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Mount Everest Shows the Danger Of Clinging To Goals: Embrace Uncertainty Like An Entrepreneur

Mount Everest Shows the Danger Of Clinging To Goals:  Embrace Uncertainty Like An Entrepreneur | Change Management Resources | Scoop.it

In 1996 a disaster of historic proportion happened on the peak of Mount Everest. In the entire climbing season, 15 climbers died. Eight of those deaths took place on a single day."


____________________


In the corporate world we’re often focused on achieving our goals at all costs. This eventually reaches the status of dogma.

____________________
     


Journalist and mountain climber Jon Krakauer captured this story in his book “Into Thin Air;” he was on the mountain that day.
    
Krakauer puts part of the blame on the stubbornness of a climbing guide. While there is some evidence to support this claim, most climbers are, by definition, stubborn and arrogant. Yet disasters of this magnitude are rare. 
    
...
In this case the teams encountered a traffic jam at Hilary pass that slowed progression, and disregarded their turnaround time.   ...Members, however, continued on reaching the summit   ...Doug Hansen, a postal service worker from the New Zealand group, was the last to summit. While he made it to the top, the odds were against him ever coming back.

Like seven others, he died on the descent. 

     

...What would it look like to embrace uncertainty?

      

____________________
   
Start with your means.  Don't wait for the perfect opportunity.
   
____________________
      
    

Professor Saras Sarasvathy interviewed forty-five “successful” entrepreneurs and found a disconnect between our thoughts on entrepreneurs as successfully pursuing a goal-oriented approach and reality.

    

"An entrepreneur's ...precise endpoint was often mysterious to them, and their means of proceeding reflected this. Overwhelmingly, they scoffed at the goals-first doctrine of Locke and Latham. Almost none of them suggested creating a detailed business plan or doing comprehensive market research to hone the details of the product they were aiming to release."

  

The most valuable skill of a successful entrepreneur...[is] the ability to adopt an unconventional approach to learning: an improvisational flexibility  [including] a willingness to change the destination itself, [using] a set of principles she calls “effectuation.”

      

 “Start with your means. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Start taking action, based on what you have readily available: what you are, what you know and who you know.”

     

A second is the “principle of affordable loss”  ...— ask how big the loss would be if you failed. So long as it would be tolerable, that’s all you need to know. Take that next step, and see what happens.

        

“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning,” argued the social psychologist Erich Fromm. “Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.” Uncertainty is where things happen. It is where the opportunities — for success, for happiness, for really living — are waiting.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

As one who faithfully taught purpose, goals and work planning since the 90s, I've learned to revise my thinking post 9-11, in a global, "anti-fragile" (Taleb) age, embracing a different approach to adaptive change.  Now, it is especially important to think like an entrepreneur, to embrace uncertainty, and to get clear about how goals can also be a trap.  

    

_______________________
   
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”  

~ Bruce Lee
_______________________

     

This piece illustrates the deadly side of goal-setting, and features one of my favorite entrepreneurial professors, Dr. Saras Saravathy - who has the research goods on how to embrace uncertainty, a bias for action, and how pushing through failure helps create entrepreneurial success.

    
Entrepreneurial thinking is a mindset that can help all of us let go of the industrial age rigidity.  Note that GM is mentioned in the article.   It's worth pondering for what you might choose to do differently, tolerating a certain amount of uncertainty, in your own life, tonight and tomorrow.  

    

~  Deb 

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, June 25, 2014 2:18 PM

As one who faithfully taught purpose, goals and work planning since the 90s, I've learned to revise my thinking post 9-11, in a global, "anti-fragile" (Taleb) age, embracing a different approach to adaptive change.  Now, it is especially important to think like an entrepreneur, to embrace uncertainty, and to get clear about how goals can also be a trap.  
    
This piece illustrates the deadly side of goal-setting, and features one of my favorite entrepreneurial professors, Dr. Saras Saravathy - who has the research goods on how to embrace uncertainty, a bias for action, and how pushing through failure helps create entrepreneurial success.

    
Entrepreneurial thinking is a mindset that can help all of us let go of the industrial age rigidity.  Note that GM is mentioned in the article.   It's worth pondering for what you might choose to do differently, tolerating a certain amount of uncertainty, in your own life, tonight and tomorrow.  


~  Deb 

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Understanding simple, complicated, complex, and chaos in Systems Thinking

" If you manage a complex organization as if it were just a complicated one, you’ll make serious, expensive mistakes.”


Most of the approaches used to address complex system are approaches for complicated system ( Six Sigma, Balance Scorecard, …).


But how to work in a complex system ?  


According to Gökçe Sargut and Rita Gunther McGrath , they recommend to:
    
· Improve the way you forecast by using tools/models that simulate the behavior of the system. Process Behaviour Chart (see Shewart)
· Improve the way you mitigate risk by minimizing the need to rely on predictions/expectations to experiment, by…
· Make different resource tradeoffs by providing diversity of thoughts and by investing in incremental and small investment in new project/approaches.



They describe some of the essential parts of " a system of profound knowledge" :
  • appreciation for a system, 
  • knowledge about variation, 
  • theory of knowledge, and 
  • psychology. 
     
The system of profound knowledge is a complex system as we've to consider it a a network of interdependent components that work together to accomplish the purpose of the system.
   
The  4 interrelated parts can't be understood if separated from one another.
     
As Deming said : "Rational prediction requires theory and builds knowledge through systematic revision and extension of the theory based on comparison of prediction with observation."(Deming, The New Economics). 
     
The system of profound knowledge is based on the premise that management is prediction.  
    
If we fail to predict what we expect  ("Theory), we fail to predict the results of our experiment to improve, we fail to analyze the results of our experiment and we fail to learn about our system.
     
So we don't improve. 
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

As many large change projects ARE in complex systems, dealing with forecasts (alternate scenarios included), and risk and resource allocation changes IS key to agile  & appropriate change plans.  ~  D

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10 Favorite Systems Thinking Books of the Past 10+ Years > Change that Works

10 Favorite Systems Thinking Books of the Past 10+ Years >  Change that Works | Change Management Resources | Scoop.it

"Here's a helpful list of systems thinking books from the editor of The Systems Thinker news on Pegasus, a favorite blog spot I follow.  Systems and change are married to each other in creating change that works.


________________________________

    

Reality will not be still. And it cannot be taken apart! ....Relationship is everything." ~ Marilyn Ferguson

    

________________________________


I have several of these and will probably be getting the e-editions of others from this great list.


"General Systems Theory, a related modern concept

[to holism],says that each variable in any system

interacts with the other variables

so thoroughly that cause and effect

cannot be separated.


A simple variable can be both cause and effect.

Reality will not be still. And it cannot be taken apart!

You cannot understand a cell, a rat, a brain structure,

a family, a culture if you isolate it from its context.

Relationship is everything."    

- Marilyn Ferguson,  

The Aquarian Conspiracy



A sample from her blog post:


She admits Russell Ackoff writings and Senge's new edition of The Fifth Discipline go without saying as great systems thinking classics.  That said, her list includes:


  • Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows (Chelsea Green, 2008) Dana Meadows had a unique ability to take the mystery out of what can be perceived as overly complex concepts.
  
  • DN:  I have this one and carry it around on my iPad everywhere, reminding myself when I get stuck how systems can be complex without being complicated.
   
   
  • Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World by John Sterman (McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2000) The core textbook for learning how to apply system dynamics modeling to complex organizational challenges. Even if you aren’t interested in modeling per se, Sterman’s clear, well-written explanations of the core elements of systems thinking make it worth a look.
   
  • Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis L. Meadows (Chelsea Green, 2004) The most recent version of the influential system dynamics analysis of the impact of a rapidly growing population in a world of finite resources.


She's also listed several good books for children including two books by a relative of a former neighbor of mind.  Good stuff!



Read the full post here.

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Why Traditional Business Transformation Don't Work, & A New Co-Creative Model - Innovation Playground

Why Traditional Business Transformation Don't Work, &  A New Co-Creative Model - Innovation Playground | Change Management Resources | Scoop.it

Over 60% of companies out there are operating from a dated business model. 20% are operating with a mental model that had expired more than 5 years ago.

Business transformation traditionally takes the form of unfreezing to refreezing and bridging the gaps in capabilities, mindset and performance.


The transformation model featured in this blog post by Idris Mootee has a strong future orientation, uses Design Thinking principles, and features a tangible, collaborative co-creation process.


A high-level view is captured by the following formula: Successful Brand-Driven Business Transformation = P+N+C+M+I+F


P = Develop a perspective of the future(s) informed by strategic foresights (both customer and technology contexts) and deep organizational insights;


N = Develop a co-created brand narrative that inspired people re: possibilities and purpose at the core of the story;


C = Develop a compelling case for the need for change developed and shared by all executives, investors, employees and B2B business partners;


M = Map - Develop a practical means to tie innovation (roadmap) and projects to the desired future(s);


I = Design an incentive systems that are aligned to identify and encourage appropriate behaviors compatible with the desired future;


F = Develop feedback mechanism for each stage of the process to monitor progress and provide input for continuous improvement.

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Systems in Action: Collaboration and the Internet of Everything ~ Cisco

Systems in Action:  Collaboration and the Internet of Everything ~ Cisco | Change Management Resources | Scoop.it

Change is constant. And technology has always been about change and convergence. "This is a wide ecosystem where everyone can participate and benefit."


Massive, global-scale change occurring now is happening at rates faster than anyone ever predicted.

How Big is “Everything”?

The Internet of Everything will create $14.4 trillion in value at stake through the combination of increased revenues and lower costs in just the next ten years – creating an opportunity to increase global corporate profits by an estimated 21% over the next decade.


The five main factors fueling this value are:


  • Asset utilization: $2.5 trillion in reduced costs
  • Employee productivity: $2.5 trillion in greater labor efficiencies
  • Supply chain and logistics: $2.7 trillion through eliminating waste
  • Customer intimacy: $3.7 trillion through addition of more customers
  • Innovation: $3.0 trillion through reducing time to market
    

Collaboration ties in throughout these factors. This is a wide ecosystem where everyone can participate and benefit: Small businesses, enterprises, service providers, system integrators, device makers are all critical to building out the connections and scaling experiences across every industry.

 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is the promising side of big data and collaboration.  What do you see in your categories of cost & benefit and abundance in this thinking?  ~  Deb

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Why Data Will Never Replace Thinking, DPPE, What's the Question? What's the Goal?

Why Data Will Never Replace Thinking, DPPE, What's the Question?  What's the Goal? | Change Management Resources | Scoop.it
The answers we get out of data will always depend on the questions we ask.


Useful.  It also reminded me of one of the tools we use in Whole Scale change thinking:  Data, Purpose, Plan, Evaluate, or DPPE.  Thanks to twitter follower  @resilientchange for this link this week.


_______________________________

"Throughout history ....science has made huge progress in precisely the areas where we can measure things — and lagged where we can't."

_______________________________



Excerpts:


Data-driven predictions can succeed — and they can fail. It is when we deny our role in the process that the odds of failure rise. Before we demand more of our data, we need to demand more of ourselves.


One key role we play in the process is choosing which data to look at. That this choice is often made for us by what happens to be easiest to measure doesn't make it any less consequential, as Samuel Arbesman writes, 


  • "Throughout history, in one field after another, science has made huge progress in precisely the areas where we can measure things — and lagged where we can't."


In his book,  political forecaster Nate Silver writes about a crucial element, how we go about revising our views as new data comes in.


Silver is a big believer in the Bayesian approach to probability, in which we all have our own subjective ideas about how things are going to pan out, but follow the same straightforward rules in revising those assessments as we get new information.


It's a process that uses data to refine our thinking. But it doesn't work without some thinking first.


Read the full article here.


Perspective on change planning, facilitating, organizing, implementing or sustaining via Reveln.


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Motivated, Engaged Change: Thinking AND Acting Systemically

Motivated, Engaged Change:  Thinking AND Acting Systemically | Change Management Resources | Scoop.it

Acting systemically requires systems thinking in tandem. When people discover their own responsibility for perpetuating a problem, they are more motivated to change and take action outside of their own silos.

   

The Pegasus blog is a great resource for complex but not necessarily complicated change.  Here's a few excerpts on systems thinking and acting that features some gold nuggets of thinking in community, systemically.  ~ Deb

   

 _______________________________

   

“What might we have to give up as an individual organization in order to serve the system as a whole?”

 _______________________________

      

Excerpted:

   

Leaders committed to social change increasingly recognize the importance of “getting the whole system in the room.”   This means:  


  1. identifying the diverse stakeholders who impact and are affected by a problem
  2. creating forums where they can meet and share their respective points of view.

   

There are many approaches to bringing such people together, including Future Search, the World Café, and Open Space.


We call these approaches acting systemically because they facilitate communication among a wide range of stakeholders who might not have previously spoken or listened to each other.

  

...stakeholders also have individual commitments that often run counter to their espoused collective commitment.

  

...thinking systemically, people ...begin to see how they unwittingly undermine their own best intentions through their short-term actions.

  

They are moved to consider the question, “What might we have to give up as an individual organization in order to serve the system as a whole?”

  

Three options are listed in the blog post including this provocative example:

  

They might streamline or even close their own organization and shift its services to other organizations in the system who are better positioned to deliver them.    


See the full post here.

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