Friday, November 27, 2009

Learning from Failed Change Programs

I have so often been in situations where we (me included) are not keen to look at failed change programs critically. We are not honest about the reasons or can't put it on paper due to organizational issues.

1. Speak to the people involved in the earlier (failed) change. It helps if you can generate trust and seek information on what won't be there in emails and closure reports.

2. Engage the current team to discuss the reasons. As frank as possible will help. This is a tough one - most of us are at our enthusiastic best and believe that the current change will not meet the fate the earlier one did. This could be blind faith.

3. List down the failure modes (FMEA) and identify what you can do about them. Early detection is a good thing in any field (not just medicine).

4. Keep re-visiting these failure modes in your reviews. This is again tough. We all tend to go with the flow and forget many of these steps. I have tried including this in agenda items. It helps.

5. Get your program critically audited/reviewed. Try and use a person from the team that had the failed program.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Role of PMO in Change Programs

I prefer to take the PDCA approach here as well. If the PMO can follow PDCA principles, aim high, be grounded, and take people with them, a change program has good chances to succeeded. Of course, the BIG pre-requisite is - the change that is being managed was required.

It is similar to saying - a poor product rarely does well due to good marketing or a movie with a poor story rarely does well due to special effects or marketing!

Plan the Change
The PMO needs to work closely with the Leadership teams to design the change program. It is useful to first have the big picture and then look for details. I often ask a question in such design - What will happen if we don't roll out this change? There is no point asking for change if we are not very clear about why. Often, new Leaders want to push change (dramatic ones) to establish their arrival. This is suicidal for all.

Do the Change
The PMO cannot afford to be a coordinator alone. No longer. If the PMO is just going to push dates and reminders they will lose respect quickly. They must participate in the process. And should appear to be flexible, even if they can't be flexible. A key lesson is to allow small wins to the people in the process but remain unmoved on the larger goals.

Check Progress of Change
This is the phase that most Change Managers confuse as their main role. It is not. And never should be. I am yet to see a change program be successful because the program office did the chasing very well! Use technology but don’t be a slave to it. Pick up the phone and speak. Walk across to people. Talk to people. You are a part of the change.

Act on Gaps in Change Progress
Why check progress if you can't or don't act on it. Key lesson - don't be seen as a messenger to the leadership team. Be involved and use your brains in escalating selectively. Help people close implementation gaps. Appear useful.

Overall - Change is an organic process. If you can remain forever aware of this then things usually work out. And always remember, no amount of change management sells a wrong decision.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Leadership Training?

I recently responded to a post - Paradigm shift in Leadership Training. Am sharing my views here.

The question asked if we thought a paradigm shift was required in our attitude towards Leadership Training.

First, my cynical view - this question mixes two to the most abused terms today. Leadership and Paradigm. I am appalled really at what is sometimes presented as leadership training (sic!). Two hour sessions with some interactive game thrown in is leadership at times. Many of the trainers I see are far from being a role model in what they do...and they want to be leadership trainers. I don't want to bring in age here...but that appears to be a factor. 25 year old leadership trainers!!! No offense to age but some experience helps.

Training for leadership? There is little evidence to support that it works. Coaching/Mentoring for Leadership. Yes!

My view on the paradigm change in leadership training (I am flowing with the term only for consistency with the question) - We will move to Coaching/Mentoring for leadership from 'training'. This will be linked to results. Much of this Coaching/Mentoring will be 'evolved' for each client. I also think Leadership training will finally realize that leadership is not about 'good behavior alone - its about performance, helping others perform, developing other leaders, and more.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick Tips for Business Excellence Site Visits

I answered a question on 'Site Visits' on LinkedIn today. Thought the answer will make a good post. Here it is:

I find most site visits could be improved significantly. Here are my top five.
1. Do your Home Work well. This includes developing good site visit questions and allocating among examiners.

2. Plan interview sessions in advance. Keep enough time for each interview as most of them spillover.

3. Never ask a question verbatim from your cheklist. Build a conversation.

4. Never lose sight of body language and what the host is not telling you because you are not asking.

5. Establish credibility and develop trust with the host.
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