Tagged: change management

Change = D+V+S+C

Here is a simple formula for change that can be applied to the discipline of building, sustaining and protecting an organization’s reputation.

Change = D+V+S+C

For change to happen a business has to:

  • Be dissatisfied with its present state
  • Have a clear Vision of where it wants to go
  • Take the necessary steps to get there
  • Create enough energy (or tension) to overpower the COST required (in terms of money, time and energy) to make the change happen.

Communication Is The Key To Successfully Implementing Any Large-scale Organizational Change

j0409404I firmly believe that communication is the key to successfully implementing any large-scale organizational change.

Whether you are implementing new systems, redesigning business processes, or transforming organization structures through downsizing and M&A, effective communication is absolutely critical.

A former colleague used to write, “Communication is more than the tangible vehicles and tools that convey information; it is the glue that binds internal and external stakeholders to your vision, mission, goals and activities. Effective communication engages the hearts and minds of all stakeholders.”

With regards to a change process, the objective of these communications is to move your target audiences along the following continuum with the stated effects:

  • Awareness – individuals are conscious of the change
  • Understanding – individuals have a shared meaning of the change
  • Acceptance – individuals internalize the change and have a more favourable outlook
  • Alignment – individuals provide appropriate levels of support for the change
  • Commitment – individuals begin to claim responsibility and ownership for the change

This is only achieved by developing a communication strategy that utilizes multiple communication vehicles and delivery channels throughout the course of the change process. Most importantly, these communications must build upon each other to share a bit more of the story as it unfolds. It is not sufficient to make a global announcement the day before or the day the change occurs.

Here is a framework to make it easy for leaders to remember as they communicate direction to the teams they lead – The 7 P’s of High Performance:

Perspective – the big picture – the environment, market, competitors, customers needs, technology – an overview from 30,000 feet.

Problem – what is threatening (or wrong) with the current situation – what is not working as well as it needs to – where would we likely end up if we did nothing.

Purpose – what are we attempting to accomplish stated in both objective and subjective terms – what are our goals for this initiative/change process.

Principles – criteria (or critical success factors) we have used in our thinking process to insure success – the relevant guidelines we have applied.

Plan – what is our “go forward” proposition we believe will move us in the right direction – how the future will look different – how things will be different for people.

Process – an update on what steps have taken place to date – plus the next steps we contemplate in conjunction with the next P.

Participation – what necessary and important role for involvement we see for the team – stated as in :invitation” – and creating the opening for involvement from all players needed for success.

Here are some other resources and thoughts:

From the book “Nameless Organizational Change,” by Glen-Allen Meyer. In a nutshell:

  1. Organizations market their products and services
  2. Leaders (and change agents) know how to market
  3. Changes are given names (e.g. “Super teams 2010”)
  4. Named changes are hyped and marketed throughout the organization – We see this often in South Africa where campaigns have an ethnic name
  5. In the marketplace outside of the organization, people can say “no” to marketed products and services they do not want.
  6. Inside the workplace, people cannot easily say “no” to the changes that are marketed “at them”
  7. My experience is that most change “communication plans” are, in fact, marketing plans
  8. Since they cannot say “no” to marketed change, dissonance is established in the minds, psyches, and beings of people who want to say “no” but who know that, in some way, they must comply
  9. In addition to genuine change, this dissonance produces stress and resistance during change
  10. Stress and resistance to programmatic, marketed organization change causes signs of dysfunction during major change including absenteeism, turnover, accidents, tardiness and more
  11. These signs of dysfunction add cost and time to major change.

The “nameless” approach helps leaders implement change without the hype and without the resistance produced by marketed (i.e. “communicated”) change. A model for nameless change is presented in the book including the step-by-step process by which the change is “seeded” and “harvested” in the organization instead of being driven by complex and “slick” change marketing plans.

In short, I believe that people at work today are far savvier “consumers” of change than were their predecessors of even ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago. People “object” with the “flavour-of-the-month” objection because they’re rather well used to the methods of change being promulgated by many management gurus.

I’ve found the book ‘Communicating Change: Winning Employee Support for New Business Goals’ by TJ & Sandar Larkin  http://amzn.to/a9261T very helpful but for my money Kotter’s Leading Change Book http://amzn.to/ckQtMN) is the best.

From Kotter’s principles, one can readily derive excellent models and specific instruments for promoting and monitoring change management. For a short version, there is his classic 1995 Harvard Business Review article, “Why Transformation Efforts Fail,” which cites insufficient communication as a chief cause of failed change management.

Want to Change your Reputation?

Before you can market a product or service, you need to take the teapot lid off and look at what it is that is withholding you from marketing and growing business success. That will ensure that the foundations are strong and the marketing and eventual reputation will grow in leaps and bounds.

The problem is that many organisations participate in various surveys that tackle the multifaceted issue of reputation. They then get results that do not always give them the full picture of what is not working.

About a year ago I saw the results of a survey conducted at a client that indicated that their creativity and innovation presence was lagging. Lagging in what?

To get to the real reasons, a lot more detective work is necessary. The questions that a skilled management consultant would ask is different to that asked by a traditional survey. A consultant would probe and probe until he or she identified the root cause. Only then, can measures be implemented to enhance creativity and innovation in the organisation.

So, what is stifling innovation in the organization? Is it structural, process issues, the corporate culture or competencies of the people?

Let’s just quickly define what a competency is. A Competency is having the required knowledge, skill and attitude to do a certain task at a certain standard level.

In my experience, creativity can start at that level. Most people upon asked to do an exercise in which they have to list the names of five people, dead or alive, they believe to be very creative, would seldom put their own names on that list.

In few organisations, a staff suggestion and idea scheme operates at an optimum level (maybe I will blog more on that ).

Anyway, here is a formula that you can apply to changing your organisation’s reputation.



Change == D+V+S+C

For change to happen a business has to:

  • Be dissatisfied with its present state (Are you happy where you are on the World’s Most Admired Company Survey? The Best Employer Survey, etc?)
  • Have a clear Vision of where it wants to go (Do you know what makes your company unique? Do you understand what drives reputation in your industry?)
  • Take the necessary steps to get there (Planning)
  • Create enough energy (or tension) to overpower the COST required (in terms of money, time and energy) to make the change happen.

Simple formula, but as one speaker once said: ‘’Business is just about two things, Buying and selling and a millions things in between!’’

Depends on how much you value your Reputation. I know Warren Buffet does.

Results change when we change

Results change when we change.

We experts are always debating change – large systems scale change, etc. But let’s narrow it down to the jugular. If it is going to be, it is up to me!

It is when individuals start to take responsibility that real change occurs. Look at Mandela, Ghandi, etc.

We advise, we consult, we conjure! But is when a person says so far and no more.

We have CRM systems in companies, we have large systems, and yet research will tell us that people want to be acknowledged as individuals. The lessons are paramount. We need to ensure that all our change programs touch the individual.

So , what can we do? Plenty! If we see a truck in front of our car that is smoking badly, why do we not take a photograph, write about it to the company or even write on our blogs about it.

In the picture below this baby is pointing at the Baby Food Manufacturers saying: ‘’Don’t think you can just put G.M. food into my baby milk powder. I will hold you accountable”


rudebabyHe is making a difference.

Why do we wait for others? The era of citizen journalism have arrived. In South Africa they even pay citizens for that type of information.

The Difference between Deciding and Doing

Five fledglings are in the nest. Four decide to spread their wings and soar away. How many are left?

Answer: five.

Why? Because there’s a difference between deciding and doing!

Moral: Decisions are only one-half the story. It is all about execution. Check out Morita’s theory. Ever heard of him? A Japanese psychiatrist whose work is brilliant and thoughts pragmatic – IMHO! According to him action is more important than words. I agree. The general opinion is that it takes action to make a difference.

However the difficulty often lies in the desire to change. Anthony Robbins says that change can happen in an instant, but it is the time leading up to change that can take a long time. On his CD Unlimited Power he talks about the fact that Power comes from action.

Dr. Wayne Dyer narrates an interesting story about people’s desire for change.

"Alcohol is an evil beyond compare," said the preacher as he stood before a group of alcoholics.

On the platform he had what appeared to be two identical containers of clear fluid. He announced that one contained pure water and the other contained undiluted alcohol. He placed a small worm in the container filled with water and everyone watched as it swam around and headed for the side of the glass and finally crawled to the top of the glass. He then took the same worm and placed it in the container with alcohol. The worm disintegrated right before their eyes.

"There," said the preacher, "What is the moral?"

A voice promptly replied: "If you drink alcohol, you will never have worms."

Human nature generally resists change because change is uncomfortable, unpredictable, stressful and difficult. When we view change as urgent and important we will view it positively. I guess it is the same with managing reputation. It is the domain of the PR Department – isn’t it?

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Think you can’t make a Difference?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

You can easily change the world around you, and by doing so, you will change the world at large.

Are you ready for some ways to make a real difference?