This excellent short blog uses the example of the junior doctors strike (before the decision to impose a new contract) to reflect on the ‘messy’ nature of change and what this means for those who seek to lead. Complex change processes like this where emotions are high on all sides do not lend themselves well to structured approaches such as those put forward by Lewin (unfreeze, change, refreeze) or Kotter, with his 8 stage process. However, at the same time neither do they necessarily respond well to a wholly emergent, or iterative, approach, taking full account of the emotional position of participants as propounded by Bridges. Shepherd feels that this situation is a great example where leaders need to use both these approaches in tandem and to take a step back to create the space for this to happen.
History, though, now tells us that a different path was chosen….