I was reminded this week about the important difference between wanting change and designing for it. Change in simple terms is about helping to move people and processes from point A (some status quo that exists today) to point B (the place or process we have designed for with improved performance and engaged and enabled users).
It takes more than just wanting people to abide by an end state. Too often a top-down directive is met with resistance and often will be ignored. As leaders, we need to show our peers and clients the way, even design for it. Here are some questions to consider to meet the common challenges in getting an organization to point B:
- “What problem are we really trying to solve?”
- How often do we throw a team together, draft a process but arrive at subpar solutions because we are not addressing the underlying cause.
- Which is worse: the pain of change or the pain for staying the same?”
- A thousand people can stand around and point to a problem, but it takes one courageous leader to challenge the status quo. Like we wrote about last week, everyone has their limit. Sometimes we need to tell the story about change to shed a light on why staying the same is not an option.
- “What would have to be true to move to a ‘point B’ solution?”
- As you prepare to initiate change and move people towards point B, you will find plenty of naysayers. This question forces clients, users, and peers to shift towards solution thinking. (H/T: Roger Martin in “Playing to Win”)
- “Can I show you a path?”
- In a negotiation, a helpful tool is showing the other party a potential path to the solution when they either can’t or won’t see it. It can be very effective to visually represent the path and bring partners into the discussion on how to realize it.
Change is hard. When helping to move the organization from Point A to Point B, remember:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
When we identify the need to change, the most important thing is to begin.
Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:
Don’t accept accepted thinking – by Richard Branson – via Virgin
- SO WHAT: One of the best posts I read this week. Along the lines of this week’s post, we need leaders to challenge accepted thinking.
Pattern recognition is not the same as pattern matching – by Seth Godin – via @thisissethsblog
- SO WHAT: If you are a leader or responsible for change, read this carefully.
Starting Fires on Purpose — When and How Leaders Need to Break the Rules – via First Round Review
- SO WHAT: “But for your most critical projects, the 10 to 30% of projects that absolutely change the game for you and separate your company from competitors, you have to break the process completely,”
Why You Should Care That Millennials Love Learning – by Bravetta Hassell – via Chief Learning Officer
- SO WHAT: An important article for all leaders who care about engaging and developing employees. Millennials for certain, but this applies to all.
“How Do People Get New Ideas?” – by Issac Asimov – via the MIT Technology Review
- SO WHAT: Great read. “…the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits.”
All the best, kevin