The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Well looky here, things one has scanned in eh. (ignore the photo, that's some guy that made some accounting software, not sure what became of him ;) MIKE RIVERSDALE is fuming. The expensive headphones he bought in Sydney three weeks ago have just died. His first reaction is not to randomly spill expletives into his coffee, but to use his iPhone to vent his frustration to his Twitter con- tacts, under the moniker Miramar Mike. "I will also put, 'What should I do?' It's a conversation. I'm reaching out to the people following me." The council predicts hand-held digital devices such as smartphones will rule the world in 2040. They already rule the life of Mr Riversdale, whose company WaveAdept helps businesses adapt - their computing sys- tems to allow staff to work from anywhere - and with anyone. In order of fre- equency, he uses his iPhone to tweet (1136 followers; 8363 tweets since joining), e-mail, make phone calls and use online services, such as checki

Change Management Is So Simple

No, change management is not simple and for one very easy to understand reason - it involves people. And that's the first, most important, all encompassing and ultimately only real point of change management. People are what we are endeavouring to help through change and the outcome of change management is people doing something different (there is a change)

But dropping the other attributes of change management can leave you open to a non-starter of a process or, at best, one that flops over the line with many weary participants huffing and puffing behind you.

A little self disclosure before we get to the 6 main components of "change management". I'm actually someone that believes in constant change, that companies, Govt agencies, NGO's, communities and all people are constantly adapting to the environment within which they operate. Therefore a "Enterprise Change Process" (or even a "Transformation Programme") is a slightly false worldview as it implies that before there was stability with no change and that after we will return to this calm state. Nope, change is ever present and people are adapting each and everyday - "change management" should harness this in order for the organisation to catch up to this reality of life.

And so, onto the 6 key components that enable us to get through change / transformation and adaption ..

1: People

If you're not manging the change for people then you're doing it for machines and they can do it themselves nowadays
Without being a 'people person' you're not gonna get far ... you're gonna get stuffed in fact.

There's so much to write about "people" that all I'm gonna do is make a pithy list and let you start your Googling. BUT, If you've dropped into this post because of a Google search and it's all come a bit of a surprise to you then maybe sitting down with a good strong cup of tea and re-evaluating your career choice. You'll need:
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Leadership
  • Focus
  • Communication skills
It's a list many call the "soft side" of the CV skills list, and when I do hear that being said I call it out as the bullshit it is. If it was so "soft" then why is it so "hard" - can't have a "hard pillow" can ya! It's also called "the soft side of the workplace" because it somehow implies it's a feminine role, that women are better at it, that, in fact, if you're not a woman doing it then you're just not gonna be very good at it. Again, rubbish, and if you've been thinking that now is the time to have a second cup of strong tea, sit yaself down at your desk with a pen and a clean piece of paper and list out all the reasons you believe that - go on, dig deep ...

I highly recommend What makes a great change manager? My current list of "Top 5" Attributes

2: Purpose

Why change something when it's not broken?
A fantastic question and if that can't be articulated to the satisfaction of those asking then may I suggest you stock up on good strong tea and hunker down for a few more workshops before unleashing the wave of of potential disruption onto the people that will be affected.

One potential way of ensure everyone "knows the purpose" is to involve them in the process at this early stage - a bit of collaboration can go a long way. Not always possible, but you should always start from, "We're all in this together" and have a darned good reason why everyone can't be involved.

Oh, and remember, the question comes from others and therefore only they can let you know if it's been answered satisfactorily - not you. If you feel that you've done as much as you can and they still don't get but hang it all we've got to get thing moving forward you're starting from a place of pain (imagine starting the Rugby World Cup final with 21 points against before the kick off whistle goes - yes, you could win but man alive why make it so hard).

3: Point

What's the point of all this change [What's in it for me]?
Your purpose should have given everyone affected by your change enough information, contacts and resources to answer that for themselves - "What's in it for me?" Sometimes the answer to that is, "Hmm, time to move on", and if that's the point of the change for that person you better be prepared for it.

It's this little question that, if left unanswered, can cause resistance, push back and all the reasons to not change that you can ever think of. It's here the programme succeeds or falls.

Remember, "What's in it for me?" is a question that's not just being asked by your immediate staff but can include such distant players as families of customers. Change has ripple effects that can have multiple and wide reaching affects - the further out you can help the better.

AND, guys guys guys - be positive, there's fun and celebrated success to be had here, so don't get all corporate and red tape on people.

4: Planning

What are your 5 W's?
It's remarkable how often I experience a change going on in an organisation that has, somehow, just happened. You can tell when you're in one of those changes because there's no-one listening and no amendments are being made - you're having it done to you. Good planning should remove this as you sit, think about it and don't do anything until it's all ready. Having said that planning includes a number of elements that if you're reading this and thinking, "Hmm, planning the change, that's a novel concept" need more detail than this article will give you.

In a nutshell you must have comprehensive and explainable (to everyone) list of the following

  • What - detail, detail, detail - what is going to happen!
  • When - when is it going to happen!
  • Where - physically, online ...
  • Who - to whom is the what, when and where. Remember, one desired change event may have many different ways of being delivered for instance you will differentiate between perceived VIPs, frontline staff, roster staff, head office and branch staff.
  • Why - for each item in your plan explain why. Why? Because this is about people and people need to know why something is happening in order for them to see the Point
  • How - logistics

(I know, there's 6 and one of them is a 'H' but life is never perfect eh)

Use whatever planning tool you need from yellow stickies on the wall, spreadsheets, all the way through to your favourite planning tool. I find yellow stickies to be an excellent way of being open, inclusive and real - take a photo each day and post it onto your Intranet.

... ok, by now with Purpose, Point and Planning you're thinking it's just a list of "P"'s but the final 2 attributes of change management are:

5: Communication

Just let me know what I need to be doing and when!
I get the purpose, I see the point and you've shown me the plan - fantastic, let's do this thing! And then flood of updates, emails, Intranet posts, social notices come flooding in - aaaagh! Just communicate to me as a human and make it relevant.

For all you need to know read 3 parts to Clear Communication - Available, Timely and Relevant

You need to nail this in all the other parts I have and will speak about!

6: Leadership

"I'd follow that woman to another company if she asked me"
That's a real quote from someone I worked with a few years ago when I asked what it was about the change they were going through that made it all seem worthwhile. Leadership cannot be understated but at all levels - from the CEO who sets the tone of the company and therefore the change event, down the hierarchy if there is one and to each and everyone one of us. Yip, we must all be leaders in times of change which can be as big as shouting, "No, this is killing us, STOP!" to as quiet and intimate, "It's OK John, I think I know how this now works let me help you"

Leadership in times of change are what companies and communities thrive upon - never be too afraid to  ensure you get it.

BONUS: Behaviour

Here's yet another CEO with an attempt to change us
Or if you're in a government town, as I am here in Wellington, NZ, "The other party with another set of policies but we'll ride this out just like we've always done".

I'm not talking about the resistance to change (see People and Plan) but the inference that change can come and go but nothing actually changes - no-one does anything different. This can sometimes occur in very large organisations where the change programme is reported and accepted as a success.

The ONLY measurement of change is that people can be seen to be doing things differently.


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