High performance culture

High performance culture – how do you generate one?

High performance culture

Improving business performance

High performance culture – performance is key to your organisation’s survival.  You cannot afford to under perform.  But how do you generate a high performance culture? 

Here are some tips!

1. Show leadership from the top

Those at the top of the organisation must be committed to a high performance culture. If necessary, they must be prepared to change to ensure this. The performance management framework  must operate throughout the organization from top to bottom. Those at the top need to model the desired behaviour.

2. Develop business plans

Business planning should be positive. But it must also must be realistic if a high performance culture is going to exist . Be clear about what can be delivered with the resources available.  How will those available resources change over time?  Take into account the people management implications. If you invest in training, how will that effect your business plan? Once plans and priorities have been established, they need pervade the organisation. Your plans need to be translated into department, team and individual performance plans. These need to be throughout the organisation. Can you see the the organisation’s objectives reflected in the most junior employee’s performance plan?

3. Establish what good performance looks like and how it can be measured

All performance indicators and other criteria used to measure performance must be clearly communicated. This should be to all staff and contractors supporting the organisation. Think about what really matters. And focus on measuring the essentials. Keep the number of measures to a minimum.  Want to know more about performance measures? Follow this link

4. Monitor and evaluate

Systems need to be set up to ensure that performance can be monitored and evaluated throughout the year.  You need to understand the effect of changes in levels of performance on the services delivered to your customers or users.

5. Agree specific performance objectives

The organisation’s plans and priorities must be translated into department, team and individual performance objectives. This will usually be by using your existing performance appraisal and staff development processes. Individual plans are most effective when both manager and employee agree them.  Objectives should be SMART. That means;

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed
  • Realistic
  • Time bound.

Is the existing performance management system for your staff  up to the job? If not, take some advice and change it. See Paragraph 7 below.

6. Develop an internal communications’ approach

Effective messages should target your intended audience in the whole range of ways available to you. So, develop a plan for how you will use different media to target various communities within the organisation using for example:

  • Email
  • Intranet (inside the organisation)
  • Internet
  • Newsletter/house magazine
  • Notice board
  • Team briefs
  • Video and in-house TV (you can even use YouTube.)

In addition, regular surveys and suggestion schemes are important ways of ensuring that employees have the opportunity to tell you what they think. This can be on a wide range of issues that impact on  performance.

7. Ensure that performance framework systems are truly in place

A performance review/appraisal system is traditionally used to

  • Set objectives,
  • Identify support needs and
  • Measure progress against objectives.

For it to work effectively, the system must be clearly understood by both managers and employees. This requires:

  • Managers have access to guidance. And the training needed to ensure they manage performance effectively throughout the year
  • All employees have the necessary support, guidance and training to help them engage fully in the performance appraisal process.

If you don’t have these in place it is unlikely that you can become a high performing organisation

8. Support employees to succeed

Effective induction and probation processes for new employees are extremely important. They set the right expectations of performance for both the employee and the manager. Personal development plans (PDPs) should explain how development needs will be met.

9. Encourage performance improvement

Sometimes performance will not meet the required standard. You will need to identify what is getting in the way. Don’t assume anyone chooses to perform poorly. Put in place a plan to deliver improvement and give support. The principle is the same at both the team and individual level. So you need to have clear procedures for dealing with poor performance.

10. Recognise and reward good performance

Good performance needs to be recognised and rewarded. Recognising performance should include sharing success stories. And share the knowledge gained across the organisation. Highlight how good performance helps the organisation as a whole.

Working with an executive coach really can help you get your organisation to perform well. Why not take advantage of my offer of a free half hour coaching session to find out how I can help

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organizational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Building on Change

Building on Change

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Building on Change is the seventh step in the Kotter model. Real change runs Building on Changedeep and takes time. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change – make sure you take enough time!

This post is  part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph. The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change Step Four: Communicate Your Vision , Step Five: Handling Resistance and Step Six Delivering Short-Term Wins

Step Seven: Build on the Change

Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep and takes time. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change – make sure you take enough time!

Launching one new product using a new system is great. But you may need  launch 10 products to ensure that the new system is well embedded and really working. To reach that 10th success, you need to keep looking for improvements.

Each success provides an opportunity to build on what went right and identify what you can improve.

Building on Change – What you can do:

  • After every win, analyse what went right and what needs improving.
  • Set goals to continue building on the momentum you’ve achieved.
  • Learn about the idea of continuous improvement
  • Keep ideas fresh by bringing in new change agents and leaders for your change coalition.

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Delivering Short-Term Wins

Delivering Short-Term Wins

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Delivering short-term wins is the sixth step in the Kotter model. And nothing delivering short-term winsmotivates and gives people confidence more than success. So, achieving short-term wins gives them a real feeling that success is possible.

This post is  part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph. The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change Step Four: Communicate Your Vision and Step Five: Handling Resistance.

People resist change because they fear loss. Delivering short-term gains reassures them that the losing something is worthwhile!

Step Six: Creating and Delivering Short-term Wins

Nothing motivates and gives people confidence more than success. So, 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. And, without these, critics, negative thinkers and cynics might hurt your progress.

Create short-term targets which build up to your long- term goal rather than just one long-term goal. You want each smaller target to be achievable, with little room for failure. 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 organisation.

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.
  • Thoroughly analyse 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 come up with ideas
  • Reward people who help you meet the targets.
  • Publicise what you have done.
  • Show people how one achievement can lead to the next.

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Creating Vision for Change

Creating Vision for Change

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Creating vision for change is the third step in the Kotter model.  I’ve written quite creating visiona bit here about the Kotter approach to leading change and I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series.  This post deals with creating a vision that people can understand, get on board with and remember. Links to my posts on the earlier stages are in the next paragraph.

The model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. we have already dealt with; Step One: Create Urgency, Step Two: Form a Powerful Coalition and Step Four: Communicate Your Vision.

Step Three: Create a Vision for Change

When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and solutions floating around.  You need to link these concepts together into an overall vision so that people can grasp them easily and remember.

A clear vision can help everyone understand why you’re asking them to do something – even when it is uncomfortable. When people see for themselves what you’re trying to achieve, then the directives they’re given tend to make more better sense and they can commit to them.

They will expect you as the leader to have a sense of the direction of travel. Something about the vision needs to catch their imagination and help them to stay headed in the same direction.

Here are some steps to help you create your vision:

  • Determine the values that are central to the change. What are the values of your organisation and how do you want to reflect them in the future and in creating vision.
  • Develop a short summary (one or two sentences) that captures what you “see” as the future of your organisation. Make it colourful. How will it have meaning for others?
  • Try your vision out on a colleague – can they see the big picture?
  • Create your strategy so that it executes your vision. What are the big steps on the way?
  • Ensure that your change/guiding coalition (see the links below) can describe the vision in five minutes or less.
  • Practice your “vision speech” often. Make you can feel as well as see your vision when you practice
  • Listen carefully to the responses as you share your vision and consider making adjustments

Next in this series I am going to write more about sharing your vision. Stage 4 in the Kotter model is  about communicating the vision.

Meanwhile…

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your personal brand checklist will ensure the world sees you as you wish. It will help you reflect your personal brand in all you do. Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the you are seen! Here is your personal brand checklist.

personal brand checklist
Your checklist
  1. Are you sure people believe you know what you are talking about? First of all, does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date? Do the words you use at work reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time? Do you write articles and blog posts on your specialist interest?

What about your “elevator speech”?

2. Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers? Can you say your piece within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say? Can you influence people? Why not do a market survey? So, you could choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  Why not, read a book about it, take a class or work with a coach like me.

4. Do you dress for the job at work? Because you do need to know the dress code for your sector? And you would be wise to follow it for success. But what about off duty? If you met you boss in the supermarket, what impression would they get? Think about what is appropriate to the situation. And balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

Do you know how to behave at work?

5. By that I mean the etiquette for your organisation and your sector? What kind of business cards do people carry? Most of all, always be courteous. Therefore, always be the one who follows up and says thank you after a kind deed. Remember to do it after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress? Take time out to build your address book. Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly! When you have built your relationship, ask contacts for further introductions. Use LinkedIn to find new people.

How often do you nurture your network?

7. Are you working at nurturing your relationships with your contacts? Most of all, are you showing an active interest and do you genuinely care care about them? Ask how they are and what they are doing. But make sure you mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time? Do you give something back to the community with voluntary work? Or perhaps you help your local sports club? You don’t need to brag about it; news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious. It’s the you the world sees and judges by. Nurture your brand and you will nurture both your life and your career.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Embedding Change – Making It Stick And Creating A Culture

Embedding Change – Making It Stick And Creating A Culture

Here are some ways to make sure the change in your organization is successful

  1. Give them the evidence Show people over and over that the change is real. Provide them with a steady stream of evidence to prove that the change has happened and is successful.  Set out to deliver real results at regular intervals in your change process and then tell people about them – don’t just wait for the big bang at the end. Get people involved and then get them to talk about their involvement.  Make sure everyone hears the news.
  2. Financial reward When loyalty and the joy of the job are not enough to keep people, they may need some financial or other rewards.  The promise of future reward may be enough to keep them engaged but make sure it isn’t too far out to be enticing — usually reasonable reward needs to be within a twelve-month timeframe. This risk is that when the reward is gained, you may lose them. If you want them to stay, you may need to keep a rolling “golden handcuff “ system
  3. Build change into formal systems and structures After a while, institutionalized things become so entrenched, people forget to resist and just do what is required, even if they do not agree with them.  So you can make changes stick by building them into the formal fabric of the organization, for example, in standards and personal objectives.
  4. Give them a new challenge A challenge is a great motivator that can focus people on new and different things. Get people to keep up interest in a change by giving them new challenges related to the change.  Make sure the challenges really stimulate them and keep them looking to the future.
  5. Reward people for doing the right things. A surprisingly common trap in change is to ask (or even demand) that people change, yet the reward system that is driving their behavior is not changed. Asking for teamwork then rewarding people as individuals is a very common example.  So when you make a change, make sure that you align the reward system with the changes that you want to happen.
  6. Rites of passage Rituals are symbolic acts to which we attribute significant meaning. A celebration to mark a change is used in many cultures, ranging from rites of passage to manhood for aboriginal tribes to the wedding ceremonies of Christian and other religions. Such ritual passages are often remembered with great nostalgia, and even the remembrance of them becomes ritualized.  When a change is completed, celebrate with a party or some other ritualized recognition of the passing of a key milestone.  You can also start a change with a wake (which is a party that is held to celebrate the life of someone who has died) to symbolize letting go of the past.  Create new rituals to help shift the culture to a new form. Use these, if possible, to replace the rituals that already exist.
  7. Socializing Build your change into the social fabric. A change that is socialized becomes normal and the ‘way things are’.  When something becomes a social norm, people will be far more unlikely to oppose it as to do so is to oppose the group and its leaders. Seal changes by building them into the social structures.  Give social leaders prominent positions in the change. When they feel ownership for it, they will talk about it and sell it to others.

If you have other ideas for embedding change and making it successful, please share them here.
Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT; ACTING WITH INTEGRITY

Integrity

Integrity

Dictionary Definition;

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.

3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

“I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.” – Lee Iacocca


The most effective way to behave in work and business (including large banks), as in life, is to act with integrity.  Note the definitions above which talk about wholeness, soundness and completeness – this is a definition of health?

That means being as honest as you can and being fair.  As Lee Iacocca says, tell your team the truth and tell them what you are doing about it.  Be a model for honesty, openness and fairness and show that you expect all in your team to follow

Be as realistic as you can about the risks    When you can, help your staff prepare for bad news.  But combine all of this with being scrupulously fair.  They will know if you play the favorites game or, for example, take the opportunity to pay off old scores if you have to  lay people off or reduce hours.  You will lose good will and that extra contribution you need from those who stay.

In the good times share bonuses fairly and for good reasons – nothing is more de-motivating than seeing a colleague who doesn’t really deserve it, getting a bonus. If the bonuses you pay will not stand up to public scrutiny – don’t pay them.

There are major advantages in acting with integrity in all parts of the business in  terms of competitive advantage.

  • The public, and that means your customers, are increasingly concerned about ethical standards
  • Customers and good staff are more like to be attracted and retained
  • Shareholders are more likely to invest in those they trust, now more than ever
  • Staff and your own morale will be higher
  • Your reputation will be something you can be proud of
  • (At its crudest) You stay out of jail and believe me in old age, the money will not make up for the shame.

Here are some ideas for acting with integrity! If you can’t get your head round it, hire someone to advise you on good governance – there are plenty of us around and it isn’t hard to put it in place.

Some principles for making decisions with integrity!

  1. Make sure those in management know how to step back from every critical decision before they make it and look at it objectively.
  2. Understand the risks in your own culture.  Monitor those likely to get swept along by excitement or urgency to the point where they lose judgment .   Personal power, ‘winning’, strategic plotting, high drama, etc. feel good – they are exciting – but they rarely lead to real long-term business advantage
  3. Strive for fairness and the long-term, and not short-term polarized ‘winner takes all’ outcomes that threaten the organization’s long-term survival.
  4. Learn from history and earlier situations. Reviewing how previous situations were handled, reduces the risks of making daft mistakes:  Also history is a superb store of already invented wheels, which can often save you the time and agonies of trying unsuccessfully to invent a new one.
  5. Understand the long-term consequences.  You need to build in time, and structures, to think through what these might be. Try to make sure there are no unforeseen consequences which work to your, and other people’s,  detriment. Ask;
    1.  What do I get out of this? If you directly address how you benefit it’s easier to spot biases and blind spots.
    2. If we do this, what will happen? Play out the effects of the  decision. Be alert to the impact on stakeholders you may not have considered.
  6. Make sure what you do is legal, but think about the spirit of the law as well as the words.  No one really respects or trusts someone who is known to “bend” the law and that includes your customers and share holders
  7. Consult widely –  not just your staff, but your customers, if you can,
  8. Above all, resist the delusion and arrogance that power and authority tends to foster. This is especially important to guard against if you live and work in a protected, insulated or isolated situation, as many large-scale leaders and decision-makers tend to do. Being a leader for a long time, or for any duration in a culture of arrogance, privilege and advantage, provides great nourishment for personal delusion. Many unethical decisions come from arrogance and delusion. Guard against becoming so dangerous.

Acting with integrity doesn’t just help you to sleep at nights but you also stand a chance of leaving a real legacy – someone who is remembered and respected in your community and beyond for a very long time!

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Goldfinger, the Elephant and making partnerships work!

Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/laszlo-pho...
Image via Wikipedia

The benefits of partnership have long been extolled for public, private, voluntary and community organisations!  And the benefits of true partnership are invaluable in managing change across an organisation. But the word ‘partnership’ is probably one of the most abused in the modern business lexicon.

First a little background on my interest in partnership!

Many moons ago when I was a Civil Servant, one of my more interesting roles was to Chair the Elephant and Castle Employers’ Group in South London.

The Department of Health has a long standing relationship with the Elephant and Castle.  Metro Central Heights, a striking multi-story complex, was once Alexander Fleming House and headquarters of the Department.  The building was notorious!  Designed by modernist architect Ernő Goldfinger, it won him a Civic Trust Award in 1964 but it may also have influenced Ian Fleming’s choice of names for his villain! The Department continues to have staff at the Elephant but now in rather more comfortable accommodation.

Anyway, for my sins, I chaired the group on behalf of the Department and we were successful in a number of areas.  For example, we persuaded the London Borough of Southwark to improve street lighting and they refurbished the miserable under-passes!  Our fame spread and somewhere in the archives of the Open University is a talking heads video of me extolling the virtues of community partnership.  We had strong partnerships with the local authority, police, transport providers etc.

In chairing the group, I drew on my experience of matrix management in managing IT projects.  Projects, and organisational change programmes in particular, have always drawn heavily for their success on the ability of project and programme managers to develop and manage partnerships across organisations.

So I believe it is worth looking more closely at what partnership really means!

I believe a partnership is a joint working arrangement where the partners

  • Work otherwise more or less independently
  • Agree to co-operate to achieve common goals or outcomes
  • Plan and implement a jointly agreed project or programme, often with joint staff or resources
  • Share relevant information and pool risks and rewards.

Whether the partners choose to engage usually depends on answers to the following questions?

  • What will the partnership deliver that we could not deliver on our own?
  • Is it clear what our role in the partnership will be?
  • Do we know how long the partnership is going to last?
  • Are the aims and objectives of the partnership clear?
  • Are we clear what we are expected to contribute?

If you are going to engage in partnership there are some pitfalls to avoid.

Competition

Competition between different parts of an organisation can be positive but in cross-organisation programmes it can be menace.  It takes work and leadership at the start of a partnership to build the partners into a team and develop a sense of common purpose.  This is where time needs to be spent, not on later point scoring because you did not make the initial investment!

The Wrong People

A partnership needs people with the power and authority to get the job done.   They may not need to be senior but they do need real delegated authority.  If every decision needs to be referred to the top of one partner’s long management chain before it can be made, you have the wrong person or it isn’t a partnership!  It also important that partners cannot pull rank on each other!  Partners need to be equal, or to agree to act in an equal way for the purposes of the partnership, and you might need to record this in formal terms of reference!

Mission creep

If a partnership works well, the partners will usually enjoy working together!  This means they will look for other things to do.  This can get in the way of delivering the overall change.  This is one reason why the task or outcome needs to be very clearly defined at the beginning.

Culture clash

Even within one organisation different cultures can emerge in different divisions.  This can make working together difficult.  Again this is where leadership and time taken at the start to build a team and develop a sense of common purpose pays dividends.  Aim to get people to talk explicitly about differences and then find the common ground and the shared vision.

The Eternal Partnership

As the name says – this goes on forever!  Long after its usefulness wears out, no one wants to call a halt.  So the relationship slowly withers on the vine with useless meetings, frustration and wasted resources.  Someone needs to call a halt, agree an exit strategy and close it down.  If you want to maintain your credibility as a programme manager, be the one who recognises when the job is done.  Arrange a closing down ceremony and write the thank you letters to the participants; most will be grateful and the others need to be helped to move on.

It takes time to develop the trust between partners that is required to make partnerships work well.  But my word good partnership working can be powerful!

I would love to hear your experiences of partnerships good and bad!  Are there other lessons we can share?

As for me!  Well I’m heading back to London SE1 soon to see that old Elephant – I remember it well and with great fondness!

Wendy Mason is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach 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

 

Bewildered by the change you have to make – here is help!


Do you need to make a change in your organisation?  Does the prospect feel overwhelming?  Well why not use the simplest model of change – the Freeze Phase Model, also known as Square-Blob-Star!  This post tells you how to use it!  If you care about leading you organisation well and if you are committed to being a good manager, you have all you need need to implement this approach well!

This post appeared on my blog in July 2009.  It is one of the most popular pieces here and I believe that many readers have found it useful!  So I am have revamped it slightly with some links to techniques to use when you implement the model.  I’ve seen this approach work many times.  I wish you luck with your change and if you would like further advice, please get in touch!

In the early 20th century, psychologist Kurt Lewin identified three stages of change that are still the basis of many approaches today.

UNFREEZE

People like to feel safe and in control and their sense of identity is tied into their present environment particularly if it has been relatively stable for a while!  This creates a feeling of comfort and any challenges to it even those which may offer significant benefit, can cause discomfort. See why change hurts! Talking about the future is rarely enough to move them from this ‘frozen’ state and significant work is usually required to ‘unfreeze’ them and get them moving.  In frustration some managers may revert to using a Push method to get them moving – coercing them into a change.  The Pull method of leadership, persuasion and modeling behavior takes longer but has a much better long term effect . The term ‘change ready’ is often used to describe people who are unfrozen and ready to take the next step. Some people come ready for change whilst others take a long time to let go of their comfortable current realities.

TRANSITION

For Lewin change is a journey.  This journey may not be that simple and the person may need to go through several stages of misunderstanding before they get to the other side.  A classic trap in change is for the leaders to spend months on their own personal journeys and then expect everyone else to cross the chasm in a single bound. Transition takes time and needs leadership and support!   But sometimes  transition can also be a pleasant trap – it may feel better to travel hopefully than arrive – particularly for the team leading the change.

REFREEZE

At the other end of the journey, the final goal is to ‘refreeze’, putting down roots again and establishing the new place of stability – embedding new processes and developing a new culture.  In practice, refreezing may be a slow process as transitions seldom stop cleanly, but go more in fits and starts with a long tail of bits and pieces. There are good and bad things about this.   In modern organizations, this stage is often rather tentative as the next change may well be around the next corner. What is often encouraged, then, is more of a state of ‘slushiness’ where freezing is never really achieved (theoretically making the next unfreezing easier). The danger with this that many organizations have found is that people fall into a state of change shock, where they work at a low level of efficiency and effectiveness as they await the next change.

You can find out more at the following links

More of the Freeze Phase/Square-Blob-Star Model – general introduction continued

Getting ready for the Change (Unfreeze) – some unfreezing techniques

Helping people to change (Transition) – constructive ways to manage transition

Completing the Change (Refreeze) – constructive ways to embed the change and make sure it sticks


Out-sourcing – how to be good at it!

In the present climate the pressure to seek value for money through out-sourcing is stronger than ever.

Yes, you can save money but getting the full value from your outsourced service and making sure that it supports your business in the way you intended is complicated.

The financial benefits alone are often not properly understood.  The results of research by Warwick Business School working with IT group Cognizant showed that less than half (43 per cent) of all CIOs and CFOs have attempted to calculate the financial impact of outsourcing to their bottom line let alone determined the real value to their organisations. They don’t know the real value and it is doubtful that they are getting the outcomes they expected!

Here are some steps you can take to ensure you achieve real value from your out-sourcing activity.

1. Know why you are doing it

Don’t out-source just because the competition does it!

What do you expect from the service and what resource will be available to support it?

Can you specify what you need and will you be able to measure and monitor it when it is delivered?

Have you got experience of managing outsourced services or can you afford to buy that expertise?

How essential is this service to your business operations?

Can you afford to take the risk?

2. Be systematic but keep it simple

Work out a strategy for out-sourcing that your organisation can cope with!

If you are new to out-sourcing don’t go for a complicated strategy that involves many suppliers.

If you go for a complex supply chain, you will need to know how to manage it

If you go for multiple suppliers, you will need to know how to coordinate them

Start with a single and relatively simple business function and a single supplier and build from there.

Gain experience as you develop the approach

3. Know how you are going to measure and monitor

Many companies rely on service level agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are crucial to outsourcing arrangements but you will need more than a traditional SLA if you are interested in business improvement!

Measuring against an SLA will tell you about delivering the status quo

Most SLAs will not tell you if the service is really delivering benefits and the right outcomes to your operation!

You need to focus on business improvement rather than just service improvement processes!

Determine what evidence of success and the right outcomes really looks like and use it!

Use industry benchmarks IF they are useful to your business

4. Invest in the relationship for long-term value

Demands and expectations change over time!

This can lead to disagreements with your supplier which can erode the relationship

Agree at the start how you will recognize and respond to changes together

Share information honestly between you

6. Be an intelligent client

Don’t hand all your talent across to the supplier with the service

Keep enough expertise available so you can talk intelligently to your supplier about performance

Keep enough expertise to cope with changing your contractor if necessary in response to supplier failure or market changes

Keep enough expertise available to cope with business innovation.

Be honest with your supplier about your expectations and your customer base

But be prepared to learn from your supplier

You can find this as a slide presentation on LinkedIn at the following link  http://slidesha.re/hc0HyK