Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Change Leadership vs. Change Management: Or to Put it Another Way, the Honeymoon’s Over

Currently, we are working with a client that is experiencing a common but unexpected challenge as they implement a new ERP software solution. The ERP implementation is organized with a senior team functioning as a steering committee. Reporting to them are the project manager, our consultants, a core team and ultimately the ERP users.

The ERP implementation was preceded by a ERP selection project that focused on the business requirements and the business case for the ERP implementation. Most of the members of the implementation team were a part of the ERP selection process in one capacity or another.

Now that the ERP implementation is underway and “the heavy lifting has begun,” we are experiencing some resistance within the ranks that needs to be addressed. The interesting element of this resistance is the source – the core project team.

The expectation is that the core project team would be the most intimate and committed members of the whole ERP implementation effort. Most of them were closely involved in the ERP software selection process. However, now their initial enthusiasm for the project has evolved into several forms of resistance.

Sources of ERP Resistance

  • The reality of their required commitment for completing the project
  • The amount of their resources that need to be deployed on the project
  • The difficult functionality decisions that have to be made, with the accompanying compromises
  • Their own competing personal agendas

Panorama’s ERP implementation and organizational change management projects focus on a list of critical success factors that help achieve change management and reduce resistance.

Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for Change Management

  • Truth
  • Accountability
  • Leadership
  • Engagement
  • Alignment

These CSF’s also apply to change leadership. The subtle but significant difference is that in change management we focus on what must be done to make the users of the ERP software successful with the new tools. Change leadership focuses on supporting all of the participants in the change management process. The project manager and project lead need to deal with this and still deliver an on-time and on-budget ERP implementation. The steering committee wants to provide support and wonders what to do.

Here is what we have suggested:

  • Lead by example. In addition to communicating the priority of the ERP implementation, show it. A decision was made to suspend one of the quarterly tasks that required a lot of time from the core team. The reason communicated was that right now the ERP project is the priority and the steering committee recognizes the core team’s resource challenges.
  • Support the champions. Vocal, public acknowledgment of the work being done on the project by the core team is tangible reinforcement of the priorities.
  • Challenge the undecided. Calling out the core team members constructively in the meetings (not public) will reinforce their accountability to the steering committee and each other.
  • Promote accountability. Be crystal clear with every member of the core team regarding choices and consequences. If there is responsible dissent about a deliverable or deadline, get it out on the table for debate in the meetings. Work the discussion to hammer out the best answer. Once a decision has been made, make sure everyone understands the shared commitment to it. The debate is over. Now, clearly explain the expectations.

Get everyone possible on board the train – it’s leaving the station with or without everyone on board. Following the prior point, the consequences of not delivering should be clear. Managing dissent constructively is a great way to create a much higher performing team. This approach might be new, and it might be uncomfortable, but it is this client’s reality and should be seen as an opportunity.

Ignoring resistance and doing nothing is also a choice. But it is a disastrous one.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Creating and Embracing a Social Media Culture (ConAgra Foods)

Last month, on Nov 10, 2009 the 7th blogwell session took place in sunny Atlanta, Ga. (this is meant to be a joke for I have been twice to Atlanta so far and have seen a lot of rain not to mention flooding). Nearly a month later – and I am a little late for that – now that the dust has settled I wish to recap on some of the best sessions I was able to attend.

Stephanie Moritz, ConAgra foods presented her company and its many brands of foods (Hebrew National, Egg Beaters, Peter Pan, Banquet, Slim Jim, Kid Cuisine, Healthy choice…), most of which are huge hits in the US although less or even not at all known in Europe (another tale-telling example of non globalisation; there are many examples of brands which are immensely successful this side of the Atlantic and unknown on the other side and vice versa).

Stephanie explained how a big brand like ConAgra could use Social Media to stir passion within its fans. Here are my notes from that session, the live transcript of which you can also find here courtesy of Gaspedal and the Social Media Business Council.

Embracing a Social Media Culture

By Stephanie Moritz, ConAgra foods, USA

Social Media is everywhere. It is now mainstream. Consumers refuse to be marketed at. They want to participate, they have a passion. The challenge is to adapt it within a large organisation. How do you create inspiring programmes for your customers? It takes:

Targeted manageable plan,
A plan that supports business goals,
A focus on consensus building:
Setting a plan that achieves and ties to your business objectives
How do your get champions on board?
Long term commitment:

Phil Nieman from Gaspedal and Stephanie Moritz

1st step: understand how social media fits in our culture and objectives. How can you amplify your PR effort using SM
Creating a masterplan: define clear business objectives and match them with the SM initiative
Enterprise-wide solution. Not just Marketing
Establish some guidelines before moving into that space
Building the foundation first and listen to conversations. Who Responding to consumers. Addressing issues in a transparent manner.
Getting to know the blogging community. We ourselves tried blogs and tried and understand => Building communities
2nd step: getting senior management to become a champion (through CMO)
Digital immersion
3rd step: create coalition: there wasn’t much budget or staff. Experts and specialists throughout the organisation have been identified. All cross functional teams were identified. Enthusiasm made it.
(Audit) Identified key bloggers and organised discussions on products and how they could work together.
Created a Twitter page, spent a lot of time on it
Created a facebook page
Benchmarks, listened to conversations
Attended blogger events and blogger media conferences for the sole purpose of listening
When should a brand use social media? Not everyone should jump on the bandwagon Benchmarks are carried out continuously Key to success:

Set clear goals,
Create enterprise-wide endorsement,
Determine roadmap,
Original Post:

My 10 Ingredients for Change Management

by Yann Gourvennec on 14 March, 2010 - 21:17
note: this post is the unabridged version of a piece which was written for of which I am a regular contributor

One of the interesting things happening after the Likeminds conference on 25 February in Exeter, was the Likeminds Summit which actually took place on the following day at Bovey Castle in Dartmoor. Obviously, there were a bunch of like-minded people around the table dealing with the issues of how to implement social media properly for businesses.

One of the recurring issues surrounding the implementation of social media was change management; a topic often touched on but rarely explained properly. For the benefit of our readers, I have put together a list of the 10 ingredients which I think are of the utmost importance when you want to set up change in your company. This list is based on my experience of implementing change at various companies throughout the world in the past 20 years:

The serenity prayer: the first ingredient is to always know what you can change and what you cannot change, and to ensure that you always will be able to tell the difference,
Think big, start small: obviously if you are trying to implement change it is because you have great ideas; but try and be reasonable and start small and then move on to bigger changes one step at a time,
Choose the path of least resistance: avoid these people resisting change at all cost and try not to waste time convincing them. On the contrary, focus on these other people who are more favourable to your project and work with them all the way up (they are what one calls change agents),
Ask your boss to set an example: when you want to change things, management has to show the way and to prove others that things can be done not only by ordering them around but by actually doing things by themselves,
Don’t think top down: on the contrary, don’t believe that just because top management is going to send an e-mail to all, things are going to start changing by themselves. They simply won’t,
Seek a mandate once (some) results have been proven. Or, if you already have a mandate, don’t show it until we have implemented a few results either. This will show people that you care about their opinion,
Respect people: the human factor is one of the most important in change management. Don’t underestimate people and try and convince them humanly,
Expect the best, but prepare for the worst: as always in project management, Murphy’s Law applies. Be prepared for the worst so that you can avoid it,
Act swiftly: change is best implemented in my eyes in a 3 to 6 month period. If nothing has happened before then, chances are that nothing ever will,
In times of trouble, don’t stop and speed up the change process on the contrary: times of chaos can be perceived as periods of danger by most people; yet, to most change managers they will be used as periods at which anything is possible. It’s mostly when things are uncertain that change is implemented and accepted, not the contrary.
Lastly, adhering to these 10 simple rules might not guarantee success but overlooking them will certainly mean failure.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Change management with a militant union

We’re planning to implement a massive restructuring plan that could result in job loss in certain areas and increased pressure on the survivors to improve their labor productivity. How do you convince a tough employees’ union to support a new management program without paying off their leaders? -- Orange Juice.

Often times, we are told that money can’t buy happiness. The trouble is �” a lot of us would like the chance to prove it by bribing people, including our labor leaders. Is this the right approach? Certainly not! Because there are other means to achieve the same purpose.

This reminded me of the story of two cub scouts, whose younger brother had fallen into the lake. They rushed home to their mother with tears in their eyes. One of them sobbed:

“We were trying to give him artificial respiration, but he kept getting up and walking away.” That’s the trouble when you act like those cub scouts who don’t know what they’re doing.

The answer lies in your confidence to handle your workers and their leaders even in the most trying times. Self-confidence in your management is like a helpful virus spreading throughout your body.

If you have it, it will infect everything you do in a positive way. If you don’t, it will undermine everything you do. Managers who lack confidence not only fear doing things they are not good at.

They actually start to perform illegal, immoral, and unethical tasks like bribing union leaders.

The truth of the matter is, union leaders, no matter how you perceive them as militant, or whatever tag you may want to put on them, are reasonable human beings. You should know how to handle them.

How do we do it? It is as easy as going back to the following steps:
First, be the first one to be convinced about your company’s position.

Rely on your cold, hard, and impartial facts and figures. Produce the best evidence that could show that there’s a need for your “massive restructuring plan” even to government regulators, including the Department of Labor and Employment, which should be your first line of defense.

Your evidence must be supported by independent sources complete with diligent details. Avoid errors. Even a minor discrepancy in the computation of your data can discredit your argument. Don’t let your workers and their leaders challenge you with that insignificant blunder, as they can make a mountain out of it.

Second, know and understand the counter-position of the union against this management plan. It is not enough that you know their concerns. You should be able to deliver a much stronger argument against it.

Third, always go for the long-term and the macro view. It’s the forest, and not just a small tree that should block your way. Really, change is uncomfortable for the first time, but you must emphasize the long-term survival of the organization, including saving the jobs of the survivors.

Fourth, repeat the same argument with a different twist. Be creative, but stay with the same message. Don’t falter. Repeat it all over again and apply gradual pressure, starting with a firm deadline. For instance, emphasize that each day that the company maintains the status quo would mean additional burden to the company.

Change is possible, but it does not come immediately. This change in your management life will not be as credible when you bribe people.

* * *

ELBONOMICS: It is easier to bribe people when you know nothing about the wisdom of your argument.

Hospitals Work on Processes, Elements of Change Management

Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, March 19, 2010
Hospitals are sick and need our help. That is the message process improvement concepts like Lean and Six Sigma hope to address as they become more commonly used in healthcare.

Like any sick patient, there is a process to help make hospitals better, David Marshall, a Lean Six Sigma healthcare consultant with Magari Consulting Services, said during the recent audio conference "Healthcare and Lean Six Sigma: Implement Process Improvements and Maximize Resources."

That process is:





The symptoms, like waste and blame, pile on like any human illness.

"Blame is like a virus," said Marshall. "But there are no bad people, only bad processes."

As for waste, people adjust to it and get used to it. It takes "new eyes"—another common concept in Lean and Six Sigma—to spot waste that hospitals may have become so used to living with that they no longer even notice it.

Without change management, Marshall said, lasting change can't happen.

Key elements to change management include:

Leadership buy-in, active participation, and long-term thinking

Regular communication with key stakeholders (via e-mail, reports, and meetings)

Employee motivation through incentives (such as recognition, promotion, and burning platform)

System of checks and balances (e.g., project reviews and scorecards)

Action plans at both the project and program levels that are updated on a regular basis

"Something as simple as an action plan can be incredibly effective—very simple and very powerful," said Marshall.

Change management can certainly be done wrong, however. Poor change management can have many variations of negative results:




False starts




A major component of making change management work is meeting management. Leaner processes involve fewer meetings, but meetings are still necessary—so do them right, said Marshall.

The following are tips for effective meeting management:

Communicate the agenda at the beginning of the meeting

Develop and enforce meeting rules

Prevent interrupting when someone else is talking, and maintain a level of respect among participants as well.

Roles are important. Know who is:




Note taker

And know how precious time is. End every meeting five to 10 minutes early to allow people time to get to their next meeting, Marshall said.

Must Watch Speeches - BHO

Yes We Can

Our Moment is now

Must Watch Speeches - MKG

Must Watch Speeches

Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream

Friday, March 5, 2010

Rethinking How to Get Employees to Change

Persuading employees to make lasting changes in their behavior isn't easy. Keith McFarland highlights lessons from a new book that might make you more effective at it

By Keith McFarland

Their 2008 Made to Stick was one of the most fun books on marketing in years—and became an instant classic. In their new book, Switch, the brothers Heath take on the subject of organizational change, and they make the often dry, sentimental, and buzz-word-laden subject suddenly relevant for anyone trying to get a bunch of people to change directions.

The book opens with a story from the Food & Brand Lab at Cornell University. Researchers set up at a movie theater and gave movie goers a free soft drink and bucket of popcorn—in exchange for them answering some questions about the concession stand at the end of the movie. Some of the moviegoers got a medium-size bucket of popcorn, and others got a huge tub. But here's the kicker—both groups were given five-day-old popcorn that was so stale it squeaked. The questions at the concession stand were just a ruse—food researchers were studying how portion size influences eating.

And does it ever. People given the big tub ate 53% more of the practically inedible stuff than people given the medium bucket.


If you didn't know about the different containers, you'd probably scan the data and quickly assume that the participants could be easily divided into categories: Those with self control and those without it. You might jump to the conclusion that this was a people problem—and you might try to change the behavior of the people by punishing overeating or educating people on the perils of a high calorie diet. But you'd be wrong. What might look to be a people problem turns out to be a situation problem. The experiment was repeated often enough, controlling for all the known variables for researchers to explain the difference statistically with a very simple formula: When it comes to popcorn consumption, bigger bucket equals more eating.

If you are like me, by the time you get to page 2 in this book, you'll already be thinking about all your past efforts to create change in your own business. How many of those efforts stalled not because people are hopelessly resistant to change (they are not), but because we unknowingly created situations that encourage people to behave in ways contrary to the very direction of change we are trying to foster.

In my research on companies, I've found that leaders frequently jump to the conclusion they have a people problem when they really have a situation problem. Companies spend too much time worrying about getting the right people and not enough time worrying about getting the people right, (creating situations in a company where the natural response for employees is to perform at a high level).


Switch is full of other gems, too. The book is organized around an incredibly useful analogy from University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt (he wrote The Happiness Hypothesis). When trying to get a human to change (anything from losing weight to embracing a new IT system), think of him as made up of two parts: The elephant and the rider. The elephant is his emotional side, and the rider is his rational side. Like the rider of an elephant, a person's rational side has theoretical control of the emotional side, but it is a precarious control. Far too often, the elephant runs off with the rider (we order that chocolate cake, dash off that scathing e-mail, or can never seem to find time to get our department behind that new corporate initiative).

According to Switch, there are three basic ways to help ensure that the change you are trying to make in your company actually sticks. You can (a) direct the rider (largely by reducing ambiguity about specifically what kind of change is needed); (b) motivate the elephant (often by finding things that trigger people's visceral response to a need for change; and (c) shape the path—so the elephant and rider can proceed more easily and directly to the goal.

Early in the book is the delightful story of Jon Stegner—who was tasked with reducing costs at a major manufacturing company. He believed the company's decentralized procurement system was wasting millions, but he knew that the divisions' elephants (emotions) would run for the jungle if they thought their autonomy or independence were being threatened. He needed to find a way to motivate the elephant. Then the college intern Stegner had hired made a discovery—each division in each factory ordered its own work gloves. The company was purchasing 424 different types of gloves, ranging in price from $3.22 to $17 per pair. Stegner's intern retrieved a pair of each type, added a price tag, piled all 424 pairs on a conference table in the boardroom, and invited all the division presidents to visit the "glove shrine." People's response was immediate and visceral: This is crazy. We've got to stop this. Stegner got the elephant on his side.

Any leader looking to create change in his organization need not look beyond this little book. It is packed with examples and hands-on tools that will get you moving right away. And it is really a fun read.

The Architecture of Change

HR must move their organizations beyond the blueprint to the science and art of implementing change. Some difficulties are technical and can be solved by applying expertise. Others require solutions that are more adaptive and focused on navigating human emotions and behavior. Most problems are a combination of both.
By Erik Van Slyke

"Leading change is hard."

The phrase is almost cliché for HR professionals. Not only are we familiar with the research showing the extraordinary rate of change efforts that fail, but we also are know the challenges our own organizations have faced as they try to implement changes such as technology and outsourcing implementations, restructurings, acquisition integrations as well as less complex programs. Even when experienced leaders apply solid frameworks, project teams struggle integrating change management into the technical work of these initiatives.

The difficulty leveraging the value of proven change models may lie less in the construct of any change model itself, and more in the challenge of applying a rational and uniform framework to the irrational and unpredictable elements of human behavior. As Frank Lloyd Wright once said about architecture, "the architect's most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board and a wrecking bar at the site." So, too, with managing change, the most effective approach integrates the science of technical know-how with the art of adaptively capability.

Take the case of a global manufacturing organization implementing a new HRIS across multiple countries. Executives and HR and IT project managers recognized that change management was going to be critical for the success of a project of this magnitude. As a result, dedicated resources were involved from the very beginning of the project, starting with the development of the business case.

The change team laid the foundation early. They assigned resources from HR and corporate communications. They identified a methodology, conducted early stakeholder readiness assessments, and established a high-level project plan. They created a project theme, developed key messages, and conducted numerous presentations. They formed an executive sponsor council and a customer board. And with the business case in hand, they created consensus about the solution with senior executives and HR leaders worldwide.

Three months into the project, however, troubles began. There were disagreements within the work streams between company and vendor resources. Division and country HR leaders balked at changes to processes like performance management and reporting formats. And despite raising these risks to leadership, the change team found themselves on the margin of the project. The project managers increasingly skipped regularly scheduled change update meetings and ignored information shared by the team.

The issues came to a head when the change team identified a critical personality clash between a company work stream leader and a vendor resource. Having uncovered some of the underlying challenges, they even suggested bringing the two employees together to mediate a solution. The PMO ignored the advice and when the conflict escalated, blamed the change team for igniting the problem.

A technical project leader expressed his frustration saying, "When I don't include a change work stream, the implementation is too technically focused. We often have a hard time getting employees to adopt new tools. But when I bring in the change managers, they seem unorganized and get too hung up on stakeholder concerns and theory. I don't know how to action that information and we waste time."

The initial gap for many organizations is often this fundamental and the project leader's comment highlights two common problems:

1. How ready and willing were the technical players to incorporate change?

2. How could the change team be more effective integrating with the initiative?

The good news for those who question the value of change management is that a structured approach is not needed. People adapt when forced to adapt. This is why change happens rapidly in urgent situations, such as impending bankruptcy. And in other situations where the urgency is not as great, projects can move forward if an executive with formal authority commands it. People may not like it, but forward progress can be made.

In the absence of true urgency or a command and control organization culture, however, project sponsors and managers must understand how quickly they need performance. The more complex the change or the more people it impacts, the greater the risk there will be challenges getting buy in and the behavior change required for performance.

The research suggests we need it more frequently than we might think: Change efforts fail somewhere between 25 percent and 80 percent of the time. Even if you use the best-case data and pick, say, 25 percent as the likely failure rate, it is still remarkable. A 25 percent risk of project failure is significant considering how frequently organizations undergo some form of change. And since most of the research suggests that the failure rate is more than 50 percent, organization leaders should take pause.

Studies also have identified that change failure is not solely because of a lack of managerial capability. A recent study by the Ken Blanchard Companies showed that only 29 percent of change initiatives are launched without some formal structure or methodology. This means that we have many motivated, skilled, and historically successful leaders who apply a proven change methodology and still fall short of their organization or project change objectives.

What can we conclude? Methodology and technical leadership capability are not enough. This conclusion gets to the heart of how change teams can be more effective.

A change management methodology, much like an architect's blueprint, provides the overall design and objectives for managing the human aspects of a project. There is comfort in a methodology.

Unfortunately, that comfort may do a massive disservice to change leaders because it implies all change is the same. Experience suggests it is not. The context for change is always different. Each change occurs in distinct industries, cultures, operating models, and structures. Each change involves different people who have different thoughts and emotions that may vary depending not only upon their agenda connected to a particular initiative, but also upon the time of day.

This doesn't mean that methodologies are wrong. In fact, methodologies help us establish the overall design objectives and an initial blueprint for action. But once a project begins there are obstacles and challenges that require redesigning the plan or creating work-around solutions to help meet broader project objectives.

Some problems are technical and can be solved by applying expertise. Others require solutions that are more adaptive and focused on navigating human emotions and behavior. Most problems are a combination of both and require a set of capabilities that allow change leaders to navigate the ambiguity and create flexible solutions to keep initiatives on track.

Successful change architects apply these tools to adapt the methodology-driven blueprint to the situational realities encountered on change initiatives. They know how to go beyond the blueprint to make the design practical and actionable. Their flexibility helps them rapidly assess obstacles to generate workable solutions.

But to be effective, change leaders do not need years of experience implementing a particular kind of change, nor do they need a preexisting understanding of the culture and politics of their organizations. They do need, on the other hand, a combination of capability that includes both technical and adaptive skills.

The Architecture of Change summarizes these specific skills taken from research, anecdotes and case examples into a framework to help change leaders apply the capability more consistently. The actions outlined in the framework provide both technical structure, or Science, and adaptive capability, or Art, to help manage obstacles more effectively. These tools can be used with any methodology because they do not seek to replace them, but rather to provide capability to help make more achievable the objectives inherent in methodologies.

Change Science is the core to managing change effectively. It helps bring order to the often complex process of managing the human elements of a project by defining the tasks, roles, milestones and timelines required to achieve project objectives. It helps project managers more clearly understand the relationship between technical specifications of the changes and the activities and results required to achieve the behavioral change required by the technical. Without Science, our insights into human motivation remain only insights without the corresponding actions needed to create desired behavioral change.

For example, one organization's HR function wanted to move to its traditional paper pay stubs online. Technically, this was a matter of building the web site, the online forms, and the data feeds, among other things. The project leaders knew, however, that the more challenging objective was getting the division executives with union employees to agree to this change because the execs were concerned that many employees may not have home computers.

So, they created a structured approach to those challenges that outlined the meetings, communication requirements and other actions required to get agreement. The structure did not just become integrated into the technical project plan. It shaped the requirements and timing of the technical plan itself.

Change art provides the capability for managing the emotionally and behaviorally driven factors of a project. Much like all art, it gives perspective to help change leaders see their initiatives more clearly. Art takes in all information in its surroundings, both technical and behavioral, then analyzes and interprets it to help identify the motivations of stakeholders and what actions are required to create desired behavioral results.

For highly structured project managers and technical resources, Change Art can be difficult to understand and apply. It is more flexible and loose by design and often seems to work against process, deadlines and goals because it sees the behavioral goals as important as the technical goals. And since behavior does not always change according to a schedule, art can seem very ineffective.

The lack of structure, however, is art's greatest value because it allows change leaders to be aware of the ever changing contextual cues in complex organizational environments and open to how those factors may influence the behavior of people.

Project leaders that apply the tools of art successfully are better able to manage resistance and other challenges because they apply adaptive strategies to identify solutions that meet the needs of all stakeholders. Their ability to improvise keeps initiatives on track that otherwise would be stuck implementing plans that are no longer relevant.

On one hand, the Architecture of Change is common sense. The capability within the framework represents skills that are applied regularly to manage even the small scale changes in daily organization life. Our research has shown, however, that even if some techniques are known consciously, they are applied inconsistently and without integrating both sides of the model.

And the integration of Science and Art is the key.

Science needs art because art identifies the drivers of behavior change and identifies pathways for adaptive solutions to overcome project challenges. Likewise, art needs science because science turns art's information and ideas into structured action with defined outcomes.

Art identifies what needs to happen and science makes it happen. By recognizing and understanding the connections between the two, change leaders are able to successfully identify and utilize this integrated process.

Based upon what is learned while applying the elements of science and art to a specific challenge, there may be additional application of the tools. Every iteration brings greater precision to solutions by marrying adaptive process to the technical structure required to complete them in the context of the larger initiative.

Successful change architects are balanced in their application of the tools of science and art. They navigate the inevitable challenges and ambiguity once projects begin by applying adaptive capability in a structured framework that integrates with the technical objectives of projects. It is this combination that helps change leaders go beyond the blueprint of methodology and achieve the desired behavioral outcomes from their change initiatives.