The Practice of Transition Management

Preface and Context

Bryan S. Coffman

March 18, 1997

The Workshop
During the week of February 24, 1997, MG Taylor Corporation hosted an invitational 7 Domains® Workshop at its corporate headquarters and
knOwhere store in Hilton Head, SC. The twenty-two participants who attended came from the production side of our Value Web™ network--they're knowledge workers who facilitate DesignShop processes all around the country for a wide variety of clients. But they attended this workshop as transition managers and enterprises of one: individuals who assume responsibility for designing and managing their own transformation and adopt an attitude of stewardship and facilitation of processes that will advance the health of the whole planet we live on as a system. They came to wrestle with the challenge of applying the three domains of Process Facilitation, Environment, and Project Management to their work as transition managers.

The Work Products
The workshop lasted four days. Each day included discussions and reports in large group, work on assignments in teams, or as individuals, and a period of time at the end of each day to work in "patches". The
Patch work simulation afforded the participants a structured vehicle for synthesizing their individual and collective insights into a single product that could be published to the World Wide Web. At the beginning of the workshop each participant received a substantial quote from some book or other source that discussed some aspect of transition management (the quotes may be found in the KreW work product--click on the button at the bottom of this page). They worked with these quotes and when they reported their work back to each other, the results were categorized. These categories defined the scope of the products of the four patches. The work of the four patches together would also have to create a seamless whole--not just four unrelated articles.

The participants were supported by a small KreW of Knowledge Workers who were engaged in recording the event on video tape, and producing a work product of their own--playing off the work of the participants and adding their own insights as well. This work product was posted on a 32 foot long, curving knowledge wall and portions of it were also reformatted into a printed scrapbook. The bulk of this scrapbook has been republished on this website along with the work of the other four patches.

These work products don't necessarily state the full philosophy and practice of MG Taylor Corporation. Instead they represent what the participants and KreW believe and understand about this philosophy and how they apply the Taylor philosophy and practice to their own fields of endeavor as transition managers. It's an application of the process in a specific, individual expression.

The work products can be viewed by clicking on the hyperlinks found near the bottom of this page. Before perusing them, however, it might be of value to understand a couple of the models from the modeling language that were influential in the design of the workshop and drove much of the content of the work products as well.

The Key Models
When I design a DesignShop event or workshop, I begin with the modeling language--sometimes as a game, sometimes as a meditation. I usually settle on working with a small set of models that seem to fit with the intent of the event. There's rarely a clear logical path to the choice; instead it's very intuitive. It can't be summarized as a set of reductionist steps. However, because this particular workshop was focused on three of the domains from the 7 Domains Model, at least one of the models was sort of predetermined :-). I chose three others: Three Cat, Design/Build/Use, and Scan Focus Act. Of these last, Three Cat predominated. The combination between the 7 Domains model and the Three Cat model is very powerful. Three Cat provides a process engine for employing the domains in turn and collectively to facilitate and manage any transition.

The 7 Domains

For millennia, the focus within organizations and enterprises has been on directing and managing people and resources. However, the degree of collaboration and group genius demanded by the knowledge age precludes the expenditure of energy on trying to manage people and their behavior. We can't afford to waste the human potential by employing them in mechanistic ways. Instead, the behaviors, skills, and personal growth of people must be facilitated--the way must be made easy for everyone to engage to the fullest of their potential in the creative process, as individuals, in groups and in extended Value Web networks. The result of this continuous facilitated engagement is enhanced creativity, a collapse by orders of magnitude in the time it takes to take an idea not to market, but to a fully formed enterprise, and an explosive release of group genius. MG Taylor Corporation has isolated seven interrelated domains which, when managed and facilitated properly, yield just such results.

Three Cat

Three Cat provides a tool for the Transition Manager to employ in the management and expression of the 7 Domains. Ordinarily the model describes the process we use to learn about any natural phenomenon. If we want to understand a cat, we look at a real one, form a concept of what we see in our minds, and then test our understanding by creating a mechanical cat (drawing, model, sculpture, textbook) and comparing the behavior and characteristics of the model against those of the Real Cat. This feedback adjusts the concept, causes us to look at the current conditions again, and then readjust the model.

When juxtaposed with the 7 Domains, the Three Cat model is used in a slightly different way. The Real Cat represents the current conditions in the enterprise. However, the Transition Manager must keep a model of these conditions and of the vision of the transformed organization together in her mental concept. Then, the purpose of creating the mechanical cat is to model both the current reality and the vision in such a way that guides pulls elements of the vision into the current reality. Transition Management is about understanding Real Cat AND catalyzing Real Cat in an orders of magnitude state change.

These two models give the Transition Manager a good model and method for going about her business in both a logical and intuitive way.

The workshop was designed from this basis; all of the exercises were created with this synthesis in mind.

So, it's time to move on, now, time to get goin'...

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