Whole-Scale™ Change was created in 1981, based on theory, principles and methods combined by Kathie Dannemiller & Chuck Tyson for Ford Motor Company. It was named Real-Time Strategic Change at the time. In 1990 Paul Tolchinsky combined his sociotechnical systems expertise with Kathie Dannemiller's large-scale strategic change processes to develop Real-Time Work Design. The integrated approaches became Whole-Scale™ Change in 1997.

Core beliefs and Values

The core beliefs and values that underlie the approach are:

Creating empowerment and participation
We believe in engaging the entire organisation in ways that lead to ownership of and commitment to a shared purpose and future direction. Microcosms of the entire organisation are used in all aspects of our approach including event planning, organisation alignment and implementation

Creating community
We believe that when you foster an environment where employees can come together, they can create and believe in something larger than themselves. Our methods create processes where that can take place. The use of small multi-stakeholder teams in Whole-Scale™ events, for instance, brings voices from across the organisation into conversation in a way that builds a sense of community.

Using reality as a key driver
We believe the change process must keep a continual focus on the simultaneous and sometimes conflicting realities that exist in the internal and external environments of the organisation. In Whole-Scale™ meetings the content is driven by the needs of participants in real work rather than by simulations.

Building and maintaining a common database
We believe that 'a level playing field' of information and common understanding of the strategic issues informs the discretion of people at all levels so that they can make wise decisions, individually and collectively. By sharing perspectives, all people in the organisation gain a more complete and consistent perspective.

Creating a shared preferred future
We believe creating a collective 'image of potential' for the future forms the basis for action today: People will only support what they have been part of creating.

Creating change in real time
We believe in simultaneous planning and implementation of individual, group and organisational changes around strategy, culture and work processes.

Practicing Action Research
We believe that only through continuous re-examination throughout the process can we adjust our approach to ensure reaching our vision of success.

Transferring learning
We have a strong value for creating self-sufficiency and against creating dependency on us in our client systems. Our goal for the completion of each project is that participants will make our methods their own so they would be confident and capable of carrying on with or without external consultants.

When to use it

Whole-Scale™ works well to facilitate all kinds of change processes, including strategic planning, organisation design, mergers and acquisitions, quality management, reengineering, training, diversity and culture change in organizations with a particularly challenging, changing environment that aim for quick and sustainable results.

Typical challenges where Whole-Scale™ Change is suitable are:

  • Strategic alignment as one brain (all seeing the same things) and one heart (all committed to achieving the same preferred future)
  • Intentionally designed and fully owned processes, skills, information, and guiding principles
  • A new culture with the behaviors everyone desires to achieve common purpose

It works well in both the public and private sectors, is amenable to organizations and groups ranging in size from ten to several thousand, and can engage people from the top of the hierarchy down through the front line staff. Organisations most likely to consider a Whole-Scale™ intervention are those (1) that want to engage everyone or nearly everyone in creating their organisations processes and structures and (2) those with a sense of urgency brought on by a challenging and quickly changing environment. Whole-Scale™ processes effectively facilitate rapid, system wide change under many different circumstances, and in a wide variety of countries, cultures and organisations.

People matter, results count. Whole-Scale™ includes robust processes that quickly change client systems and prepare them for further substantive change by:

  • Clarifying and connecting multiple current realities
  • Uniting multiple yearnings around a common picture of the future
  • Reaching agreement on the action plans that move them toward that future
  • Building the processes, structures and relationships that keep the organisation moving forward
  • Aligning the organisation leaders and employees so that they can implement the changes together

Once the organisation experiences the paradigm shift, people see the world differently. They are ready to take the actions that will begin to transform their shared vision into their shared reality

How it works

The Event Planning Team and consultants develop the design for a Whole-Scale™ Change programme using the formula for change. This formula, D x V x F > R, says that if an organisation wants to bring about system-wide change, they will need to work with a critical mass of the organisation to uncover and combine their Dissatisfaction (D) with things as they are. Then the next step will be to uncover and combine the yearnings for the organisation they truly want to be, their combined Vision of the future (V). If real change is going to happen, the third design element needs to be First steps (F); a combined picture of things people can do differently that all of them believe are the right ones to achieve their vision. Simple math suggests that if any of the left-hand elements in the formula are missing, the product will be zero, and the change effort will not be able overcome Resistance (R) People will resist change if they don't have Dissatisfaction, Vision and agreed upon First steps to reach that vision. The DVF formula describes what an organisation needs to do to enable a paradigm shift. If the organisation can uncover and combine all three elements, everyone will shift into a new 'world view'. At this point, neither individuals nor whole groups can comfortably keep doing what they were doing.

Change has already begun. Clients help decide which element to address first, but they need to address all three elements eventually if they want to achieve sustainable change. The resistance to change that is inevitably present is a resource. It tells consultants and leaders what they need to know and where the points of leverage exist that will enable them to facilitate real change.

Cost effectiveness

Whole-Scale™ is cost effective because it enables an organisational paradigm shift to occur, and this shift produces fast results. When people fully understand the speed with which the world is shifting, they yearn to change their organisation with the same urgency. Rapid Whole-Scale™ Change costs less than traditional top-down cascade methods.