The Practice of Transition Management
Preface and Context
Bryan S. Coffman
March 18, 1997
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
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
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
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
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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