Practices, Processes, and the Pain of Change

Updated: Sep 2

This week's lectures largely derive from Mike Grieves' book Virtually Perfect, and discusses how people and cultures react to change. (In short... not well.)


Change is Pain

In the brain, change is processed by the same neurons which process stubbing your toe, or stepping on a Lego in the dark. Because change is painful, organizational cultures will cling to the status quo, and view innovations as a threat.


Article: The Neuroscience of Leadership

Breakthroughs in brain research explain how to make organizational transformation succeed.

by David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz


Managers who understand the recent breakthroughs in cognitive science can lead and influence mindful change: organizational transformation that takes into account the physiological nature of the brain, and the ways in which it predisposes people to resist some forms of leadership and accept others.



Practices and Processes

Processes are what we do, Practices are what we're trying to accomplish. Unfortunately, what we do (as an organization) is not always aligned to what we're trying to accomplish. Processes are valuable in scaling up to large markets, but they are resistant to change, and therefore innovation.





Hidden practices

There may be hidden cultural practices which supersede the organization's processes, sometimes to its detriment. Lecture also covers an HBR article about mining the "digital exhaust" found in an IT system to see who is talking to whom, to recognize both influencers and dysfunction.