Case Study: Change Management
by Adam Chan
In June 07, the Information Technology (IT) department of the Singapore Exchange decided to send an invitation to all IT staff; an invitation to stay or go. In the past, they were adopting a “built” model in growing their capability. Moving forward, they have decided to change tack to an “outsourced” model. The change is expected to invoke considerable amount of mental dissonances to the existing IT staff, especially the longer serving ones. To the new joins, the impact is probably light. Communicating such change is never easy and welcoming especially to the receivers. Through multiple prong approaches, the IT head has communicated the hard but necessary message to all 56 staff members and Focus Adventure is honored to have played an integral role in the process.
The program is carefully tailored to convey this hard but necessary message to the IT staff. The program kicked off with a message emphasizing on model switching. Keeping the momentum, they were divided small groups to embark on the challenges ahead of them.
The key thrust of the program is the belief of change is possible. Commencing, the activity helium hula requires the participants to lower the hula hoop given to them from chest height to an inch above the ground and raise to the same starting height. The hula hoop is supported by their index fingers and the supporting fingers are prohibited from losing contact with the hoop. Failing which will lead to restarting. In small groups and each handling one hula hoop, they are asked to set their time targets in completing the task. Setting the mood, the activity helium hula spreads the critical insights of the need to think beyond boundaries and challenge the frozen assumptions. With limiting paradigms, not only personal growth is limited, it may very well be the critical barriers to organization development. These insights will surely augment the notion of change is possible.
Following the Helium Hula, they embarked on the Wheel Watch activity as the catalyst to shifting paradigms. The Wheel Watch is a giant see-saw platform that requires all participants to balance the platform whilst remaining on board. Time target is required to determine the process quality. Initially, their collective conscious will lead them to believe that a balanced platform connotes stability and it means remaining stationary on board i.e. “Don’t Move”. In addition, appointing one or a few persons to be mobile while the rest remains stationary usually become the common assumption to success, however this will create a near impossible situation to overcome. Little they know that by one or a few persons making the effort to compensate will not achieve any significant progress differences. After laboring hard for sometime and with timely intervention from the facilitators, they began to accept the need for shifting their paradigm. Instead of relying on a few persons, they decided to engage everyone in making the needed compensation i.e. “All Move”. To their astonishment, with synchronized, minute and collective leaning movements they achieved the balanced state without all the hard labor utilized earlier. They also realized the importance of sensing the ever-changing environment. The paradigm shift from “Don’t move” notion to that of an “All Move” notion is clearly swinging between two opposing polarities. The crucial tie-back from this paradigm is “Don’t Move” represents the “Built” model whereas “All Move” is the “Outsourced” model.
Climbing the Team Challenge Pyramid (TCP) became the peak experience to sum up the program. The TCP works on a static belay system. In groups of 5 to 6 members, they were connected as they scale towards to pyramid top which is standing at 25m, fitted with 14 challenge elements to overcome. Learning to trust oneself, the team and the safety system is imperative to achieving success. Through investing trust on other members, many have stepped out of their regular context and gained tremendously from it. At the top of the pyramid, each successful climb was greeted with by a sweet zip wire descend back on the ground.
The program concluded on a high note, the IT department has accepted the need for this switch in model. The impetus for the change has never been clearer.