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How to make change everybody's business

When I Google “stages of successful change,” I get 171 million results. I’m not surprised by this extremely high number because change is constant and inevitable, today more than ever. We’re all searching for ways to succeed and, ideally, thrive within our relentlessly changing world.

The first search engine result informs me that there are five steps to successful change: 1) acknowledge the need for change, 2) communicate the need and involve people in developing the change, 3) develop change plans, 4) implement change plans, 5) evaluate progress, and 6) celebrate success.

The very next Google result is Kotter’s well-known 8-step process that starts with “create a sense of urgency” and ends with “institute change.” And there are so many change models just like these two. 170.999.998 more to be exact!

We're only capable of growing, adapting and changing if and when we ask ourselves and each other questions about the world we share. 

So, what on earth drove me to create a new “X stages of change” model?

The answer is simple. I asked myself whether any of the existing models are compatible with the Qvest philosophy of change. When the answer was, “Not at all!,” I decided to create a new model called the Qvest Change Maturity Model.

The Qvest Change Maturity Model invites the company to observe change from the many different perspectives that already live inside of the organization.

The Qvest Change Maturity Model is different from everything else you’ll find on the internet and in textbooks. It’s inspired by the thinking of C.E.M. Struyker Boudier, a Dutch philosopher, who argues that we humans, at our core, are “question-animals.”We’re only capable of growing, adapting and changing if and when we ask ourselves and each other questions about the world we share.

The traditional change models all see change as something that is externally imposed, that is, ideally addressed from an outsider’s point of view, usually a management consultant’s.

Instead, the Qvest Change Maturity Model views organizational change as something that is internally co-created by the employees. The people working in a company are the most knowledgeable about that company.

Our organizations are immersed in change, and in order to thrive, we have to design our organizations to be change-centered.

So, while the existing change models invite an outside expert to initiate and deliver change, the Qvest Change Maturity Model invites the company to observe change from the many different perspectives that already live inside of the organization. It asks for the perspectives of the true experts—the employees, the middle managers and the senior managers in the company. And then it asks them to take action.

So, instead of reducing the role of the people working in an organization down to a single step, for example, “communicate the need and involve people,” the Qvest Change Maturity Model views change as entirely dependent on the people working in the organization: how they’re thinking and behaving—the company culture.

No single person or team should be responsible for acknowledging, communicating, developing, implementing and evaluating organizational change. 

Change happens in collaboration with your colleagues

In the Qvest Change Maturity Model, we assume that organizational change doesn’t have a clear beginning or an official end. Instead, it’s an ever-present process. Change is the air we breathe, the water we swim in. Our organizations are immersed in change, and in order to thrive, we have to design our organizations to be change-centered.

That means that no single person or team should be responsible for acknowledging, communicating, developing, implementing and evaluating organizational change. No single person has the vision, grit, talent, savvy, wisdom or skills to do it on their own.

Instead, everybody should be responsible for navigating the four maturity levels of the Qvest Change Maturity Model.


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The Qvest Change Maturity Model posits that there are four levels of organizational change based on the type of culture you currently have: Inactive Culture, Reactive Culture, Interactive Culture and Proactive Culture.

Every time your organization moves higher up in the Change Maturity Model, it reaches further down the company hierarchy to involve more people in driving change. 

What matters is not what level you’re currently on. What matters is that you know your level. Once you know your culture and how your culture responds and deals with change, you’ll be able to use Qvest to optimize your change initiatives in order to be as agile and effective as possible.

And how exactly do you move from level to level? By expanding the pool of people who are able to ask and answer questions.

The way organizations use questions shapes and determines how they build their culture and subsequently drive change:

1. In an Inactive Organizational Culture, senior management has realized that there’s a need for change and prepares strategies and plans to transform the organization. Employees are inactive—they may know that the top management is working on something, but they don’t know what that is and how it will affect them.

2. In a Reactive Organizational Culture, senior management communicates strategies and engages staff and middle managers to support them in implementing the change. Employees are reactive—they listen to the senior management’s communications and respond to surveys and interviews. They know that the change will affect them, but they don’t know how and what they are expected to do to make the change a success.

3. In an Interactive Organizational Culture, staff and middle managers facilitate conversations about the change among the different members of the organization. Employees are interactive—they talk with each other about the change, explore possibilities and predict and solve potential problems together. They know how the change will affect them and they help each other adapt to the change.

4. In a Proactive Organizational Culture, the organization acts as a responsible community where everybody thinks and talks about their work in terms of developing the organization. Employees are proactive—they collaborate cross-functionally and co-create with customers on solving problems and developing new initiatives. The employees consider it everybody’s business to drive change.

Every time your organization moves higher up in the Change Maturity Model, it reaches further down the company hierarchy to involve more people in driving change.

The relationship between organizational change and power is therefore inversely proportional. Your organization becomes more change-centered and collaborative the more you share power and allow more people to ask questions and influence change.

Qvest technology supports you at every level of change

Qvest is effective at every one of the four levels of change. So, wherever you find yourself in the Qvest Change Maturity Model, Qvest can support your objectives, while helping you engage more and more employees, build a collaborative, proactive culture and a company that is able to mobilize all of its employees—its greatest resource— to drive change.

For example, if you have an Inactive Culture, you could use Qvest for leadership and team development. If your culture is Reactive, you can use Qvest for employee engagement, in addition to leadership and team development. If you have an Interactive Culture, you can use Qvest for all of the above plus business and organizational development. And if you’re currently a Proactive Culture, you can use Qvest to do all of the above as well as product innovation and stakeholder engagement.

If you’re curious to know your level, you could take the Qvest Change Maturity Assessment to find out where your organization is right now. We can then help you leverage the organizational culture you currently have or help you move to the next level and unlock a culture that’s proactive about change.

Change your culture maturity level, and everything will change.

QVEST_E_BOOK_mockup (1)Free eBook
How to make organizational change a joint quest

By Pia Lauritzen, PhD

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Pia Lauritzen

Pia Lauritzen

Co-founder and Chief Methodologist at Qvest. Pia is the inventor of the Qvest method. She has a PhD in Philosophy and has spent the last 20 years researching and writing about the nature and impact of questions.

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