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The Change Delta: Why change leaders need colliders

Updated: May 29, 2021

The 2021 Thought Leader Part 2: The Change Delta - why change leaders need colliders

The change delta: why change leaders need colliders

How do you 'see' change leadership, what is your change delta, and are you creating conditions to celebrate success or throwing yourself to fortune and fuelling failure?

In this article, I will be building on Part 1 of our 2021 Thought Leader to talk about the difference between textbook change and real-world change, and why change leaders need colliders.


You, the change leader or manager, are purposefully influencing behaviours in Complex Adaptive Systems; this is the single truth for those working in change or transformation leadership. You are actively seeking to release and reorganise people, and you have no 'control' over this behavioural change, only influence.

textbook change methods
When change doesn't work

Therefore, we are change influencers, designers, looking to nudge an environment toward an anticipated future that is simultaneously being nudged by other influencers, both known and unknown to us, with their complementary or competing designs. As such, as we are not only building the plane while flying but also adjusting its design.

You have your vision for the future. However, your environment is not stable because you are continually sensing and making sense of actions taken by self-determining agents, people, who require you to adjust your course. There is no equilibrium because you cannot know all the other influencers, participants and observers, in your system or their design motivations, influence and interests.

Simply put, to thrive in such an environment, you need to seek to converse and collaborate to challenge and confirm your design decisions.

textbook versus real-world change
Real-world change (examples)

Many of your change design decisions are the product of a reflex response, informed by your BASKET: beliefs, attitudes, skills, knowledge, experience and talent. You often make these design decisions without conscious thought of starting conditions, their influence and impact, or the trade-offs required to experience our anticipated future.

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As change influencers, our challenge is to articulate our reflex responses, and in doing so, expose them so that others can consciously consider their impact in terms of anticipated positive and negative outcomes. By externalising our design decisions, we surface positive and negative influence and interest - feelings - that will impact our ability to experience our anticipated future. You can surround yourself with 'yes' people, who will amplify the likelihood of unintended consequence from your actions, or you can embrace positions that bring us to challenge and confirm our decisions.

I speak of a collision between challenging and conflicting beliefs, attitudes, skills, knowledge, experience and talent, creating a BASKET Collider.

As ever, I am returning here to one of the most potent and underutilised laws available to change influencers: Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety. Suppose you want to optimise your sensemaking capability and influence. In that case, the variety in your decision-making environment must match or exceed the variety in the environment you seek to influence.

To achieve this requisite variety, you need to create a BASKET Collider. If you swarm the requisite variety of beliefs, attitudes, skills, knowledge, experience and talent around your change initiative, not only will you enable powerful conversations and collaborations that challenge and confirm decisions, but you will attract resource.

What does this look like in practice? Take a look at the PRO-PIE case example in Part 3 of our 2021 Thought Leader.


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If you have been struck by The Change Delta or our BASKET Colliders and would like to collaborate or partner with us, contact

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