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The Challenge of Diffusion

Good morning.  I want to begin with a little housekeeping. This week’s edition of the TLS Continuum Toolbox newsletter represent edition 100 We started in November of 2021 with no subscribers and as of this morning we now have 1678 subscribers. Typically, LinkedIn Stats tell me that about a third of you look at the weekly editions and we are appreciative of the fact that our content seems to be resonating with you. Further I need to thank Phil Gerbyshak for the recommendation to start the newsletter in the first place.

When I was looking for the title for this week’s edition, I took the liberty of using the chapter title from Peter Senge’s book, The Dance of Change (highly recommended read). He took nearly 65 pages to describe the challenge, but I am not going to take that much of your time. However, it is a critical issue confronting continuous process improvement.

Let me give you a dose of reality to describe our concern. As can be seen in the footnote we offer a 21-hour seminar leading to certification as a six-sigma yellow belt. It is probably the only if not one of the few programs of its kind that is written and facilitated by an HR professional. One of the participants did a wonderful job implementing what she learned in class to her organization with tremendous results (Her efforts are presented as a case study in our book the Field Guide to Achieving HR Excellence through Six Sigma). I was reminded sometime after class that I failed in my message. She turned to me and stated that the class was excellent, but when it came to working on problems out of human capital management, she did not know what to do. This is the challenge of diffusion.

The Challenge of Diffusion is not a human capital management issue. It is an organizational wide issue. Our efforts are not problem-solving issues, they are organizational development issues and as a result it must weave tis way through the total organization. Your CEO deals with this issue every day. Your organizational governance deals with this issue every day. Your stakeholders deal with this issue every day. What is the issue then?

The challenge of diffusion is the search for an answer on how to get our organizational development efforts to become the corporate mantra. It is the challenge to create a new corporate culture after the change imitative is completed. It means that every aspect of the organization is involved. The question is how do we respond to the challenge?

Strategy 1: The first goal is to change the organizational governance from top-down to one that is decentralized.  Let the subject matter experts at the front line take the responsibility for making changes to the process. Make it so most decisions can be made at the local level not having to work up the chain of command. If we need to constantly go up to the chain, the chances are that by the time we get a response the time to implement the change may be too late.

Strategy 2: Gain a sense of the spirit of inquiry. I do not care what function or role you are in, you are all human capital SCIENTISTS. Be willing to risk more than other think wise and take the risk to try something new. Added to that your philosophy is that I don’t know what I don’t know. Be willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers. None of us, including me have all the answers.

Strategy 3: Get rid of your assumptions. Do not go into any spirit of inquiry with the attitude that only you can be right. If you do you will fail every time.

Strategy 4: Change the focus. You have a problem within your organization. Don’t bring it up for discussion. This is not my solution vs. their solution. Take the time and effort to enter into a dialogue of the issue. Get everyone’s input o their thoughts regarding the issue at hand. Be open to the value of other ideas and suggestions to find that solution which benefits all parties internally and externally.

Strategy 5: Open the chains of communication.  The key to the challenge of diffusion is transparency. All aspects of the enduring chain must understand what everyone else is doing. Everyone must understand several components of the TLS Continuum. First, we must understand what is in it for me if we make these changes. Second, we must understand what is in it fir the stakeholders. Third, we must understand what it is we are changing. Finally we need to be crystal clear as to what happens if we don’t do anything on the future of our business.

Strategy 6: Change the organizational focus. No matter the size of your organization or the industry you are in your organization is comprised of two interdependent systems. The first is the technical one that represents all your processes. The other system which maybe even more important than the technical side is the socio side. It represents how we integrate the human side of the organization into its decision-making motivation etc.

The challenge of diffusion is an ever-present dilemma for your organization. It is one that we need to work on daily. The solution to the dilemma is the indicator of whether or not we are successful in making the changes that the TLS Continuum tells us is critical for our organizational development and existence.


About the author: Daniel Bloom knows HR and Change Management. He’s a speaker on transformational HR, a strategic HR consultant and trainer. Looking to ways to enhance your vale to your organization? We now offer virtual fully accredited six-sigma yellow belt certification training. Learn more at