A common issue in change management is treating adaptive challenges as technical problems.

While many technical problems may be highly complex, they have a known solution which can be implemented through expertise and resources within the company’s current structures and procedures. An adaptive challenge requires a solution that requires a change in peoples’ beliefs, habits and priorities, and often treads the path to most resistance.

Many companies and organisations certainly face technical issues, as the demand for engagement with customers through technology increases. The harder problems to clarify, though, and often accompanying technological changes, are the adaptive ones which need a different approach.

So, how adaptive is your organisation?

  • Is critical thinking and independent judgment part of the culture?
  • Is there shared responsibility? Or are staff quick to protect their individual groups or silos?
  • Are there any elephants in the room? How quickly are crises identified, or bad news openly discussed?
  • Is there potential to develop leadership capacity?
  • Is reflection and continuous learning valued by the company?

Change management is often brought in to lead technical change, and ends up having to address the adaptive challenges that may be hindering, resisting, or even sabotaging those technical changes. An oft-cited example is the introduction of a new IT system which staff resist using because they haven’t had adequate training on it and are therefore slower on it, can’t find anything in the right place, and keep using the old system instead. Throw in a fear among staff that the new system will mean job cuts or changes, and management have an adaptive challenge on their hands.

Spindle Consulting love a challenge: both technical and adaptive, so if you are interested in having a discussion about your organisation’s needs, please get in touch.