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How to Use Leavitt’s Diamond to Achieve Change
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“The only thing that is constant is Change.” – Heraclitus
An epidemic of change is happening globally–reengineering, restructuring, and revamping! Workplaces seem to be launching one change initiative after another. Digital Transformation is happening everywhere. Yet, the hard truth is that many change initiatives fail.
Change Management initiatives fail because of the way organizations view change. Often, change is seen as an isolated process. Organizations tend to focus on only one part of the organization in isolation. This can be a fatal error.
Everything in an organization is connected, and changing one piece can impact another. Hence change can only be successful if all interconnected pieces are considered. In 1965, Harold J. Leavitt designed an integrated approach to change, the Leavitt’s Diamond.
What is Leavitt’s Diamond?
Leavitt’s Diamond is a framework for understanding the connection between the key factors in an organization, and building an integrated change strategy. This is an essential element in Strategy Development.
The Structure, Tasks, People, and Technology are the 4 essential components of the Leavitt’s Diamond.
- Structure – The Structure refers to the organization’s hierarchical buildup and the layout of the various departments. However, this is not limited to its hierarchical buildup. It can also refer to the mutual relations that exist between departments and employees, the coordination between various levels of management, and the communication patterns.
- Tasks – The Tasks refers to the functions individual employees are assigned within their jobs. This relates closely to the organization’s goals on the strategic, tactical, and operational levels.
- People – These are your people – your staff, your employees. Beyond its physical countdown, this component also refers to all skills, competence, knowledge, and efficiency that employees bring to the organization.
- Technology – Technology refers to the upgraded machines and devices, as well as systems and software applications that build up the performance of tasks within an organization.
Between these 4 components, there must be the right balance. Only then can change be successfully implemented.
From the Drawing Board to the Ground Running
Having a good understanding of the Leavitt’s Diamond is important for organizations. However, the most critical is having it on the ground running. Each of the components must be identified, defined, and determined–your main tasks, your people, your tasks, and structure.
This is critical because you are building a basic framework for starting the change model. Without the right balance of Structure, People, Tasks, and Technology, the Business Transformation necessary will never occur.
Organizations must also take note that a primary change will always have an impact on each of the 4 components. A change in one component comes with changes in other components of the Leavitt’s Diamond. When this happens, there is a need for necessary adjustments.
Taking The Impact of Change on Tasks As an Example
- Change in People Component: Training or specific hiring policy can change staff and employees’ knowledge and expertise.
- What is the impact on Tasks? There is a change in individual tasks within the employees’ job.
- Change in Structure Component: Restructuring of departments, change in the arrangement of job positions, or even reorganization.
- What is the impact on Tasks? A different way of working is expected from employees to include different ad/or additional tasks.
This is also expected when there is a change in Technology and a corresponding impact on Tasks. Organizations must need to take note that changes in any component must be aligned with changes in other components. Again, there must be a balance for Leavitt’s Diamond Change Model to succeed.
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"The only constant in life is change." – Heraclitus
Such is true for life, as it is for business. The entire ecosystem our organization operates in—our customers, competitors, suppliers, partners, the company itself, etc.—is constantly changing and evolving. Change can be driven by emerging technology, regulation, leadership change, crisis, changing consumer behavior, new business entrants, M&A activity, organizational restructuring, and so forth.
Thus, the understanding of, dealing with, and mastery of the Change Management process is one of the most critical capabilities for our organization to develop. Excellence in Change Management should be viewed as a source of Competitive Advantage.
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About Joseph RobinsonJoseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is the marketplace for best practices in business management. Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. The documents at Flevy (https://flevy.com) are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Flevy covers 200+ management topics, ranging from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.
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