Created by Carolin Peinecke

Turning ‘victims’ into co-creators

The House of Change is considered one of the most commonly used models to describe patterns of response and emotions. But is it really the case that everyone has to pass through the four rooms? We say yes – but…

In our transformation processes, as well as in our leadership development programs, the House of Change, which was developed many years ago by Claes Janssen, represents a core model. Change begins with people and people have emotions. It describes excellently and in pictures that are easy to remember, what it is like for people who are affected by changes.

That's the way it is in traditional companies: change comes from the top.
Corporate management is considering a change, a new direction, a better customer focus, more of this and less of that. The message is carefully honed and announced to employees in exciting events, global webcasts, intranet articles and so on. Those affected react as described in the House of Change: with complacency and lack of understanding, with a ‘wait and see’ attitude and refusal, with confusion and in the end mostly with their own ideas and a personal contribution to further development. In short, the employees are ‘affected’ and hopefully with the help of leaders will be turned into ‘involved’ parties. Everyone knows this principle because it is still the guiding star for dealing with change.

Basically, in many companies
people are just waiting for
something to change or
for structures and processes
to be broken up.

But what’s the point of all this? Let's be honest, in many companies people are just waiting for something to change or for structures and processes that get in the way of smooth and constructive work to be to be broken up at last. They talk to each other over lunch or coffee about what needs to be different, what the ‘guys upstairs’ need to understand. To stay with the image of the House of Change: they spend the whole time waiting for solutions to old problems in the Room of Confusion. They are affected and would like to be involved. They often do not expect any more than that.

For us it already starts with the attitude of wanting to turn ‘those affected’ into ‘those involved’. Why not ‘those affected’ into ‘co-creators’?
What happens to my emotions in the House of Change when I can myself design changes to the way I work? The basic orientation of emotions remains the same in our experience but it develops in a more positive, constructive direction. Contentment becomes pride in what we have achieved and in things that remain the same even in a changed environment. Denial becomes respect and reverence for the effects of change, perhaps even humility. In any case, an important emotion that prevents people from taking too great risks and overestimating themselves. Confusion becomes uncertainty and the search for the right path as well as courage. Renewal is a targeted approach to the changes that make a difference, with a lot of creativity.

You will be surprised how many options
for co-creation there are
and how much more energy
the journey through the House of Change releases.

But in real life, nobody can do everything - and definitely not on their own. Some things are just given, such as legal requirements, questions of safety at work or developments in the market that were not foreseen. So you're never 100% the creator, no matter what position you hold in an organisation. Therefore, our recommendation to those responsible in organisations is to address these questions together with people:

  • Where are we simply affected and have to accept the change?
  • Where, even though we cannot decide for ourselves, can we participate and contribute our perspective to a successful solution?
  • And where can we really co-create?

You'll be surprised at how many co-creation options there are and at how much more energy the journey through the House of Change releases. In self-organized companies, this is the highest principle of action but even in hierarchically organized companies much more is possible than we previously thought.

     

     

     

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