Friday, 8 September 2017

Thriving on the challenges of change is a process, not something you can manage

Change management in my view, like strategic planning, is an oxymoron.

Change initiatives are highly successful when leadership (both as something we do for other people as well as for ourselves) and management, are thought about and acted on in partnership rather than as the one discipline.

People everywhere confuse strategy and planning, two completely different disciplines.  Think about the two together at your peril.  Strategy is about how and planning about execution, who will do what and when. The consequences of confusing the two, or thinking about the two at the same time, are usually that great strategies never see the light of day, they get buried in massive documents that just gather dust, or worse, great strategies never get executed.

Confuse change and management or think about the two at the same time and likely that you will suffer a similar fate, what you want to change, won’t.

Thriving on the challenges of change is about primarily about leadership.  Leadership as John Maxwell has observed is “about influence, nothing more, nothing less.”

I define leadership as the art of ensuring people feel valued.

Leadership falters and usually badly, without management.

I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to deliver value.

Leadership and management are two of the seven essentials of remarkable workplaces:


Change like people can’t be managed.  What we can do is manage the systems and processes that will help us to bring about the change/s we are leading.

You need a change process not a change program

Please consider carefully my 13 reasons why most change initiatives fail:

#1. The people charged with making the change happen don’t really believe in it and therefore their work is half-hearted at best

#2. The change program is designed to take too long and the status quo wins

#3. The expectations are unrealistic

#4. People are not genuinely appreciated when they do well

#5. People are not held to account when they fail to perform as they agreed they would

#6. Measurements of progress are poor or non-existent

#7. Desired change is actually problem solving which usually means a return to the status quo rather than real innovation

#8. Intentions, emotions, and thinking doesn’t change and therefore any behaviour change that may happen doesn’t last

#9. There isn’t a real shared-view about why the change is crucial/essential

#10. There isn’t a real shared-view on how the change will happen and who will do what, and when

#11. Leaders don’t understand all change is personal first, relationships second, and organisations third

#12. Leaders don’t personally change

#13. Broken relationships remain broken.

Would you add any my list?

To thrive on the challenge of change co-create a change process

The change process below is the one I use initially in work with my clients. My objective is always to help my clients to co-create their own process with employees, thereby guaranteeing innovation and ownership.

I am deeply indebted to the work of many people who use the concept of Appreciative Inquiry, the work of Duarte, and to my Grandfather Sherriff for teaching me the law of the farm.

The fertile ground is Appreciating what is (the remarkable, the great, the good, and the bad and the ugly).

The better you Appreciate what is, the more fully you can Imagine what can be (the ploughing).

Clarity around what can be enables precise planning around the tiny shifts (Quantum leaps - the seeding) that you will take to move from what is to what can be.


Leaping (the nurturing) leads to the harvest of positive momentum, which is the key to achieving better business results, at less personal cost.

Inside The Appreciative Leader handbook are considerations and possible actions you can take to co-create and implement a change process for your business. You'll never need to think about a change program ever again.

Find out more about the handbook, and the associated companion resources web page and private online community here.

At the companion resources web page via the above link you’ll see examples of specific actions.

Who will you become? 

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

PS I’m very grateful to the work of John Kotter on leading change. For many years while developing the Appreciate - Imagine - Create - Leap - Momentum process I used in my own best way his 8 steps process in my work with many clients.

There’s an excellent ebook about Kotter’s 8 steps here. 

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
John Lennon

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
Charles Darwin
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