ machen!

Neben einem oft geringem Vertrauen zwischen verschiedenen Parteien, begegnen mir in der Praxis oft erhebliche inhaltliche Begründungsschwierigkeiten von Veränderungen. Jedes Veränderungsvorhaben muss sich einer Prüfung durch die Sinnfrage unterziehen, früher oder später werden Fragen laut: Warum eigentlich? Und warum jetzt? Wozu? Wem nutzt es überhaupt? Und wiegt der Nutzen, der als Licht am Ende eines langen Tunnels winkt, den beschwerlichen Weg auf? Mitarbeitende machen mitunter die Erfahrung, dass aus einer fixen Idee des Chefs eine elende, komplexe Dauerkrise wird.

Diese Skepsis ist berechtigt, umso mehr benötigen wir eine Geschichte, die dem Ganzen einen tieferen Sinngibt, der die Hindernisse, die Zweifel, die viele zusätzliche Arbeit rechtfertigt. Einen „Lohn“, aus dem für mehr als eine Gruppe Gutes erwachsen kann. Im Sinn-Erkennen werden mutige, klare Entscheidungen möglich, Herausforderungen werden angepackt, Lösung tauchen beinahe magisch auf. Dies gilt gleichermaßen für unternehmerische und persönliche Veränderungen: Die Energie ist nicht mehr im Widerstand und in der Ohnmacht gebunden, sondern frei für aktives Problemlösen und Gestalten: Admiral Stockdale fing an, ein Kommunikationssystem für die Gefangenen zu etablieren, um die Isolation zu mildern. Meine Oma klaute die Sahne von den Milchkannen… Und irgendwann, mit ein bisschen Glück, erkennen wir im Schweren der Veränderung das Gute.


 „Freiheit und Schicksal empfangen einander zum Sinn; und im Sinn schaut das Schicksal, die eben noch so strengen Augen voller Licht, wie die Gnade selber drein.“

(Martin Buber, 1983, S. 51)


Buber, M. (1983): Ich und Du. Reclam: Gütersloh

Bollnow, O.-F. (1955): Neue Geborgenheit. Das Problem einer Überwindung des Existentialismus. Kohlhammer: Stuttgart

Collins, J. (2001): Good to great. Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. HarperCollins: New York

7. Der Agilitäts-Hype und seine Irrtümer

Der Agilitäts-Hype und seine Irrtümer

Agilität wird seit einiger Zeit als DIE Lösung für jegliche Entwicklungs- und Anpassungsprobleme von Unternehmen an wirtschaftliche Herausforderungen gehyped. Globalisierung und Digitalisierung werden als Treiber gesehen, ebenso wie eine steigende Erwartungshaltung von Kunden hinsichtlich Reaktionsgeschwindigkeit und individueller Lösungen.

Doch was heißt denn eigentlich „agil“? Und wann ist es wirklich das Heilmittel für die vielfältigen Geschäftsherausforderungen?


Agilität in Organisationen  – Theorie und Praxis

Agilität beinhaltet die Fähigkeit, sich schnell und flexibel auf neue Situationen einstellen zu können, d.h. anpassungsfähig zu sein.

Im Agilen Manifest wird dieses konkretisiert:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Agilität zu leben, bedeutet zum einen das System mit seinen Interaktionen und Wechselwirkungen zu verstehen, klare Ergebnisorientierung mit Fokus auf den Kunden zu realisieren und einen Prozess des organisationalen Lernens statt ständiger Dokumentation und Absicherung zu etablieren. Alles nicht neu, aber wunderbar zusammengefasst.

In der Praxis werden diese Prinzipien jedoch mit der Einführung hoch komplexer Organisations- und Führungsformen (wie z.B. Schwarmorganisation) und neuen Projektmanagement Methoden (z.B. SCRUM) gleichgesetzt, die oft eine Überforderung der Führungskräfte und Teammitglieder darstellen.

Eine Umstellung auf eine agile Organisation, Zusammenarbeit und Methoden ist dann sinnvoll, wenn sie Probleme löst, anstatt neue zu schaffen. Komplexität soll gemanaged und nicht erhöht werden, oder?


Irrtum 1: Agiles Management ist in jedem Marktumfeld erforderlich

Wir leben in einer VUCA-Welt, so die Behauptung – aber sind alle Märkte hoch volatil, komplex, unsicher und ambigue? Wenn ich mittelständische Unternehmen berate, stelle ich oft fest, dass viele der Krisen nicht durch äußere Anforderungen entstehen, sondern durch einen selbstverschuldeten Mangel an klaren Zielen, Planung, Organisation und regelmäßigem Soll-Ist-Abgleich.

Agilität wird dann zum Erfolgsfaktor, wenn wir wenig Ahnung haben, in was für einem Feld wir uns bewegen und dieses sich ständig unvorhergesehen ändert. Agile Organisationsformen und Methoden können hier beim Innovieren in instabilen, komplexen Märkten helfen. In stabilen Systemen brauchen wir sie nicht:

(nach Kruse, 2005)

Es geht demnach nicht darum, mit aller Macht „agil“ zu werden, sondern darum, den richtigen Hebel zu finden, um die Organisation Schritt für Schritt erfolgreicher zu machen.

Irrtum 2: Agil = Chaotisch!

Das, was Mitarbeiter mit „agil“ verbinden, scheint oft das Chaos zu sein: Beliebiges Umschmeißen von Prioritäten erhält mit dem agilen Label eine neue Legitimation.

Wer sich jedoch z.B. mit der SCRUM Projektmanagement Methode beschäftigt, der stellt fest, dass es knallhart definierte Prinzipien, Rollen, Werte und Ablaufsystematiken gibt: Ein Daily Scrum Meeting dauert genau 15 min, alle Product Backlog Änderungen laufen über den Product Owner, während eines Sprints gibt es keine Änderungen am Ziel, etc..

Klare Regeln, Disziplin, Strukturvorgaben und definierte Rollen geben Orientierung und ermöglichen so erst die inhaltliche Ausrichtung auf den Kunden!

Irrtum 3: Organisationsumstellung auf agile Strukturen und Methoden schaffen den Turnaround

Hier kann ich nur warnen: Stichtagsbezogene Umstrukturierungen auf Squads, Tribes, etc. sind tiefe Eingriffe in die bisherige Funktionsweise des Unternehmens.

Eine umfassende Organisationsänderung zerstört meist alle bisherigen Orientierungsstrukturen und senkt schlagartig die Leistungsfähigkeit.

Bevor ich umstelle, braucht es ein agiles Mindset und die entsprechenden Kompetenzen. Um diese zu entwickeln, hilft ein Step-By-Step Erleben-Lassen (und Glauben-Lernen), dass es funktioniert und wie es funktioniert.

Hier ist Change Management gefragt, das über eine gute Vermarktung hinausgeht. Es muss systemisch Sinn machen und die Entwicklungsdynamiken der Menschen einbeziehen.



Die Grundprinzipien der Agilität helfen, Unternehmen anpassungsfähiger im Wandel in der VUCA-Welt zu machen – die teilweise gehypten organisatorischen und methodischen Formate sind jedoch nicht die Lösung per sé, sondern müssen intelligent und individuell für jede Organisation entwickelt werden.

Bleibt tapfer und genießt das Abenteuer!



Kruse, P. (2005): Next practice. Erfolgreiches Management von Instabilität. Veränderung durch Vernetzung. Offenbach

Beck, K. et al. (2001): Manifesto for Agile Software Development.  URL: https://agilemanifesto.org/iso/de/manifesto.html  15.08.2019


Diesen Artikel zitieren:

Popp, Y,L. (2019): Der Agilitäts-Hype und seine Irrtümer. Publication Series: Concepts of Agility.URL: http://ylp-consult.de/home-en/research-project/blog/


Download: Serie_Concepts of Agility_Agile Irrtümer


6. Conscious through Crisis

Conscious through Crisis

“I hate change and crisis. They block my normal flow of life as it should be. Like a rock. I try to move it, overcome it, manipulate it, work around it with trial and error tactic, feel more and more exhausted and insecure. Even if I run from it, I still know: It is still lying there, with sharp edges, waiting… not dissolved yet!”

(Author’s diary, December 2016)

As I am analyzing my second in-depth interview of my dissertation the themes that emerge are so rich, I need to pick out one of them for now:

The idea that crisis can be endlessly beneficial to our personal development – although we hate being in it!

In both of my interviews, my interviewees‘ biographical stories show impressively how they personally grew in awareness through personal crisis and change. Before their crisis, they followed their natural flow and mechanisms that were unconsciously coined in their childhood (e.g. a strong adaption habit to external demands and the „decent way“, or trying to fill an inner void of appreciation through performance).

In one case, the participant broke down due to an overwhelming life and job situation, additionally, the marriage broke, too. He really had to dig deep into his existential core in order to find some sense and discover the root cause – supported by therapy. In the other case, the participant finally decided to give up his job position and stepped back due to the pressure of responsibility.

In the transition period they had quite a hard time. They suffered, cried their eyes out and really depended on their family, stressed their spouses, friends, even their bosses to help them with orientation, finding their way. Should they stay or leave? How can this go on? What can I do? What other options are there?  

How can this be good?

The goodness shows in the current life feeling: Both were now living balanced and impactful lives according to their values and goals. They displayed a self-rootedness and one-ness, what I call the „authentic self“. Both had made peace with the painful past, they could make sense of it and learned important lessons. In one case, this meant to stand up for oneself and negotiating one’s interests courageously and consequently. In the other case, it meant to manage a challenging transformational change process with great political positioning and networking tactics and achieving first wins.

How do we transform crisis into a success?

Apparently, the reflection and awareness of one’s motives and personality structure are one of the most significant development enhancers. Comparing the two cases, the crisis of one was deeper and more existential. The degree of consciousness by time of the interview appears higher – as a researcher in the mode of „suspicion“ I couldn’t find any hidden orienting structures in the narration that weren’t in line with the participant’s self-concept.

In the other case, there was an increase of consciousness as well, but more like: „Ok, I know now what I want and next time I would do this and this“ – not so much concerning the own personality and contribution of own motives and blind spots to the crisis (like a rather unquestioned fulfillment drive, high external reference, and beliefs like „I have to be competent in order to be heard“, etc.). These partly denied aspects of the own personality can all be traced back in childhood and youth experiences.

Consciousness as the way to freedom

My hypothesis for now is, that the more we identify, understand and make peace with our unique inner structure, beliefs, neediness, motives, etc., the more freedom we gain to live our full potential and find creative, lasting solutions for any problems that occur to us in life.

Consciousness works like a light beam that illuminates the landscape: The traps we should avoid for our sake and the paths we might choose safely. It increases our potential to respond authentically and with agility to change and crisis.

Stay bold and conscious,

Enjoy the ride.

Yamilet Lucia Popp

Download: Serie_Concepts of Change_Conscious through Crisis

5. „Anti-Fragility“ in Change.

„Anti-Fragility“ in Change

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could not only survive each crisis but would get even better and better? Sure. The only problem is the fragility of our systems in combination with the „family“ of disorder: Uncertainty, volatility, the unknown, variability (see Taleb, 2012: 13).

Thus, Change Management practitioners and consultants always try to gain control throughout a change process. A merger, a major downsizing or restructuring project, an introduction of new working methods… they all cause stress and are not quite foreseeable in its failure and success. Horror for us planning and control freaks! We (and I include myself) develop theories, models, and „tools“ in order to predict the future and being able to determine the „right“ kind of actions in order to cause the desired effect.

Reading the book of Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Anti-fragile – Things that gain from disorder (2012) I had to smile from his what Matthias Horx (german future researcher) calls a „rap“ of ideas. He seems to be making fun of modern society trying to build robust systems by optimizing our efficiency, centralizing, conducting directed research, growing large and larger, analyzing risks with statistical methods, establishing „rules“, thinking „true and false“, and hating mistakes because if they happen in these fragile systems they cause immense damage.

The philosophical adventure of „anti-fragility“ (meaning getting better through disorder) – makes a point and changes the perspective of what change management can or should be. Change managers should be agents for anti-fragility in their organizations!

The question is: HOW?

Do a stakeholder analysis and set up a project plan? Define a communication strategy, target groups and messages? Definitely. But we already have tons of methods and advice. The question of the action-oriented „how-to-change“ is falling short again of substantial effectiveness by reducing change management to methods and tools. So again: Why does change still fail? In my experience, there are a lot of organizational principles in order to foster agility and learning and build an anti-fragile organization. But there is one key obstacle it starts with: Our way of perceiving, thinking and believing and our habit NOT TO QUESTION it in order to gain some sense of security and control.

The „Change of change“ problem. 

Let’s think about the last change process we experienced: Wasn’t there is a concrete goal to be achieved at the end of the change procress, e.g. to integrate an akquisition,  reduce cost and use synergies? Wasn’t there a plan? Communication? Participation? Sure. Because goals and plans, communication and participation are important, so we learned. And while we struggle with stubborn employees who just don’t get it, we don’t realize that we are creating a fragile and very vulnerable system – a story of „right“ or „wrong“, a one-way-street with no exit except the total failure. This „tunnel-vision“ of our change processes causes unflexibility, holding on to a fix idea (let us just take a moment and keep a minute’s silence thinking of big announced mergers that failed so greatly)… It means losing surround sight by not questioning the change itself as we gradually learn about it. What is participation for when we don’t want to hear that we are on the wrong track? What are steering committees for when they don’t stop losses because they can’t admit a failure? Learning and acing upon learning is king.

We need to re-think our own view of change, our striving for control and start constantly questioning change and its goals and ways itself. Only in this way we are able to apply tools and methods sanely and support the development of an „anti-fragile“ organization. The constant „change of change“ itself is key for smart and successful adaption.

And because there are no definite truths, I invite you to adapt these hypotheses creatively!

Stay bold and enjoy the ride!

Yours sincerely,

Yamilet Lucia

„Anti-Fragility“ in Change

4. Research Progress: Analysis of first interviews

I got started with my interview analysis!

I carefully defined my core methodological steps for data analysis and created an excel tool (nvivo or other software didn’t match my intentions of working iteratively, being able to track my steps) to track my analysis. I began by reading the interview again, went on with initial noting of whatever comes to mind, paraphrasing (staying decriptive, no interpretation yet!) and finally coding. Then re-coding, formulating themes, grouping them to superordinate themes, re-working them again, going back to the original text (to check if it is „grounded enough – or if I just am seeing what I want to see…).The hermeneutical circle (checking how one part relates to the whole and vice versa) felt like a hamster wheel – endlessly time consuming.

One challenge in comparison to e.g. the Content Analysis of P. Mayring is my approach to leave out any prior categories and let the themes emerge from the text themselves. That was hard – and will be even harder when it comes to comparison of my different cases – no common structure! But still, the outcome is really impressive – a coherent story („themes“) around being „Fr-agile“ as a life motto and strong evidence how life mirrors our personal degree of development.

The problem now: I crafted a beautiful narration on my first case – 35 pages for one interview of around 30 pages… BUT: Who is going to read this? I must admit: I got „sucked“ into the single case and now, the challenge will be to reduce it and focus on answering my research questions – and leave all the wonderful extra work behind…

Current reading tip: „Antifragile- Things that gain from disorder“ by Nassim N. Taleb

3. Challenge of Change: „Walking into fog“

I am currently studying the interview of an agile coach about his transformation work in a small company.

„Walking into fog“ stands for one of the core challenges of the change process here. The „fog“ depicts the fact that we just don’t know what will come in the future, how it will impact me and my life.  Interestingly, for many people this possible future is negative (not for all – I will post another finding what makes the difference), so they feel insecure and this can lead into inertia, passiveness and resistance.

The leadership challenge here is quite a big one: It is the invitation for people to „walk into fog“ when he or she doesn’t even know what will come of it. From the case analysed, this invitation is not about incentives and money to keep people motivated. It is about psychological re-contracting, at stake is the emotional agreement or better: the commitment of each one to follow through and be open to experiment.

In my experience, this process of emotional re-contracting starts at the top: The management team. When facing hard times, are they acting as a team, pulling together or are they fighting and protecting their domains?

Change managers have to deal not only with their own insecurity and overcome it but also need to be close to the people, accompany, listen and convince. In my case study, an agile approach with regular time boxes for process reflection with a peer coach supports to deal with this challenge.

2. Impressions from interviews

I have never expected how open people are when they hear that I am interested in their experience with organizational change! They want to tell their story (mostly at least). Women seem to focus more on private change, men more on professional.

Asking them more concretely, it becomes apparent that most of them experienced change negatively. Some even chose to leave the organization. Is it just the effect that people who experienced change more negatively are more willing to share their thoughts and suffering than those who experienced it positively – or is it a connotation of change itself? Is change even if successful in business terms still mainly associated with negative emotions?

Anyhow, I still need four interviewees: If you are a change manager responsible for major change processes or projects and willing to share also your personal biographical story please contact me!

1. Welcome to my research blog!

My goal: Sharing thoughts, concepts and progress of research along Change Management

Hi everybody out there and welcome to my blog. Here are two questions that might want to be answered: 1. Why am I doing this here? 2. Why should you read this?

# 1: Why am I doing this?

First, I must admit that publicly and uncensored writing about my research progress and   failures is quite a big challenge for me. Why? Meet me a few years ago: A perfectionist, always having everything under control.

What changed my thinking was nothing less than life – especially personal failures that proved that control is a relatively limited concept – and starting to read philosophical literature. Phenomenology hit me, proclaiming the need for bracketing assumptions, suspending your concepts in favor of the „thing itself“, asking open-hearted questions (and truly daring to know the answers)…

So, I try to document not only my own work’s becoming but also argue for a  democratic   science concept that is accessible and transparent in this process of gaining knowledge – knowing that this creates a vulnerability to critique. But this is a democratic process, monitored by me, trying to re-search what has been lost of overseen. I would like to experiment with it: Asking questions, discussing them and growing into the answers.

#2: Why should you read this?

Second, why the heck should you read this? Ok. YOU SHOULDN’T! Who am I to tell you what to do? I am just inviting to share with me some thoughts and the fascination of development of a major piece of work around one core human topic that is currenly extremely relevant in all aspects of life: Change. In politics and world economy, organizations and our own lives – who can evade change? So you may ask yourself: How do I deal with it? What creates pain and what doesn’t?

As Kurt Lewin taught us with his first model of unfreezing, changing and re-freezing active involvement of stakeholders is key to success – I would like anybody to engage in this research project by commenting and giving feedback.

Thank you!