How would you start implementing these ideas?
1. Always start from yourself and where you’re at. Often change-people externalize things: How do I get other people to do these things? How do I influence them to do it? It just doesn’t work. You are not going to convince someone to do something they don’t want to do.
So you have to start from yourself: Where am I? What is my responsibility and the outcome? What are three things I can do this week to move it forward and how would I know that they worked?
2. Use very simple, clean and plain language. The more consistent and steady you are with that type of thinking other people will start to catch on. To use the Gandhi-cliche: Be the change you want to see.
Behavior is infectious: If you are starting with yourself, you start to energize and magnify people around you and eventually it is going to work, if it’s the right change.
What are the most common mistakes when driving change or implementing LCM?
1. Forgetting the context that you are in, or thinking of ‘applying agile to change management’ as being a way to do change at people more effectively.. I’ve used some of these ideas in larger organizations where they didn’t work because the culture just was not used to involve people in change. There’s an approach to change called the hole in the floor approach: That is, the people at the top drop the change through a hole in the floor and hope people figure it out. This is an idea taken from the book Becoming a Change Artist by Jerry Weinberg.
Changing culture in a big organization is like steering a big ship. You need to make subtle movements to make ship to shift course and it will take a long time. You can’t go from a culture that is used to running change from a place of control and planning, and push right over to hey, let’s just start experimenting. They’re just not compatible with each other. You have to remember the context you’re in.
2. Another common mistake from the part of management is forgetting team’s perspective of time. Even though management has been thinking about change for months, it is brand new to the team. The team is going to take at least three months to understand the purpose behind why they are wanted to do this. Whenever a CEO gets fired and someone new comes in they don’t make an impact right away. There’s already a bunch of inertia that has been put into place. Outcomes are a lagging indicator in the next quarter or the next 6 months or the next year. It’s the same with bringing in Scrum or anything like that which requires behavioral change.
3. Third common mistake is focusing on communication over enabling meaningful dialogue. Often a communication plan is nothing more than broadcasting, where communications people write a newsletter, they put it on SharePoint and push it out. They don’t have any other measurements. They don’t know who is clicking on the links, who is reading them, who is asking them questions and stuff like that. Don’t do newsletters, do lean coffee sessions. Get people in the room physically or virtually and let the people ask the questions. Use sticky notes and vote for the most important things. You are doing the same thing but just imploing a different tactic. You can do these little things without throwing everything out and saying “we’re doing this lean change management and don’t do planning anymore, now we do experiments”.