Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 -2012 : Models of Change

Models of Change

It is not the strongest of the species that survive,
Nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
--------Charles Darwin

The voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new horizons but in seeing with new eyes.
---------Marcel Proust

Reinvention, learning organizations, audacious goals, revolution, quantum change, total quality management, breakthrough thinking, horizontal organization, stretch goals, Lean Six Sigma- you can probably attach a prominent scholar’s name to each of these well-recognized change initiatives that at one time or another were the darlings of change management professionals. All displayed some success. Some demonstrated more results than others.

Two keys to success are important for all change efforts:
1.You need to have a plan. The plan must translate the concepts into concrete steps so that employees can implement them.

2.You need to carry out the plan-all of it. Carrying out the plan requires getting everyone involved who has a stake in the change.

So you must plan the work and work the plan.

Theories, Strategies and Models: When people are trained only in techniques, without understanding the theory behind them, they have difficulty applying them to anything beyond a specific situation. The variables that contribute to change management are too complex to remember a few techniques that apply to any change situation. Therefore, it is important to learn more about the theories, models, and strategies that drive your efforts.

Ethical Considerations: One of the trends shaping the workplace learning and performance profession cited in the ASTD Competency Study is a “ higher ethical bar.” Organizational leaders are paying more attention to organizational ethics, including the behaviors required when implementing a change effort. Accepting the responsibility- whether from the perspective of a leader, change agent, or even external consultant- to act in the best interest of the organization and its workforce is so fundamental that we may not even think about it.

Organizational codes of ethics and professional codes of conduct provide framework to help you determine what is important to consider. You may have your own code of ethics, but it is important to note that ethical statements are not meant to be an individual statement but rather a collective declaration. If your organization professes a code of ethics, revist it before begining an organizational change initiative. Remind all leaders and change agents involved what the organization stands for.

Overview of the CHANGE Model:- The CHANGE Model consists of six steps. Each step requires completing distinct and specific tasks, yet as in all models there is also overlap among the steps. Change is rarely as nice, neat, and linear a process as is presented in this model. Of course, change is led by people and is conducted by people; and people must ultimately change for an organization to change. It is this aspect of “people” that makes change not only exciting but also unpredictable.

The CHANGE Model provides a process that can be used to facilitate an organization through a change effort. Change comes in many formats : developmental change, transformational change and opportunistic change. Change may be large or small. The CHANGE Model is generic and may be used with any type of change intervention including structural, process, cultural, mergers and acquisitions, growth, downsizing, cost cutting, and others. Each step present tools and techniques that will help you hone your skills as a change agent or change leader.

The CHANGE Model consists of six steps:-
1.Challenge the current state
2.Harmonize and align leadership
3.Activate Commitment
4.Nurture and formalize a design
5.Guide Implementation
6.Evaluate and institutionalize the change

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010: What will be the Patterns and their Implications ?

Diminishing Fear : Unravel all your mixed messages

Fear somehow touches almost every aspect of our lives. It is woven invisibly into the fabric of our existence and often sets into motion a chain of reactions and circumstances.

As leaders we need to ensure that fear does not consume our workplaces and degrade the performance of our people. The key to reducing fear at work is direct and clear communication that eliminates mixed messages- the catalytic driver of fear.

Communicative people are less fearful and more secure because they know where they stand. They are less afraid to ask the awkward questions and less intimidated to have difficult conversations. They know that meta-messages live inside of every communication, and they strive to create clarity and understanding.

For example, if you seek new business, you may fail to keep your team in the loop. As time passes, you leave your team without a leader. Soon your people feel disconnected from your activities. Worst-case scenarios seem to be whispered, and one-on-one side conversations echo the halls.

As a result, fear starts to dominate your team. It shows up as people start distrusting your leadership capability, turning to other leaders outside the team for advice and information, creating concentric circles of communication with others, and building mountains out of molehills.

Our sense of security and well being are profoundly affected by how well we are kept in the vital loop, how well our leaders interpret and integrate the dynamics and complexities of workplace life for us.

Tips for leaders:

How can you as a leader build an environment where people feel safe? Mixed messages cause employees to retreat into fear. For example, when you say you care about keeping people in the loop, yet fail to do so, you send meta-messages. When you talk with employees and give directives, but do not ask questions to clarify understanding, you set the context for mixed messages. Inevitably employees will think one thing while you say something else, and confusion will result.
Mixed messages create a metaphorical moat. We don’t know which side of the river we are standing on, and without the security of knowing where we stand, we can’t do our best.

Instead of allowing mixed-messages and worst-case scenarios to take over, set the context for inclusion:

1.Don’t be afraid to stand up for your people.

2.Keep an open mind even if you disagree with what is being said.

3.Respond rather than react.

4.Accept responsibility for the impact of the way you are communicating.

5.Don’t be a people pleaser.

Action : Turn down fear and turn up clarity.

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010: What will be the Patterns and their Implications ?

CEO as a Strategist : Become the Guardian of all trade-offs

Great Strategies are causes, and the Chief Executives has to lead the cause and be the Chief Strategist.

The notion of empowerment of pushing down and getting many people involved, is important, but empowerment and involvement don’t apply to the ultimate act of choice. Strong leaders make choices and define the trade-offs.

The leader has to be the guardian of trade-offs. Thousands of ideas pour in every day : from employees with suggestions, from customers asking for things, from suppliers trying to sell things. There’s all this input, and 99 percent of it is inconsistent with the strategy.

A leader also ensures that everyone understands the strategy. Strategy is not some mystical vision that only the people at the top understand. That notion violates the primary purpose of a strategy- to inform each of the thousands of things that get done every day, and to ensure that those things are all aligned in the same direction.

If people don’t know how their company is different-how it creates value compared to its rivals-then how can they possibly make all of the myriad choices they have to make? Salesmen need to know the strategy; otherwise, they won’t know who to call on. Engineers must understand it, or they won’t know what to build.

The best CEOs are teachers of strategy. They go to employees, suppliers, and customers and say, “ This is what we stand for, “ until everyone gets it. In great companies, strategy becomes a cause. Strategy is about being different.

Executing Strategy:

The myriad activities that go into creating, producing, selling and delivering a product or service are the basic units of competitive advantage. Operational effectiveness means performing these activities better-faster, or with fewer inputs and defects- than rivals.

Companies can reap enormous advantages from operational effectiveness, as firms demonstrated with total quality management. But best practices are easily emulated. As competitors adopt them, the productivity frontier- the maximum value a company can deliver at a given cost, given the best available technology, skills, and management techniques-shifts outward, lowering costs and improving value at the same time. Such competition produces absolute improvement in operational effectiveness, but relative improvement for no one. And the more benchmarking the companies do, the more competitive convergence you have-the more indistinguishable companies are from one another.

Strategic positioning achieves sustainable competitive advantage by preserving what is distinctive about a company. It means performing different activities from rivals, or performing similar activities in different ways.

Three key principals underlie strategic positioning :

1.Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different
set of activities.

2.Strategy requires you to make trade-offs-to choose what not to do.

3.Strategy involves creating the right “fit”.

People need guidance about how to deepen a strategic position rather than broaden or compromise it; and how to extend the company’s uniqueness while strengthening the fit among its activities. Deciding which target group of customers and needs to serve requires discipline, the ability to set limits, and forthright communication. Strategy and leadership are inextricably linked.

Friday, October 1, 2010

2010: What will be the Patterns and their Implications ?

Unleashing the Power of Human Capital

The Key to Invention lives within the power of our imaginings. No one person develops anything completely on his or her own; however, a great leader stands out in front pointing to an impossible goal and helps motivate and guide others to make that goal a reality.

As leader your job is to ask questions no one else will ask, look into places no one else will look, and point the way that no one else can see. You have to Break OUT.

Most people are locked up in a prison of our own making. Most of us don’t know that we’re in this prison because it consists of the boundaries and limitations we choose to place on ourselves and our lives. These choices, conscious or not, impact everything that we do ( and don’t do)- how we think, behave, act and react.

Through experience we gain knowledge. This knowledge becomes so much part of our thinking that it grows to be “natural” or “automatic” behavior. “Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them,” said Alfred North Whitehead.

Our experiences teach us that certain things are true and natural. So, we come to expect them. These thoughts are called premature cognitive commitments ( PCCs). We know what we know based on past experience, and it affects our current behavior. PCCs help us live out our daily lives automatically, without starting from scratch every day. Naturally, by basing our actions on past experiences, we limit ourselves to only what we have done before. This is where the prison comes in. Our prison of past experience limits us as to what we “think” we can do.

PCCs exist within individuals and groups. Why do companies go out of business? Why don’t they just switch from one thing to another? They don’t because the prison of what they have always traps them. The “Break –OUT” idea to switch from what they have always done to something new isn’t perceived as a “realistic” option. So, despite all their efforts, they go out of business- they fall victim to their premature cognitive commitments.

But some organizations do Break-OUT of their PCC prisons. It is said that change happens when you either “feel the heat or see the light.”

How You can Break-OUT

Here are some do’s and don’ts:

1.Don’t Rely on Benchmarking
2.Forget about them- know yourself
3.Turn down the volume to pump up
4.Map from “A” to Break OUT
5.Use high-octane 80/20 fuel

We encourage you to think big. BreakOUT is risky. It takes courage and an open mind. In mapping BreakOUT, it is easy to get stuck in incremental change- taking baby steps toward your goals instead of reaching for the stars.

Don’t limit yourself. You can change transformationally and unleash the power of people-setting then free to soar to new heights.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

2010: What will be the patterns and their implications ?

Self Leadership : Few People Manage their lives and Careers well

The Failure Rate of Executives points in the same direction: Each executive is picked for proven competence and has been highly successful in previous jobs. This suggests that either their jobs have become undoable (systems failure) or they have lost the ability to self manage.

All of us, even those of us with modest talents, must learn to manage ourselves, develop ourselves, and place ourselves where we can make the greatest contribution. Great achievers always manage themselves. But they are rare exceptions, so unusual both in their talents and accomplishments as to be considered extraordinary.

Now we all must stay mentally alert and engaged during a long working life, which means knowing how and when to change the work we do.

I invite you to ask seven questions :

1.What are my Strengths?

Most people think they know their strengths. They are usually wrong. Often people know what they are not good at. Yet, a person can perform only from strength. You can’t build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something you can’t do. You need to know your strengths to know where you belong. It is also essential to remedy your bad habits- things you do or fail to do that inhibit your effectiveness and performance. Comparing your exceptions with your results indicates what not to do.

In areas where you have no talent or skill, you should not take on work, jobs, and assignments. It takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.

2.How do I best perform ?

Few people know how they get things done. Indeed, most of us do not even know that different people work and perform differently. Too many people work in ways that are not their ways- and that almost guarantees nonperformance. For Knowledge workers, How do I Perform ? May be a more important question that What are my Strengths ?

3.What are My Values ?

This is not a question of ethics. With respect to ethics, the rules are the same
for everybody, and the test is simply to ask yourself, “What kind of person
do I want to see in the mirror ? “ But ethics are only part of a value system.
To work where the value system is unacceptable or incompatible with your own condemns you both to frustration and nonperformance. To be effective, your values must be compatible with the organization’s values. Your strengths and the way that you perform rarely conflict; however, there may be a conflict between your values and your strengths. What you do well may not fit with your value system. In that case, the work may not appear to be worth devoting your life to. Values should be the ultimate test.

4.Where Do I Belong ?

Some people know early where they belong, but most people do not know where they belong until they are well past their mid-twenties. By that time, however, they should know the answers to the three questions: What are my
Strengths? How do I perform ? what are my values? And then they should decide where they belong. If you have learned that you don’t perform well in a big organization, you should not work in one. Knowing where you belong enables you to say to an offer or assignment, “ Yes, I will do that.” Knowing where you belong transforms you into an out-standing performer.

5.What should I Contribute?

Today you may have to ask, what should my contribution be? To answer this question, you must address three elements: What does the situation require ?
Given my strengths, performance style, and values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done? What results have to be achieved to make a difference? Since it is rarely fruitful to look too far ahead, ask, ”How can I achieve results that will make a difference within 18 months?” The results should be hard to achieve- they should require ”stretching”, but be within reach. The results should be meaningful, visible, and measurable. From this will come a course of action: what to do, where and how to start, and what goals and deadlines to set.

6.Am I responsible for relationships ?

Managing yourself requires taking responsibility for relationships. This has two parts. First, you have to know the strengths, performance modes, and values of your co-workers and boss. Second, you need to communicate effectively. Most conflicts arise from not knowing what other people are doing and how they are making, and what results they expect. They have never asked or been told.

7.What will I do next ?

Today managing yourself often leads to a second career. You may start one in a different line of work, or develop a parallel career on the side. Few people manage the second half of their lives well. Most just “retire early on the job.” But men and women who see a long working-life expectancy as an opportunity both for themselves and for society will become leaders. Since you can expect to experience setbacks, having a second interest is vital.

Managing yourself well, demands that you think and behave like a CEO.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

2010: What will be the Patterns and their Implications ?

It’s what makes you unique and gives you advantage : Strategy

Strategy is not aspiration, action, deals, importance, vision, mission, learning, values, change, agility, growth, price, best practices, operations, acquisitions, or structure.

Strategy is what makes you unique, gives you a distinct competitive advantage, provides direction, builds brand reputation, sets the right goals, add superior performance, defines a market position and creates a unique value proposition. In formulating strategy, you have to choose what to do (and what not to do), what customers to serve, and what needs to meet at what price. Strategy often requires a different value chain with reinforcing structure and sustaining systems.

Barriers to strategy include capital markets with the prevailing emphasis on shareholder value, growth goals, development deals, wrong goals, wrong performance metrics, and cost accounting. Develop strategy to establish a unique market position and gain a competitive advantage.

Strategic growth is about becoming more distinctive, expanding geography, hiring the right people, and heading in the right direction.

Friday, July 2, 2010

2010: What will be the patterns and their implications ?

Do you have the Courage to Ask ? Ask, “ What needs to be done?”

Peter Drucker onced Remarked, “ The leader of the past knew how to tell; the leader of the future will know how to ask.”

Why is asking so important ? Today all leaders manage knowledge workers. It is hard to tell people what to do and how to do it when they already know more than we do! Today, we need to ask, “ What needs to be done?” listen, and learn from everyone.

Leaders who ask co-workers for suggestions, listen to them, learn from them, and consistently follow-up, are seen as more effective. Similarly, customer satisfaction goes up when service reps ask, listen, learn, and follow-up. When people ask us for input, listen to us, learn from us, and follow-up, our relationship with them improves. If this is so obvious, why don’t we do it ?

As a rule, leaders don’t ask ! One reason is an inflated ego. When I ask leaders to rate themselves relative to their peers, about 85 percent of them rank themselves in the top 20 percent ! And the performance of the company has little to do with their assessment.

When we succeed, we tend to attribute good results to our own motivation and ability and attribute poor results to environmental factors bad luck, or random chance.

When we over-rate our own performance and knowledge, we easily justify not asking others for their input.

However, the main reason why we don’t ask is fear. I once asked a VP of Customer Satisfaction, “ Should your employees be asking their key customers for feedback- and then listening, learning, and following-up to ensure service keeps getting better?”

“Of Course!” he exclaimed.

“If you believe in asking so much, why don’t you do it?” I inquired.

“ Because I am afraid of the answers, “ he ruefully admitted.

We don’t ask because, deep down inside, we are afraid of the answers.

My Suggestions:

As a leader, start asking key co-workers for their ideas on what needs to be done. Thank them for their input, listen to them, learn as much as you can, incorporate the ideas that make the most sense and follow-up.

As a Coach, encourage the people that you are coaching to ask, listen and learn from everyone around them. Be a great role model, then ask the people you coach to learn in the same way.

Improving interpersonal relationships doesn’t have to take a lot of your time. It does require having the courage to ask for people’s opinions and the discipline to follow-up and do something about what you learn. Who do you need to ask, “ What needs to be done?” When are you going to start asking?