Surviving and thriving in a multifaceted world requires a multifaceted change strategy. Paraphrasing Ashby’s law of requisite variety, there must be more variety in the change strategy than in the system you are trying to change.
So how do we change a complex organization to meet the challenges of this new world of exploding information, increasing uncertainty, and ever-increasing complexity? While there is certainly no simple answer—since change is situation and time-dependent—the change process for an organization moving toward becoming an intelligent complex adaptive system must engage every individual in the organization as well as external partners. Since organizational networks of people and knowledge have become more and more interconnected and more and more complex as the world has become more global, the larger an organization the more a self-organizing change strategy must come into play.
A change strategy sets out to achieve what we call a connectedness of choices. This means that decisions made at all levels of the organization, while different, are clearly based not only on a clear direction for the future, but made in a cohesive fashion based on an understanding of both why that direction is desirable and the role that individual decisions play with respect to immediate objectives and their support of the shared vision. At the top level, a continuous increase of knowledge and sharing based on a common direction of the organization and a common set of beliefs and values is the theoretical force behind the change strategy.