Are you achieving your higher self? A Simple Two Question Test.


EN_yeahachievement

Many years ago, my work shifted from a job to a career. In the recent years, my career became my vocation. Along this journey, my work / goals / objectives expanded beyond integrating processes and systems, to integrating people and teams, to now include helping others expand themselves so they may better achieve their own work / goals / objectives.

Along these lines, the question of “am I achieving my higher self” arose which I now answer on weekly basis in two simple questions:

  1. Am I getting things done?
  2. Am I leaving others with an experience where they want to get more things done with me?

I have to answer yes to both questions to possibly claim I am achieving my higher self.

Lots of people get things done, and they leave a trail of “broken glass” experiences in others like damaged self-confidence, career set backs, troubled relationships, joblessness, etc. We all know the types, they always deliver results “by any means necessary”. Perhaps there is a place in our world for people like this, but not around me.

This is why question #2 is so critical, and a great test of achieving one’s higher self.

When you are able to deliver results by getting things done, AND people enjoy the experience of working / being with you, you ignite others to achieve more and elevate your impact in the world.

Project Canaries


Yellow-fronted Canary (Serinus mozambicus)
Yellow-fronted Canary (Serinus mozambicus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my way home today, I heard a classic song from my youth, Canary in a Coalmine by The Police. This song reminded me of a book that I have found to be insightful and a concept within Business Transformation that is worth expanding upon here.

The book is Corporate Canaries: Avoid Business Disasters with a Coal Miner’s Secrets, by Gary Sutton. The premise is that just like coal miners used to bring canaries into their coal mines as a form of early detection system for poisonous gas, there are corporate canaries that can serve as a similar form of early detection system for corporate death or failure.

So, on my ride home inspired by The Police, I began to capture some project canaries, or project level warning signs that can show a toxic environment within your project, programs, or portfolios. Here they are in no particular order:

  • The business should make business decisions and technology should make technology decisions.
  • If you don’t have the business defined, you don’t know your destination.
  • If you don’t have a schedule, you don’t know when you will arrive at your destination.
  • If you don’t have “one throat to choke”, you don’t have any accountability.
  • If you don’t have organizational roles & responsibilities understood, you can’t make decisions.
  • The project can only move as fast as decisions are made, and kept.
  • If you don’t communicate, others will define their perception as your reality.
  • If you don’t manage your budget, you don’t have control.

Think of these bullets as canaries in your project. Find the shelf for them to prop them up and watch to see if they keel over. Keep your eye on them as you traverse your project environment, organizational culture, and hallway passages.

Do you have white knuckles?


How often do you find yourself holding on a little too tight? Do you have a “kung-fu grip” on your project, program, responsibilities, transformation, and/or life?

In a recent exchange with colleagues, we discussed this phenomenon. Enterprise transformations have pros and cons and tendency to cause white knuckles more often than not. One of the pros is the once in a lifetime journey that these endeavors provide, and one of the cons is the once in a lifetime journey that these endeavors provide!

Enterprise transformations are launched with the goal of rebuilding companies through significant change. You might think having the right goals, organizational structure, products, feasibility to meet financial commitments, partners, go to market strategy, etc. are the key to your transformation. While all these are vitally important to the end result of the transformation, I would suggest that to truly thrive in these environments, you look inside yourself and embrace your own personal change on the following 4 levels:

  1. Intellectual – What is your capacity to deal with complexity, unexpected challenges, first of a kind problems, thinking on your feet, etc.?
  2. Physical – Quite simply, how healthy are you?
  3. Emotional – How do you deal with adversity, ambiguity, self-confidence, self-doubt, self-awareness, conflict?
  4. Spiritual – What do you believe? Who do you believe in? What are your life philosophies? From where do you draw energy?

Do you know if you are holding on too tight? How? Do you know when you are squeezing the life out of your project, program, teammates, friends, family? Enterprise transformations will undoubtedly challenge your capacity across these 4 personal levels. What investments will you make to change your intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual capacity?

If this resonates with you, you may want to check out Noel Tichy‘s famous book “The Leadership Engine”. In this book he describes that each of us lead based on three concepts: Ideas, Values, and E3 (emotional energy, & edge). Noel’s model is very useful, and put into practice can help you understand your personal leadership model, which in turn will help you navigate the intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth offered via enterprise transformations.

No matter what leadership model, or personalization you inject into your enterprise transformation, recall that it is unacceptable for any one person in a transformation to acknowledge that the enterprise is undergoing drastic change, but not them personally.

New Website is Launched!!


3D Team Leadership Arrow Concept
Image by lumaxart via Flickr

As of this afternoon, a new website is up and running at www.businesschangeleader.com that represents all the best of a collection of Business Change Leaders. This new site represents a new firm, Business Change Leadership, that will offer business transformation, change management, leadership development, and additional services for companies that are looking for more from their business and technology teams. To learn more, please visit the site.

Most importantly, to kick-off our new company, we invite you to attend our workshop on Integrating Change and Project Management, scheduled for May 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida in conjunction with the Association for Change Management Global Conference, as advertised in a previous post. This workshop will be co-hosted by a colleague of mine, Bill Synnot of Synnot & Associates. Bill has amassed a tremendous background of global experience over 30 years in the change management space. You can find the latest information on the workshop at www.businesschangeleader.com as well as the ability to register for the workshop using your Paypal account or credit cards.

We will continue to post blog entries here, but please be sure to visit the new website for updates and to stay in touch.

So, what have YOU transformed?


Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York City
Image via Wikipedia

At a recent networking event, a colleague of mine challenged me with a question that seems very appropriate to share at this time of year. “So tell me, what you have transformed?” Truthfully, it is a great question that makes one stop and think for a minute.

As we head into 2011, the employment headlines, American automobile sales results, and just about every other alert I get is telling me that 2011 is already going to be a better year than 2010. But let’s not leave anything up to chance.

If 2011 is going to be better than 2010, it will be because of what we do to make it that way. For those of us who are engaged in change management endeavors, business transformation activities, or just making things better in the future than they are in the past, ask yourself “What have you transformed?” And might I suggest that you be critical of yourself in the past and aim high in 2011.

IT Governance Rule #2 of 3 – Make sure you are doing things right


In article 2 of a 3 part series on IT Governance, if you have a capability to make sure you are doing the right things (article 1), you need to make sure you are doing them right. With this entry, lets assume you or your organization know what matters most, and your focus is  in determining how to make sure your team delivers.

What matters more, an excellent strategy or excellent execution? If you had to pick one, which would you pick? In Making Strategy Work (2005 Wharton School Publishing – Amazon link here) Lawrence Hrebinak argues that execution of strategy is the key, not strategy definition itself. I concur and this means that this second rule is more important than rule #1, and my experience across multiple industries, countries, and economies suggest the same. It is amazing how delivery of solutions or eliminating problems “takes the noise out of the system”. In my consulting days, I was thrust into many troubled situations. In these situations my clients consistently said “if you can’t deliver on what I have already contracted to you, why do you think I would give you anything else?” Makes sense to me!

So, how do you make sure you are doing things right? Some considerations (in no particular order):

  • Project Management
    • How many projects are active? Is it easy to determine the answer? If not, you have an issue.
    • For each project, what are you delivering, when will you be finished, and how much will it cost?
  • People, Process, Technology
    • Do you have the right people in the right roles (as I type this the 2010 NFL Draft is on my TV in the background)?
    • Do you have the right delivery system or processes?
    • Do you have the right technical capabilities, architectures, platforms?
  • Relationships
    • How do the business and IT relate to each other at the enterprise, project and operational levels?
    • What does the business say about IT? What are the 10 adjectives that the business would use to describe IT?
    • What does IT say about the business? What are the 10 adjectives that IT uses to describe the business?
    • What is working well?
    • What would you change if you were King for a day?

To make sure you are doing things right, it doesn’t take a PhD. It’s really more about the basics. And, what is more basic, better said – universal, than a traffic light? Red, yellow or green? English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, or Australian we all understand the basics of red, yellow and green. Use these universal icons to determine if you are doing things right. With this vernacular in place, manage by exception. Be hard on the red items. Watch the yellow items. And, most importantly, determine which green activities are really yellow, and which yellow activities are really red and you will stay 5 steps ahead of your changes.

How Organizational Culture Can Change


How Organizational Culture Can Change – Forbes.com.

I have read and seen a lot of change management, business transformation, and executive leadership materials refer to the GM-Toyota partnership and the Forbes.com article above provides a nice summary.

This case suggests that driving cultural change is all about modifying behavior through the management system, motivation, and leadership. Further, I concur that trying to change how people think, is a dead end. In support of this assertion, I refer you to The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge for a discussion on mental models.

Culture can change. You can move the needle “one tick at a time”. It is not easy, and the successful ones, are done many times, without anyone even realizing that it is happening.