What Is Whole Systems Transformational Change, and How Can It Have a Bearing on SP&M?

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Whole systems transformational change (WSTC) is ‘‘an adaptable and customtailored

wisdom-creating learning experience that often results in a paradigm

shift.’’16 It usually involves bringing together the key decision-makers of an

organization for an intense event, usually lasting several days but planned for

in advance. It is an approach that involves everyone and leads to change at the

speed needed in modern business. Think of a problem-solving session that

may involve hundreds or even thousands of people, all focused on solving the

same or related problems, and you have the idea.

How can WSTC have a bearing on SP&M? The answer is that, quite often,

the installation of an SP&M program requires many people to be involved.

Additionally, the human resources system may be missing many key elements

to support an intervention as robust as the introduction of an SP&M intervention.

For example, there may be no competency models, no 360-degree capability,

no individual learning plans, and no technology to support the SP&M

program. Creating these takes time and can lead to a loss of faith in the SP&M

program from executives or others. Worst yet, executives and other senior

leaders in the organization may not share the same goals or vision for the

SP&M program. Under normal circumstances, there are no easy ways to solve

these problems. But a WSTC brings the key stakeholders together, facilitating

a process whereby they ‘‘thrash out’’ the key decisions, build key support systems,

and communicate among themselves to achieve some comparability in

goals.

The WSTC is, in short, a possible tool—though it is also a philosophy—for

bringing about the rapid but large-scale change needed to support a SP&M

intervention.