Friday, March 2, 2012

Solving The Change Mystery...

Solving the Mystery of Leading People Through Change is the subtitle of an incredible book called Who Killed Change? by Ken Blanchard and John Britt. This book is easy to sink your teeth into and is written in the form of a story, actually a murder mystery, which makes the read enjoyable and different from most books about organizational change.

The book is full of rich insights that will help any leader, business consultant, HR representative or business owner. Agent McNally is the consultant investigating the "death of change", and in the book, change is a character. His usual suspects are:

- Culture

- Commitment

- Sponsorship

- Change Leadership Team

- Communication

- Urgency

- Vision

- Plan

- Budget

- Trainer

- Incentive

- Accountability

- Performance Management.....

Do any of these sound familiar in your team or business? When I reflect on the teams I have work on, or was a facilitator for, these suspects are always present in some form in change processes. It could be a culture that does not embrace change, or that change is so frequent but never fully implemented. It may be the lack of commitment towards the change process, or one person's over commitment that causes them to burn out. Communication is always a challenge and while there may be a lot of talking about change going on, the communication is often unhelpful forms of dialogue such as assumptions, rumors and speculation.

Vision, unclear or lack of vision is often at the root of a challenged change process, frequently there is not the budget to support the change, or those in charge of the dollars will not approve the expenditures... the list goes on. Blanchard, through Agent McNally's character not only identifies these "suspects" but helps the reader understand what often goes wrong, and how to fix it.

To create a different outcome to the mystery of change or the death of change, Blanchard suggests there is hope:

- determine where the current culture is out of alignment with the change that is being implemented

- to increase commitment, you can provide forums for employees to ask questions and address concerns in a facilitated/healthy forum instead of through gossip and rumors

- get people involved, and engaged, provide opportunity for the believers to be champions for the change

- ensure you get commitment and buy in for the change, and model the behaviors you want others to demonstrate

- foster accountability through modeling and showing that the organization is serious about and committed to the change

- communicate, communicate, communicate! Deliver clear and credible messages, and clarify rumors before they get circulated in the rumor mill

- have a vision, and get behind the vision...then build the plan

To find out more about Who Killed Change... or how the story ended visit: