Change Management – Learning as success factor for the agile future

Change Management – Learning as success factor for the agile future

The future is agile and organizations must play by new rules in the world of VUCA: Those who want to remain successful in the future, don’t just have to handle change, they have to be able to manage it. It is about finding a balance between stability and flexibility; adapting but holding on to the corporate identity, it is about constantly learning. Learn more about change management, the 5 success factors and 7 learning disabilities, to master the agile future.


Change management definition – What is change management?

Constant change has become a norm in our everyday work life. You cannot stop it and you cannot slow it down – the art is managing change. Factors that are causing the constant change include:

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    • Developments in tech sector
    • Globalization
    • Always changing demands from partners and clients
    • Development of new markets
    • Increased competition


Change management is about putting new strategies into place, adapting structures and behaviors und implementing changes successfully. The challenge is the constant observation of the current situation which must always be controlled, making a quick reaction possible when needed. In addition, learning is a crucial aspect. Only those who continuously learn, can stay competitive – the same thing goes for organizations.

While many organizations acknowledge change, only few take the initiative to react. Often, the problem is the fact that organization don’t know how.


Die fiths discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization

Buch Cover

Change Management and learning go hand in hand. The ability to not just learn quicker, but also

more efficiently than the competition, is one of the greatest competitive advantages in today’s market. In the book The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization author Peter Senge explains which factors enable an organization to learn, which weaknesses hold them back and how old thinking patterns can be replaced by innovative ones.


The five disciplines for successful change management

Generally, there are two different levels when it comes to Senge’s disciplines: the personal one, which focuses on challenging your own thinking patters, reflecting upon your behavior and continuously dedicating yourself to develop personally. The other level, the organizational level, focuses on teams and a shared vision. The five disciplines that enable organizations to learn are defined as:



1. Personal Mastery (Personal level)
  • Being aware of your own values, as well as visions, and always reflecting upon them
  • Defining priorities and allocating your energy carefully
  • Trying to see reality from different perspectives
2. Mental Models (Personal level)
  • Tief verankerte Denkweisen und Mentalitäten die unsere Wahrnehmungen der Realität beeinflussen
  • Versuchen, seine Weltanschauung zu erweitern
3. Shared vision (Organizational level)
  • Painting a picture of the future, together as a team
  • Generating true engagement
  • When you create a shared vision, employees will not learn because they have to, but because they want to
4. Team learning (Organizational level)
  • Develop and bring together the performance and capabilities of the entire teams so that all team member can follow their goals
  • The key: communication – by communicating openly, all perspectives are considered and new ones can emerge. That way, problems will be solved in more creative ways!
5. Systems Thinking (Cornerstone)
  • The fifth discipline, systems thinking, is the discipline that combines all the other disciplines and functions as corner stone.



The 7 learning disabilities that are holding us back

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It is easier said than done: To deal with change, you don’t just have to think flexible, but also inclusive and dynamic. The reality often looks different though. Especially in organizations, mistakes are not easily admitted, learning processes are not prioritized and the danger of potential change is ignored, until it is too late. Peter Senge defines 7 learning disabilities:

  1. „I am my position“
  • You only see your own position within the organization
  • You don’t see your role in the greater position. Therefore, you don’t understand how your actions impact others
  • You don’t take responsibility for things that you don’t have a direct impact on
  1. „The enemy is out there”
  • Focus is on „Us against them“
  • You don’t see how you contribute to the problem yourself
  1. „The delusion of learning from experience“
  • We learn best from direct experience. Often, the consequences of your actions only appear long after though and it is impossible to make the connection/ to learn
  1. „The myth of the management team“
  • The management team will do anything, to not look bad (hold back information or even falsify them)
  • Organizations promote those who share the same view oft he management team
  • You pretend to have the same opinion as the management team, only to make a good impression
  1. „The illusion of taking charge“
  • You confuse reaction with action (you react emotionally and quick, instead of seeing the bigger picture and making strategic, long term decisions)
  • The responsibility is always pushed to another person, so that no one takes charge at the end of the day
  1. „The fixation on events“
  • You give event explanations that are relevant for the present but distract form the underlying problem patterns
  • You don’t see the fundamental causes of problems
  • You think short-term and forget to see the future impacts
  1. „The parable of the boiled frog“

(When you throw a frog into a pot with boiling water, he will fight to survive. If you put him into a pot with cold water and slowly warm it up, he will fall asleep eventually and not even notice his slow death)

  • When it comes to organizations, it is very similar: Slowly developing dangers go unnoticed and before you know it, it is too late.

The world of VUCA is not turning slowly and you must master the agile future. Therefore, constant developments, on a personal as well as organizational level, are the foundation for successful change management. Not only self-reflection and team building are important, but also questioning the fundamental systems of organizations.

Do you need help with putting the theory into practice? Then you will find the right offer amongst our open training selection! If your desired location is not listed, we are happy to find an individual solution to fit your needs. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Thursday, 29 October 2020

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