For the past 20 years, corporate communication specialists have tried as hard as they can to tailor the message to the frontline... Unfortunately, this violates the Platinum Rule of Organizational Change:
Change is a threat when done to me,but an opportunity when done by me.
Managers often say, "but when I get everyone together to hear their perspective, it devolves into a complaint session." This brings us back to the Golden Rule of Organizational Change:
If you're not getting the response you need, change the stimulus. (YOU)
...this means "ask better questions" and/or structure your meetings to move beyond the complaints to a constructive place.
"Successful transition through endings is a necessary skill these days. A William Bridges classic gives insights into helping endings succeed."
This is one of my own posts on a popular summary of Bridges' work on the differences between change and transition:
How to help endings be successful Access to a downloadable Bridges model article Get the strategies list for successful endings
Sometimes an ending is a major, transformative revelation for a business, such as when CEO Darwin Smith exclaimed they needed to shut down the paper mills leading the shift to a new way of doing business.
"It isn't the changes that do you in, it's the transitions.
...Change is external, transition is internal."
~ William Bridges
Leave room, create an open space for transitioning Allow you to enter the Neutral Zone (like the Black Forest) of transitions and change, according to William Bridges Read the full article here. The downloadable model is on Deb's TOOLS page here.
Via Deb Nystrom, REVELN
"The HBR post cites several case studies illustrating why many transformations fizzle, then two examples for how to turn it around."
But they're not failing fast to learn. They're just failing more. It's definitely not a learning organization.
A health insurer demonstrates a repeated pattern of 3- to 5-year cycles where it launches a change program, takes awhile for managers to get behind it, and then more time to get it funded. A program gets funded for a year but then everyone loses interest, and it gets defunded and dies.
Recently they're failing faster; the three- to five-year cycle is moving to two to three years. But they're not failing fast to learn. They're just failing more. It's definitely not a learning organization.
Just about everyone in the company agrees the culture is dysfunctional:
Some point to politics - competition between the COO and CFO blocking each other's progress. The CEO also had a way of questioning and stress-testing people that discouraged risk-taking => a "play it safe" mentality. Executives who want quick wins scope projects to be done in a year. Most change programs there needed multiple years, so by the time a program extends beyond year one, executives move onto a new initiative.
What countermeasures are there to break a tragic change cycle like this?
Adopting improvement methods such as "agile" or "lean" can change the culture so that results and trust are prized over process and contracts.
Successful efforts at health insurance companies Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offer insights:
Organizational realignment — The structure of an organization determines the incentives that drive identity, behavior, and employee understanding of roles and responsibilities and priorities, as well as a sense of ownership and accountability.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's tried a more traditional functional management structure but then found it lost customer focus.
It appointed leaders to run market segments with profit and loss responsibility with the focus of changing the product mix and improve profitability. By organizing by customer, cross-functional changes became much easier to implement, and there was a dramatic turnaround in business results.
Improvement methods — a platform for doing work nimbly and at low cost included:
Adopting improvement methods such as "agile" or "lean" can change the culture as employees are empowered so that results and trust are prized over process and contracts. Tactics such as daily huddles drove immediate wins and helped entrench a culture of empowerment.
Employee engagement — Employees fundamentally want themselves and the company to be successful, so successful change agents listen to their needs and help them transition.
Aetna describes how new CEO John Rowe and the senior team "sought out employees at all levels — those who were well connected, sensitive to the company culture, and widely respected — to get their input on the strategy, design and execution of intended process changes."
Executives at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan went into the field to gather input and communicate their commitment to change. Employees were trained in improvement methods ("Lean"), with every employee going through two sessions in accountability training.
Many leaders are currently facing the challenge of leading in conditions of uncertainty and unpredictability. Yet much leadership is predicated on the assumption of a relatively stable / foreseeable future - for which plans can be made.
As I thought about Push in the context of Kotter's model, I imagined the table you see above.
In most "less than successful" change projects, the Tops drive steps 1, 2, and 3. Step 4 is the Tops using HR or Communication to PUSH "their" change downhill.
I found it ironic that what Kotter envisioned as empowerment is often the stage where resistance takes over.________________________
Because participation is normally restricted in steps 1, 2, and 3, the Middles & Bottoms lack ownership. People support what they help create. People do NOT support what they do NOT help create. I looked at Phillip's (McKinsey early 80s) change management model and thought about Kotter's 8 steps. This is what it looks like to me:
I would love to find another word than 'resistance', as it implies (to me anyhow) a negative state that has to be overcome, rather than a situation to resolve through 2-way communication.
"Prosci (ADKAR) is sharing online tutorials for change management, including this example of the second of a three part series focused on resistance management."
I'm intrigued by how Prosci uses the terms for change and resistance management, which they define in this tutorial series. We'll be offering more soon on understanding motivations for resistance. For now, we have Prosci's "resistance management" for comparison
Steps for addressing resistance to a desirable change
1. Establish frameworks: There are two principles to consider:
a) A desirable change doesn’t mean everyone will desire it, and b) Resistance does not always mean there is a lack of desire.
2. Conduct root-cause analysis: There are personal and organizational contexts to change that can influence the speed of adoption, ultimate utilization and proficiency at a change on an individual level.
Includes examples such as:
Change A (email system change) includes, “a lack of desire is not always the cause of resistance.” After further analysis, it has become apparent that the employee lacks the knowledge to effectively configure the new email system, though the desire to use the new system is in place. Change B (office location change) – a transition state that is causing difficulties for the employee. Her behaviors appear to demonstrate that she doesn’t desire to move, but in reality she might just need more time to adjust and get settled.
Change C (benefits package change) – On the surface, the change seemed to be desirable because of its beneficial monetary impact on employees’ bonus checks. However, in the cited case, the change from quarterly payments to bi-annual is the source of resistance as it has disrupted a staff member's personal plans.
3. Develop approach for managing resistance: Prosci outlines Three avenues for managing resistance, including preventative, proactive and reactive resistance management.
Kotter's 8 step process is applied in this case study example, happening now with NetApp.
NetApp’s staffer and post writer, Mercedes Adams, a 3rd year Guiding Coalition program manager describes her two year experience as a part of an advisory group, in this case named the guiding coalition team, to help accelerate change leadership. I heard Rob Salmon and John Kotter speak at the ACMP 2012 Global Change conference (described in other posts on this stream) regarding their transformation project in process.
Note: Sometimes this approach creates a parallel organization, which can cause problems, and sometimes it's exactly what an organization needs. Another approach is a collateral organization (temporary, ever changing ad hoc change groups.) We'll see how the chips fall as Dr. Kotter's advisory team approach helps NetApp over the next few years. ~ Deb
in 2009, Rob Salmon and the Field Operations leadership team decided to pair NetApp’s winning culture with an innovative framework for successful transformation that leverages the urgency and passion of employees across the business.
Every member selected has a sense of urgency and ‘wants to’ drive change at NetApp.
In 2009, Rob Salmon and the Field Operations leadership team decided to pair NetApp’s winning culture with an innovative framework for successful transformation via Harvard’s Dr. John Kotter and Kotter International.
The Guiding Coalition (GC) brings people together from across the company who operate as a team outside the organizational hierarchy. Employees:
take a break from their normal day jobs creatively solve problems and drive change Include a balance of individual contributors and managers, directors and vice presidents agree to leave their titles behind when participating on the Guiding Coalition knows that they will need to do this work in addition to their day jobs collectively identify and guide key business initiatives to accelerate NetApp’s growth evangelizes their change vision and drive a sense of urgency into the organization serves for a period of one year
The first year over 350 passionate and urgent change leaders applied.
Every member selected has a sense of urgency and ‘wants to’ drive change at NetApp.
In addition to the members of the Guiding Coalition, hundreds of volunteers, subject matter experts, and change leaders across Field Operations collaborate with the members to drive changes into the culture.
NetApp is a rapidly growing company which has thrived through major changes over its 20 year history.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Tom Mendoza has a video blog, Tom Talks.
Writer Mercedes Adams is the Guiding Coalition Strategic Program Manager at NetApp. She’s been on the Field Operations team for over seven years and advocating change leadership for the last three. Mercedes shares her ideas on a number of topics via Twitter and LinkedIn.
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