Friday, April 17, 2009

Are There Good Reasons to Resist Change?

We have all seen good changes and bad changes before. We have seen them at work, at home, and out in the world at large. We've seen changes that appeared good at first, turn out to be bad later and vice-versa.

So what should people do when they see bad change coming their way? Should they just let it happen? or should they make their concerns known? If they are forceful in making their themselves heard, will their actions get labeled as "resistance to change"? Will this "resistance" then be seen as a negative trait of human nature and therefore something that must be overcome? Or will their concerns be taken seriously and viewed as issues to be resolved?

article - "Resistance to Change - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Attacking Implementation Resource Bottlenecks

Major change initiatives are often supported by many people who already have full time jobs. This can make it difficult to come up with enough resource hours to get the job done.

If you look closely, you often see "project leaders" are the bottleneck. One tactic for getting more done is to widen this common pinch-point by finding more of these leaders. You can do this by creating an environment where people feel safe exploring "widening boundaries of accountability". Done properly, "hidden leaders" nearly always emerge. These strong players end up providing much of the additional horsepower needed to be successful, and, as a bonus, they don't go back into hiding after your initiative is complete. Instead, they become key components of your organization's increased capability to implement change from that point forward.

article - "Getting More Done ..."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Practical Approach for Large Scale Performance Improvement

Executive strategies require a journey to a rumored destination.

The rumors almost always turn out to be true, if the organization successfully navigates the trip; too often though, the expedition falls short of the goal, or ends up someplace else.

Five stages of deployment will ensure safe arrival at the desired location.

  1. exploration - if we are going on a trip, what's it's going to be like out there?

  2. discovery - what benefits can can we expect to gain for our trouble?

  3. expedition - how will we get the entire crew there safe and sound?

  4. settlement - can we get everybody settled-in so they don't want to go back?

  5. evolution - now that we have arrived, where can we go from here?
As the questions above are answered, the strategy itself becomes better informed and more precise.

The hoshin kanri / strategy deployment process acts as a guide map for organizations blazing new ground

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why so much trouble with partial implementations? What can be done?

Studies repeatedly show major change initiatives frequently don't fully deliver the expected results. Surveys indicate "partial implementation of change" as a common contributing cause of this widespread problem.

Here's one take on why this is so:

Most major initiatives slow or stall during implementation. This is caused, in large part, when "change leaders" move on to their next objective before the work is complete. This is understandable - these leaders are often problem solving and process design experts whose skills are in high demand. Once they have made their valuable contribution to the effort, others can handle the drudgery of implementation.

Unfortunately, implementation is often where many issues are uncovered - issues requiring dedicated expertise to resolve properly.

Here's what can be done to keep it from happening to you:

  1. Identify the project finishers on your cross-functional teams right from the start. Choose these key players based on their previous performance in a similar role - it takes a certain stick-to-it-iveness to do “finishing” work. Include “front-line” people - they know they have to live with the changes and will be motivated to get it right.

  2. Audit and verify changes for completeness and effectiveness through observation, measurement, and, most importantly by talking things over with those whose work has been impacted. Do they think the changes are working? Have they noticed problems? Do they have concerns?

  3. Once your implementation is well under way, hopefully you'll be seeing measurable benefits. If so, to prevent backsliding, put an easy-to-use metric in place to identify a future slip in performance. Place it in regular view of a person with the authority and incentive to make the changes stick. Make sure this person agrees to perform this role.
In my experience, following these guidelines makes the implementation of sustainable change easier and less stressful.