October 8, 2015 by Jeff Hurt
Forget releasing your conference Kraken—that legendary giant sea monster sent out to destroy anything that gets in your way.
And by all means, don’t release your Trojan horse. You don’t need a trick, stratagem or gimmick for your target audience.
You need to release your Trojan mice! These are small, well focused changes that add up and have a huge impact. And they are continually introduced in an inconspicuous way.
(Sources: Harold Jarche, Euan Semple and Peter Fryer.)
All organizations are living, thriving communities. With time, these communities grow into complex continually evolving systems.
Managing and directing change within these complex systems requires insights, skill, intentionality and a new perspective.
Making small changes can add up and have a huge impact while implementing large sweeping changes usually fail.
For years, scientists have believed that everything in our universe is like a big machine.
We can take apart that machine and look at the various parts. If we understood each of the parts, then we would understand the machine.
Consequently, we can work on and improve each of the parts. When we do so, we ultimately, improve the entire machine. Thus we can control and predict everything.
This same belief became a foundation principle of many businesses and organizations. If we take apart processes, tasks and programs and put them into smaller units—customer service, marketing, technology, etc.—we can improve those parts and thus the overall performance of our business. Just look at any organizational chart and you’ll see our strong belief of cause and effect through functional units, silos and working committees.
Yet, this belief is continually proven to be wrong because we still can’t accurately predict the weather. Ecosystems and immune systems do not always behave as we predicted. And quantum physics discovered that the smallest units of sub-nuclear particles behaved according to a different set of rules than cause and effect.
Just like our natural systems, our organizations are not machines.
Today, scientist have a new theory—the complexity theory.
The complexity theory is based on relationships, patterns, emergence (they interact in random ways) and iterations (small changes can have significant impact). Its primary belief is that the universe is full of systems. And these systems are complex and continually evolving.
Read more about complex adaptive systems.
Many organizational leaders are frustrated that no matter how hard they try to control the actions of employees, volunteers and customers, it doesn’t happen as predicted. We impose rules, procedures and new structures to gain the upper hand. Our well-thought-out, full scale, top-down Trojan horse change management processes still fail.
We need to see our organizations differently, act differently and affect change differently. We can see our organizations as complex, ever-evolving, adaptive systems.
Using this new frame, we can unleash our Trojan mice.
Trojan mice, on the other hand, are small, well focused changes, which are introduced on an ongoing basis in an inconspicuous way. They are small enough to be understood and owned by all concerned but their effects can be far-reaching. Collectively a few Trojan mice will change more than one Trojan horse ever could.
There is an art to spotting a Trojan mouse – you need to develop a critically trained eye. Seeing things differently, and seeing different things, is a powerful experience. And once you do, you can set your Trojan mice free to create the results your business needs.- Peter Fryer
The concept of Trojan mice is something you should consider, explore and implement for your conference improvements.
What’s your reaction to the thought that our organizations are not machines but complex systems? What are some Trojan mice that you could unleash for your conference improvements?
Filed Under: Event Planning
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