In the previous blog post I talked about conceptual skills. Here I’m going to talk about the technical skills required for change. Consider this as a specialized knowledge, analytical ability and the capacity to use tools and techniques. Coaching can also be seen as a specific technical skills set.
When creating change it can, according to Beer and Nohria (2000) take two forms, the hard or the soft way. The hard way, referred to as the E-theory is usually based on economical values. This kind of change is aimed towards reaching economic goals, reorganizations, staff cuts or reduction of the company’s scope. It can be seen as a “top-down” approach, where management determines and establishes the strategy and the processes for the upcoming change. Here a more military leadership style is needed and the rewards are often of a monetary nature. The change, in and of itself, is usually quickly conducted as the approach lacks the focus on commitment from the employees.
The soft way of change is presented in the O-theory. The approach here is to develop a corporate culture and employee skills by allowing both the individuals and the company, learn and be a part of the change. This is done through feedback and reflection on the situation and which a strategy is jointly developed. This approach has a clear bottom-up approach, where all employees are encouraged to provide feedback and comments on the upcoming change. The intention is to get the employees so emotionally involved that they want to help the company to move forward in the change process. This is helpful for building the soft values in the organization in terms of culture, values, behavior and attitudes. This is a great approach for improving corporate spirit and the morale within the company.
Technical Skills and Tools
Understanding these two approaches can be one way of seeing how change can happen in the organization. But there is also a need for tools that can assist the change process. Coaching is one tool. But what is the theory that can be found behind this understanding? Next blog post will explain that further.