Change Makers GTA

Featured Change Maker: November 2017


This month’s Change Maker is Nik Besson. Below Nik shares his experience as a change management professional as well as provides his perspective on the profession.


From your experience and vantage point what are the core changes businesses and organizations face today?

From my experience and vantage point the core changes I’m seeing and am going to continue to see with ever greater frequency are orgs trying to adapt to what Klaus Schwab, the head of the World Economic Forum, coined the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A synchronous flood of socially significant technological breakthroughs including artificial intelligence and robotics, the Internet of Things, blockchain encryption & currency, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, energy storage, quantum computing, etc. Every one of these innovations will have enormous social implications, and will result in great disruption in many many fields of endeavour. Besides the sheer volume of change, orgs are having to adapt to an increasing pace of change. The result is a whole lot of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), an acronym originally used for the turbulence of combat situations.

Superficially the core change are specific adaptations to specific disruptions being introduced by specific technologies.  The deeper core change is to strategic structure; moving from stable predictable pyramidal hierarchies to highly agile, collaborative, and dynamic teams with multiple and/or temporal hierarchies designed to optimise VUCA situations.


What is your vision for change management as a profession?

Firstly, that it isn’t called ‘change management’ anymore because that’s an oxymoron.

Besides that I see it moving from a culture of laborious training programs, cookie-cutter templates and time-consuming methodologies to a coaching culture which excels at educating and eliciting the qualities of curiosity, improvisation, resilience and constant learning in leadership, teams and change agents.


Without getting into details what has been your toughest change effort project to date?

Me. Always.


What advise would you have for someone interested in the profession of change management?

Maintain an agile and open mind, your heart is as smart as your brain, listen very carefully, know yourself and keep composting your own stuff (or else you project it onto your clients), and be very curious.

Also, be very curious.


Can you please give a brief narrative of your areas of specialty or strengths within the change management domain? 

My specialty is curiosity and disruption.  I have strong training in compassionate inquiry and I strongly favour human-centred design. I have 20 years in Digital Communications so plenty of experience in the adoption frictions and fractiousness that can occur where new technological/social platforms disrupt organisational structures/cultures.


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