Organizational change not happening fast enough? Something has changed over the past years, and it is bringing along a change of its own.

The days of top-down led organizational change are gone. The old, pre-pandemic way, was largely consisting of telling employees a positive story, then relying on that story to get their buy-in, for a change whose course had already been decided. Take all the breadth and depth of change that teams have had to put up with over the recent years, mix it with the feeling that people have stretched themselves too thin anyway, and it becomes obvious that attempting a top-down change strategy these days will mostly be a losing play.
There is a new way of determining change and allowing for its implementation emerging, in which employees actually understand why change is necessary- and if slowing down the pace of change while battling resistance is not what is desired - then getting more commitment from teams and giving them a sense of ownership over what comes next can ensure a better process altogether. 

There is an old Indian parable about six blind men trying to figure out what an elephant looks like – each one takes a different part and describes it based on their own limited point of view. This is not just how many employees feel when faced with a massive change, it is also how many leaders feel. After some time spent in a leadership position, leaders most often become increasingly disconnected to the work. What them is the way forward?

Increasingly involving employees in the decision-making process

When leaders actively involve employees in the creation of important decisions, several advantages come to light:

  • Diverse perspectives: employees represent a diverse range of skills, knowledge, and experiences. By including them in decision-making processes, leaders gain access to a wealth of perspectives and insights that may otherwise go untapped. This diversity of thought can lead to more well-rounded and innovative solutions.
  • Increased engagement and ownership: when employees have a voice in decision-making, they feel a greater sense of ownership and commitment to the outcomes. This engagement translates into higher levels of motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction. As a result, organizations can experience improved employee morale and retention rates.
  • Enhanced problem-solving: by involving employees, leaders tap into the collective intelligence of the organization. Employees at all levels often possess unique problem-solving abilities, creative ideas, and domain expertise. Harnessing these resources can lead to more effective and sustainable solutions that address challenges from multiple angles.
  • More trust and collaboration: inclusive decision-making fosters trust between leaders and employees. When individuals feel their opinions are valued, they are more likely to trust in the decision-making process and the organization as a whole. This trust cultivates a collaborative culture where employees are willing to share their ideas, collaborate with others, and work towards common goals.

Applying an open-source approach to decision implementation

Taking an open-source approach during the implementation phase of decisions can yield numerous benefits:

  • Iterative and agile implementation: adopting an open-source approach to decision implementation allows for iterative and agile processes. Rather than rigidly adhering to a predetermined plan, an open-source mindset encourages continuous feedback, learning, and adaptation. This approach enables organizations to respond swiftly to challenges and seize new opportunities as they arise. By embracing flexibility and agility, leaders can navigate complex implementation landscapes and ensure that decisions evolve to meet changing needs and circumstances.
  • Transparent communication: an open-source approach promotes transparent communication and information sharing. This transparency helps employees understand the rationale behind decisions and provides an avenue for voicing concerns or suggesting improvements. Transparent communication fosters trust and empowers employees, creating a more inclusive and engaged work environment.
  • Leveraging collective intelligence: when implementing decisions from an open-source standpoint, organizations can tap into the collective intelligence of their workforce. Employees become active contributors, sharing their expertise, insights, and ideas. This collaborative effort enables organizations to leverage the diverse skill sets and knowledge of their employees, leading to innovative and sustainable solutions.
  • Encouraging innovation and learning: open-source implementation fosters an environment that encourages experimentation and learning. Employees are empowered to explore new approaches, learn from their successes and failures, and share their findings with others. This culture of innovation fuels organizational growth and adaptability, helping companies stay ahead in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

By empowering employees and valuing their contributions, leaders tap into a wealth of diverse perspectives, enhance employee buy-in, and foster a sense of ownership over the outcomes. Additionally, embracing open-source principles during the implementation phase enables organizations to leverage the collective intelligence of their workforce, promote collaboration, and drive iterative, agile, and scalable change initiatives. More inclusive change strategies can ensure better speed at which change is implemented. But increasingly involving employees in both the decision and the implementation process requires a mindset where leaders move away from directing change to instead focus on finding the best ways to keep their employees accountable of change implementation. 

Potential uses of ChatGPT for Change Management and Strategy Work


With all the hype going on, we couldn’t resist the temptation of asking ourselves what could we here at 8008.Agency - or our colleagues in management consulting - do with ChatGPT. How could we use it and would it benefit our clients? Let’s take a look at our main services and see. 

Strategy creation and implementation

Any strategy related tasks out there that ChatGPT can help with? 

Short answer: Potentially, yes.

ChatGPT has the potential to automate many of the steps in the strategy creation process. This can (potentially) save organizations time and money, as well as free up resources for other tasks. ChatGPT could use its AI capabilities to suggest strategies based on data from past successes and failures, which could (potentially) help organizations develop a more effective strategy. 

According to itself, ChatGPT can: 

  • Define goals and objectives by analyzing data such as customer needs, industry trends, and competitive landscape -
  • Analyze market conditions and identify opportunities and threats (as a side note, how relevant are the above, when the data it currently has access to is capped at 2021?)

  • Identify the target audiences and their associated characteristics.
  • Generate lists of strategies and tactics 
  • Put together a plan that outlines the steps necessary to execute the strategy. 
  • Monitor and adjust the strategy (how could this happen? maybe when a human would re-input the fresh data and the older strategy, just maybe something new will return).

Why just ‘potentially’?

ChatGPT can not provide the same level of insight as experienced strategy people. Furthermore, the AI capabilities of ChatGPT may not be able to accurately assess the environment and market conditions that could affect the success of a strategy. Finally, ChatGPT does not have the ability to assess the human factor, such as the impact of human behaviour or preferences, which is critical in the success of any strategy.

What is it about specific or complex advice about strategy creation and implementation that should not be given into the hands of ChatGPT?

ChatGPT will encounter limitations when it comes to providing more specific or complex advice about strategy creation. It uses natural language processing to understand user input only, which means it can’t provide detailed, specific advice on how to create a strategy. Additionally, ChatGPT can only provide information based on the information it has received from its users, so it may not be able to provide advice on strategies that are outside of its current knowledge.

Moving on, when it comes to implementation, one cannot (one can, but should not) trust ChatGPT with an ability to provide guidance on the complexities of strategy implementation. First-hand limitations here are: it can’t provide advice on the timing of various tasks, the resources needed to complete them, the potential risks associated with them, or the best approach to overcoming them. What is more, there will be no insight provided into how various stakeholders may respond to the implementation of a specific strategy. So if you want to use it, you will be better served employing it as a tool for the content of a strategy, rather than the implementation of it.

How about change management?

Change management has a lot to do with understanding context and nuance, arguably one of the worst places to be for ChatGPT. This is one place to not look for guidance as of how to implement change or how to manage the transition. ChatGPT. will have nothing to say about how to handle resistance to change or how to ensure that change is successful. And obviously, ChatGPT cannot develop the relationships and trust necessary to ensure successful change management, because of lack of human insight (obviously), reduced engagement capabilities, no cultural sensitivity and an inability to identify unforeseen challenges.

Cultural change processes? Forget about those

ChatGPT cannot provide understanding of what is important to a particular culture, or develop new values and norms that could be accepted within that culture; or help with conflict resolution; or empathize and understand the nuances of a conflict that a human can, and consequently provide the same level of resolution. Neither can it do any of the community building work, as it has nothing to say when it comes to the connection and understanding between members of a community. However, even in the absence of such an understanding, it could mediate conflicts with some success based on the available literature.

Leadership then? I guess you can see what’s coming

  • Making decisions about organizational restructuring: that is difficult to do when one cannot assess the complex dynamics of an organization, its culture, and the potential impact of any changes. 
  • Developing a shared vision and strategic plan: this is not possible without capturing the nuances of human emotion, essential to fostering commitment and alignment. 
  • Managing resistance to change: to begin with, ChatGPT can’t read and interpret body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to understand how people are responding to the proposed change. 
  • Coaching and developing people: unlikely to happen in a personalized way, with the  tailored advice and support that people need in order to develop and grow.

How about communication? ChatGPT is, after all, a conversational agent.

ChatGPT is suited for general conversation and small tasks. It can be used to provide customer support, answer FAQs, or provide basic information. As we've already witnessed, it can very well be used for automating certain tasks in a customer service journey: it can engage and interact with customers and provide support and guidance.

But because ChatGPT is unable to properly determine the context of complex conversations, the more complex the communicational setting, the more difficult it will be for it to provide accurate responses. It cannot understand the nuances of human language, which makes interpreting the intentions behind a conversation well... difficult. Staying on the complexity variable, it cannot take into account a variety of perspectives and ideas, and at this moment neither can it fathom ideas which may me outside of its pre-defined parameters. So creative solutions to complex problems are a limit here, which is where humans still shine,

All throughout this article I felt you are not completely embracing ChatGPT - why is that?

It’s not it, it’s us.

‘The saddest aspect of life right now is that science 
gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.’
-Isaac Asimov

ChatGPT is ok as long as we are all on the same page with what it is, can do and can’t do. But where and when has it ever been the case that everyone agreed on subjects like this? 

Very importantly, all that is above described as having the potential of going wrong is based on the optimistic assumption that ChatGPT uses  accurate data, written by humans. And this in itself becomes a huge leap of faith with every passing day given the proliferation of fake social media accounts and inaccurate or even fake facts/samples of writing actually created by AI chatbots rather than humans. ‘Garbage in, garbage out’ you never get old!

What we find a bit tricky here is people, not ChatGPT. Some people may end up believing that ChatGPT can substitute humans in a conversation because of its seemingly meaningful way in which it can use natural language processing and artificial intelligence algorithms to interpret complex conversations and respond. 

But how it actually works is that it constructs a sentence word by word, selecting the most likely term that should come next, based on its training. The way that it reaches an answer comes after elaborate guessing. It is because of this feature that it can argue incorrect or nonsensical answers as if they were true, in a "hallucination" of fact and fiction, as some scientists call it.

A major caveat lies in our capacity to develop and deploy ChatGPT responsibly and with the purpose of enhancing our well-being. And to once again escape an innate tendency of humans, of seeking to attribute human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities.