Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Powerball under any other name is still…

What does the whole idea of Powerball have to do with change management?

The answer is everything... if you are talking about successful organization change, on time, on target, and on budget. You see, it's really a power game,despite what you might hear from organizational behaviorists. What do I mean?

  • Who makes the call on what cities will be served by an airline? The CEO and the Director of Operations … not the chief pilot, not the pilot’s union, not the chief weather man, not the maintenance supervisor or the CFO.

  • Who changes a company’s direction toward a new management system, like six sigma? The CEO … not the Director of Manufacturing, not the Director of Quality, not the Chief of Engineering and not the shop steward.

  • Who makes the final decision and implements a change in the “offensive system?” The head coach … not the offensive coordinator, not the back coach, not the head trainer, not the “water person” …or the team statistician.

  • Who makes the call to close down the theatre company’s current play so that they can open a new production? The Producer and the Director … not the lead actor, not the chorus, not the conductor and certainly not the key grip.

  • Who pulls the switch on changing the newspaper from black and white to four color? The Editor in Chief  ...  not the sports columnist, not the type setter, not the distribution manager, and not the head of advertising.

The question? Would you want to be a stock holder in an organization that has the Director of Quality “selling the change” to six sigma? … where the Chief  Pilot picks the cities to serve based on “runway length?”  Where the lead actor has been assigned to move the entire theatre company to a new play that you have just financed?

The point? The person legally empowered to run the place must make the final call on making big change happen. Without that person’s leadership, buy-in and power to enforce consequences, change is just not going to happen on target, on time, and on budget, despite the amount of dollars you spend in your change communication programs!

If it’s your job help your organization change, then make sure you are giving the right advice to the guys and gals at the top. They have to do it … you can help but you just can’t make it happen from your seat … you can’t do it for them and you can’t even do it with them. If you can’t convince them that they are the only ones empowered to make change happen, to get out in front and lead, its better to recommend that your organization not try to make the change at all … it’s just going to backfire and make your company’s next change attempt just that much more difficult. In the final analysis, change is Powerball.


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