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Change the World – Step Two

Change the World - Step TwoAre you and your organization ready for change?

Too often organizations define the change effort they want to pursue without first identifying whether there are people, resources, legislation, etc. present that must be in place before the change effort can begin. We will explore the circumstances you may want to explore before beginning any change effort and the areas to explore as potential prerequisites to the change program and its eventual success.

During the course of any change initiative many different challenges will appear, and the most successful change efforts will anticipate those challenges and have a plan for dealing with them. Part of that anticipation begins with identifying how ready the organization is for change and understanding what some of the top challenges are.

In a 2008 global CEO study conducted by IBM on the enterprise of the future, IBM identified the top challenges to successfully implementing strategic change as:

  1. Changing mindsets and attitudes (58%)
  2. Corporate culture (49%)
  3. Underestimation of complexity (35%)
  4. Shortage of resources (33%)
  5. Lack of higher management commitment (32%)
  6. Lack of change know-how (20%)
  7. Lack of motivation of involved employees (16%)

You will notice that many of the items on this list are more about the people factors of change rather than the process or technology factors of change. The weight of the human dimensions of change is reflected in my PCC Change Readiness Framework™. This framework focuses on the psychology of key groups surrounding the identified change, the capabilities needed to successfully execute the change, and the organization’s capacity to tackle this change effort (along with everything else).

PCC Change Readiness Framework

You will notice that I don’t speak about organizational psychology or culture in my PCC Change Readiness Framework™. The reason I don’t highlight culture in the same way that many other people do is that in today’s more social, customer-centric business, we must look more broadly than the typical inward focus of company culture when it comes to identifying the readiness of not only employees, but leaders, customers, and partners too. Inevitably many of our change efforts will have some impact on one or more external groups (possibly even non-profit entities and one or more governments).

You will notice that within the PSYCHOLOGY box there is a common focus on the mindsets, attitudes, beliefs and expectations of the individuals. Culture is incorporated into the psychology realm by focusing on what the shared understandings are around the potential change, but more broadly too. And, finally you will notice that my PCC Change Readiness Framework™ highlights the need for successful change efforts to move towards gaining commitment to the change from leadership, acceptance of the change by employees, and a desire for the change from customers and partners.

Within the CAPABILITY box of my PCC Change Readiness Framework™ we must investigate whether our change effort has any regulatory or statutory implications and whether we are ready to adapt, adopt or influence the changes necessary in this sphere. We must also ask ourselves a series of questions:

  1. “Do we need to get permission from anyone to do this?”
  2. “What knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for this change do we already possess?”
  3. “What knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for this change do we need to acquire?”
  4. “What relationships do we possess that will be useful in advancing the change?”
  5. “What relationships do we need to build to help advance the change?”
  6. “What are the enablers of making this change successful?”

Within the CAPACITY box we have to look at where our resources are approaching, or have already achieved, change saturation. This means they are unable to productively participate in any more change efforts or adopt any more change. But we also have to look at the availability of our resources:

  1. Human
  2. Financial
  3. Physical
  4. Information
  5. Executive Sponsors
  6. Space in our desired communication channels

It is easy to take for granted that the organization will have the capacity to undertake your change effort, but often there are capacity constraints that you will run into, especially as the pace and volume of change increases inside an organization. The one that is easiest to overlook and fail to plan for, is making sure that you’re going to be able to communicate your change messages in your desired messaging channels (they may already be full).

In my upcoming collaborative, visual Change Planning Toolkit™ you will find the companion tools for the PCC Change Readiness Framework™, two large format change readiness worksheets to download for printing that will help you collaboratively explore all of these topics and more.

Be sure and sign up for the Braden Kelley Monthly newsletter to receive the latest news on my new book on the best practices and next practices of organizational change (January 2016) and the licensing options for the Change Planning Toolkit™.

Finally, when you consider all of the potential stumbling blocks in advance of the change that we highlighted above, evaluate your readiness in each area, and make a plan for closing any gaps (before you even begin your change effort), you will greatly increase the chances of its success. But, there are certain items that are not just good to know in advance, but are actually prerequisites for change, and we will explore that topic in the book, so stay tuned!

P.S. In case you missed it, click to read Change the World – Step One

Change the World – Step One

Change the World - Step OneDo you want to change the world?

Even just one tiny corner of your own world?

Change often feels overwhelming, scary even, and frequently we don’t know where to begin.

Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire focused on helping organizations identify and remove barriers to innovation, and has also served as a great innovation primer for innovation practitioners all over the world.

As people choose and commit to going down the innovation path in a measured way, one of the first things they discover is that many things will have to change inside the organization and in how the entity engages with others outside the organization for their new product or service ideas to successfully walk the transitional path from insight to idea to experiment to implementation project to market offering and market success.

Because of this, my next book and most of my future articles here on Innovation Excellence in the run up to the release of my Change Planning Toolkit™ will be focused on helping people build a strong foundation for achieving successful organizational change. This series of articles will culminate with the launch of a new book from Palgrave Macmillan in January 2016 on the best practices and next practices of organizational change and an introduction to my Change Planning Toolkit™.

So, if we’re hoping to change the world, our world, whether that is with a big W or a little one, where should we begin?

Let’s begin by painting a background for the landscape of organizational change.

Four Keys to Successful Change

Above you’ll see a visualization of the Four Keys to Successful Change. Leave one out and eventually your change effort, no matter how big or small, will eventually fail. If you’re setting setting out to change the world, even a small corner of it, then you’ll want to be sure to consider each of the four keys and make sure that you proceed in a measured way that takes each into account.

Let’s look at each briefly in turn before we look at each area in more detail in future posts, and eventually in the book in January 2016.

The Four Keys to Successful Change

1. Change Planning

Change Planning is the first key to successful organizational change, and it focuses on drawing out the key issues of the necessary change and puts some structure and timeline around them. You will find you have a better experience and a more successful outcome if you use a more visual, collaborative method using something like the Change Planning Toolkit™ I will be releasing soon to help you create the necessary change plans, goals, metrics, etc.

2. Change Leadership

Change Leadership is the second key to successful organizational change, and is important because good change leadership provides the sponsorship, support and oversight necessary for the change activities to receive the visibility, care, and attention they need to overcome inertia and maintain momentum throughout the process of transformation.

3. Change Management

Change Management represents the third key to successful organizational change, and it is probably the one most people think of when they think about organizational change because it focuses on managing the change activities necessary to achieve the change objectives. The term itself has some challenges however as the term also refers to the management of code changes during the software development process and its relationship with project management is confused. We will dig more into the relationship between project management and change management in a future article.

4. Change Maintenance

Change Maintenance represents the fourth and probably most neglected key to successful organizational change. Many change leaders lose interest after the major launch milestones are achieved, and this is a real risk to sustained success of the change effort. During the change maintenance phase is when you measure the outcomes of the planned change activities and reinforce the change, to make sure the change effort has met the change objectives and when you ensure that the behavior change becomes a permanent one. Neglect this phase and people often slip back into their old, well worn patterns of behavior.

Conclusion

This is the first article in a series to help make changing the world seem a little less overwhelming, a little less scary. I hope you have found the article and the framework a useful first building block as we work together to build a strong foundation for successful organizational change. To be alerted when the Change Planning Toolkit™ becomes available, please be sure and click the link below to join the mailing list, and stay tuned for the next article in this series!

Sign up for updates on the Change Planning Toolkit™ (Stikkee Change Insiders)

Innovation Starts Here

Image credit: Youthventure.org

What’s Your Favorite Change Tip or Quote?

What's Your Favorite Change Tip or Quote?My first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire was designed to help organizations identify and remove barriers to innovation, but readers also found it to be a great primer on how to take a structured, sustainable approach to innovation, and as a result the book has found its way into university courses and libraries around the world.

I’ve been thinking over the last few years about where I could provide the most value in a follow-up book, and it came to me that innovation is really all about change and that where most organizations fail to achieve innovation is in successfully making all of the changes necessary to transform their inventions into innovations. At the same time, the world has changed, the pace of change is accelerating and organizations are struggling to cope with the speed of changes required of them, including the digital transformation they need to make.

So, my next book, this time for Palgrave Macmillan, will focus on highlighting the best practices and next practices of organizational change. And where does any successful change effort begin?

With good planning. But it is really hard for most people to successfully plan a change effort, because it is hard to visualize everything that needs to be considered and everything that needs to be done to affect the changes necessary to support an innovation, a digital transformation effort, a merger integration, or any other kind of needed organizational change.

But my Change Planning Toolkit™ and my new book (January 2016) are being designed to help you get everyone literally all on the same page for change. Both the book and my collaborative, visual Change Planning Toolkit™ are nearly complete. But before they are, I’d like to engage you, the intelligent, insightful Innovation Excellence change agent community to help contribute your wisdom and experience to the book.

I’m looking for a few change management tips and quotes attributable to you (not someone else) to include in the book along with the other best practices and next practices of organizational change that I’ve collected and the introduction to my Change Planning Toolkit™ that I’m preparing.

It’s super simple to contribute. Just fill out the form, and the best contributions will make it into the book or into a series of articles that I’ll publish here and on a new site focused on organizational change that I’m about ready to launch.

I look forward to seeing your great organizational change tips and quotes!

Click here to submit your change tip or quote

Innovation Starts Here

Conference Wrapup – Change Management 2015

Conference Wrapup - Change Management 2015

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Association of Change Management Professionals’ (ACMP®) annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, titled appropriately Change Management 2015. The event represented a convening of nearly 1,000 change management professionals from around the globe, including countries as geographically dispersed as Qatar and Australia, but with the bulk of the attendees being from the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Nearly 1,000 attendees is a pretty decent size, much bigger than any innovation event that I’ve ever been to, but this larger number of attendees is quite small when you consider the number of people serving in official or unofficial change management roles around the world (either as employees or consultants), or when compared to the number of project managers (estimated at 16.5 million people around the world) and potentially as many as 1.5 million six sigma black belts and green belts sprinkled around the world.

Meanwhile, a couple of the leading training organizations in the change management space have trained just short of 100,000 people in the principles of change management.

If you agree that proactively managing change in organizations is at least as important as the practice of Six Sigma, and potentially as important as project management, that means that as the pace and importance of change continues to gather steam, there could be the need to train between 1.4 million and 16.4 million change management professionals in the next few years.

Professionalizing the Change Management Profession

One of the things that occured at the conference was the highlighting of the ACMP Standard for Change Management™ and the new ACMP Qualified Education Provider™ (QEP™) program. Both of these are steps along the way to building momentum for a change management certification that the ACMP® hopes will become the gold standard for people worldwide to highlight that they have the skills knoweldge, and experience to be recognized as a Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™).

Kicking it off with Dan Pink

The opening keynote at the event was delivered by Dan Pink, author of ‘Drive’ and several other books. Much of his speech was about the societal impacts of the greater availability of information that we enjoy today, and how that will also affect our ability to sell, to influence, and to affect change. In sales, it used to be that the seller nearly always had more information than the buyer, that is rarely the case any more. Because of this shift in information availability, experts are being called on more to be a curator of information than as a way to access information. Dan highlighted how nearly everything that we do in business involves sales and change, yet business schools and MBA programs teach neither sales nor change (they might teach a course on leadership if you’re lucky). And if the ABC’s of sales used to be “Always Be Closing” then the new ABC’s of sales are Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.

One interesting personal productivity insight that Dan shared was the idea that asking yourself questions before doing something is a better preparation method than positive self talk. Another was how by reducing your feelings of personal power before going into a conversation can actually increase your effectiveness at getting people to do something. And finally, consider these points related to change:

  • Context is more important than the individual
  • When engaging people for change, it’s very important to use the audience’s language not yours
  • Instead of focusing on changing people’s minds, focus on making it easy for people to do something
  • When information goes down easier it is more likely to stick (rhyming, distillation, etc.)

The IBM Research Perspective

There was a great quote from Hilary Bland of IBM at the conference that illustrates the necessary future direction and importance of change management:

“The ability to anticipate, manage and capitalize on pervasive change is often the difference between market leadership and extinction.”

Between IBM’s research study in 2008 and their followup study in 2014, they’ve seen a shift from organizations managing change on projects to organizations increasingly focusing on enterprise transformation. While the 2008 study examined how organizations manage change and gained practical knowledge, the 2014 study gained insights into the new environment of continuous transformation & the attributes of organizations that are highly successful in managing change.

One of the findings from IBM’s 2014 study was that 74% of respondents are concerned employees are not fully prepared to adapt to an increasingly digital work environment. This sentiment also manifests in the finding that only 20% of organizations successfully deliver on more than 75% of their projects.

And while the digital revolution provides new opportunities to lead change – bottom-up, top-down, sideways – the fact is that 87% of the IBM study respondents stated that not enough focus is currently placed on change management in critical projects and that only 44% of high performance change organizations understand change benefits – Scary!

On final interesting tidbit from the 2014 IBM Research findings – In 2008 only 20% of surveyed companies were using internal resources to manage change projects, but this number is 84% now – highlighting a perceived need for companies to build their own internal change management capability instead of relying on consultants.

Here is a link to the latest IBM study ‘Making Change Work 2014’ – https://ibm.biz/BdRV9y

Gearing Up for Change – A Case Study

Columbia Sportswear shared several learnings from the change management components of their SAP upgrade, including:

  • Success comes not from just saying things multiple times but doing things multiple times
  • We had to stress that company success is determined by the quality of and access to data
  • Initially we were given a tiny training budget, so we went out and got data to build support for an increase
  • We used learnings from a previous failure to build support for our new approach
  • Our first steps were to capture tribal knowledge, map processes, and write standard operating procedures (SOP’s)
  • We then trained execs in our change methodology and did monthly change surveys to
  • We won support from senior management to bring in long term temporary employees to free up our super users to participate in the project. This was a priority!
  • Focus was key! The company had to say “We’re going to do this upgrade, make/sell products, and nothing else!” – and then of course remind people…
  • We had to get creative in our communications, both in terms of building new communication channels and creative messaging, but also we had to work really hard not to talk about the system being changed, but instead focus on how this was a company evolution.

The Culture Question

There were several good culture questions and comments that came up from various sessions, including:

  • When it comes to culture change, you have to define which parts of the culture you’re going to retain too.
  • Findings from IBM’s study on making change work… 1. Lead at all levels 2. Make change matter 3. Build the muscle
  • People at IBM got social really fast around the topic of change because managers were looking at profiles and who was contributing
  • Engagement = Communication + Co-creation
  • Successful change efforts blend effective approaches to the task side and the people side
  • Pace of change is both a driver for change management and a resistor
  • Accountability key to embedding your change into normal operations
  • People hate being off plan. They will want to tell people about the green behind the red. Consider only allowing people time with the boss to discuss yellow/red projects and how the boss can help, instead of making people feel like they have to be green.
  • When change saturation exists, consider having cross-functional resource conversations to look for solutions.
  • “Change has to start by doing less” -Lisa Bodell
  • “Change Leaders should keep these three things in mind – Ask killer questions, Reverse assumptions, and Kill a stupid rule” – Lisa Bodell

Innovation Starts Here

Learning as it Relates to Change

There was a great session at the Conference with Christine Cox, PhD. looking at breakthroughs in organizational learning. Some of the key takeaways included:

  • People who multitask (or who sit next to multitaskers during lectures) exhibit lower comprehension
  • Memory can be improved by relating learning to yourself
  • To harness emotion for better learning you want to tap into people’s emotions without overactivating them
  • People strongly remember moments where they made connections and generated those connections or insight
  • Learning is also increased when the right social elements are added
  • Give people opportunity to share what they’ve learned and reflect on its self-relevance
  • Spacing is also important for learning. No cramming!
  • 12 hour learning spacing that includes a night’s sleep helps comprehension more than 12 hours of spacing during waking hours
  • Instructional design should perhaps shift from content delivery to creating the space for insight
  • Incorporating some forms of generation into the learning situation – like polls, guided reflection, writing answers, explaining to another, hearing from another – can increase retention

All Trains Change for Change

Carmen Bianco, the President of the Manhattan Transit Authority (MTA) discussed how our world is changing and how the MTA has to focus on technology, strategy and culture. One of the big questions the MTA is grapplin with is:

How can we get more technology underground so that we can get more train cars per hour moving through the system?

The MTA is ordering 1,000 new train cars and growth is causing them to explore how they can change their culture to be more customer-focused and how they can move more train cars per hour and how they can get more people into each train car. Carmen’s initial focus on culture change has been on top executives so that the middle of the organization knows they’re serious. For change to filter all of the way down, the alignment and commitment has to work its way down. Carmen feels that if he can get everyone on his team to be that good boss, that’s a home run because it effects countless numbers of people. Carmen has also instituted no meeting days at MTA where he requires managers to get out with their employees and then do a debrief with him at the end of the day.

Carmen spoke about the challenge they face with 44% of executives and 41% of operating supervisors becoming pension eligible soon. The potential retirement of 44% of managers next year is both a risk and an opportunity to culture change progress. He spoke about how just when it seemed like he wasn’t changing the culture, the super storm came and provided a galvanizing opportunity. He marveled as he watched the MTA perform with the customer in mind (even sacrificing sleep). He feels blessed to have a phenomenal group of employees who have come up with ideas like FastTrack, where we had 900 employees working in the same area. At first citizens and the media ridiculed the idea, but now people are asking ‘When are you bringing this to my neighborhood?’ The creation of FastTrack reminded me of that scene in the Apollo 13 movie. It’s a good idea to keep that Apollo 13 scene ‘What do you have?’ in mind for constraint-focused brainstorming.

A Whirlwind Tour of Change

The Nike and Peoplefirm session highlighted the importance of communication strategies and creativity in change. PG&E and BeingFirst highlighted how building a change capability within an organization takes time (within PG&E it has taken 2 1/2 years just to START). Year 1 at PG&E may have focused on a lot of change leadership training, but year 2 has to be more about demonstrating results. An internal change group can act as middleware translator between consultants and the organization on a range of projects. Change saturation was discussed many times at the conference, and PG&E talked about how they monitor it at a workgroup level, monitoring what initiatives are effecting different workgroups. In the Marriott session it was highlighted that the most used change tools at Marriott include change overview, stakeholder analysis and communication plan. Chris Churchill and Paul O’Keeffe of Accenture spoke about Agile Change Management and the importance of integrating your change process into your Aigle process, including your task wall or kanban wall process.

Finally, closing keynote speaker Lisa Bodell offered these Eight Statements for Change that she advises organizations work to answer in the affirmative:

  1. People in our organization actively think about pushing boundaries and use trends
  2. Our employees are comfortable asking provocative questions
  3. People think on their feet
  4. People see it through
  5. We are Looking forward 5-10 years
  6. We constantly push for continual improvement
  7. We purposefully hire diverse teams
  8. We look at adjacencies and distant companies and apply best practices

The conference definitely was a whirlwind, and I’d like to thank the Change Management 2015 conference organizers for inviting me to cover the event for the Innovation Excellence audience. Hopefully they’ll have me back as a speaker next year at Change Management 2016 in Grapevine, Texas.

In 2016 my new change management content site will be in full swing and my second book for Palgrave Macmillan (@PalgraveBiz) comes out in January 2016 to highlight the best practices and next practices of organizational change and introduces the new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit. I’ve got some great guest experts lined up as contributors and am finalizing the final few sponsors and contributors in the next couple of months (along with the manuscript), so stay tuned!

What Change Roles are Missing?

I’m gearing up to write a new book and app on organizational change to complement a powerful new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit that will be incredibly useful for use in change programs, project and portfolio management, and even innovation, and so I’m canvasing the organizational change literature space (including change leadership, change management, and business transformation) and looking to identify:

  • The best organizational change thought leaders
  • The most powerful organizational change frameworks
  • The most useful organizational change tools
  • The best organizational change books (including change leadership, change management, and business transformation)

MOST IMPORTANTLY – I’m looking for Fortune 1000 companies to volunteer to take the prototype for the toolkit and use it in their change or project planning (or initiation) process and report back on the results (don’t worry, I’ll host a webinar to teach you how to use it).

Please contact me to tell me your favorites or add below in the comments (or to let me know of your interest to serve as a case study champion).

I will be launching a new community and information site soon to house the downloads and conversation for this collaborative, visual change planning toolkit and the evolution of the book and associated content assets. Which is why I’m looking for your thoughts on the four items above. The skeleton site is up here, and people can express their desire to be a part of this effort in a number of different ways on the site.

But in the meantime, based on the success of the Nine Innovation Roles from my last book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and some ideas that have been triggered by the work I’ve done in various workshops with organizations around the world with the Nine Innovation Roles, I’ve decided to identify a similar set of roles that people should make sure are occupied on their guiding coalitions.

And as I look at the Nine Innovation Roles there are a few that are still applicable in a broader change context (after all, Innovation Is All About Change). Here are the ones that I believe still are necessary in an organizational change program:

1. Revolutionary

The Revolutionary is the person who is always eager to change things, to shake them up, and to share his or her opinion. These people are uncomfortable standing still and not shy about sharing their opinions. Often they see the status quo as not good enough, so the Revolutionary wants to change it.

2. Architect

Change doesn’t emerge from a vacuum. Someone has to see the bigger picture, bring the idea fragments together and create a cohesive change program, a new business architecture, and guide people to create a collection of project artifacts to help guide the change effort. This is the role of the Architect.

3. Artist

The Artist doesn’t seek change like the Revolutionary or see the big picture like the Architect, but Artists are really good at evolving the seeds of change, shaping them, watering them, and ultimately making the impetus for change more clear, the benefits more compelling, and the change plan more complete.

4. Barrier Buster

Every change effort should identify several potential barriers to change, and the team must identify ways to overcome them before the change program is ready to be communicated to the masses. This is where the Barrier Buster comes in. Barrier Busters love solving tough problems and often have the deep domain knowledge or the deep insight into the change target’s mindset necessary to move minds and resources to support the change program.

5. Connector

The Connector does just that. These people hear a Revolutionary say something interesting and put him together with an Architect and an Evangelist; The Connector listens to the Artist and knows exactly where to find the Barrier Buster that the change effort needs.

6. Lion Tamer

The Lion Tamer is really good at identifying risks, potential negative outcomes, and the steps necessary to implement a change. Lion Tamers take the unwieldy beast that any change program can easily become, tame it, help break it down into digestible chunks, and make it real. These are the people who can picture how the change is going to be made and line up the right resources to make it happen.

7. Evangelist

The Evangelists know how to educate people on what the change is and help them understand it. Evangelists are great people to help attract guiding coalition members and to build support for a change effort among leadership. Evangelists also are great at both evangelizing on behalf of customers, employees and partners, but also in helping to educate customers, employees, and partners on the value of the change effort.

8. INSERT YOUR SUGGESTION HERE

9. INSERT YOUR SUGGESTION HERE

So, that’s only a first cut at a set of Change Roles that must be filled on the guiding coalition or the change program team.

What roles are missing?

Are there any there that are not needed or redundant?

Please sound off in the comments below.

Mind the Change Gap

Are You Innovating at the Speed of Change?

The world is changing all around us at an increasing rate, and individuals (and yes organizations too) are struggling to cope with this ever increasing pace of change.

In fact, over the last 50 years the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has dropped from 61 years to 18 years (and is forecast to shrink further in the future).1

Company Lifespans

Nobody of course wants to be one of those organizations that goes out of business, but the fact is that if your organization can’t innovate and change at the speed of change of its customers’ wants and needs, and the pace of geopolitical, social, and economic change in the world around it, then it will likely have to change its sign from open to CLOSED, permanently.

Your organization may indeed be doomed to fail if it develops on or more of the following change gaps:

  1. Your speed of hiring is slower than the speed of your growth
  2. Your speed of market understanding is slower than the pace of market change
  3. Your speed of insight dissemination and acceptance is slower than the pace of market change
  4. Your speed of idea commercialization is slower than the pace of market change
  5. Your speed of innovation is slower than the competition’s speed of innovation
  6. Your speed of internal change is slower than the rate of external change

The last one is of course the largest and the most important, and the most complex, being composed of your speed of:

  • Market Analysis (gathering of insights and inspiration)
  • Invention (creation of innovation source material)
  • Design (building a potential solution around an invention)
  • Development (taking the design and creating a scalable, launch ready solution)
  • Test (Evaluating with customers whether the solution works as designed and scales as intended)
  • Evolution (Launching the solution into the marketplace with open eyes and ears, pivoting/improving as necessary)

While it is possible to enter a market too early, you can survive this tactical error if you enter in a small way instead of committing to a global launch with grand customer promises. However, much more damage comes to organizations that enter too late. So, as an organization we must be constantly striving to get faster at discovering new market insights and adapting and aligning our organization to fulfill newly discovered market needs more quickly than our competition, otherwise we might find ourselves locked out of our customers’ top consideration set tier.

Consumption Spreads Faster

What other change gaps do you see as you look at your business or that of your competition?

This is the first of many articles that I will be writing in the run up to my second book (to be published by Palgrave Macmillan), in which I will explore the importance and implications of change in the ongoing success of organizations, along with building up a concise set of best practices and next practices for change.

Agile Change is Coming Soon

Agile Change is Coming

How fast is your organization capable of changing to continue to remain relevant and successful in the marketplace?

The world is changing at an accelerating pace as new technologies are discovered, developed, released and adopted by consumers faster than ever before. At the same time companies are rising to global scale faster and large, successful companies are disappearing faster too.

In this new reality that we all face, organizations of all types are going to need to:

  • Change how they change
  • Increase their organizational agility
  • Increase the flexibility of the organization
  • Become capable of continuous change
  • Inhibit the appearance and/or growth of change gaps that can doom your company

It is because of this tidal wave of change and a recognition that there is a need in the marketplace for more human change processes and tools that make change seem less overwhelming, that my next book for Palgrave Macmillan will focus on the best practices and next practices of organizational change (aka change management), and I’ve developed a new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit to go with it (but more about that later).

One way to do all of the items in the bulleted list above is to take more of an agile approach to change, to adopt some of the values and principles of the Agile Software Development methodology and use those to create a set of what could be described as Agile behaviors within the organization. If you are not familiar with the Agile Software Development methodology, I have included below the Agile Software Development Manifesto from http://agilemanifesto.org that details the values and principles of Agile Software Development. As you read through the manifesto I hope you’ll see that the values and principles can easily be applied to other endeavors outside of software development, whether that might in the project management discipline of your organization, or within your larger change initiatives.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items in bold more.

Principles behind the Agile Manifesto

We follow these principles:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Agile and Constant Change

FIGURE 1You will see in FIGURE 1 that constant change sits at the center, Agile Values providing the initial direction for an organization with a committed goal of becoming more agile. Radiating out from Agile Values as we pursue success in coping with constant change will be our Agile Principles. But, ultimately we can’t live our values or follow our principles if we don’t exhibit behaviors that personify those values and principles. Unless our organizations begin to behave in a more agile way then the potential of truly becoming more agile will remain just words, and go largely unfulfilled.

It is because of the challenge of behaving in a new way that I encourage all of your to make a move towards a formal pursuit of organizational agility. To help you in this pursuit, I will soon be releasing my brand new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit for companies to use on their own (with free training for a select few who agree to use it and document their experience for the book). In addition I will be launching separate training for consultants so they can use the tools with clients in their change management and project management practices. Please register your interest here.

Using this new set of change planning and execution tools and processes will not only make change seem less overwhelming, but it will also help you build alignment behind your effort, help you work through as a group how to LITERALLY all get on the same page for change, and create a more agile organization as adoption of the tools spreads.

Stay tuned for more great change content coming soon!