Monday 20 October 2014

Successful re-structures as part of a transformation

Peter R. Scholtes was a genius - he certainly knew his stuff, but just as importantly, he was clever enough to make it easy for everyone else to understand.

One of his books, The Leader's Handbook, would have the title: "The Complete and Practical Lean and Systems Thinking Workshop Manual (for Dummies)” if it were published today!

I use one of his models explained in the book all the time, and keep referring my clients to it - to three clients in the last three weeks alone - From Purpose to People:

How many times have you seen the announcement come through “We’re having a restructure!”, and then asked why?  Or seen restructures heralded as the solution, which months later seem to have had little impact.

It starts with purpose - it always does with Deming's thinking - then examines how best to deliver the service against demand.

The physical restructure of an organisation is 6th out of 7 in the list - there’s plenty of steps required beforehand if you really want to make transformation stick - and how often are these done first?

From Peter R. Schultes: The Leader’s Handbook

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence

In the change management arena, people interactions are key, especially for those in the consultant’s role.  I continuously refer to Daniel Goleman's work, an American psychologist who developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence.

Self-Awareness – People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don't let their feelings rule them. They're confident – because they trust their intuition and don't let their emotions get out of control.  They're also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of emotional intelligence.

Self-Regulation – This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don't allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don't make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity, and the ability to say no.

Motivation – People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are usually motivated. They're willing to defer immediate results for long-term success. They're highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.

Empathy – This is perhaps the second-most important element of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening, and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.

Social Skills – It's usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional intelligence. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

Emotional intelligence can be a key to success in your life and in your career. The ability to manage people and relationships is very important in all leaders, so developing and using your emotional intelligence can be a good way to show others the leader inside of you.

Monday 13 October 2014

Bullet-proof Change Management

I stumbled across this wonderfully vivid explanation of the key elements to a successful change management initiative.

Changing an organization from doing business one way to doing business another way is like a theater company changing from one play to another.

Of course it’s never easy (even though we’d like it be) but it helps us remember that we need to change from top to bottom, the big picture and the detail, the words and the hearts & minds.

To change to a new play, the Director must:

  1. Select and hand out the new script

  2. Identify the roles in the play

  3. Design sets and costumes for the new play

  4. Get actors under contract … and rehearse them to perfection

  5. Have a “transition plan” that shows when contracts need to be signed, when costumes will be fitted, when rehearsals will start, etc. 

It’s easy to see what would happen if one of those steps was left out - right?

To change an organization to a new way of doing business, we need to:

  1. Communicate the Vision (script) for the desired new way of doing business

  2. Alter the work processes (roles) to enable the vision

  3. Alter the equipment (sets, costumes) to fit the altered processes

  4. Enlist the workforce and get them under agreement (contract) and trained (rehearsed) to use the altered processes and equipment for the new way of doing business

  5. Have a master schedule (transition plan) that shows “what to do when.”

Leave out any one of the five steps above and now what would happen?  It’s easy to see in the example - it’s no different in the office.

From the book by Dutch Holland & Deborah Salvo:

Change Management: The New Way: Easy to Understand and Powerful to Use

If you always think as you’ve always thought...

If you always think as you’ve always thought,
you’ll always do what you’ve always done.

If you always do what you’ve always done,
you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

If you always get what you’ve always got,
you’ll always think as you’ve always thought.