The #1 Change Technique


Rowing technique

 

Are you leading change in an environment with significant resistance? Are you placing the blame for the resistance on “them”? Do “they not get it”?

 

Of all the change techniques available to us, the most fundamental and pragmatic approach is to bring the impacted stakeholders of the change into the problem space.

 

How many times have you seen a large change or transformation get strategized, designed, built, and then deployed with little to no impacted stakeholder involvement? These approaches are often sold with rationalizations like…

 

1) We don’t have the talent to deal with this complex a problem.
2) We need outside perspective, not the same old way of doing things that our current employees built over the last several years.
3) If we acknowledge this change now by engaging our employees, we’ll lose control of the messaging and people will resist.
4) Its a competitive advantage to not let people know yet. We’ll include them when we are ready.

 

Secrets kill change.

 

You can mitigate resistance by…

 

1) Including the appropriate level and number of your impacted stakeholders in the understanding of the problem.
2) Designing the change solution based on some but not necessarily all the input of the impacted stakeholders.
3) Making champions out of the star impacted stakeholders who demonstrate a passion for change and “the new way”.

 

Bring your impacted stakeholders into the problem. Define “change success requirements” and you will lower the resistance.

 

 

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Elevating the Role of the CIO – Part 2 of 2


In Part 1 of this article, we discussed the requirement for a management system to assist CIO’s with generating more value. We teed up the idea of how a CIO can improve their relationship with their Board of Directors by managing technology as a business.

There is significant thought leadership originating from a group call the Technology Business Management Council (www.tbmcouncil.org) regarding these same concerns. What is a CIO’s management system and how can they implement something that is transferable from one industry to another so their peers and board might more easily grasp their world?

As a reference, check out the Technology Business Management Framework below.

tbm-council-book-framework

This framework provides a consistent language to communicate the world of technology in business terms that are industry agnostic. CIO’s are dealing with these challenges on a daily basis, and they are all implementing management systems to plan, monitor, and preside over these concepts. Imagine if each CIO were able to articulate their management system and approach to adding value using this framework? If they did, they might be closer to the CFO and Chief Counsel role standards described in PArt 1 of this article.

Further, if CIO’s were able to manage, communicate, and deliver using this standard framework, I suggest that they would change the dialog they have with their boards of directors. Think about the questions that Boards ask their CIOs. They include but are not limited to the following:

  • How are you investing in the business to create new and unique value = Innovate to Grow & Compete
  • What are you doing to control operating costs = Optimize Your Cost for Performance
  • How are you addressing risks like cybersecurity? = Transform by Enabling Agility
  • How do you compare to your peers and competitors? = Understand and Benchmark Your True Cost and Performance.
  • What is your sourcing strategy? = Position to Manage Your Supply and Demand
  • How are you improving your people? = Drive A Performance Based Culture

The framework is comprehensive enough that it is applicable to any size company in any industry in any country at any point in the life-cycle of a business (early adopters, plateau, or decline). It demystifies the business of technology using common terms understandable by multiple layers in a company from entry level through board level.

To truly explore the value of this framework a more detailed discussion regarding the decomposition of these framework elements into a service catalog and standard costs elements is needed. And, that’s exactly where the TBM Council is headed, per a recent article that can be found here.

Consider this provocative proposal: by embracing a framework like this, and establishing a management system (e.g. service catalog, cost model, etc.) under it, you will position yourself to improve your relationship with your board of directors.

The conversation has just begun! More details, perspectives and thought leadership is coming. To join the discussion, visit the TBM Council and get in the game!

Elevating the role of the CIO – Part 1 of 2


Image representing Wired Magazine as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

What is Your Management System – Wired Magazine

Have you ever wondered how an organization adds new value and manages their business? How does a management team come together and exert their will on an organization so their commitment to the Board is achieved? How do they deliver increased revenue, launch new products, lower operating costs, integrate new sales channels, improve customer service, innovative solutions that create competitive advantage?

For a publicly held company, we see the financial results of these efforts via annual reports, quarterly filings, and the classic measure of stock valuation. We measure the delivery of incremental value long after it has been created within the company. So, how does the management team build the new value? There are many actions and decisions required to build a new value chain (e.g. agree on product design, service offerings, market entry strategies, etc.). The value opportunity is unveiled when the product, sales channel, or new value is deployed to the public. Often there are months, even years of work that leads up to the new creation of value. The value is created minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and ultimately, month by month.

In the area of value creation where technology is a key driver, how does a CIO and their team contribute to this value? How do they manage their business?

Wired Magazine recently published an article that explores this question in greater detail and offers a challenge to the CIO’s of companies to build a more standardized management system. The article is available here.

In summary, the role of the CIO must mature in the coming months and years to create a more consistent and transferable management system for their companies. CIO’s need to manage technology like a business. In doing so, they will elevate themselves amongst their peers and in turn create more customer, competitive, employee, and shareholder (CCES) value.

In part 2 of this article, we’ll explore how CIO’s can unlock their relationship with their board of directors and up-level their positional ability to generate CCES value.

Decide Fast, Learn Fast, Win Fast


Ready to Unleash Your Transformation? Focus on Decision Making.

How many time has this happened to you? Its Monday morning, and you just logged into your weekly staff meeting when you get an urgent call from senior management. They want you to call them immediately, join their conference call or maybe even come to their office to discuss why your company cannot move faster with your projects, change, strategy execution, technology, process improvements, etc.? At least 3 times this month? It happens everyday, and it happened again today. The pace of your change needs to be faster. It will happen again tomorrow! So, what do you do? For starters, I propose you start with your decision making.

A company can only move as fast as they make decisions. The effectiveness of decision making is like the speedometer for your project, change initiative, strategic endeavor, etc. If decisions are slow, your transformation will be slow. If decisions are fast, your company will be able to move forward faster. Decisions create actions that translate into tasks for people in the company to complete. No decisions, no actions, no tasks, no completion.

DecideFastLearnFastWinFastIn Leading Successful Change, authors Shea & Solomon propose to change an organization you need to change behavior. They elaborate further to describe 8 levers of change, one of which they describe as decision allocation. Simply put, think of this as “who decides what, and where?” There are models available to help you structure the decision making process. I personally prefer the DACI model: Driver, Approvers, Contributors, Informed because it is simple and emphasizes accountability in the role of Driver to make the decision happen.

Before we go rushing off to “just make more decisions, faster”, lets consider some drivers behind slower decision making. When companies lack action, they are indecisive. Indecision can be caused for may reasons including but not limited to: not enough information, too much information, and unclear roles and responsibilities. Said another way, people hesitate to make decisions because they fear the decision will not have the required quality demanded by the company.

This balance of speed vs quality can be challenging. Consider the classic 2×2 above to assist with guiding actions to improve your decision making. If you find yourself with fast decision making, but low quality, focus on learning faster from your low quality decisions. If you find yourself with high quality decisions but too much time to make them, focus on deciding faster by embracing more risk.

Make no mistake, if you make decisions faster you improve your company’s ability to move forward faster. Have you heard the old saying “Win Fast, Fail Fast“? While it is very applicable in this context, I prefer “Decide Fast, Learn Fast, Win Fast”. If you make decisions faster, and they truly lack the quality you desire, engage your learning capability and dial your learnings back into a new decision to ultimately win faster.

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Tend to Your Goldfish


English: The fish bowl 日本語: 金魚鉢

As we turn over the calendar and enter the new year, many thoughts are focused on renewal. It is customary for our societies to set new goals and make new resolutions for the coming year. You may have already updated your goals or agreed your New Year’s resolution. Or perhaps, you have yet to finalize them. Either way, I hope you will allow some room for one more in 2013: Tend to your goldfish!

“The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.” – Patrick Lencioni from The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything.

Metaphorically, think of your organizational health as the water in which the fish swim, where the fish are the employees and the water is the culture or organizational health of the company. If the quality of the water degrades, what happens to the quality of the fish? What needs to be done to maintain healthy water? How frequently do you need to tend to the water? The fish? What happens to the water when you add new fish? More fish? When do you need to get a new bowl?

Let’s extend the metaphor to our favorite topic of business change. Transformations that are big, bold, and daring compel the leadership team to be equally big, bold, and daring. Great achievements require great leaders! Now, take a deep breath. The good news is that every all-star, expert, or thought leader was a novice at some point in their life. The difference is that they found something and invested in it. I believe that we all have unique value to contribute to society, your company, family, community, etc. Within the context of a transformation, your call to action for 2013 could be to create your own single greatest advantage: organizational health by tending to the goldfish!

  • It is simple: Launch an employee engagement campaign in your office, department, or team. Ignite the fire and let it grow.
  • It is free: A smile, kindness, passion for our customers, honesty with ourselves, and being genuine don’t cost us anything.
  • Available to anyone who wants it: What you give out will be returned to you two times.

Your organizational health is in your hands. Don’t settle. Be a great leader every day, by growing a healthy organizational that benefits your customers, employees, and owners! In 2013, don’t ignore this. What can you do to grow a healthy organization for your company? How will you care and feed for the fish and the fish bowl?

Organizational Capability for Transformation


Navy File Photo - President of the U.S. Naval ...
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“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” – Admiral John Stockdale, USN.

How do you align the business with IT? How do you confront the reality of a business strategy when it represents a threat to the status quo? How do you align that direction with a portfolio of projects that incrementally deliver on the desired change? In order to transformation a business, company, division, or team, you need to assemble many disciplines and techniques including but not limited to: business strategy, enterprise architecture, project management, personal development, communication, and training.

There are many books, white papers, and commentary on business strategy, project management, change management, IT governance, and organizational design. However, I rarely see any transformational thought leadership that describes these concepts as organizational capabilities, or services that work together in unison. When teams have raised their capability to deliver multiple skills like this, they position themselves better for success.

In order to transform an organization, the organization needs to position itself for success by building the capability to change, or transform. Too frequently, leaders assemble only one or maybe two of the disciplines listed above to deliver significant change. Calling on Admiral Stockdale’s profound leadership, transformational leaders should have confidence in the 1 or 2 skills they have brought together to drive change, but they should also confront the reality that most transformations fail. Have you assembled all the skills and capabilities you need to be successful with your change? What additional capabilities does your team need to better position you for success? Confront your reality and adjust  your team to bring more transformational capabilities to the table.

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.