Friday, September 26, 2014

D.I.A.L change

Having been impacted by change early in career and seen the after effects to the organization and the people, then took a risky opportunities to join a start-up venture which failed and then be a part of a successful turnaround story, change has now become my De-facto tool to motivate, innovate and define success. The easiest way for me to visualize a change is to create different trajectories and reflect on the accomplishments vs misses. 

There are just 2 sides to a change or integration effort. One side are people who are given the mandate to make the change and the second side are people impacted by the change. The availability of information and the vision for the future are so different in the 2 camps that bringing them together is what makes a change challenging. The needs, wants and desires of the 2 camps are always tangential and never meet up, making even an experienced, senior, seen-it-all experts, start as a novice in every new project. 

To DIAL a change, 4 key metrics determine the outcomes and the shape of it. They invariably are present in every situation, turn and with every person.
The metrics are:

  1. Dialog: Do we and how much we Communicate, Collaborate, Share and Speak the truth ? Are we helpful and are the take-aways intended as it should be? Do we receive feedback ?
  2. Inquire and Inclusive: Are we including everyone required? Are we inquiring into everything we hear, see or asked ? This is the most time consuming piece. So many individuals have so many different perceptions and very many expectations that is impossible to match or could be conflicting with business advocacy. Are we considering the option that is most inclusive and do we conclude our decision with an inquiry that the choice makes the most sense in the given circumstances and with available evidences ?
  3. Actions: Is there a plan ? What are we leaving behind (if no to this, there is no need for change preparation) ? Where is our focus ? Do we have the complete buy-in from stakeholders and shareholders ? What can be the pain alleviating points ? Where do we go for help ? Whom are we recruting ? Are we course-correcting often?
  4. Love: For people signing up and people signing out, do alike with love. Inspite of best efforts, we have to shift or transfer our friends and people interwined in our lives for years. Does our solution show care, consideration, compassion, support, ease and are we giving appropriate time ? Are we sensitive in dealing with a hard call. The hardness cannot be recalled, but what are we doing to soften the blow ?
Change often links up and changes people lives in myriad unexpected ways. We cannot escape change and if we dont make it happen, it will happen to us. The deal is to DIAL and co-exist with it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

How change is perceived - The paradox of Change

Managers and champions of Change, particularly in integration teams tasked with overseeing team merger with diverse cultures, needs, processes, systems, people and standards, need and are expected to:

  1. Be Disciplined, Adaptable & Flexible
  2. Incisive in diagnosis from symptoms,
  3. Take actions with clinical precision,
  4. Address every stakeholder needs truthfully,
  5. Behave pragmatic with people
  6. Insightful to tailor solutions than force fit past practices
  7. Pragmatic with people
  8. Practice being in the context and time and patient
  9. Manage crazy timelines
  10. Keep moving ahead in multiple paths to reach the goal
Paradoxically, every change always is mentioned in attributes of:

  1. Chaos,
  2. Turbulence,
  3. Insecurity,
  4. Lack of Focus,
  5. No clue of what is coming next
  6. Communication breakdowns,
  7. Missing ownerships and accountability,
  8. Unstable working conditions,
  9. Missed family times & Skewed work-life balance,
  10. delays, confusion and lack of clarity
How does change affect you ? Ask your manager what attributes they would associate and you would get the answer. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Alternate or better - the paradox of change

When we say, the current way of working needs to change, the immediate reaction is to show and ask us to choose an alternate practice that is worse than the current. It is often the need for a status quo and pushing back an idea that isn't mine, is easier, than asking to get involved or champion the unknown.

Digging deep, it is the pedigree that matters when I will align and would support the need to change. The idea, needs to be from a person I am comfortable changing for, or should be based on a future prospect that is skewed in my favor. Plus above all it needs to become an overwhelming current need- something as an imperative that cannot be passed on and that condition needs to be vouched by a person of trust. Otherwise, my reactions are often the first instant push-back type.

New managers always find the need to change and start early buy-ins, to identify who is in and who's out. Needlessly at such times, stars opt out as early adoption from an erstwhile comfortable, proven high performance and high market valuations doesn't play emotionally, physically and professionally to start afresh a new path.

Losing stars early and having a team minus them, may allow for new stars and better market professionals, but the losses to steam ahead and more bottlenecks in terms of calibration slow the pace down.

It takes a deep breath and few seconds of awful pause to ask "what better looks like?"  when a rather pale alternative is presented. Moving discussion away from speaking of the alternates in terms of reference of the current, peg the changes as the reference and wouldn't it be a win-win  to ask repeatedly - "what more can this better become?" and followed up with "how can you make it happen?".

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