Posts filed under ‘Change’

Work Flows Downhill

“The Internet ignores both political and geographic boundaries!” To anyone with even a minimal level of technical expertise, this statement is nothing more than a grade level observation. Yet if we use it as a lens to examine the future, it offers a few interesting implications. Especially if we have a minimal level of technical experience, and are living outside of what we refer to as the “third world”.

As a writer with regular columns in computer magazines for the past few decades, I receive many e-mails requesting my view of trends in IT employment opportunities. I repeatedly get asked by people who should have the answer within their reach, if the current down turn in North American IT opportunities will end… and when?

The reasons for the down turn are many: a recession, an oversupply of capability, a recent house cleaning in most IT shops worldwide, the trend to outsourcing and the real threat, the rise of off shore services in the white collar arena.

Will the downturn end? Look back to the opening line of this article… “The Internet is ignorant of both political and geographic boundaries!” now add an additional ingredient. The cost of living in third world countries is significantly less than it is here in North America and Europe.

This results in the following prediction: IT employment opportunities for particular skill sets will continue to plummet. There will be no turn-around. Technology is the great equalizer. Just as heat travels from hotter to colder, and a high pressure zone will equalize with a low pressure zone if given the chance, by eliminating the geographic boundaries, telecommunications allows “work” to seek out the most hospitable climate.

The “work” affected is not restricted to application development, it includes the following categories; Data Entry, Call Centers, Back-Office Operations, Document Imaging etc.

One response to this is… “We’ll do it better! We’ll be more efficient! We’ll use technology!” and the counter strategy is… “Anything you can do, we can do cheaper… because we have an advantage — our standard of living is lower.” Another response is to attempt to legislate a solution, which only serves to create a black market of opportunity.

There is no new force at work here. We’ve seen this happen before. People from China were shipped into NA to build the great railroads because they were cheaper than local labour. This time we’re shipping out the work, instead of shipping in the people. Exactly the same concept, just implemented differently.

The world is filled with economic inequalities; there are the Haves and the Havenots; the “1st World” and the “3rd World”. With the stated goal of working towards some sort of economic balance, we go to great lengths to provide loans to developing companies, and according to many, these loans do little to redress the balance. Meanwhile the global telecommunications network, part of which we know as the “Internet”, is becoming the unexpected solution.

Of course, there isn’t any solution which isn’t seen by some as a new and threatening problem. If you’re someone in North America who is losing, or has already “lost”, their job to a programmer in India, Pakistan, China, Poland etc. (the list is long… but then so was the imbalance) then you’ll have an understandably different view of this rising trend. From your perspective you’re losing your livelihood to an outsider, to someone who doesn’t even live in your country.

There are many who argue that off shore outsourcing is unpatriotic. That work generated in “insert country of your choice” should remain in that country. That argument, while compelling at various levels, ignores the economic reality. While there are many who only “buy” products made in their own country, there are very few who would support a boycott of sales to ALL other countries. Question? MS Windows is developed in the USA… should we stop selling it to other countries, because it has put their O/S programmers out of work?

1st law of economic entropy: Work flows from higher to lower standards of living. The Internet facilitates this process.

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May 30, 2008 at 11:26 am 4 comments

On the Mechanics of one Election

Asimov’s classic “Foundation” is the purest form of SF. It takes a fundamental desire – our need to predict the future – then presents a “What if?” scenario and pushes it to the boundaries of belief. Whenever I’ve read “Foundation”, I’ve always spent more time wrestling with the central idea than actually enjoying the story line.

Is it possible, will it ever be possible, to predict how people will react to a specific event, to any useful degree of accuracy? Are there rules, perhaps waiting for a Seldon to discover and formalize for human behaviour? Will it be possible to use an understanding of those rules to shape the future? Could our tomorrows become manufactured products of calculated action?

I first read “Foundation” during my second last year of high school. I was, by any reasonable definition, a ‘geek’… not quite of the pocket protector crowd, but I owned a slide rule and knew how to use it. My buddies at the time were also addicted to SF and we spent many hours arguing over the possibilities presented by the science of Psychohistory.

We were then presented with an opportunity to use our high school as a grand experiment.

Like most high schools we had a Student council, elected by the students, and responsible for school activities such as parties, fund raising, proms and concerts. We also, like many other schools, had a raging case of student body apathy. Nobody attended school functions, sports events or concerts. School spirit was non-existent.

We, a cadre of invisible students, devoid of popularity, suffering from a dearth of cool, decided to fix this problem.

While the formal tools of Asimov’s Psychohistory were beyond our reach, there were some basic rules of human behaviour we could use in our social re-engineering project. The rule which best fit our situation, was the concept of the swinging pendulum. The notion that popular opinion/behaviour swings from one extreme to the other. The ‘trick’ is to identify the extreme ‘states’ and then apply just enough ‘force’ to nudge the system into one of these ‘states’.

We ran for student council on the platform that student councils were a tool of the administration to distract our attention from the real problems of poor education, over-crowding etc. etc. If WE were elected we would abdicate our responsibility, we would shut down the council, we would do nothing for the following year, and we would ban all future student councils… Anarchy would Rule!

The administration hated us… therefore the students loved us. We geeks won by a landslide. We abandoned the student council. Phase I of our project was complete. Now we waited.

Winning this election was an accomplishment of sorts. We had no prior status or influence within the student body, yet we beat much more popular and influential jocks, cheerleaders and divas. Rule #1? It’s easy to get elected if that is your ONLY goal… Just promise the people whatever they want. Some of our politicians are very good at this.

Throughout our elected year, we threw not a single party, flew no banners, we raised no funds. The first 2-3 months everything was ‘fine’. Then slowly but surely, discontent festered in the land. The value of a student council grew conspicuous by its absence. It grew in importance, because it didn’t exist. Phase II of our project was well on the way to completion.

That was our final year before we scattered to our universities, but we kept an eye on our little experiment to see if it would develop as we expected.

It did.

At the end of our last year, the students demanded a student council election. We knew someone, would step into the breach at the appropriate time. A full council was elected. The next year our school experienced a huge increase in student involvement. Parties, event attendance, fund raising all reached historical highs. The Pendulum had swung from abject apathy to total commitment. Phase III complete. Mission accomplished. Apathy defeated. Hari Seldom would have been proud.

Were there unintended consequences to our little experiment? Two of them come to mind.

Fact: The individual who became student council president… went on to become a Member of the Canadian Parliament.

Fact: I now speak for a living. My topic? Change Management.

May 26, 2008 at 10:06 am Leave a comment

As Others See Us.

If you don’t recognize the tail end of this quote from Robert Burn’s ‘To a Louse’ then here it is in its entirety, “Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, To see oursel’s as others see us!”. Why am I waxing poetic this month? Mainly because a sad incident a few months ago that has stuck in my mind.

I’d just given a presentation on Change Management and was afterwards approached by a contingent of a half dozen dejected looking employees from a company which shall remain nameless in this article. They wanted to have a private and confidential discussion about some changes going on in their organization. They wanted advice on two things; how to cope with the changes and how to communicate to management that they were on a path to destruction because of how the changes were being implemented.

None of this is unusual, I get asked these types of questions all the time. What was different this time was some of the language used in their responses to my standard information gathering questions. I could easily comment on their queries on coping with Change, as the techniques are the same regardless of the Change, company, person etc. etc. Change is Change is Change.

To offer advice on how to communicate with management isn’t as easy. To offer advice without knowing the culture first hand, is presumptuous. To dispense communication strategies without knowing the details of the existing Status Quo and the Change being implemented isn’t only naïve, it’s dangerous.

So when I asked if could come into the organization to gather this information their responses were as follows;

No – management isn’t listening to anyone who takes issue with their policies
No – the powers that be, won’t listen to anything that might change their actions.
No – that’s pointless – they only hire those who agree with them.
No – they shoot the messenger on a regular basis – I can’t risk my job.
No – upper management is convinced there isn’t a problem.
No – the dark overlords know best. (Their words… not mine)
No – management has no interest in people issues.

Now, we all know that ‘gaps of disagreement’ between staff and management are not unusual, but their choice of words, combined with the deer in the headlights look of desperation on their faces in front of me – suggested that this was more than the normal amount of disagreement. Other comments described management as a ‘not very nice people’, ‘bullies’ and ‘interested only in themselves and not the organization’.

Here’s the question, and the purpose of this particular article, are we certain we know how we’re perceived by others in our organization? Do employees really know how they’re perceived by management? And even more importantly (in my opinion) does management really know how they’re perceived by the rank and file?

Regardless of the accuracy of the above statements by this post-presentation contingent of employees, is management aware that they are not seen as leaders? Do they care? Should they?

That that question is even asked is a symptom of something wrong. We all know people who literally do not care what employees think of them. Why is that wrong? If we can’t answer that question, then we’ve lost touch with what it even means to be a leader. I can’t imagine how an organization can excel if employees don’t respect, and even admire, their managers.

I’m not a great fan of most Human Resource management instruments, many of them seem more like Astrology and tea leaf readings than anything I’d use to manage either myself or others. That personal quirk aside, there is one I’m willing to treat with great respect, primarily because it’s nothing more than a process by which the feedback loops between ourselves and everyone around us – which should take place on a regular basis – do take place, at least from time to time. I’m referring to the class of HR tools known collectively as “360-degree feedback”.

The 360 concept is simple. Your peers, subordinates, managers and even your clients provide feedback on a variety of your attributes – anonymously of course. Robbie Burns would love it.

All of us, regardless of where we sit on the organization hierarchy, need to know how others see us. Regardless of whether the impressions of management, such as the ones listed above, are accurate or not – it’s information we can use to our advantage.

There’s a risk of course. Ask for feedback and, guess what? You’re going to get feedback… can you handle the truth? What about the lies?

Not all the truth will be ‘pleasant’. Under the guarantee of anonymity (need I stress how important that is?) people are willing to provide both the good, the bad and the ugly.

And, under that same guarantee, there are those who will seize the opportunity to inflict some petty revenge. Luckily, these are usually exceptions and stand out as anomalies amongst the rest of the feedback. Good 360 instruments are designed to identify these aberrations.

Regardless of the feedback, it’s all information we can put to good use, unless we don’t care.
Frankly, even after a lifetime of experience with organizations of every stripe, I don’t know of more than a handful of managers who would pride themselves on a reputation as bleak as the one painted by the contingent that prompted this discussion. And even in those rare situations, would a competent board of directors support a management style worthy of the ‘Dark Lord’ comparison? Assuming they wanted the organization to prosper?

Putting the extreme end of the perception spectrum aside, are we seen as; fair; reasonable; competent; hard working; pleasant to work work with? If that’s what we believe, how do we know it to be true? Most people have trouble telling us we have something stuck in our teeth, never-mind anything really important such as our pet project is doomed to failure. Especially if we’re sending out unconscious signals that negative feedback is unwelcome.

The advantage of the 360-degree feedback process is the enforced anonymity of the feedback. We all enjoy both giving and receiving positive feedback – it’s the negative stuff that presents us with the largest difficult and the largest benefit. The amount about benefit depends entirely on our willingness to give more than a little credence to the negative comments we’re sure to receive.

So? Was Robbie Burns on the mark? Do we really want the power to see how others see us? Or is ignorance truly bliss? (ps. You do have something stuck in your teeth.)

May 23, 2008 at 11:31 am 2 comments

The Conference we’ll never Attend

Here’s the annual conference I’d love to attend:-

“The World Conference on Failure”
20 Business and World Leaders honestly and openly discuss
the decisions and actions which contributed to their significant
business and political disasters/failures/catastrophes.

…but which for obvious(?) reasons it will never be held.

Why would I want to attend this type of conference?

We don’t learn one tenth as much from success as we do from failure. I don’t have anything but life experience to back up that statement, yet I know for certain that at some level it could not be a truer observation about how the world works. Success drives us in a single direction, and while the positive feedback is nice, it doesn’t motivate us to grow and change.

Failure on the other hand is an itch that demands scratching and forces us to explore alternatives.

You could argue that if we study the success of others, then we can emulate them and create our own success. That’s true up to a point, but the real secret of success is not found in learning how to follow a ‘recipe’, but in learning how to respond to a changing environment. When we look at success, it’s easy (relatively) to pick out what they did ‘right’, but much more difficult to understand how they avoided doing the ‘wrong’ things.

By studying failure, it’s possible to explore the specific actions that contributed to that failure, and delve into why those responsible were unable, (unwilling?) to avoid those actions. Learning how to avoid problems, how to avoid the common and uncommon traps, is the skill which enables us to chart our course when the success ‘recipe’ falls short.

What types of failures?

One of the failures which jumps immediately to mind is Motorola’s $6B investment in the Iridium phone which they eventually sold for a mere $25M… the mind boggles at the size of this mis-adventure. The question “How could this possibly happen?” if honestly answered, might actually justify the multi-billion dollar fiasco IF we could use the answer to avoid similar disasters in the future.

Obviously, people have looked at this fiasco and made their observations public, but what would be more informative is honest commentary from the people actually involved in the event. What exactly were they thinking? What motivated them? What honest mistakes did they make?

And… what mistakes did they make, that with 20/20 hindsight they now recognize as totally avoidable – mistakes that were generated not by the facts in front of them, but by the human flaws within them.

This personal perspective on failure is the real value the “Conference on Failure” would offer, it’s also of course, why such a conference will never become a reality.

Admitting avoidable failure isn’t something we do very well, and if/when we do muster the courage to tell the real story, we are immediately the target punishment of some sort, usually in the form of lawsuits.

And courage is necessary if we’re to honestly discuss our failures. I’ve deliberately chosen ‘loaded’ words to describe ‘failure’ when I use terms such as, “disaster”, “flaws”, “fiasco” etc. etc.

Why would I frame the topic this way? Because this is the framework of perspective that we wrap around the stink of failure. Speaking of any personal “failure” is incredibly difficult. Look at “The Room that Eats Speakers” posted a few days ago in this blog. Admitting, as a professional speaker, that I have ‘messed’ up was not done lightly… chances are it will cost me future business. Being honest, usually does involve a personal cost, but the benefits are worth it if others can learn from those mistakes and learn from them.

We can come close to the “Conference on Failure”

We can, when pushed, talk honestly about failure. During the discussion around Y2K, the IT disaster we sort of avoided, (if we can consider a $300B+ expenditure ‘avoiding’ a problem) there was much discussion about how/why we self inflicted ourselves with this problem. There was general agreement that the key component wasn’t technical. It was human short sightedness – there were other good reasons to do what we did – but the real problem was that we, the entire IT industry, didn’t take the long view.

One of the more popular category of TV shows on the Discovery and History channels are those that examine, from an external viewpoint, the reasons behind various types of accidents. From crashing Planes and trains, to crumbling tunnels and towers… each catastrophe has something to teach us.

Perhaps we can’t have the individuals involved in the big events explain what they were thinking, but we can shift some of our attention away from self congratulatory stories about ‘what made us a success’ to the more difficult and telling recollections about ‘what made us fail’ and with some careful attention, some compassion for those courageous enough to talk unveil themselves in public, and a little bit of effort, apply those insights to future endeavours.

April 30, 2008 at 11:28 am 2 comments

On the Making of Technological Stone Soup

Okay… I’ll admit it publicly. I’m nothing but a kid at heart. I’m continually astounded by the world around us and tend not to take things for granted. I received a fax yesterday and despite it being an almost ancient technology, I watched with sincere amazement as an image magically appeared out of the little black box, sent to me by a wizard many hundreds of leagues away. (ok, it wasn’t a real wizard. Remember this is a kid writing this article!)

To me, the world is a fairy tale. Did you know that planes can fly? I mean those BIG planes, the ones that weigh hundreds of tonnes. The speed down the runway and make a magical leap into the sky. And more to the point. They stay up there! Must be them wizards hard at work again.

For someone who believes he’s living in a fairy tale, I also read fairy tales. They were around long before user manuals and quite frankly contain more information than most of the poorly written documentation that’s supposed to educate us.

Have you read the fairy tale about stone soup? If you have, then the wisdom it contains just might make you a better manager of technology.

Making stone soup is an old tradition. First you need a stone. Not just any old stone. A smooth stone, river washed until it’s about the size of a large goose egg. Make sure you don’t get one that’s covered in green algae, otherwise your soup will taste foul.

Place the stone in a soup pan and fill with water until the stone is covered by about 2 inches of water, and bring to a slow boil. Taste it. You’ll notice it tastes like hot water. So far? Not very impressive.

Now it’s time to bring out the flavour of the stone. This is not a simple task. A stone is hard and unyielding, it’s not going to present you with flavour unless you find the secret of extracting its natural juices.

First you must dice up some carrots, about 3 or 4 large carrots should be enough. Then 2 potatoes, washed, sliced into1 inch cubes. (Leave the skins on, being close to the earth already, they have a natural affinity to the stone and will entice it to give up a hearty flavour.) Now slice up a beef steak into similarly sized cubes. Finally sprinkle the brew with salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for about an hour and viola! A hearty stone soup!

Warning! If you try to make stone soup without using the above instructions for extracting the flavour then all you’ll have is a lot of boiling water.

Now stones and sand are mostly silicon, and most technology managers know computers are also mostly just silicon. So we have the beginnings of a metaphor. (work with me on this, I’m working under a deadline here!)

What brought all of this to a boil for me (so to speak.) Was a conference I was fortunate enough to facilitate for Hewlett Packard many years ago. HP had achieved something significant, and was using this meeting to demonstrate that accomplishment. They’d placed some 82,000 PC users onto a ‘Common Operating Environment.’

Those working in a corporate environment know how difficult it is to implement any sort of standards into any niche of their computing community. Getting 1,000 users to use the same word processor is an achievement. Getting 82,000 users to follow any type of standard is nothing short of a miracle.

Here’s the catch. I know a market full of IT managers who’ll want to buy HP’s ‘technology‘(read ‘stone’ for those having difficulty with the metaphor) They’ll ask how much this PC COE costs. They’ll want to buy this stone from HP and they’ll expect the same remarkable results. They’ll want to make HPs stone soup, but won’t want to follow the instructions.

This observation applies equally well to dozens of other technologies from ERPs, to CRMs, from Client/Server environments to Knowledge Management systems to comprehensive Data Warehousing strategies.

They’ll spend the money, buy the stone, put it into their environment and turn up the heat. They’ll expect soup… All they’ll get is hot water. What they need to do to get the benefit from the stone is add the extra ingredients. eg. Leadership, Management, Change Process Control, Planning, Training, Marketing, and of course… Patience.

April 18, 2008 at 9:49 am Leave a comment

Can you Live with that?

Here’s a quick scenario. You’ve advertised a vacant position in your department and have received several hundred resumes — a dozen of which are excellent. You’ve decided one of them will become your next employee. Just before you call the lucky candidate, your boss comes into your office and hands you her niece’s resume. She makes it clear she’d like her to have the job. However, the niece is not as qualified as the candidate you were going to call. What do you do?

Welcome to the hard and rocky field of business ethics. Notice the question was “What do you do?”, it was not the far easier question, “What is the right thing to do?” Why? Because most (all?) of us know what we should do… “Sorry Boss, but your niece doesn’t have the necessary skills to fill the position. Perhaps next time.” The problem is, there is inevitably a consequence to such a stance. A consequence most of us would rather avoid if we could.

If you don’t hire the niece, will your boss hold a grudge? How will you know? The sad fact is that most, not all, of the ethical dilemmas placed at our doorstep, are placed there by people who know full well their actions are unethical. This is what causes the dilemma, not the difficulty of figuring out the right course of action. Doing the right thing is usually not what these people want you to do.

Ethical business behavior is important. How many of those resumes in our imaginary scenario would be from Arthur Andersen or Enron employees? How many would still be gainfully employed if even a small number of people had stood their moral ground and raised their hands in protest when they encountered dark deeds?

We could of course choose to ignore the issue of ethical behaviour. Most of the little dilemmas we encounter won’t bring our organization to their knees. Besides, as I’ve pointed out above, we usually know the right thing to do, even if we don’t always have the courage of our convictions. The issue isn’t one of ethical training — it’s one of responding to, or even better, avoiding unethical behaviour.

There is a technique available to those who’d rather not face these little problems. Make ethics an issue in your department. Talk about it, distribute articles on it, make a point of requesting that the training department offer at least one “Ethics and Management” seminar each year, devote some time to it. In short, become known as someone who places a visible value on ethical behaviour, one who asks the ethical question of every decision. At the very least it will prevent your manager from handing you resumes from relatives — for fear you might call them on it.

One of the reasons why we steer clear of ethical discussions is that how we respond to these scenarios speaks volumes about what we hold to be true. To be judged “unethical” is personal, because it is based upon the choices we consciously make. If you’re interviewing someone for a job and you ask them what they’d do if they found a wallet with a $1,000 in it, along with the address of the owner… would you really hire them if they said they’d take the money and throw away the wallet? If you were being interviewed, would you state proudly(?) that you’d take the money… and still expect to be hired?

The issue of Ethics is difficult to address in a corporate environment for exactly those reasons. The “wrong” answers bring with them harsh judgments. It is precisely because of these “harsh judgments” that ethical training, or at least awareness, is important to every organization and everyone with people responsibility.

Despite the catastrophic consequences of unethical corporate behaviour, how many “Ethics” seminars/workshops have typical managers/supervisors attended during their career? How many organizations have posted an Ethical Charter, or have an ethical review board, or a recognized method of safely airing an ethical issue?

Ethical behaviour is never a problem until it becomes a crisis, then the time to pay attention to it is long past.

March 4, 2008 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Lewis Carroll on Change Management

In Lewis Carroll’s classic, Through the Looking Glass, the Red Queen admonishes Alice with “in this place it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” So much for the concept of a self sustaining ‘Status Quo’.

Giuseppe de Lampedusa echoes this same idea in another, seemingly paradoxical manner, “If things are to remain the same, things will have to Change.”

All of this is true, there really is no argument. The status quo is a myth. The best we can do is identify what aspects of our organization we value today, and do our best to ensure that these attributes exist in our organizations tomorrow.

However, just because we have come to the inescapable conclusion that Change is necessary, does not mean that all possible Change is mandatory.

This is the great trap for those who embrace the idea that we must Change or Die. Unless we find some way to distinguish from good and bad Change, we are compelled to Change when faced with any and every innovation. In the already quoted Through the Looking Glass, there is sad character who has taken the Red Queen’s advice too literally, let me introduce you to the White Knight.

He’s an interesting fellow this White Knight. He believes in embracing anything that’s new. His mistake is to believe that all Change is mandatory. His sturdy horse is festooned with gadgets. There’s a little box in which he keeps his sandwiches, but it’s turned upside down, “so that the rain can’t get in” he says proudly. Until Alice points out that the sandwiches have fallen out, he was totally unaware of this flaw.

He’s also attached a beehive to the horse in the hope that bees will take up house and provide honey, not realizing that bees would never set up house on a moving horse. And then there’s the mousetrap he’s strapped on the horse’s back to keep the mice away, and anklets on his horse’s feet to keep away the sharks.

Yes we must Change, otherwise our organizations fall so far behind the competition, our constituency and clients, that we lose effectiveness and fade into obsolescence. On the other hand, to embrace every Change is the path to chaos.

Our problem, despite the many dinosaurs lumbering in the tar pits of yesterday, is not the lack of recognition that Change is necessary. It is that there is far too much Change to choose from, we suffer from too much choice and a scarcity of good decisions.

Organizations must become adept at three seemingly contradictory skills. We must become brilliantly effective at resisting bad Change, equally effective at embracing good Change and wise enough to decide between these two alternatives.

In case you missed my outrageous statement, I’ll repeat it in its pure form.

Organizations must become brilliantly effective at resisting Change.

Despite the Red Queen Principle, we should not and must not, for the sake of our organizations, embrace all the Change placed before us. Instead we must select the best Change from the panorama of Change facing us.

How do we do that?

The first step is to identify, as clearly as possible, why we’re here. What exactly is the role of our organization, and what must we do to continue fulfilling that role? We can give this a variety of labels, from “Statement of Purpose” to “Vision Statement” to “Services Offered”. It doesn’t really matter what we call this as long as it becomes something we believe in, and against which we can measure all proposed Changes.

This is the idea snuggled inside Lampedusa’s quote…

“If things(1) are to remain the same, things(2) will have to Change.”

things(1) – Refers to that which we do, which is important to our mandate.
These are the things which are of value to us, our constituents, and our superiors.

things(2) – Refers to all the other stuff that surrounds us, stuff we might become
attached to, but which in the final analysis, contributes little to the fulfillment of our mandate.

Therein is the key. Does a proposed Change reinforce, support and/or extend a previously established organizational objective? If it doesn’t, then enthusiastic acceptance, Red Queen Principle notwithstanding, is incorrect, improper and ill-advised. To paraphrase Lampedusa, to embrace the things we value, we must jettison what we don’t.

These are the first two steps. Identify what is valuable to us, and then measure every proposed Change against these core values.

The next step, is to determine how the proposed Change will fit into the context of our organization. In other words, what must Change in order to accommodate the new Change? If you’ve made it this far, then you are well into the first stages of implementing the Change.

At this point you know why the Change is necessary. i.e. what core values is it designed to protect, support or extend. This knowledge, properly communicated, will go a long way to reducing resistance to the proposed Change, especially if you are willing to make all the information which went into your decision public. Nothing is more effective at reducing resistance to Change than full disclosure… except perhaps being involved in the actual decision making process itself.

You now also have some idea what impact it will have on your organization. ie. What other things will have to Change to accommodate this Change. With all of this in hand, changing should not be too difficult.

The issue of Change is tricky. On one hand you cannot avoid all Change; on the other hand, you cannot embrace all Change. Which means we must resist the bad, embrace the good and know the difference.

Good luck.

February 29, 2008 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

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