This diagram pops up in my social streams from time to time. I grabbed it from this site.
It aims to show that you must have five elements in place in order to achieve change. It seems to reflect a common story about organisational change. At its worst, it appears to suggest that change is something that should happen without confusion or anxiety. Or perhaps it is only saying things like “if you encounter resistance, you need to change incentives”. Either way, change is presented as quite a clean, rational logical business.
That’s not how I experience life: my own, other people’s, or in organisations.
I prefer to think of change as inherently messy and confusing. Confusion, anxiety and all those other uncomfortable feelings are not bugs but features.
Just managing oneself is a complex challenge. Managing whole organisations can’t possibly be easier. Ram Dass said, “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family.” I think there’s an equivalent wisdom needed for those writing about “organisational change”.
(I’m also reminded of Donald Factor’s insight about frustration.)
 R. Villa & J. Thousand (Eds.), Restructuring for caring and effective education: Piecing the puzzle together (pp. 93-128). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.)