The theme of this Blog is “Thoughts for Times of Change.” Recently I spent a few hours reading and thinking about the recent Insights from the Adizes Institute. Ichak Adizes is a pioneer, one of the most important thinkers alive today. He is a “Change Doctor.” Ichak has been a teacher in 32 countries and is a consultant to top managers and heads of states throughout the world. For most of his life he has been building and refining the Adizes methodology.
I first met Ichak in the 2003 World Future Society conference. In a short 30 minute presentation entitled, Is our planet heading to Armageddon, he articulated a few of the building blocks of his thinking and methodology. Here are the bullet points I summarized in my notes:
- Change creates problems and opportunities.
- Change has been here from the beginning of time. Change is now accelerating.
- Everything is a system that is composed out of subsystems – a forest, a human, a family, an organization, a nation and planet Earth.
- Problems and opportunities are created because the subsystems of the greater system do not respond to change in synchronicity.
- As each subsystem responds in its own time, pace and direction, that lack of synchronicity creates gaps.
- Gaps in the system are what we experience as problems.
- Therefore, all problems are manifestations of disintegration caused by change.
- Every system’s change has a lifecycle. These lifecycles are predictable. Therefore, the problems that arise with them can be addressed proactively.
- To manage problems you have to make decisions and implement these decisions.
- Decision-making and implementation create conflict.
- Conflict can be destructive or constructive.
- To stop all conflicts one must first stop all change which is impossible.
- It is easier to drive straight into destructive conflict then to choose constructive conflict.
- Choosing the exit out of the destructive road toward a constructive road requires that you identify the exit and know how to take it.
- The constructive road begins with developing mutual trust and respect. Mutual trust and respect are more than soft words, they are principles that define and guide decision making and behavior.
What impressed me even more than what Ichak said was his depth of insight and the place from which he spoke. Ichak spoke from a place of intimate knowledge of the anatomy of organizational life. In my own work, I have developed a sixth sense for recognizing when people are speaking from a deep engagement with life itself. Ichak has unlocked a secret code, a map of organizations’ life cycle, their traps and remedies, and the principles of sustainable growth and development.
© Aviv Shahar