Leading and Managing Change – It Starts With One

This is a great video from the INSEAD (the Business School) channel on YouTube on changing the hearts and minds of individuals as a necessary precursor to organizational change. The real engagement of individuals is key to success in organizational change

INSEAD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leading and Managing Change – It Starts With One

All kinds of organizations, public and private , large and small, have been searching for decades for the holy grail of organizational change. They want to find the perfect way to motivate employees to change their old ways for what management (or consultants!) deem to be better, new ones.

This is a great video from the INSEAD (the Business School) channel on YouTube on changing the hearts and minds of individuals as a necessary precursor to organizational change.  The real engagement of individuals is key to success in organizational change

Hal Gregersen is a Senior Affiliate Professor of Leadership at INSEAD where he pursues his vocation of executive teaching, coaching, consulting, and research by exploring how leaders in business, government, and society discover provocative new ideas, develop the human and organizational capacity to realize those ideas, and ultimately deliver positive, powerful results.

Stewart Black is the INSEAD Affiliate Professor of Organisational Behaviour

You can find out more about INSEAD at this link http://www.insead.edu/home/

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  • Managing Change – The Process Of Transition

Leading Change: High Levels Of Engagement Could Actually Put Your Change At Risk

When you communicate the change be aware that the impact will be different for different kinds of people. Take those different needs into account when you are planning the message. Then recognize the risk that different kinds of engagement might present.

Leading change: high levels of engagement could actually put your change at risk

New research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Kingston University Business School’s Centre for Research in Employment, Skills and Society (CRESS) has emphasized the distinction between people whose man engagement at work is with doing their immediate job to earn a living and others whose emotional attachment is much wider and extends to the organization itself – colleagues, line managers and customers.

Those engaged primarily with their jobs might enjoy and take pride in their individual work but they just want to do it and get on with rest of their lives. It is interesting that the study found that these people who are transactionally engaged (their interest is mainly in the technicalities of own work) report higher levels of stress and difficulties in achieving a work-life balance than those who are emotionally engaged with the organization.

It can become more complicated when, for example. someone is emotionally engaged mainly with their profession and perhaps even their clients, but only transactionally engaged with their current role and the current organisation.

Now ,this presents some interesting challenges for those leading change, particularly in how they communicate about the change.

A change that is being made for the perceivable good of the organization is more likely to be supported by someone emotionally engaged with that organization. That is, if the well being of colleagues is seen to be a priority and there is a clear commitment to managing the change well.

However, a change that threatens the work of an individual who is transactionally engaged may present a much greater risk. Most change managers have encountered the committed and brilliant technical specialist who decides they have no alternative but to subvert a change for the good of their work.

So how can you respond?

Well, for a start you need to understand your group and have a care with the results of engagement surveys which may not distinguish between different kinds of engagement.

What kind of people are in your group and what kind of work do they do? Walk the talk – get out there and meet them. Have conversations and be prepared to listen and to deal with feelings and anxiety.

When you communicate the change be aware that the impact will be different for different kinds of people. Take those different needs into account when you are planning the message. Then recognize the risk that different kinds of engagement might present. If your change threatens the organization itself then you need to manage the risk that presents for those committed to it. But handled the right way they will come with you on the journey.

Those committed mainly just to the job may well simply remove themselves, together with their precious technical skills if they can see nothing in the change for them. If their skills are critical to the organization you may need to consider incentives to stay – these could range from money to opportunities for professional development or even enhanced technical facilities.

As with all change programs, success lies with inspiring people to follow the vision but that inspiration may come with different strokes for very different kinds of folks

If you need the support of a coach in developing your career as change leader or change manager, then get in touch – I’ve been there before you.

Wendy Mason is a Career Coach with Life Coaching skills and expertise in helping people have the confidence they need to be successful at work while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason
@wisewolfcoaching.com

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The Leader's Way: Business, Buddhism and Happiness in an Interconnected World – Leadership Lessons from the Dalai Lama

Effective leadership is an underlying theme throughout the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

Cover of "The Leader's Way: Business, Bud...

International managerial consultant Laurens van den Muyzenberg identified the business leadership undercurrent in the 1990s after he was hired to advise the Dalai Lama.

Realizing the great potential in combining their respective expertise, van den Muyzenberg and the Dalai Lama co-authored The Leader’s Way, applying Buddhism to business practices.

“Most of my clients do face difficult ethical problems,” says van den Muyzenberg, who consults leaders. “It’s hard to find somebody with the kind of ethical prestige that [the Dalai Lama] has.”

Professor  C.O. Herkströter, former CEO of Shell and Chairman of the Board of ING wrote this when reviewing the book.

“This book examines capitalism and Buddhism in a fascinating way. Everybody in business who is seriously interested in responsible entrepreneurship will recognise the issues. The book adds a valuable dimension to the values and ethical standards that form the basis for responsible leadership in business.”

The approach represents the synthesis of East and West and provides an inspiring manifesto for business change. The first part of The Leader’s Way two-part message is this: in order to lead, you must understand the reasons for our actions then you can act to  solve problems through integrity, respect and sensitivity toward others.

Leaders versus Managers – I think not!

In my view, managers and leaders need each other. They should not in some way be set against each other. In my experience excellent managers are as scarce as excellent leaders in this world. But what do you think?

Leadership versus Management?

On a LinkedIn Group that will be better not named, I saw the following subject suggested for a blog post.

“Leadership vs. Management: Highlights the differences between the task orientation of managers and the inspirational orientation of leaders.”

Now I know what they mean, but I thought how sad! Is one really to be set against the other and is there the difference in value implied?

Yes, at its core, leadership is about creating a vision for the organization and inspiring people to march out into the world to achieve it.

Leadership has fascinated people for many hundreds of years.

As soon as we could organise ourselves into groups we needed a leader. Someone had to decide in which direction to go for the hunt – democracy doesn’t appear to be in-built!

By the time of Plato and Socrates, the qualities required for leadership had become something of an obsession.

Leadership depends on a process of influence through which people are “inspired” to work towards common goals.

So the leader has the vision and inspires us to work together towards something.

So what of management?

Well management too has been around for millennia – try Sun Tzu’s The Art of War written in the 6th Century BC.

Management gets the job done – it gets us safely to our destination.

Management takes the vision and turns it into a blueprint – something we can create and a real vibrant destination. Management plans, organizes and resources!  It creates and nurtures the team for the journey.   Management ensures that what is delivered is of the right quality and that we get to our destination intact.

The verb manage comes from the Italian maneggiare (to handle — especially tools), which in turn derives from the Latin manus (hand). The number managed (handled) can range from one person in a small firm to hundreds of thousands in a multinational company.

Managers are artists and craftspeople creating with the most volatile material known, the human spirit.

So next time you think about the task orientation of managers and the “inspirational” orientation of leaders remember this.  A president of the United States had the vision that man would go to the moon but it was managers, lots and lots of talented managers, that got us there.

A question!

In my view, managers and leaders need each other.  They should not in some way be set against each other. In my experience excellent managers are as scarce as excellent leaders in this world.

Well that is my view, but what do you think?

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Appreciative Inquiry – making change truly positive!

Image via Wikipedia

Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to change that focuses on the positive!  It works on the principle that what is good now that can be built on to achieve a vision for the future.

When thinking about change people often focus on what is wrong now – what is deficient. This has been the traditional approach to change management

Appreciative Inquiry, which has its roots in Positive Psychology, starts the other way round.  It looks at what is good and valuable now and then uses that as a foundation for moving forward.

Once the basis is established you can then explore the future possibilities with much greater confidence.

In all change, something will be lost but with Appreciative Inquiry you work to make sure that much of what is good remains.  It allows people to honour the past and have confidence in the future!

Appreciative Inquiry was developed as a tool for changing organizations but, as an approach, it works very well with people and teams.  It allows them to approach change with greater confidence.

If you work as a coach or consultant using Appreciative Inquiry,  you work with a client to show existing strengths and successes so that you can then work together to bring about positive change.

Appreciative Inquiry uses a cycle of 4 processes that can work for people, groups or whole organizations,

  1. DISCOVER: The identification of what works well now.
  2. DREAM: Envisioning what would work well in the future.
  3. DESIGN: Planning how to deliver what will work well.
  4. DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation of the plan

You can read more in these books

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Organizational culture, what organizational culture?

Changing a culture is a real challenge! It is hard to do without losing the good things you have now. If you are serious about your vision and you really want to see your values in practice, then you may have some hard work ahead! But of course until you understand the culture you have now, you won’t know what you need to do, will you?

Really?

An organization’s culture is a complex system with a multitude of interrelated processes and mechanisms that keep it humming along.   Sometimes it is hard for the leadership team to really understand the culture of the organization they lead.

This is true particularly if they follow the traditional pattern and don’t move much from the leadership floor!

The leading team may think they determine the culture when they agree a vision and define the values that go with it.

“Oh yes, we are on a mission and we have a mission statement too! It is all in the hands of our Comm’s Director, so I’m sure people understand what it means and reflect it in our culture!”

Really? Unless those vision and mission statements are truly reinforced throughout the organization, they can be meaningless in terms of the culture.

So how do you know what is happening where you are?  Well here are a few questions for you to think about;

  • Are your organization’s vision and values reflected in performance reviews and training programmes?
  • What about you financial reward systems – do they reinforce them?
  • What about memos and communications do they highlight what the leadership team thinks are important.
  • What about management actions — for example, are more junior promotions for people who toe the line or are they for people who go out on a limb to pursue your vision?

In reality, in most organizations the culture develops unconsciously and organically to create a system that, while not always ideal, does work.

Changing a culture is a real challenge!  It is hard to do without losing the good things you have now.

Of course, that assumes as a leadership team, you are clear about the good things you have now!

If you are serious about your vision and you really want to see your values in practice, then you may have some hard work ahead!

But, of course, until you understand the culture you have now, you won’t know what you need to do, will you?

Time to start asking some questions, I think!

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I am Wendy Mason and I work as a Personal Development Coach, Consultant and Writer I work with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change.   Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com for more information


Leading Change – lessons from the NHS – making sure your change is properly embedded!

Unfortunately, large and complex federations of organizations (like the NHS), can’t be turned round quickly. Behaviour takes time to change and culture usually lags long behind behaviour. But there are things you can do to help it along.

The Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall
The Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve worked on a lot of business change programs.  But when I first started working on them that was not what they were called; around the NHS, we had lots of “reorganizations”!

The longest period of my career was spent with the UK Department of Health.  Not long after I started, the Government initiated a major re-organization of the NHS – the one that led to the first appearance of “Area Health Authorities”, if I remember it correctly.  Not long after the start of the program, victory was declared and the change was regarded as complete.

But, of course, it wasn’t complete – the change was not embedded; things started to go wrong!

Guess what? We had a further reorganization to put things right.  And, of course, victory was acclaimed again.  And again, things went wrong.

So, it became a repetitive cycle, as governments of different political colors learned the hard way that changing the NHS just ain’t easy!  It really doesn’t do a great deal for your political career and, hard as you try to, you can’t de-politicize it and give all the risk to someone else.  But that doesn’t stop the brave cavaliers in each government trying again, does it?

I spent too long as a Civil Servant to now indulge in Party Politics.  Enough to say, that it was watching those repeated failures that got me interested in large scale change in the first place.

What seemed rather grotesquely obvious to me (ex-nurse and, oh, too many years in the Department), was that none of these changes was allowed time to truly embed!

Politicians live within the election cycle – democracy in action.  Their Political survival requires quick results to convince voters.

Unfortunately, large and complex and very organizations (like the NHS), can’t be turned round quickly.  Behavior takes time to change and culture usually lags long behind behavior.

Most of us don’t have anything as complex as the NHS to change.

But we do need to make our own changes stick/embed (Kotter Stage Eight).  We need to make the change become part of the core of the organization!

What can you do to help this along?

Well you need to make efforts continuously to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your organization. This will help give that change a solid place in your organization’s culture.

It’s also important that your company’s leaders continue to support the change. This includes existing staff and any new leaders who are brought in. If you lose the support of these people, you could end up back where you started.

What else can you do?

  • Continue to talk about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that you hear. Give everyone a clear picture! But DON’T talk about the change being “over”.  If you do that, some people will just sigh a sigh of relief and revert to the previous state.
  • Include the ideals and values of the change in every new corporate event.
  • Remember those ideals and values when hiring and training new staff or making deals with new contractors.
  • Publicly recognize the achievement so far.  Make much of those who have worked so hard to get you this far!
  • Recognize and reward publicly those who truly demonstrate the change in their behavior – even if that recognition has to be quite modest in the present climate
  • Don’t throw up your hands and declare a failure just because the outcome isn’t perfect – no change is perfect – good enough is what it needs to be..
  • Create plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on. This will help ensure that their legacy is not lost or forgotten.

I would love to hear about your own experience of large scale change. As for the NHS, well it belongs to all of us in the UK and everyone of us has a view – talk about Soccer Mums!

Kotter Reading List for you;

Related articles

  • Leading Change and the virtue of patience (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – dealing with fears and facing up to resistance(wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – get your vision into people’s minds and keep it there!(wisewolftalking.com)

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 or

Leading Change and the virtue of patience

Kotter’s eight steps in change leadership – Step Six is to create short-term wins. Nothing motivates and gives people confidence more than success .Big bang changes are fraught with risk and danger so it makes sense, if you have the time, to break your change down into manageable modules.

Image of the glassharmonica, invented by Benja...
The glassharmonica invented by Benjamin Franklin
 “He that can have patience can have what he will.” Benjamin Franklin courtesy of Wally Bock  (who liked the earlier version of this). 
 

As some will know, I’ve been working my way through Kotter’s eight steps in change leadership again recently. Step Six is to create short-term wins.

Most of the post below was written a little time ago.  It was so well received that is doesn’t make sense to change it entirely but I have added a couple of further thoughts. 

Nothing motivates and gives people confidence more than success. Give your company and your team a taste of victory early in the change process. Within a short time frame (this could be a month or a year, depending on the type of change), you’ll want to have results that your top team and staff can see. Without this, critics, negative thinkers and cynics might hurt your progress.

Big bang changes are fraught with risk and danger; so it makes sense, if you can, to break your change down into manageable modules.  This gives you the opportunity to create short-term targets.  These then build up to your overall long-term goal rather than having just one long-term event. It means you get early benefits.

You want each smaller target to be achievable, with little room for failure, particularly the early ones. Your change team may have to work very hard to come up with these targets, but each “win” that you produce can further motivate and inspire the entire organization. Your early wins inpire confidence so that people are prepared to stay with you for the rest of the journey.

What you can do:

  • Look for sure-fire projects that you can implement relatively quickly and without help from any strong critics of the change.
  • Don’t choose early targets that are expensive. You want to be able to justify the investment in each project.
  • Choose achievements with tangible results that are easily understood and, if possible, bring benefits to many
  • Thoroughly analyze the potential pros and cons of your targets and make sure you really understand what is required. If you don’t succeed with an early goal, it can hurt your entire change initiative.
  • Reward the people who help you meet the targets.
  • Publicize what you have done – get out there and wave your flags

I’d welcome your thoughts on this and if you would like help in leading or managing your change, please get in touch.

A Kotter Reading List for you;

  • Leading Change – dealing with fears and facing up to resistance (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – get your vision into people’s minds and keep it there! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – deciding who leads! (wisewolftalking.com)

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 or 

Leading Change – dealing with fears and facing up to resistance

Stage 5 is about empowering action, over coming resistance and getting rid of obstacles to change. This is where your investment in Stages 1 to 4, begins to pay dividends. Kotter himself states that when Stages 1 to 4 are skipped, resistance is inevitable and this can destroy your change.People resist change because they fear loss. Here are some way to deal with obstacles.

Recently I’ve been writing about John Kotter’s eight stage process for leading and managing change.  Stage 5 is about empowering action, over coming resistance and getting rid of obstacles to change.

This is where your investment in Stages 1 to 4, begins to pay dividends.

Kotter himself states that when Stages 1 to 4 are skipped, resistance is inevitable and this can destroy your change.

People resist change because they fear loss.  They believe they are defending something they value which feels threatened.   This can include loss of security, power, resources and overall loss of control.  Most of us fear the unknown.

If you have followed the earlier Kotter steps when you reach this point, you will have been talking about your vision and building up buy-in from all levels of the organization. Hopefully, your group will want to get busy and be out there achieving the benefits that you’ve been promoting.

But there may still be some resisting the change!  There may be people (individuals or groups), processes, structures and even organizations that are getting in the way?

You not only need to put in place the structure for change, but check continually for barriers and blockers to it.

Removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision and it certainly helps them move the change move forward.

To remove obstacles you should

  • Identify, or hire, change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.
  • Look at your organizational structure, job descriptions and performance and compensation systems to ensure they’re in line with your vision.
  • Recognize and reward people for making change happen.
  • Identify people who are resisting the change and help them see what’s needed.
  • Take action quickly to remove barriers (human or otherwise).

To remove barriers of the human kind

  • Help them understand the logic behind the change.
  • Give them an opportunity to contribute – to help design and implement the change (e.g., ideas, task forces, committees).
  • Provide facilitation & coaching to help them adjust to the change.
  • Offer incentives to those who continue to resist change.

If all else fails, and this change is critical to the organization, use authority to get people to accept the change or to move sideways and, possibly, out.

This can be one of the most challenging stages for the Change Leader but – as I’ve written here many times before – no one told you change was going to be easy!

A Kotter Reading List for you;

  • Leading Change – deciding who leads! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition(wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – get your vision into people’s minds and keep it there! (wisewolftalking.com)


Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you.  Email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Leading Change – get your vision into people’s minds and keep it there!

The guiding team need to be visible and let people see you as the embodiment of the change you intend to make. Walk the Talk! The top team should be using the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. And so should all those who are actively engaged. Keep it fresh and on everyone’s minds, then they will begin to remember it and respond to it.

shining light 2

I’ve written a lot here about the Kotter Model for leading change.  Recently I’ve been working my way through his various stages yet again because they always provide something new to think about. I’ve also written a lot about communication. Stage four of the Kotter process is about communicating your vision.

What you do with your vision after you create it and how you communicate it, will determine whether your change works, or not.

Your message is likely to have a lot of competition. It will probably have strong competition from other day-to-day communications within the company. As well as that, if your change is really significant you can expect the rumour mill to go to work spreading bad news. So you need to communicate your vision frequently and powerfully. You and your guiding team need to walk the talk and embed message in everything that you do.

Don’t just call special meetings to communicate your vision. Instead, talk about it every chance you get. The guiding team need to be visible and let people see you as the embodiment of the change you intend to make.

The top team should be using the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. And so should all those who are actively engaged. Keep it fresh and on everyone’s minds,  then they will begin to remember it and respond to it.

What you do is far more important – and believable – than what you say.

Make sure the whole guiding team demonstrates the kind of behaviour that you want from others.

Make sure you

  1. Talk often about your vision to make it real.
  2. Be authentic – openly and honestly address peoples’ concerns and anxieties.
  3. Apply your vision to all aspects of operations – from training to performance reviews.
  4. Tie everything back to the vision. Lead and manage by example.

A Kotter Reading List for you;

  • Leading Change – deciding who leads! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – Your Vision in an Uncertain Future – Scenario Planning (wisewolftalking.com)

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you.  Email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439