Today I read an article by a colleague, Patti Johnson, titled “Why Stepping Back and Making It Simple Solves Everything.” While I do not completely agree with the title, I absolutely do agree with the premise. We need to step back and simplify. While I don’t believe it will solve everything, I do believe it will help – in many ways.
Work, life, business and even relationships have all become increasingly complex. Often times significantly more than they need to be. We work to “manage” life, rather than simply living it.
I believe that there are many drivers for this – some intentional, many unintentional. Most of us do not create complexity “just because,” but as a result of other drivers, including: thoroughness, lack of analysis, focus on the wrong issues, disconnects in strategy, fear of failure, desire to “get it right”, and concern about perceptions, to name just a few.
I could write a bunch of additional words here but in an effort to simplify, I’ll simply leave you with some questions to ask yourself (yes, pun intended). Over the next week ask (possibly repeatedly):
- Why are you doing that task?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Are you seeking to “hear” and understand or are you busy talking?
- What would happen if you didn’t do it (process, task, activity)?
- Is that REALLY what would happen…?
- What can you do to simplify not just your work, but your life?
- Have you sat outside in nature lately, just being present in the world?
- Have you walked barefoot in the grass or on a sandy beach, grounding yourself?
- Do you really need that suit, dress, piece of furniture, car, or is it actually a want?
- How come we often teach children about the differences between want and need but forget it ourselves?
- What does reduce, reuse, recycle really mean to you?
- Could it mean more than that?
- Can you get by with less “stuff”, rather than more?
- What might you get back if you simplified your life?
Simplification isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be darn hard. It can take guts, sweat, a few tears, and facing our own fears. But in the end you might find that you have given yourself something very important. Perhaps a closer connection with yourself, your family or friends, more free time, more money back in your pocket, less stress at work, or even a new respect for nature and the circle of life. You might find a bit more peace in the midst of the chaos we call life.
May you find ways this week, month, and year to simplify your life. I think it’s time to go work on simplifying mine. Peace my friends.
There is a book I was reminded of today, called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarden”. It was a reminder that sometimes it really is the basics that are important.
Most (albiet not all) kindergarteners are taught similar basic rules. They are key ”rules” and “lessons” that are important for working together at school and caring for ourselves.
My pondering today is why does it seem that so many individuals have either forgotten or feel these “rules” no longer apply to them?
Below is a summary.
- Share everything
- Play fair
- Don’t hit people
- Put things back where you found them
- Clean up your own mess
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody
- Wash your hands before you eat
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you
- Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some
- Take a nap every afternoon
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together
- Be aware of wonder
- Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that
- Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we
- And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK
They are so basic, yet so true, in so many areas of life. Just think what might happen if we all worked a little bit harder to remember and follow these “rules.”
It’s about love and caring, equality, taking care of yourself and others. So basic, so true.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The book is by Robert Fulghum You can visit his website at www.robertfulghum.com
Today, it’s short a sweet. 5 Key Questions to ask:
- Are we doing the right things?
- Are we doing them the right way?
- Are we getting them done well?
- Are we getting the benefits?
When the answer to any of these questions is No, the next Key Question is
Sometimes, Why needs to be Why, Why, Why. You need to dig to get to the root problems, issues, and causes, not just the surface symptoms.
Answering each of these questions will take a bit of time and analysis, but the insights can be invaluable.
When looking at personal issues, not business issues, all you need to do is replace the we with I…
Today I read a blog today by a colleague of mine Marta Steele about Successful vs. Unsuccessful People. It got my brain going for a bit and I wanted to share.
My initial reaction was that I really liked the list. The actions on the left, Successful People, seemed to be the “right” actions. It’s how I like to operate. Actions that I would also like to see others take. I’ve included a table below that combines the original list, Marta’s enhancements, and a few others I added.
A few minutes later I noticed something. These are all ways to THINK or BEHAVE. They didn’t really explain WHAT success is. Hum, is that a problem, I wondered?
I also realized that I’ve seen a number of “commercially” successful people – in fact many executives – that constantly demonstrate the behaviors on the right. I started to ask myself the following questions:
- How does success look from the inside?
- How does a successful person perceive their actions?
- How they feel about themselves?
- How might success look from the outside? The tangibles such as job title, house, car and appearance… What about the “intangibles” from the outside? Charisma?
- Does the difference (inside/outside) matter that much?
- Can one be in conflict, feeling internally successful but not externally and vice versa?
- Might those on opposite sides of this list view each other differently?
- How would people who demonstrate behaviors on opposite sides of the list view each other?
- Are individuals on the left more “content” and “happier” than those on the right? My hypothesis is that there is likely a high correlation…
Personally, I try to live on the left side. It “feels” right to me. I believe that operating on the left leads to greater success not only personally but for the broader groups and organizations. I think it also leads to greater personal satisfaction.
Living on the right can bring short-term success, but I’m not sure it is sustainable long-term. When you don’t ”play nice” and aren’t “above board,” others will eventually opt not to play with you. Additionally, while it might bring individual success, it will not bring success to the larger group or organization if everyone behaved this way.
What do you think? How do you define success? What actions do you believe lead to success? Might businesses and organizations operate a bit differently if individuals (especially at the top of the organization) operated on the left rather than the right?
Want to stoke your brain a bit more on the topic of success? You can read more in a prior article, What Does Success Look Like. It might just give you a new perspective.
|Have a sense of gratitude||Have a sense of entitlement|
|Forgive others||Hold a grudge|
|Give other people credit for their victories||Take all the credit of their victories|
|Accept responsibility for their failures||Blame others for their failures|
|Embrace change||Fear change|
|Challenge the norms||Want to keep the sacred cows|
|Operate from a transformational perspective||Operate from a transactional perspective|
|Read everyday||Watch TV everyday|
|Keep a journal||Say they keep a journal but really don’t|
|Talk about ideas||Talk about people|
|Share information and data||Horde information and data|
|Keep an abundance mentality||Hold a scarcity mentality|
|Talk straight||Spin the truth|
|Seek the opinions of those who think differently||Surround themselves with like-mindedness|
|Take the first step to mend a broken relationship||Wait for someone else to apologize first|
|Keep a “to-do/project” list||Fly by the seat of their pants|
|Know when to say no||Are addicted to busyness|
|Keep a “to be” list||Don’t know what they want to be|
|Continuously learn||Think they know it all|
|Evolve||Stay stuck where they are|
|Want others to succeed||Secretly hope others fail|
|Think WE||Think ME|
|Exude joy||Exude anger|
Last year wrote two articles about what Change Management is to me. Click here for a link back to my initial article and here for follow up article where I detailed the the breakdown of my definition. As a refresher, here’s my definition:
Change Management (CM) is:
Moving individuals from where they currently are to where the business needs them to be.
Yep, just fifteen words.
If you are a “Change Management Practitioner,” you are likely aware that there are two emerging international associations representing change management. The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) and the Change Management Institute (CMI).
The ACMP recently released this definition:
- “ACMP defines change management to be the application of knowledge, skills, abilities, methodologies, processes, tools, and techniques to transition an individual or group from a current state to a desired future state, such that the desired outcomes and/or business objectives are achieved. Change management processes, when properly applied, ensure individuals within an organization efficiently and effectively transition through change such that the organization’s goals are realized. Change management is an integral part of the overall change process and ideally begins at the onset of change. ACMP’s definition assumes that the organization has agreed upon the need for change and has identified the nature of the change.”
The Change Management Institute (CMI) does not currently have a formal definition of Change Management, but instead offers a definition of a Change Management Practitioner:
- “A Change Management Practitioner has mastery of the change principles, processes, behaviours and skills necessary to effectively identify, manage, initiate and influence change, and manage and support others through it.”
I don’t know about you, but I get a bit lost in the ACMP definition. While useful, it isn’t something that you could easily state during a conversation with a client, potential client, or during a conversation. I got lost in the details…
For myself, I’ll stick with my 15 word definition for now. I’ve concluded that for me it is really that simple. In part, it’s because I’ve been doing this work for over 20 years. I don’t need the details embedded in my definition of WHAT it is.
To recap, here’s my definition…
Change Management (CM) is:
Moving individuals from where they currently are to where the business needs them to be.
As a refresher for how my definition breaks down…
Moving - implies a state change. It does not talk about the activities or the pace at which the change is done. To me, those are decisions that are made during the architecting and designing stages of the program(s).
- Individuals – implies that the program(s) are focused on individuals and their specific needs. I believe that it is critical to think about the individual’s needs, not just about groups. That does not mean that you cannot group similar people together. That each individual needs their own unique program. What I mean is that you need to conduct your analysis at the individual level. You must ask questions and consider issues from the individual’s viewpoint. Looking at their experiences, not your own or the sponsors.
Where they currently are – this is the current state. As part of that current state, you need to understand the historical situation. Why do people think and behave as they currently do? What past experiences and situations are the drivers for their behaviors? What are the barriers? What conclusions have they reached and why? What are the underlying reasons that the current state exists – the ones that no one wants to talk about? If you don’t understand the drivers, you may overlook critical factors such as social and cultural pressures that may cause the individuals to “norm” back to their current state after a program is executed. I often think about the who, what, what if, when, where, why, why not, how, and how much questions.
Where the business needs them to be – this is the future state. In the end, it really is about what the business needs. In my view, if the focus isn’t on the business needs, the program will miss the mark. Yes, as part of the business needs, you do look at the groups and the individual actions and behaviors. However, you need to look at them within the context of the end goal, the results needed by the business. I like to ask why, why, why at this stage. Drilling down three levels using why can help uncover interesting and pertinent information.
The HOW of Change Management can be complex, exciting, and frustrating, all at once. That’s what makes it so interesting for me. It’s not about just following a formula, process, or checklist, it’s about really understanding at a deep level what the business is trying to accomplish, where the employees are, and how I can help them.
There is an old song that goes like this:
- You’ve got to know when to hold them.
- Know when to fold them.
- Know when to walk away.
- Know when to run.
Sometimes, no matter the metaphorical cards and literal money on the table, the right thing to do is to fold.
If accountability and responsibility do not align with authority and control you will not be able to do what you were hired to do. In this case, you should fold your hand and walk away.
Sometimes you run.
Don’t under estimate how challenging it can be to do this. Expecially when the anticipated income you walk away from is significant.
What does it take?
Trust, Faith, Belief. Trust in yourself, that you are doing the right thing. Faith that there is a better opportunity awaiting you. Belief that the opportunity will find you. You just need to be there to see it.
You won’t be able to play in that new sandbox of opportunity, where authority and accountability are in alignment and you can make a difference, if you are still sitting at the table, playing the old game.
I’ve put my cards down and walked away, can you?
If you find yourself in this situation, remember you have a choice. Find your courage and the Lionheart Inside Yourself, to know when it is the right time to leave that game and find another. I dare you. I double dare you. I double dog dare you.
I had an interesting confluence of events recently, one where I realized how things we say really can live on.
As I referenced a colleague of mine, John Agno in my statement, I sent him a link when Carol’s list came out. John parlayed the statement into his own blog article. Shortly after that, he asked if he could use the quote for the back cover of a book he was working on. Wow, was I surprised. What an honor. Guess that’s one way to get “published” when I’m lagging so far behind in my own writing…
I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing yourself. The better you understand yourself, the more clearly you will be able to see the world around you as your remove the “lenses” through which you view the world. You will be better able to make decisions that take you towards the place you want to be in life, rather than moving you further away.
Hiring a personal coach is a great way to get some help along your personal journey. If you want to hire a coach, I can highly recommend John. I value the discussions we had years ago when he was my coach as well as the one’s we have today.
I was recently reading a blog article titled “Stop with the “vision” stuff.” While the article itself was thought provoking, it was the comment string that I found fascinating. There were so many examples of disconnects between Strategy and Execution. The value of Strategy setting, Mission statements, Visioning, and business concepts such as Manage by Objectives (MBO) has been lost in so many ways.
Any tool or approach can be good or bad, it’s all about how it is executed. In one of the comments the individual was heavily bashing MBO. MBO is not a bad concept – it’s a very valid one. The problem (as can be observed by the story shared by binab&madbadbearbox in the comment thread) is that the Objectives are not always consistent. Add to that, Individual Objectives are not necessarily the same as Business Objectives. The story binab&madbadbearbox shared was an example of the individual in sales driving towards their own personal Objectives, which were not necessarily aligned with the Business Objectives.
You need to know where you are going, what you want to accomplish, how you plan on getting there (yes, having that plan AND adapting it), and then knowing how to measure yourself against that plan. Too often Mission, Vision, and Strategy statements are that, statements. They are created and then set aside. They cease to have any meaning or value. They can have value and should have value. They need to be integrated into the business, used as guideposts.
I net it down to a few simple, yet important concepts:
- Where are you going? – this is your Vision
- What you want to accomplish/Who you want to be – this is your Mission
- How do you plan to get there (high level) – this is your Strategy
- Actions you will take to get there – these are your Tactics
In setting up Synergetic Solutions, I also spent time creating Guiding Principles. These are concepts of regarding how I and my business operate. While the list may not be that long, I spent a considerable amount of time really thinking about these and what they meant for both myself and the business. The value isn’t simply that they exist, but what they mean and how they affect business decision-making on an on-going basis.
I make decisions on a regular basis based on alignment to principles, strategy, and vision. They are all living, breathing concepts, not something written once and ignored.
It’s both Strategy + Execution. Knowing where you want to go, what it will take, and taking actions to get there.
What was fascinating to me is that the song I referenced in the blog, “If Every Day Could be Christmas” is still just as impactful to me, but no longer just to me, to my daughters too. When playing holiday music earlier this week one of my daughters commented on how much she liked that song.
I was also struck by the fact that I still don’t like the concept of New Years Resolutions. They often seem to focus on things that we need to “fix.” I’d rather focus on improving or enhancing, maybe just simply accepting. Why can’t we already be “good enough!”
Last but certainly not least, I still sincerely mean every single one of my wishes. So here it is again, My Wishes now My Wishes for You and Yours.
May you find…
- Moments of Joy during times of Sorrow.
- The strength of Patience in the midst of a Crisis.
- A sense of Peace in the midst of Chaos.
May you see…
- The spark of life in every living thing.
- A silver lining in every stormy cloud.
- A reason to be happy and laugh each and every day.
May you feel…
- A sense of purpose in your life.
- Compassion for those less fortunate than you.
- Love for yourself and from others.
It is my hope and wish for each and every one of you that you find reasons to live joyfully, have many people to love, and share many moments of laughter with others.
My wish and hope is that in 2012 you will come celebrate life with me.
- Make wishes not resolutions.
- Live, love, and laugh out loud. ALOT!
If you can’t some days that’s ok too! Just remember that each day is a new day – you can always start over.
When you need to, get back in bed and get out of the other side. Not just metaphorically, but physically. See if it doesn’t help you change your outlook for the day. You might just start with a laugh. If it’s with me or at me and my ideas, that’s ok.
Laughter, whatever the trigger, will help recalibrate your day. Smiles, Laughter, and Joy are contagious.
It’s my wish that you both find some for yourself and to share it with others (me included). May you find a way for Every Day to be Christmas and for My Wishes to come true.
My best to ALL of you. May you find peace, joy, love and happiness now and forevermore.
Change can happen faster than we think when you connect an inspiring message with a strong medium and engage the heart.
By minute six of this ten minute TEDXSF video I had tears running down my face. Both my mind and heart were engaged and I made some decisions about things to do differently both today and in the future.
This video captures the heart and imagination through the words of a child, time lapse photography (by Louie Schwartzberg), and very powerful words spoken by Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast.
May you find 10 minutes in your busy schedule today to watch this video. May it help you find inspiration, gain a new view of the world, and a sense of gratitude for all we have.
Click here to watch it.
My change? To view the world a bit differently today. To seek ways to continue to capture the sense of thoughtfulness and wonder I feel for the world round me. My on-going action, to revisit this video when I feel the need for a bit of inspiration and help to “stop and smell the roses.”
I recently wrote about how far the Change Management profession has come in Change Management – It’s Come a Long Way Baby!. Now it’s time for the “but” portion. While we have come a long way, we have a ways to go yet. In addition, I’ve seen several negative consequences from the steps we have taken.
“But” #1 – Change Management is much more than a set of tools and templates or a specific methodology. These are good building block but they do not guarantee a solid delivery.
In the prior article I talked about the positive impact of the adoption of a set of CM tools. The “but” is that I also observed large gaps in understanding change fundamentals. I also observed significant gaps in execution ability.
Change Management had been “dumbed down” to focus on Communications and Training. Awareness had been built around the basic concept of Change Management. What was missing was a solid understanding of the nuances of Change Management and the psychology, human behaviors, and neuroscience behind it. There were also significant gaps in understanding when to engage practitioners and how to integrate them effectively into project teams.
Yes, Communications and Training is a portion of Change Management but it that’s not all. Yes, tools are helpful, but they don’t solve problems or drive change by themselves.
“But” #2 – Change Management practitioner is not a one size fits all title. There are a myriad of different skill sets - from beginner to expert. At this same client, individuals who had been through a 3-day Change Management training program were deemed ready to be ”Change Management practitioners,” able to support all the organization’s Change Management needs. While they certainly knew more than they did prior to the 3-day program, it wasn’t enough for them to be able to successfully drive the necessary changes.
But what is Change Management? I’ve been thinking about the analogy that good Change Management is like creating beautiful music.
Tools, templates, and methodologies can be viewed as the notes and musical arrangements. The practitioner as the player. Individual practitioners translate the notes on the page into music for the listener to enjoy. How they sound varies based on the instrument played and the skill of the individual playing.
Some music players have basic training, know the process, and have some technical proficiency but lack artistry. Some musicians may have a high level of artistry in their music without years of training. For them, it’s an innate skill. Others are skilled at more than one instrument.
At my client, the individuals who had been “certified” had learned several musical scores, but did not the practice and experience that they needed to play with the Symphony.
But how do you tell “good” Change Management? Outstanding musicians don’t need the sheets of music in front of it – they know it. That doesn’t mean that they never have the musical score up, but rather they know when they should have it up and when they don’t need it.
Musical virtuosos not only play the notes on the page, they adjust it. They make it “come alive” for those listening.
To further this analogy, the same note, a middle C, sounds different not only based on the instrument played but also a variety of other factors.
The best artists have both form and function. Lessons, practice, experience and artistry – some artistry taught while another portion innate. They “feel it” and sense it. They make adjustments as they play. The make adjustments based on the instrument they are playing and the environment they are playing in (e.g., a room or music hall). They move to different locations on the stage, sit or stand, and wear different attire depending on what emotions, messages, and originality they want to convey. They adjust their playing based on who is listening, what they are playing, where they are playing, and why they are performing.
Those that are at the top of their game, the virtuosos, fine-tune their performance based all the factors above. Each performance is unique, never to be duplicated. It can’t be. This variation is not bad, it simply is a result of both experience and the dynamics of the situation.
Sometimes the differences are based on whether the artist is “on” that night or not. Sometimes the differences are driven by external factors that the artist has no control over. Cell phone interruption can’t be blamed on the performer… All performances might be outstanding, but it is likely that some are slightly better than others. Which was better often depend on the individual listening.
A single performance is heard and interpreted differently by the various audience members. This variation comes from differences in expectations, their backgrounds, their individual musical ability and even their individual moods.
It’s also about two sides of the situation - the person playing and the person listening. A person who is tone deaf won’t notice the missed notes and errors as much as an individual with perfect pitch.
Value how far we have come, but don’t but understand we have a long way to go.
- “Certification” does not mean the individual is a skill musician. Notes and musical scores by themselves are simply not enough.
- Change Management practitioner is not a one size fits all title. There are different levels of skills from beginner to virtuoso.
- Not everyone playing is an artist - some are just learning the notes.
Great music is often difficult to describe, but you know it when you hear it. The same goes for great Change Management practitioners and their efforts. They might be on a street corner or playing in a music hall. They might be chatting in Linked In or doing a large scale change effort. You just know what you are hearing is great – it moves you in some way, connects you, brings your emotions out, and perhaps changes you in some way…hopefully for the better.
The differences in individuals’ unique viewpoints have been driven into my head several times recently - literally. My literal ”knocking on the noggin” made me pause to think about a more metaphorical view. How differences in our viewpoint can lead us to different actions.
We have recently moved and things are in that “normal” state of total chaos. Part of the chaos is working from makeshift furniture as you wait for the “real” furniture to arrive. I’ve discovered that this wait has come with a bonus, and not a positive one. What’s my bonus? I keep knocking my head on a light fixture.
This experience made me stop to think about why interventions sometimes work but sometimes don’t.
I’ve tried three interventions…but they aren’t working.
1 – Several times I have placed a chair right under the light. The intent is a physical barrier I must walk around. It works for a bit, but the chair keeps moving…
2 – I’ve moved a table under the light. Somehow the table keeps getting moved too…
3 – I remind myself that I need to remember the light is hanging down. Hum, brain must be full or the information getting knocked back out because just reminding myself to watch out for the light fixture hasn’t stopped the knots from accumulating on my head.
This doesn’t seem to be a problem for anyone but me…
Hum, what is their viewpoint I wonder? How might it differ from mine?
- For Skyler and Sydney, it’s above their head. They never think twice about it.
- For Bruce, it’s in his line of sight. He simply walks around.
- For myself, it seems to be just out of my visual line of sight, but clearly not out of the physical realm. I’m the only one experiencing the problem.
During my analysis, I determined two root causes for failure.
1 – I didn’t involve others in my intervention…
It’s not that the chair moved itself, a person moved it. Bruce had no idea why there being a lone chair in the middle of the room, so he kept moving it where he percieved it to be “out of the way”.
How often do we institute an intervention but forget to communicate with key individuals that impact our intervention? In this case, I sure did. Why didn’t I? I thought it would be obvious why the chair kept being placed under the light fixture. Clearly it wasn’t.
2 – I wasn’t solving the problem in the right way…
My third intervention, reminding myself about the light fixture hanging down clearly isn’t working. The lumps on my head are proof of that. The multiple mental reminders clearly aren’t enough to fix the problem. I don’t think about this at the point of need – before I run into the lamp.
Do we need to change our viewpoint more often?
The 5th time I whacked my head I finally stopped to assess the situation a bit deeper. One of the outcomes of that analysis is this article.
I asked myself how often do we just look at situations from our own viewpoint. Might we feel that the problem is so obvious that we don’t need to communicate the issue to others? Then we wonder why others aren’t lining up to agree “yes, that’s a problem”.
The answer is clear. They aren’t lining up with our solutions and interventions because the issue/problem is not an issue/problem for them! It certainly was the case in my example of the light fixture meets the “noggin”.
Others may naturally go under, around, or above what we keep running into (physically and/or metaphorically). Why would they see a need to fix or change something if it isn’t a problem for them? It’s not that they wouldn’t support our needs, they simply may not be aware of what support we need (aka leave the chair in the middle of the room please). The problem is we haven’t communicated with them – sharing our needs and intentions.
The Lessons Learned…
- Remember to check the viewpoint from multiple angles.
- Don’t make assumptions – others may not see or experience what you are.
- Check to make sure you are solving the right problem.
- Understand both short-term and long-term solutions.
- Duck, when walking near that darn chandelier. It’s heavy and I have enough lumps on my head!
I participated on in a Change Management Quarterly Networking meeting at my client site today. Yes, they have formal quarterly CM meetings. They have also formally adopted a change methodology and are rolling it out across multiple levels of their organization.
As I was listening to the speakers talk about their methodology, raising awareness in their target groups, the importance of communication, as well as the needs of various stakeholder groups I thought, wow, how far we have come.
I started formally working in the Change Management arena in 1989. I was hired into a group within Andersen Consulting (who went on to become the Accenture half of Andersen, not the other, now defunct organization) known as Change Management Services or CMS for short. In fact, I worked on part of our Change Management methodology back in the early 90’s. At that time we broke change into three major areas, each with their own unique methodology: Knowledge Transfer, Organizational Change, and Technology Adoption.
I remember the biggest challenge back then was educating clients about what this “new” concept of Change Management was. Yes, client education still exists, but you typically no longer feel like you are completely talking a foreign language. You might have to explain that no, it’s not the same as Change Controls, but nothing in life is perfect.
Yes, I do realize that many of the CM concepts have been in existence for longer than the late 80s, but it seems like the “movement” of formalizing around this concept of Change Management and making it more broadly acceptable really started in then. Today I observe individuals arguing more about the nuances of it than about the need for it.
I was thinking today that we really do need to give credit to Prosci, their ADKAR methodology, and their work to create a Change Management conference. While I know that not everyone agrees with their approach (I’ve observed some fairly rabid conversations on this topic), you must give them credit for helping to standardize concepts and mainstream terminology.
I also give significant credit to Daryl Conner and his organization, Conner Partners. I remember when his book Managing at the Speed of Change came out. It impacted Andersen Consulting/Accenture’s change methodology in numerous ways. Daryl has done some great research. He’s also been doing a great job of sharing information through his blog, Change Thinking.
So what’s the purpose of this blog? It’s simply a reminder to stop and appreciate how far we have come. Sometimes what we need to accomplish to help our clients seems like a huge challenge. Rather than focusing on how far we still feel like we need to roll that boulder up the hill, take a pause, breath, look back and see how far you have already come. We really have come a long way baby.
Many times we think we are living, but we are really just existing. We deal with the day to day and it feels like a grind.
We trudge through our day, doing our work, working on our to-do list (or lists), answering the phone and email, and trying to make “progress”. But we feel stifled, tired, worn out, stressed. We’re trying to figure out how to change things but everything we think of feels like too much extra work.
We often look for the big solutions and big changes when the little ones can have the most impact. A few weeks ago I wrote about the Value of Nature. How taking a few minutes to enjoy Nature around you can go a long way. Since that time I’ve made an effort to enjoy my back deck and the woods behind me as many days as possible. I’ve also made an effort to visit with some neighbors on their back patio.
Although my life is pretty chaotic at the moment (many major life events going on) my inner peace has been increasing on days that I’ve stopped to check out of work and the digital world and connect with Nature and neighbors. On the days I haven’t, where I keep my head down focusing on the list, telling myself I don’t have time to go outside, I find my stress continues to increase.
Life’s not perfect, it’s a rare moment that it is. It is, however for living, not existing. Instead of a “to-do list” why don’t you write a “do not do list” this week. Cut yourself some slack. Get real with yourself and those around you. Too often I observe individuals living in the in the “digital world” but missing out on the “real world” … and by that I don’t mean the contrived one on TV which isn’t all that real.
Put down the pen, leave the desk, turn off the TV. Ignore your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Kindle, and Nook. Connect not only with others but with yourself as well. The world will not stop if you ignore the phone, email, twitter, text or chats. If fact, I believe it would be a better place with a little less of all of that.
Be present with yourself and those around you. Be real not digital. Look at your life one day, one experience, one encounter at a time. You’ll likely be much happier. I know I am.
Live your life rather than simply existing. Peace everyone.
Yesterday I was interviewed for a BlogTalk Radio Show by Heather Stagl of Enclaria. During the interview we discuss my own personal Change Revolution, how to start a revolution, courage, fear, and other related topics.
- Do I really care?
- Why do I care?
- How can I have an influence on this?
- What action can I take?
- What outcome am I looking for?
Each day you get a fresh start to decide how you want to approach life and your interactions with those around you. How do you want to behave today?
What is the Change Revolution?
It’s many things. The most important part being YOU!
You impact the people around you each day in more ways that you can imagine. How you act, react, and behave influences those around you.
I’m personally on a mission to bring positive change to both businesses and to the people around me. It’s not about dissatisfaction but rather about driving positive change. I first wrote about this in my article The Revolution of One.
We as individuals have more power than ever before. We can each take accountability for our own behaviors. Too often people slip into behaviors because it is easy. They think “I don’t want to rock the boat.” To this I ask if not you, than who?
I believe that we should say “I can make a difference.” I’ll do the right thing even if it might be harder to do.
I believe that we each set an example, whether positive or negative, for those around us.
I firmly believe that if enough people act as individuals to be accountable and behave collaboratively we can gain momentum and begin the change process, even if organizational leadership is on board.
For the American Revolution, it started somewhere, with someone believing things could be different. There was no leader at the top. It was individuals banding together because they believed things could be different. Eventually leaders emerged.
Who’s Involved in the Revolution?
I wrote about a few individuals who I believe are positive change leaders in my article about Penguin Leadership. I have another name to add to the list of Penguin Leaders, Heather Stagl. Heather is a blogger and radio host of “The Change Agent’s Dilemma: How to Influence Change Without Authority” on BlogTalkRadio. She is the author of the book, 99 Ways to Influence Change. Below I’ve included a copy of her favorite blog from last year, 3 Traps that Keep Change Agents from Getting the Support They Need.
Last month, Heather interviewed Garrett Gitchell (one of the Penguins), President at Vision to Work for her Radio Show. To listen to Garrett’s show click here. I’m up tomorrow, June 21st, for her 11 am ET show. Click here to listen to my show live.
The title for the show is the “Revolution of One: Finding the Courage to Drive Change.” A few of the questions we will seek to answer include:
- What it means to be a Revolution of One?
- Who can start a revolution?
- How do you know you need to start one?
- What about driving change requires courage?
- How do you build courage?
- Where does it come from?
Need Some Help?
If you would like help working through your challenges, driving your individual or business changes, drop me a line. I’d love to help you either change yourself, change your business, or drive your own Change Revolution.
As promised, here’s Heather’s article…
3 Traps that Keep Change Agents from Getting the Support They Need
“It is common knowledge that in order for your change initiative to grow beyond your own span of influence you need leadership buy-in. The truth is you need much more than approval; as a change agent you need leaders in your organization to take action that supports your initiative.
The trouble is, leaders often don’t do what is needed to implement change, even if they agree it should happen. You may think, If only they would (fill in the blank), you would be able to make some real progress.
This lack of proper leadership support is the top challenge for most change agents. It frequently stays that way because change agents get stuck by the following traps.
1. “It’s not my place.”
Allison was a supervisor who had been given a special assignment to implement the recommendations that resulted from an employee survey. The biggest roadblock to improvement, she decided, was her boss’s boss, the very person who had commissioned the survey. Allison’s boss agreed but would not do anything about it. “What can I do?” Allison asked, “It’s not my place to address the issues with my boss’s boss.”
The organizational hierarchy can seem like an insurmountable hurdle over which to affect change. When the person whose support you need is outside of one degree of authority, it can seem like political suicide to attempt to do something about it. From this position of helplessness, it is easy to get stuck hoping he will figure it out on his own.
2. “That’s just the way they are.”
Dan was a senior manager who worked directly for the CEO. Dan’s key initiative to improve the company was to develop and solidify accountability to procedures. The CEO, while supporting the initiative verbally, did not want to abide by procedures himself. It was the CEO who had embodied the previously lackadaisical culture. “I can’t do anything about it. That’s just the way he is,” Dan lamented.
We often assume that the behaviors of others reflect an inner character trait. This assumption is so common that psychologists call it the fundamental attribution error. When you consider that someone will not support you because it is part of his DNA, of course you would automatically chalk it up as a lost cause. You get trapped knowing it is impossible to change someone else.
3. “He just doesn’t like me.”
John was a project manager who needed key data from the manager of another department. However, John’s phone calls and e-mails requesting the information were repeatedly ignored. John asked his boss to request the same information, and it was immediately handed over. “Maybe she just doesn’t like me,” was John’s reasoning.
This trap is the mirror image of the fundamental attribution error. Instead of thinking the lack of support is caused by her character, you think the lack of support is your own fault. Whenever you interpret her behavior as a personal slight – she doesn’t respect you, she doesn’t like you, she doesn’t trust you – it traps you with self-doubt. Insecurity is a lousy place from which to exert influence as a change agent.
Allison, Dan and John are composites of real change agents who were stuck. But none of their traps were inherently real. The traps were assumptions they made about the leaders and the organization.
The first step in getting out of a trap is to recognize that you may be in one. Separate the facts from your assumptions about them. From there, you can select a new point of view and step out of the trap, so you can find new ways to get the support you need to implement change.”
If you liked Heather’s article on 3 Traps that Keep Change Agents from Getting the Support They Need, you can read more of her blogs by clicking here.