Category Archives: Change Management

Change Management: Art or Science?

Is helping others change an art or a science?

I think it’s both!  I recently spent a few minutes talking with Jeff Skipper of the Association of Change Management about the Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™) certification.  I was beta participant and one of the first 75 people in the world to obtain complete the coursework pass the test, and become certified.

Interested in more information?  Check out the video of our discussion!

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3 Surprise Ways to Get Your Solution Adopted

Depending on your age, at least one of these three ‘format wars’ should sound familiar:

8 Track vs Cassette (Boomers)

Betamax vs VHS (Gen X)

Blu-ray Disc vs HD DVD (Gen Y)

I think there are at least three special things that helped the ‘winner’ in each of these ‘wars’.  I’ll be using a framework from a previous post (Want An Effective Solution? Work On Its Acceptance!) so take a read if the equation Q x A = E doesn’t sound familiar to you.

Lesson 1 – The ‘consumers’ of the change make the choice

The 8 Track was seen as the successor to vinyl records with the awesome feature of being able to skip to INDIVIDUAL SONGS!  In addition, they were much more portable than vinyl…and players could be installed in cars.

So why did the 8 Track lose out?  Price and reliability.  The cassette didn’t have a quality advantage but it was a few dollars cheaper and longer lasting.  Consumers chose based on their needs, not just product quality.

If you want your solution to be accepted, figure out what the ‘consumers’ of it need.

Lesson 2 – Quality isn’t always king

Sony’s Betamax format was more reliable and had higher resolution than JVC’s VHS format.  However VHS initially had twice the capacity and later four times (Beta’s 60 min vs VHS’ 240 min)…and this made all the difference.

Consumers didn’t want to switch tapes when recording a movie or sporting event, even if the resolution was better.

Don’t be fooled by thinking your solution will win out on quality alone.

Lesson 3 – Competitors can quickly become allies

From 2006 to 2008, Sony’s Blu-Ray and Toshiba’s HD DVD fought to become the standard for high definition video.  Cost was initially the differentiating factor with each solution having some minor technical differences.  Both companies quickly created alliances with manufacturers of consumer electronics as well as film studios.

Both sides had key wins in the ‘battle’ but the turning point was when Warner Brothers defected from HD DVD to Blu-Ray.  Within a few weeks, Blu-Ray was the clear winner as most other major manufacturers abandoned HD-DVD.

Keep your eyes open for possible alliances that can change the game.

 

 

We just covered a few lessons here…what have you experienced?

Image Credit: wikimedia.org

Why do I have to change when things are good?

There are people around you who are perfectly comfortable the way things are. But, you know things need to change – because of opportunities or threats that most people haven’t seen yet. So how do you help people who are comfortable move to a new, better place?

The late Dr. Michael Hammer was a gifted teacher and I once heard him discuss “Everything I Needed to Know About Transition I Learned in the Bible.” His premise: How do you make people see a need for change when things are good?

Show them how things can go bad.

The Hebrew people were in slavery to the Egyptians. They had to make mud bricks all day and build these huge pyramids in the baking sun. No fun. The relative safety and abundant food made them satisfied and when Moses arrived on the scene announcing it was time to move to a great new place (the ‘Promised Land’) he didn’t get much buy in.

IMG_0251

Hey Moses, are you sure there’s a better place than this?

Sound like any change you’ve been involved in?

So, how were the Hebrews convinced to leave this difficult yet comfortable place? Moses combined a burning platform (“Pharaoh is chasing us!”) and a motivating vision (“A land flowing with milk and honey!”)

After escaping Pharaoh, Moses led the people into the Sinai Desert.   They had gone from Egypt (bad) to the Desert (very bad). No constant water supply, harvesting a miraculous food supply, moving regularly. They surely longed for the “good old days.” That is, until they crossed the Jordan River and arrived in the “Promised Land.” And it was good.

So, do you need to move people to a “promised land” that they don’t want to visit? Take a lesson from Moses. Help them understand how now is bad, take them (if only in their imaginations) to a place that’s worse, and then lead them to the promise that is held by the future.

Read a summary of the Israelites Exodus from Egypt here
Image of Pyramids and Spinx © 2006-2016 Kenneth E. Fields

Want An Effective Solution? Work On Its Acceptance!

General Electric’s Change Acceleration Process introduced a very powerful equation: Q x A = E.  While not on par with more famous equations like Einstein’s (E=MC²) or Pythagorus’ (A²+B² =C²), Q x A=E holds the keys to successfully getting your solution adopted.  Let’s break it down.

Q = Quality

A = Acceptance

E = Effectiveness

An awesome technical solution would have a high “Quality” score.  A solution that all stakeholder love would have a high “Acceptance” score.  Say you want to buy the best 65″Ultra HD 4K TV in the store.  You’ve done all the research and decide to buy near the top of the line.

TVs_for_sale

Pick a TV, any TV!

Quality = 9

But say your significant other thinks that money would be better spent on a family vacation and will remind you of that fact every time you turn on the TV.

 Acceptance = 4

so, Effectiveness = 36

What if you decided to skimp on quality a little and pay half the price?  I mean are the differences really noticeable to the average viewer?

Quality = 7

and you used that money to go to the beach so that you were able to watch the new TV without fear of commentary?

Acceptance = 8

so, Effectiveness = 56

Winner!

This logic applies to personal changes (changing towns, homes, schools…) as well as professional ones (new benefits programs, software packages, office space).  So, next time you have to find a solution to a problem, don’t just look for the best “Quality” solution, spend some time thinking about “Acceptance” too!

 photo credit: wikimedia.org

Are you brave enough to do the wrong thing?

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, is consistently ranked as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.  In fact, he’s held in such high regard that his face is carved into Mount Rushmore in South Dakota alongside three other great presidents.

However, did you know that he had a pretty incredible number of setbacks?

  • He suffered from asthma as a child
  • Roosevelt’s first wife died two days after giving birth…and his mother died the same day in the same house
  • After those dual tragedies, he became a cattle rancher in the Dakotas…and blizzards destroyed his herd
  • He won his first election (New York State Assembly) and lost his second (New York City Mayor)

His exploits became legendary after these potentially devastating losses.  He became the equivalent of Secretary of the Navy, formed the famous Rough Riders, served as Governor of New York, U.S. Vice President, and U.S. President.  While President, he ordered construction of the Panama Canal AND won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt was able to have a good laugh, even after some significant setbacks

How did Roosevelt progress from the early setbacks in his life?  I found this quote that really challenges me:

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. – Theodore Roosevelt

Today, I’m striving to do SOMETHING…and I hope you will too!

photo credit: mentalfloss.com

Want your changes to last? Look in the refrigerator!

A few weeks into the new year, people are trying valiantly to keep their resolutions.  Some even look to others as accountability partners or coaches.  Those types of people can make a huge difference in our lives.  However, individual commitment is the most important key to success.  Let’s take a look at our friend, the egg.

If broken from the outside, a life ends…

Broken Egg

but if it is broken from the inside…

Chick in egg

a life begins!

So, when you want to see yourself make a change or help others, remember, the big changes in life start from the inside!

Photo Credits:
http://imblog.ideaglow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/chick-in-egg.jpg
http://www.dailyperricone.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Broken-Egg.jpg

Football Program Maintainers – Nick Saban

Today’s post is the last in a series on the three types of change resources in the world of football.   So far, we’ve talked about a Builder (Urban Meyer) and a Visionary ( Darrel “Mouse” Davis).  Today we’ll be talking about a very successful Maintainer.

Maintainers typically like being ‘experts.’  Although they don’t often get much publicity, Maintainers are key to the stability of every organization.  They excel at doing the same thing, the same way every time…and that’s what University of Alabama coach Nick Saban does.  His teams win football games (and championships) almost every year.

NickSaban_LSU-AL-07t (1)

Saban’s detailed plan for winning is affectionately called “The Process” around the university’s Tuscaloosa home and it encompasses everything from his players summer workouts to what he eats for breakfast (Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies thank you very much).  Saban wants things done the same way (HIS way) every time with the belief that if everyone does their job correctly, they will be successful.

Saban’s (some would say maniacal) need to control the details doesn’t mean that he’s not open to new ideas.  He was an early adopter of academic advisers and sports psychiatrists to help his teams be successful in less obvious facets of the game.

Maintainers can get a bad rap for wanting to ‘keep the process going’.  However, Saban shows us that doing the right things year after year can produce some pretty impressive results.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Football Program Visionaries – Who is Darrel Davis?

Today’s post is the second in a series on the three types of change resources in the world of football.   Last time, we talked about a Builder, Urban Meyer.  Today we’re going to talk about Darrel “Mouse” Davis, a true football visionary.  Haven’t heard of him?  Join the club.

As a reminder, Visionaries seldom live in the present because they prefer to look at the opportunities of the future. They are big idea people, often seeing opportunities before anyone else.

Many successful football coaches in the 1960s like Woody Hayes espoused the ‘three yards and a cloud of dust’ philosophy.  Hayes and Darrell Royal at Texas believed that ‘three things can happen to a forward pass and two of them are bad.’  So how did we get from that era to today’s multiple receiver, no huddle attack?

Say hello to Darrel “Mouse” Davis.  In the early 1960s as a high school coach in Oregon, he believed his young charges could take on Joe Paterno’s Penn State defense.  Why?  An offense that spread the ball to as many as four wide receivers.

spread-offense-diagram-460

Davis spread (no pun intended) the news about his offense at all levels of football.  In over 50 years, he coached high schoolers, collegians, and professionals (impressively, in four leagues…the CFL, NFL, Arena, and USFL).

How does a small town high school coach impact decades worth of football players?  He was a Visionary.   He could see the opportunities that passing the ball would give his team and he took full advantage of them.

So, although there are surely some famous Visionaries (John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) and, some would argue, Steve Jobs), they aren’t all ‘celebrated leaders.’  Darrel Davis spent his lifetime ‘spreading the news’ about his vision and it impacted millions…even if few football fans know his name.

Photo Credit: http://www.bloguin.com/crystalballrun

Football Program Builders – Urban Meyer

We’re all surrounded by Visionaries, Builders, and Maintainers.  The next three posts will describe one of each of the three types in the world of football.   Today, we’ll be talking about a famous Builder, Urban Meyer.

As a reminder, Builders like to ‘construct’ things (people, organizations, processes, relationships) until they no longer see opportunities for improvement. Then, it’s time to find something else to build.

Love him or hate him, Meyer’s name is synonymous with success in College Football.  In the last 10 years, he has two undefeated seasons (Utah – 2004 and Ohio State – 2012) and two National Championships (Florida – 2006 and 2008).   The success of 2012 has led to great expectations for 2013. Since Meyer has dealt with this before (I mean, the guy won two National Championships in three years!), you might think maintaining success is easy for him. Not so fast.

Building takes passion and energy.  Maintenance is awful.  It’s nothing but fatigue.  Once you reach the top, maintaining that beast is awful – Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer at the White House - 2009

Meyer sure sounds like a Builder to me. He’s energized by building a new program (Ohio State is his fourth(!) turnaround). At the same time, he realizes that maintaining is hard (even life threatening).

With success that has come via shady talent, Meyer is a polarizing figure who doesn’t seem to put down roots for long.   If he has a couple more successful seasons with the Buckeyes, I won’t be surprised if he finds the stress of maintaining too much to deal with.  Then, if he continues his Builder behavior, he will go looking for a new challenge.  Maybe the NFL?

Photo credit: wikimedia.org

Change Management and Mickey Mouse

My family and I recently spent a few days at Walt Disney World and it was amazing to see some of the change management tools Disney uses to create “the happiest place on earth.”

Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom

Disney Change Management Lesson #1: A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

The folks at Disney are experts at making the line to the front of an attraction both winding and interesting. As you make your way back and forth in the well engineered lines, they want you to focus less on the wait and more on the great artwork, interactive screens, and celebrity videos.

The lesson? If you can’t make the journey shorter, at least make it exciting! As you lead changes, look for ‘fun’ ways to communicate about the process of changing and the final result. One great example I’ve seen was the creation of a superhero and corresponding comic strip. A new strip was released regularly to explain the current progress of the project. It wasn’t the finest artwork but it definitely got my attention.

Disney Change Management Lesson #2: I Just Can’t Wait to Be King

Don’t want to wait in line? Has Disney got a deal for you! Just place your ticket in the FastPass terminal and get a pass to the front of the line. There’s only one catch, your FastPass is only good for a specific hour later in the day. In effect, you give up the right to hold a FastPass for any other ride for the benefit of spending less time in line for the ride you really want to ride (and presumably, ride less popular rides).

The lesson?  Give people as many choices as possible. You may find people who want to change faster than you have planned.  Let them take the change ‘FastPass’ and become ambassadors!

Disney Change Management Lesson #3: Be Our Guest

Disney hospitality is legendary.  They want to make sure that you know exactly where to go and what to do while you’re with them.   In fact, they do such a great job that it can be jarring when you don’t get the directions you’re expecting (as we didn’t with the ‘pagers’ in the new Dumbo play area at Fantasyland).

The lesson?  If you’re changing something keep the steps of the process available for all to see.  The better people understand the end results, the more support they will give you.

So, what about you?  What change management lessons have you seen around you today?