Category Archives: Change

Implementing Successful Transformation Initiatives for 2024

Implementing Successful Transformation Initiatives for 2024

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

Transformation and change initiatives are usually designed as strategic interventions, intending to advance an organization’s growth, deliver increased shareholder value, build competitive advantage, or improve speed and agility to respond to fast-changing industries.  These initiatives typically focus on improving efficiency, and productivity, resolving IT legacy and technological issues, encouraging innovation, or developing high-performance organizational cultures. Yet, according to research conducted over fifteen years by McKinsey & Co., shared in a recent article “Losing from day one: Why even successful transformations fall short” – Organizations have realized only 67 percent of the maximum financial benefits that their transformations could have achieved. By contrast, respondents at all other companies say they captured an average of only 37 percent of the potential benefit, and it’s all due to a lack of human skills, and their inability to adapt, innovate, and thrive in a decade of disruption.

Differences between success and failure

The survey results confirm that “there are no short­cuts to successful transformation and change initiatives. The main differentiator between success and failure was not whether an organization followed a specific subset of actions but rather how many actions it took throughout an organizational transformation’s life cycle” and actions taken by the people involved.

Capacity, confidence, and competence – human skills

What stands out is that thirty-five percent of the value lost occurs in the implementation phase, which involves the unproductive actions taken by the people involved.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) supports this in a recent article “How to Create a Transformation That Lasts” – “Transformations are inherently difficult, filled with compressed deadlines and limited resources. Executing them typically requires big changes in processes, product offerings, governance, structure, the operating model itself, and human behavior.

Reinforcing the need for organizations to invest in developing the deep human skills that embed transformation disciplines into business-as-usual structures, processes, and systems, and help shift the culture. Which depends on enhancing people’s capacity, confidence, and competence to implement the “annual business-planning processes and review cycles, from executive-level weekly briefings and monthly or quarterly reviews to individual performance dialogue” that delivers and embeds the desired changes, especially the cultural enablers.

Complex and difficult to navigate – key challenges

As a result of the impact of our VUCA/BANI world, coupled with the global pandemic, current global instability, and geopolitics, many people have had their focus stolen, and are still experiencing dissonance cognitively, emotionally, and viscerally.

This impacts their ability to take intelligent actions and the range of symptoms includes emotional overwhelm, cognitive overload, and change fatigue.

It seems that many people lack the capacity, confidence, and competence, to underpin their balance, well-being, and resilience, which resources their ability and GRIT to engage fully in transformation and change initiatives.

The new normal – restoring our humanity

At ImagineNation™ for the past four years, in our coaching and mentoring practice, we have spent more than 1000 hours partnering with leaders and managers around the world to support them in recovering and re-emerging from a range of uncomfortable, disabling, and disempowering feelings.

Some of these unresourceful states include loneliness, disconnection, a lack of belonging, and varying degrees of burnout, and have caused them to withdraw and, in some cases, even resist returning to the office, or to work generally.

It appears that this is the new normal we all have to deal with, knowing there is no playbook, to take us there because it involves restoring the essence of our humanity and deepening our human skills.

Taking a whole-person approach – develop human skills

By embracing a whole-person approach, in all transformation and change initiatives, that focuses on building people’s capacity, confidence, and competence, and that cultivates their well-being and resilience to:

  • Engage, empower, and enable them to collaborate in setting the targets, business plans, implementation, and follow-up necessary to ensure a successful transformation and change initiative.
  • Safely partner with them through their discomfort, anxiety, fear, and reactive responses.
  • Learn resourceful emotional states, traits, mindsets, behaviors, and human skills to embody, enact and execute the desired changes strategically and systemically.

By then slowing down, to pause, retreat and reflect, and choose to operate systemically and holistically, and cultivate the “deliberate calm” required to operate at the three different human levels outlined in the illustration below:

The Neurological Level – which most transformation and change initiatives fail to comprehend, connect to, and work with. Because people lack the focus, intention, and skills to help people collapse any unconscious RIGIDITY existing in their emotional, cognitive, and visceral states, which means they may be frozen, distracted, withdrawn, or aggressive as a result of their fears and anxiety.

You can build your capacity, confidence, and competence to operate at this level by accepting “what is”:

  • Paying attention and being present with whatever people are experiencing neurologically by attending, allowing, accepting, naming, and acknowledging whatever is going on for them, and by supporting and enabling them to rest, revitalize and recover in their unique way.
  • Operating from an open mind and an open heart and by being empathic and compassionate, in line with their fragility and vulnerability, being kind, appreciative, and considerate of their individual needs.
  • Being intentional in enabling them to become grounded, mindful conscious, and truly connected to what is really going on for them, and rebuild their positivity, optimism, and hope for the future.
  • Creating a collective holding space or container that gives them permission, safety, and trust to pull them towards the benefits and rewards of not knowing, unlearning, and being open to relearning new mental models.
  • Evoking new and multiple perspectives that will help them navigate uncertainty and complexity.

The Emotional Cognition Levels – which most transformation and change initiatives fail to take into account because people need to develop their PLASTICITY and flexibility in regulating and focusing their thoughts, feelings, and actions to adapt and be agile in a world of unknowns, and deliver the outcomes and results they want to have.

You can build your capacity, confidence, and competence to operate at this level by supporting them to open their hearts and minds:

  • Igniting their curiosity, imagination, and playfulness, introducing novel ideas, and allowing play and improvisation into their thinking processes, to allow time out to mind wander and wonder into new and unexplored territories.
  • Exposing, disrupting, and re-framing negative beliefs, ruminations, overthinking and catastrophizing patterns, imposter syndromes, fears of failure, and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Evoking mindset shifts, embracing positivity and an optimistic focus on what might be a future possibility and opportunity.
  • Being empathic, compassionate, and appreciative, and engaging in self-care activities and well-being practices.

The Generative Level – which most transformation and change initiatives ignore, because they fail to develop the critical and creative thinking, and problem sensing and solving skills that are required to GENERATE the crucial elastic thinking and human skills that result in change, and innovation.

You can build your capacity, confidence, and competence to operate at this level by:

  • Creating a safe space to help people reason and make sense of the things occurring within, around, and outside of them.
  • Cultivating their emotional and cognitive agility, creative, critical, and associative thinking skills to challenge the status quo and think differently.
  • Developing behavioral flexibility to collaborate, being inclusive to maximize differences and diversity, and safe experimentation to close their knowing-doing gaps.
  • Taking small bets, giving people permission and safety to fail fast to learn quickly, be courageous, be both strategic and systemic in taking smart risks and intelligent actions.

Reigniting our humanity – unlocking human potential  

At the end of the day, we all know that we can’t solve the problem with the same thinking that created it. Yet, so many of us keep on trying to do that, by unconsciously defaulting into a business-as-usual linear thinking process when involved in setting up and implementing a transformation or change initiative.

Ai can only take us so far, because the defining trait of our species, is our human creativity, which is at the heart of all creative problem-solving endeavors, where innovation can be the engine of change, transformation, and growth, no matter what the context. According to Fei-Fei Li, Sequoia Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, and co-director of AI4All, a non-profit organization promoting diversity and inclusion in the field of AI.

“There’s nothing artificial about AI. It’s inspired by people, created by people, and most importantly it has an impact on people”.

  • Develop the human skills

When we have the capacity, confidence, and competence to reignite our humanity, we will unlock human potential, and stop producing results no one wants. By developing human skills that enable people to adapt, be resilient, agile, creative, and innovate, they will grow through disruption in ways that add value to the quality of people’s lives, that are appreciated and cherished, we can truly serve people, deliver profits and perhaps save the planet.

Find out more about our work at ImagineNation™

Find out about our collective, learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators, Leaders, and Teams Certified Program, presented by Janet Sernack, is a collaborative, intimate, and deeply personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 9-weeks, and can be customized as a bespoke corporate learning and coaching program for leadership and team development and change and culture transformation initiatives.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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How Ready Is Your Team for Change?

How Ready Is Your Team for Change?

GUEST POST from Stefan Lindegaard

When we need to navigate through the complexities of organizational change, particularly in times like today where change is everywhere around us, we need a nuanced understanding of a team’s readiness for change and thus how it can enhance its resilience.

This ties into building a strategic approach to gauge, understand, and subsequently enhance this team readiness for change.

A Simple Exercise for Your Team Readiness

First, I would like to share a simpe exercise crafted to pragmatically assess your team’s preparedness and resilience in the face of change.

See the image and then embark on this reflective exercise, grading your team on a scale from 1 (low) to 6 (high) on these five questions.

Be mindful to approach this with candor as it will pave the way for tangible, beneficial insights.

1. Anticipation, Preparation:

1. How adept is your team at anticipating possible changes and preparing strategies and backup plans to manage them?

Adaptability, Role Flexibility:

2. How well does your team adjust its skills, knowledge, and alter roles and operations, to effectively implement new tools and methodologies during times of change?

Communication:

3. How effective, transparent, and consistent is the communication within your team during times of change?

Emotional Readiness:

4. To what extent does your team display emotional readiness and stability and what is the level of psychological safety during changes in the workplace?

Leadership During Change:

5. How effectively does the next level of leadership above your team guide, support, and provide clear directions during change processes, ensuring stability and clarity?

How well does your team score? Is change your worst enemy or you just great at dealing and growing with this?

Diving into the Elements

I added each component of this exercise to address key aspects of a team’s navigation through the terrains of change. Here’s why:

1. Anticipation, Preparation:

A cornerstone of resilient performance amidst change lies in anticipation and strategic preparation, ensuring the team can adeptly navigate through different scenarios, maintaining functionality and mitigating reactionary responses.

2. Adaptability, Role Flexibility:

Ensuring a team can modify its functions and shift roles, absorbing new methodologies, tools, and technologies during transitions, is vital for maintaining performance and productivity during upheavals.

3. Communication:

Transparency and consistency in communication form the bedrock of clarity and coordinated maneuvering during change, reducing anxiety and ensuring a unified team approach towards transitional phases.

4. Emotional Readiness:

A team that displays emotional stability and ensures a psychologically safe environment during change is poised to maintain morale and productivity, addressing and navigating through the emotional and psychological impacts of change.

5. Leadership During Change:

Leadership’s role in providing stability, direction, and support during change processes cannot be overstated, ensuring that the team can confidently navigate through alterations without feeling rudderless.

Other Considerations for Change Readiness

Beyond the above elements, several other facets warrant consideration to ensure a more comprehensive, multi-dimensional analysis of a team’s readiness for change:

– Team Cohesion During Change:

Maintaining supportive, strong relationships and a united front during transitions is pivotal for ensuring sustained performance and morale.

– Continuous Learning and Improvement Post-Change:

A structured approach towards analyzing and learning from each change process, applying these insights to future transitions, enhances adaptive capabilities.

– Employee Well-being and Support:

Acknowledging and addressing team members’ well-being during change is paramount to prevent burnout and sustain healthy team dynamics.

– Change Impact Analysis (KPI’s):

Ensuring a structured, strategic approach to managing the impacts of change on operations and objectives mitigates potential negative ramifications. This is also where you can look into metrics and KPI’s.

– Partners, Stakeholder Management:

So much happens in networks and ecosystems today, so we also need to maintain trust and rapport with partners and stakeholders during transitions in order to ensure sustained positive external relationships.

Feel free to add your thoughts and perspectives on other elements for team readiness for change.

Final Thoughts

The components outlined in the exercise provide a foundational framework for understanding and enhancing a team’s readiness for change. However, it is imperative to acknowledge that change is multi-faceted and complex, demanding continuous, dynamic approaches to managing it effectively.

The simple exercise can help your team reflect on the important topic of change readiness and I hope that by coupling reflective assessments with strategic action, your team can not only navigate through the changes of today but also fortify itself for the uncertainties of tomorrow.

Ultimately, it is through understanding and addressing these elements that teams can truly become adept, resilient navigators of change.

Image Credit: Pexels

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Announcing the Second Edition of Charting Change

Announcing the Second Edition of Charting ChangeThanks to the popularity of the First Edition of Charting Change, I am privileged and excited to announce the early availability of the Second Edition of Charting Change, my best selling book on planning and executing organizational change and transformation used as a course book by universities around the world.

What was the impetus for the book and what’s new you might ask?

Executives are under escalating pressure to deliver increasing profits every quarter, while technology advances at an increasing rate. In such a pressure-cooker environment, leaders must hard-wire their organizations to be mindful of costs while simultaneously becoming more flexible and faster at planning and executing the change programs required by innovation and the shifting demands of the customer. The companies that successfully innovate and stay at the top of their industries have one thing in common – they learn fast and manage change well.

Charting Change (Second Edition) provides a set of visual tools that will help you build a coherent approach to change, identifying both the things that will help make the effort successful, and those people and barriers that will try to block the way. Leaders that read and absorb this book will be able to make productive use of the tools to drive buy-in, alignment, and successful change outcomes across the organization, its systems, and its culture.

This second edition features new topics such as architecting for change, overcoming resistance to change, systems thinking, and building a continuous change culture, as well as new visual tools such as the Organizational Agility Framework. This book will help leaders and managers visualize, plan, and execute change and transformation in a more accessible, visual, and collaborative way. Once you are done reading Charting Change (Second Edition) you will approach any big change with confidence.

Kate HammerWhynde KuehnSPECIAL BONUS:

AND, the new edition also includes two new Guest Expert sections from Kate Hammer on storyFORMing and Whynde Kuehn on Business Architecture!
.

SPECIAL DEAL: To celebrate the launch of the hardcover (free shipping worldwide*) and the eBook, my publisher is offering everyone the special 40% off employee discount when you enter the discount code EMP24 through February 24, 2024 directly on the Springerlink web site.

SPECIAL ASK: If you purchased the First Edition of Charting Change and left a review on Amazon, please go to the First Edition page on Amazon and copy your review and paste is a review on the Second Edition page on Amazon. This will give people looking at the Second Edition page on Amazon a much more alive page to browse when they are considering purchasing the book. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t copy over the reviews when a new edition is released. Thank you in advance!

I am eternally grateful to everyone who supports the Human-Centered Change and Innovation blog with your readership. Getting a copy of the Second Edition of Charting Change is a great way of supporting my efforts in bringing you the very best thought leadership on human-centered change, innovation, transformation and experience design topics not just from myself, but from all of our amazing contributing authors as well.

Keep innovating!

What People Are Saying

Daniel H Pink “There’s no denying it: Change is scary. But it’s also inevitable. In Charting Change, Braden Kelley gives you a toolkit and a blueprint for initiating and managing change in your organization, no matter what form it takes.”
– Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human
Eric Hieger “Thoughtful, thorough, and practical is the rare blend that Braden has achieved in this Change Management field guide. Much more than a series of tactics, Charting Change will explicitly, sequentially, and visually help users create a diverse set of experiences for stakeholders that will most certainly increase likelihood of success.”
– Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D., Business Transformation and Change Leadership Practice Lead at ADP
Denise Fletcher “As the pace of change speeds up, the market disruptions and resulting changes can be daunting for all. We all wish we could predict how change will affect our business, our market and our people. No matter what business area you come from, change affects us all and can produce great outcomes when managed well. In Braden Kelley’s newest book, Charting Change, he provides a terrific toolkit to manage this process and make it stick.”
– Denise Fletcher, Chief Innovation Officer, Xerox
Phil McKinney “Braden Kelley and his merry band of guest experts have done a nice job of visualizing in Charting Change how to make future change efforts more collaborative. Kelley shows how to draw out the hidden assumptions and land mines early in the change planning process, and presents some great techniques for keeping people aligned as a change effort or project moves forward.”
– Phil McKinney, retired CTO for Hewlett-Packard and author of Beyond the Obvious
Marshall Goldsmith “Higher employee retention? Increased revenue? Process enhancements? Whatever your change goal, Charting Change is full of bright ideas and invaluable visual guides to walk you through change in any area where your organization needs it.”
– Marshall Goldsmith is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Triggers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Now available at all of the Amazon online bookstores (USA, UK, CA, DE, FR, JP) and many other retailers around the world.

SpringerLink offers free shipping worldwide* (40% off employee discount through February 24, 2024 with code EMP24).

Amazon Kindle version is now available in English at various Amazon sites around the world (USA, UK, CA, AU, DE, FR, JP)!

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of January 2024

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of January 2024Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are January’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023 — Curated by Braden Kelley
  2. Creating Organizational Agility — by Howard Tiersky
  3. 5 Simple Steps to Team Alignment — by David Burkus
  4. 5 Essential Customer Experience Tools to Master — by Braden Kelley
  5. Four Ways To Empower Change In Your Organization — by Greg Satell
  6. AI as an Innovation Tool – How to Work with a Deeply Flawed Genius! — by Pete Foley
  7. Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023 — Curated by Braden Kelley
  8. 80% of Psychological Safety Has Nothing to Do With Psychology — by Robyn Bolton
  9. How will you allocate your time differently in 2024? — by Mike Shipulski
  10. Leadership Development Fundamentals – Work Products — by Mike Shipulski

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in December that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last four years:

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Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023

Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023

2021 marked the re-birth of my original Blogging Innovation blog as a new blog called Human-Centered Change and Innovation.

Many of you may know that Blogging Innovation grew into the world’s most popular global innovation community before being re-branded as InnovationExcellence.com and being ultimately sold to DisruptorLeague.com.

Thanks to an outpouring of support I’ve ignited the fuse of this new multiple author blog around the topics of human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design.

I feel blessed that the global innovation and change professional communities have responded with a growing roster of contributing authors and more than 17,000 newsletter subscribers.

To celebrate we’ve pulled together the Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023 from our archive of over 1,800 articles on these topics.

We do some other rankings too.

We just published the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023 and as the volume of this blog has grown we have brought back our monthly article ranking to complement this annual one.

But enough delay, here are the 100 most popular innovation and transformation posts of 2023.

Did your favorite make the cut?

1. Fear is a Leading Indicator of Personal Growth – by Mike Shipulski

2. The Education Business Model Canvas – by Arlen Meyers

3. Act Like an Owner – Revisited! – by Shep Hyken

4. Free Innovation Maturity Assessment – by Braden Kelley

5. The Role of Stakeholder Analysis in Change Management – by Art Inteligencia

6. What is Human-Centered Change? – by Braden Kelley

7. Sustaining Imagination is Hard – by Braden Kelley

8. The One Movie All Electric Car Designers Should Watch – by Braden Kelley

9. 50 Cognitive Biases Reference – Free Download – by Braden Kelley

10. A 90% Project Failure Rate Means You’re Doing it Wrong – by Mike Shipulski

11. No Regret Decisions: The First Steps of Leading through Hyper-Change – by Phil Buckley

12. Reversible versus Irreversible Decisions – by Farnham Street

13. Three Maps to Innovation Success – by Robyn Bolton

14. Why Most Corporate Innovation Programs Fail (And How To Make Them Succeed) – by Greg Satell

15. The Paradox of Innovation Leadership – by Janet Sernack

16. Innovation Management ISO 56000 Series Explained – by Diana Porumboiu

17. An Introduction to Journey Maps – by Braden Kelley

18. Sprint Toward the Innovation Action – by Mike Shipulski

19. Marriott’s Approach to Customer Service – by Shep Hyken

20. Should a Bad Grade in Organic Chemistry be a Doctor Killer? – NYU Professor Fired for Giving Students Bad Grades – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

21. How Networks Power Transformation – by Greg Satell

22. Are We Abandoning Science? – by Greg Satell

23. A Tipping Point for Organizational Culture – by Janet Sernack

24. Latest Interview with the What’s Next? Podcast – with Braden Kelley

25. Scale Your Innovation by Mapping Your Value Network – by John Bessant

26. Leveraging Emotional Intelligence in Change Leadership – by Art Inteligencia

27. Visual Project Charter™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) and JPG for Online Whiteboarding – by Braden Kelley

28. Unintended Consequences. The Hidden Risk of Fast-Paced Innovation – by Pete Foley

29. A Shortcut to Making Strategic Trade-Offs – by Geoffrey A. Moore

30. 95% of Work is Noise – by Mike Shipulski


Build a common language of innovation on your team


31. 8 Strategies to Future-Proofing Your Business & Gaining Competitive Advantage – by Teresa Spangler

32. The Nine Innovation Roles – by Braden Kelley

33. The Fail Fast Fallacy – by Rachel Audige

34. What is the Difference Between Signals and Trends? – by Art Inteligencia

35. A Top-Down Open Innovation Approach – by Geoffrey A. Moore

36. FutureHacking – Be Your Own Futurist – by Braden Kelley

37. Five Key Digital Transformation Barriers – by Howard Tiersky

38. The Malcolm Gladwell Trap – by Greg Satell

39. Four Characteristics of High Performing Teams – by David Burkus

40. ACMP Standard for Change Management® Visualization – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – Association of Change Management Professionals – by Braden Kelley

41. 39 Digital Transformation Hacks – by Stefan Lindegaard

42. The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Future Employment – by Chateau G Pato

43. A Triumph of Artificial Intelligence Rhetoric – Understanding ChatGPT – by Geoffrey A. Moore

44. Imagination versus Knowledge – Is imagination really more important? – by Janet Sernack

45. A New Innovation Sphere – by Pete Foley

46. The Pyramid of Results, Motivation and Ability – Changing Outcomes, Changing Behavior – by Braden Kelley

47. Three HOW MIGHT WE Alternatives That Actually Spark Creative Ideas – by Robyn Bolton

48. Innovation vs. Invention vs. Creativity – by Braden Kelley

49. Where People Go Wrong with Minimum Viable Products – by Greg Satell

50. Will Artificial Intelligence Make Us Stupid? – by Shep Hyken


Accelerate your change and transformation success


51. A Global Perspective on Psychological Safety – by Stefan Lindegaard

52. Customer Service is a Team Sport – by Shep Hyken

53. Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022 – Curated by Braden Kelley

54. A Flop is Not a Failure – by John Bessant

55. Generation AI Replacing Generation Z – by Braden Kelley

56. ‘Innovation’ is Killing Innovation. How Do We Save It? – by Robyn Bolton

57. Ten Ways to Make Time for Innovation – by Nick Jain

58. The Five Keys to Successful Change – by Braden Kelley

59. Back to Basics: The Innovation Alphabet – by Robyn Bolton

60. The Role of Stakeholder Analysis in Change Management – by Art Inteligencia

61. Will CHATgpt make us more or less innovative? – by Pete Foley

62. 99.7% of Innovation Processes Miss These 3 Essential Steps – by Robyn Bolton

63. Rethinking Customer Journeys – by Geoffrey A. Moore

64. Reasons Change Management Frequently Fails – by Greg Satell

65. The Experiment Canvas™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – by Braden Kelley

66. AI Has Already Taken Over the World – by Braden Kelley

67. How to Lead Innovation and Embrace Innovative Leadership – by Diana Porumboiu

68. Five Questions All Leaders Should Always Be Asking – by David Burkus

69. Latest Innovation Management Research Revealed – by Braden Kelley

70. A Guide to Effective Brainstorming – by Diana Porumboiu

71. Unlocking the Power of Imagination – How Humans and AI Can Collaborate for Innovation and Creativity – by Teresa Spangler

72. Rise of the Prompt Engineer – by Art Inteligencia

73. Taking Care of Yourself is Not Impossible – by Mike Shipulski

74. Design Thinking Facilitator Guide – A Crash Course in the Basics – by Douglas Ferguson

75. What Have We Learned About Digital Transformation Thus Far? – by Geoffrey A. Moore

76. Building a Better Change Communication Plan – by Braden Kelley

77. How to Determine if Your Problem is Worth Solving – by Mike Shipulski

78. Increasing Organizational Agility – by Braden Kelley

79. Mystery of Stonehenge Solved – by Braden Kelley

80. Agility is the 2023 Success Factor – by Soren Kaplan


Get the Change Planning Toolkit


81. The Five Gifts of Uncertainty – by Robyn Bolton

82. 3 Innovation Types Not What You Think They Are – by Robyn Bolton

83. Using Limits to Become Limitless – by Rachel Audige

84. What Disruptive Innovation Really Is – by Geoffrey A. Moore

85. Today’s Customer Wants to Go Fast – by Shep Hyken

86. The 6 Building Blocks of Great Teams – by David Burkus

87. Unlock Hundreds of Ideas by Doing This One Thing – Inspired by Hollywood – by Robyn Bolton

88. Moneyball and the Beginning, Middle, and End of Innovation – by Robyn Bolton

89. There are Only 3 Reasons to Innovate – Which One is Yours? – by Robyn Bolton

90. A Shortcut to Making Strategic Trade-Offs – by Geoffrey A. Moore

91. Customer Experience Personified – by Braden Kelley

92. 3 Steps to a Truly Terrific Innovation Team – by Robyn Bolton

93. Building a Positive Team Culture – by David Burkus

94. Apple Watch Must Die – by Braden Kelley

95. Kickstarting Change and Innovation in Uncertain Times – by Janet Sernack

96. Take Charge of Your Mind to Reclaim Your Potential – by Janet Sernack

97. Psychological Safety, Growth Mindset and Difficult Conversations to Shape the Future – by Stefan Lindegaard

98. 10 Ways to Rock the Customer Experience In 2023 – by Shep Hyken

99. Artificial Intelligence is Forcing Us to Answer Some Very Human Questions – by Greg Satell

100. 23 Ways in 2023 to Create Amazing Experiences – by Shep Hyken

Curious which article just missed the cut? Well, here it is just for fun:

101. Why Business Strategies Should Not Be Scientific – by Greg Satell

These are the Top 100 innovation and transformation articles of 2023 based on the number of page views. If your favorite Human-Centered Change & Innovation article didn’t make the cut, then send a tweet to @innovate and maybe we’ll consider doing a People’s Choice List for 2023.

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 1-6 new articles every week focused on human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook feed or on Twitter or LinkedIn too!

Editor’s Note: Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all the innovation & transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have a valuable insight to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, contact us.

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Change Management Team Dynamics

Change Management Team Dynamics

GUEST POST from Stefan Lindegaard

As the pace of change accelerates and becomes more encompassing, teams stand as the backbone of a successful organization. To stay ahead, teams must not only adapt to change but also leverage it to their advantage.

So, how do we harness change management to ensure our teams remain robust and agile through ongoing transformations and uncertainties?

By integrating team dynamics with change management, we aim to transform not only how teams operate but also how individuals perceive and engage with change.

That’s why I’m developing the Team Dynamics for Change Management Framework, and I invite your feedback and perspectives on it.

Understanding Change Management:

Change Management is the structured approach to transitioning teams or organizations from their current state to a desired future state. It’s about guiding and supporting individuals through this transition to realize lasting benefits. A significant part of this involves understanding people – their perceptions of change and how best to aid them through it.

Defining Team Dynamics:

Team dynamics are the behavioral and psychological forces at play within a group, profoundly influencing its direction and overall performance. These forces spring from individual personalities, relationships, roles, and the environment the team operates within. They mold the team’s interactions, communication patterns, collaborative efforts, and conflict resolutions.

Why a Framework for This Makes Sense

While numerous change management models cater to organizational or individual change, few focus directly on the unique behaviors and interactions within teams.

Given the pivotal role of teams, it’s essential to have an approach that marries the principles of change management with the realities of team dynamics.

Inspiration & Roots:

Two groundbreaking models serve as the foundational inspiration for this approach:

Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change: Developed by Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter, this model provides a step-by-step strategy for organizational change. Its emphasis on creating urgency, building a guiding coalition, and embedding new approaches makes it a revered guide in change management.

ADKAR Model: Introduced by Prosci, a global leader in change management solutions, this model emphasizes the individual’s journey through change. Its focus on Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement captures the stages of personal transition during organizational shifts.

Choosing these models as the foundation is due to their robust, time-tested strategies, which I believe can be tailored to address team dynamics specifically.

Change Curve

Eight (8) Elements for the Team Dynamics for Change Management Framework

1. Assessing Team Dynamics:

Objective: Understand the current state and behaviors within the team.

Rationale: Before any change management strategy can be effectively implemented, there’s a need to understand the present dynamics of the team. This sets the foundation for everything that follows.

2. Understanding Individual Aspirations (WIIFM):

Objective: Recognize and validate the personal drivers and motivations of each team member.

Rationale: Following the assessment of team dynamics, it’s critical to delve deeper into individual motivations. Understanding the “what’s in it for me?” for every team member will influence and enrich subsequent steps, ensuring changes resonate on a personal level.

3. Evaluating Team Change Readiness:

Objective: Gauge the team’s willingness and preparation for change, considering both collective and individual motivations.

Rationale: Once the team dynamics and individual aspirations are clear, it’s pivotal to measure the readiness for change, which will be greatly influenced by the alignment (or lack thereof) between team goals and personal drivers.

4. Formulating a Shared Vision:

Objective: Create a unified direction for the team that also respects individual aspirations.

Rationale: Armed with insights from previous steps, crafting a shared vision becomes more feasible and grounded. This vision will better reflect the aspirations of the team as a whole and its individual members.

5. Enhancing Communication & Collaboration:

Objective: Foster positive and efficient team interactions.

Rationale: With a clear vision in place, the focus can shift to enhancing the ways team members interact, ensuring that individual aspirations and the collective vision are continually in dialogue.

6. Implementing Change & Skill Development:

Objective: Facilitate the smooth adoption of new practices while building necessary skills.

Rationale: Changes can now be introduced and executed, backed by a well-understood team dynamic and vision, and supported by individual motivations.

7. Feedback & Continuous Improvement:

Objective: Monitor the impact of the changes and refine as necessary.

Rationale: As changes are implemented, it’s essential to keep the channels of feedback open. Here, the alignment between team goals and individual motivations will be rechecked and fine-tuned.

8. Celebrating Success & Expanding Impact:

Objective: Recognize achievements and share the team’s journey with a wider audience.

Rationale: Concluding with acknowledgment reinforces the importance of both the collective endeavor and individual contributions. Celebrations serve as reminders of the harmony between team goals and personal aspirations.

What’s in it for Teams:

  • A clearer path through organizational changes.
  • Enhanced trust, teamwork, and collaboration.
  • Fewer conflicts and more transparent communication channels.
  • Readiness for upcoming challenges.
  • Foster an environment where everyone thrives.
  • Provides individuals clarity on their roles, highlighting the unique value they bring to the organization, reducing uncertainty.

Help develop our framework? Get a free e-book!

I’m in the process of refining this framework and would greatly value your perspectives. If you have insights, feedback to offer or questions to ask, please get in touch. Let’s work together to redefine how teams adapt to change. I will soon turn this into a free e-book to share the learning.

Image Credit: Stefan Lindegaard, Unsplash

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Driving Change is Not Enough

You Also Have To Survive Victory

Driving Change is Not Enough

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

In early 2004, Viacom announced it would spin off Blockbuster Video, leaving CEO John Antioco master of his own fate. He moved quickly to meet the threat posed by Netflix head on, launching Blockbuster Online in 2004 and, after successfully testing the concept in a few markets, ending late fees in early 2005.

Still, not satisfied with playing catch-up, Antioco searched for model that would return his company to dominance. He found it in 2006 with the Total Access program. Within a few weeks of announcing the promotion, Blockbuster was winning the majority of new subscribers, outstripping Netflix for the first time.

It was a textbook case of sound strategy and execution meeting a disruptive threat, but it would not end well. In 2010 Blockbuster would declare bankruptcy and become a cautionary tale. We tend to think that driving change is merely a matter of coming up with a clever plan and executing well. Yet that isn’t enough. You also need learn how to survive victory.

Defying Critics And Beating The Odds

John Antioco was the quintessential American success story. Starting from humble origins as a management trainee at 7-Eleven, he rose to become a senior vice president at the company. He then moved on to run the struggling Circle K convenience store chain, which he turned around in just three years before moving on to Taco Bell and working the same magic there.

So when he joined Blockbuster as CEO in 1997, he was ideally suited to the job. Early in his tenure, he came up with a program to share rental revenues with the movie studios rather than buying the videos directly.The strategy improved the firm’s cash position and its access of high demand movies, while also allowing it to increase its marketing budget. It was a stroke of genius.

“The experienced video executives were skeptical,” Antioco would later tell me. “In fact, they thought that the revenue-sharing agreement would kill the company. But throughout my career, I had learned that whenever you set out to do anything big, some people aren’t going to like it. I’d been successful by defying the status quo at important junctures and that’s what I thought had to be done in this case.”

So Antioco approached the Netflix problem in the same way. He assembled a team of talented executives, came up with a strategy and worked to execute it flawlessly. Yet although his efforts were initially successful, there was a flaw in his plan that he didn’t see at the time and it would lead to Blockbuster’s downfall.

Failing To Align Stakeholders

Not everybody was thrilled with the moves Antioco made. Franchisees, many of whom had their life savings invested in their business, were suspicious of Blockbuster Online. They only owned 20% of the stores, but could make their displeasure known. The moves were also expensive, costing roughly $400 million to implement, and investors balked.

So while Blockbuster was making progress against the Netflix threat, as earnings turned to losses, its stock took a beating. The low price attracted corporate raider Carl Icahn, whose heavy-handed style made managing the company difficult. Things came to a head in late 2006 when Icahn demanded that Antioco accept only half of the bonus he was owed.

“I was at a point, both personally and financially, that I had little desire to fight it out anymore,” Antioco told me. He negotiated his exit early the next year and left the company in July of 2007. His successor, Jim Keyes, was determined to reverse Antioco’s strategy, cut investment in the subscription model, reinstated late fees and shifted the focus back to the retail stores.

When Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in 2010, the event was portrayed as corporate America’s inability to navigate digital disruption. Yet, as we have seen, nothing could be further from the truth. The management team came up with a viable strategy, executed it well and proved they could compete, yet still were unable to survive that victory.

Building Shared Purpose And Shared Consciousness

When General Stanley McChrystal took over command of special forces in Iraq, the situation he encountered was surprisingly similar to that of Antioco and Blockbuster. A well-led, well-resourced and highly efficient organization was faced with a disruptive challenge by a smaller, less powerful, but incredibly disruptive adversary.

Yet while Antico saw the problem as one of strategy and tactics, McChrystal saw it as one of one of organizational coherence. So he embarked on a program to improve the links both within his command and also to outside stakeholders, such as partner agencies, law enforcement and embassy personnel, to build “shared purpose and shared consciousness.”

“We began to make progress when we started looking at these relationships as just that: relationships — parts of a network, not cogs in a machine or outputs and inputs,” McChrystal would later write in his book, Team of Teams. Within a few years, the terrorists were on the run.

The difference in outcomes is striking. Antioco, who had built his career on defying the critics, largely ignored their concerns and pressed on with his strategy. McChrystal, on the other hand, understood that if he couldn’t get key stakeholders on board, the strategy wouldn’t matter. He worked on building relationships not to overpower, but to attract others to his cause. There were still critics, but they were vastly outnumbered.

You Need A Plan To Survive Victory From The Start

In my book, Cascades, I cover a wide range of transformational efforts, from revolutionary political movements to corporate turnarounds. In every case, the movement for change inspired others to move against it. As Saul Alinsky pointed out decades ago, every revolution provokes a counterrevolution.

I saw this first hand in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, which I personally took part in. Five years after we protested in the bitter cold to overturn a falsified election, we saw the target of our ire, Viktor Yanukovych, win the presidency in an election that outside observers judged to be legitimate. Later, similar events played out in the aftermath of Egypt’s Arab Spring.

What makes the difference is not a particular strategy or persona, but whether an organization can align based on shared values and purpose. It wasn’t that Blockbuster franchisees were worried that Antioco’s plan wouldn’t succeed, they were terrified that it would and they would be left behind. Investors, for their part, were more focused on earnings than Antioco’s vision.

Yet shared values are what enables a transformation to succeed beyond a few initial victories. As Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a key player in IBM’s historic turnaround in the 90s told me, “Because the transformation was about values first and technology second, we were able to continue to embrace those values as the technology and marketplace continued to evolve.”

And that’s what so often makes the difference between ultimate success and failure. Those that see driving change as merely a series of benchmarks often find their efforts thwarted. Those that build a plan to survive victory based on the forging of shared values, are much more likely to prevail. Transformation is always a journey, never a destination.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog and previously appeared on Inc.com
— Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of December 2023

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of December 2023Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are December’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Five Key Digital Transformation Barriers — by Howard Tiersky
  2. Achieving a Transformation Vision for a Better Future — by Howard Tiersky
  3. Eight Innovation Executive Types — by Stefan Lindegaard
  4. Skills versus Judgement — by Mike Shipulski
  5. We Need to Stop Glorifying Failure — by Greg Satell
  6. What Will People See? — by Mike Shipulski
  7. Don’t Waste Your Time Talking to Customers — by Robyn Bolton
  8. The Amazing Efficiency of Systematic Guessing — by Dennis Stauffer
  9. Four Change Empowerment Myths — by Greg Satell
  10. Do the Right Thing — by Mike Shipulski

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in November that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last four years:

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How to Use Your Nervous System to Feel Psychologically Safe

or “Why Mandating a Return to the Office Destroys Safety”

How to Use Your Nervous System to Feel Psychologically Safe

GUEST POST from Robyn Bolton

In last week’s episode, we learned that psychological safety is more neuroscience than psychology and the huge role our nervous system plays in our experience of safety. 

This week, we’re going deeper into our nervous system and how we can use our understanding of it to influence our psychology.


I’m sensing I can’t think my way to safety.  So, can I fix my nervous system to feel safe and smart?

This is where I go beyond Dr. Amy Edmondson’s definition of psychological safety to incorporate neuroscience and how our nervous system works.

Our nervous system has three states:

  1. Immobilization or the freeze response, as you felt, is often accompanied by a sense of overwhelm
  2. Fight-and-flight when you try to either end the conversation or become more aggressive, resistant, and push back on exploring other alternatives.
  3. Rest-and-Digest when you feel safe, social, and connected to the people around you

This third state sets humans and mammals apart from other living things.  Communicating and connecting serve as a survival mechanism and represent a safe state for our nervous system.  When we communicate and connect, our tribe looks out for us and keeps us safe from threats like lions or unfriendly tribes.

So, the answer is to foster more profound connections among human beings, which requires going well beyond our work roles and activities.

Does it require hugging?  I knew it would require hugging.

Don’t worry, hugging isn’t mandatory.

We, as individuals, have a strong desire to connect and communicate, but it doesn’t necessarily require physical proximity. Being physically together doesn’t guarantee anything.

But what about the push to return to the office? There’s even research to support executives’ claims that physical proximity is essential to culture, innovation, and connection.

Not only does physical proximity not guarantee anything, but being forced to return to the office causes more harm than good. 

From a safety perspective, our nervous system doesn’t want to feel trapped. Being forced back to the office activates our flight-or-fight response and erodes safety. Because of how our nervous system perceives choices, the more choices people have, the safer they feel.

Even though I’m tempted to ask questions about building psychological safety at the team or company level, I want to stay on the individual level for a moment. We talked about how I wasn’t consciously unsafe during a phone call. How can I tell when I feel unsafe if I’m not conscious of it?

There’s physical science behind what happens when you feel unsafe. Your heart rate increases, you might hold your breath, and your body may tense up.  Your thoughts might blank out, and your peripheral vision may narrow as your body prepares for fight or flight.  Your body doesn’t differentiate; it treats any threat as a threatening event.

On the other hand, feeling safe doesn’t mean you lack emotions or feel calm. Feeling calm and internally relaxed signifies safety, but it’s more than that.  When your nervous system is regulated, your emotions align with the situation. They’re not an extreme overreaction or underreaction. There’s congruence. If your emotional response matches the situation, your nervous system and brain feel safe.

That makes sense, but it’s not easy.  We’re trained to hide our emotions and always appear calm.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard and said, “Be a duck.  Calm on the surface and paddling like hell below it.”

And that is not congruent.  But congruence doesn’t mean you act out like a toddler, either.

Step one in creating safety is calming your nervous system by verbalizing your feelings. If you say, “This conversation is overwhelming for me. I need a break. Let me get some water,” you’re safe and regulated at that moment. There’s nothing wrong.

But when you can’t verbalize what you’re experiencing and freeze, that’s a sign you’re no longer in a safe state. Your body starts pumping cortisol and adrenaline, preparing for whatever it perceives as a threat.

Even if you feel overwhelmed, if you’re aware of that feeling and can take some breaths or a short break and return to the conversation, you’re in a safe, regulated state.

I can’t imagine admitting to feeling overwhelmed or asking for a break! Plus, I work with so many people who say, “I feel overwhelmed, but I can’t take a moment for myself.  I need to plow through and get this done.”

It takes a tremendous amount of self-awareness. If you want to create safety and emotional intelligence, you must know what you’re feeling and be able to name it. You also need to sense what others are feeling and understand your emotional impact on them.

For example, if you say, “I’m feeling overwhelmed right now,” and I respond calmly and slow my cadence of speech, your nervous system receives the message that everything is okay.  However, if I’m in “fight or flight” mode and you’re overwhelmed, we’ll end up in a chaotic and unproductive cycle.

Self-awareness and understanding are essential to safety. Unfortunately, many organizations I speak with need help with this.

Amen, sister,


Stay tuned for next week’s exciting conclusion, 3 Steps to Building a Psychologically Safe Environment or The No-Cost, No-Hug Secret to Smarter Teams

Image Credit: Pexels

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Build Trust Before Beginning a Transformation

Build Trust Before Beginning a Transformation

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

A few years ago I was invited by Accenture Strategy, along with other thought leaders such as Bruce Weinstein and Andrew Winston, to discuss its research on trust and competitive agility. In a study of 7,000 companies the firm found that trust among a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders is increasingly becoming a competitive advantage.

One of the most interesting aspects of the discussion was how crucial trust is for driving transformation and change. We tend to think of trust as static, but Accenture’s research, as well as that of the participants, made it clear that trust is especially important when you need to drive an organization to do something different.

All too often, transformation is seen as a simple matter of strategy and tactics, but it’s far more than that. Nobody can really drive change alone. You need buy-in from a variety of stakeholders, such as customers, employees, suppliers, analysts and investors to make it work. So before you set out to transform your organization, you first need to build trust.

Purpose, Values And Constraints

Every change effort starts out with a grievance. Sales are down, customers are unhappy, regulation restricts a once profitable activity or something else. That’s what drives the need to change, but it does little to provide the will to change. In researching my book Cascades, I found that every successful change effort starts by transforming an initial grievance into an affirmative “vision of tomorrow.” To drive a true transformation, people need to believe in it.

For example, when Paul O’Neill took over as CEO at Alcoa in 1987, the company was in dire straits. So analysts were more than surprised when he declared that his first priority at the company would be safety. It was an odd vision for a struggling company, but O’Neill understood that improving safety would also improve operational excellence. The company hit record profits a year later.

Or consider Lou Gerstner’s tenure at IBM. When he arrived, the once high-flying firm was near bankruptcy and many thought it should be broken up. Yet Gerstner saw that by shifting its focus from its own “stack of proprietary products” to its customers’ “stack of business processes,” the company could have a bright future. The result was one of the greatest turnarounds in history.

Notice how each of these visions also included important constraints. When safety is the first priority, managers can’t cut corners. When customers’ “stack of business processes” is the company’s focus, salespeople can’t wring every last dollar out of each deal. Yet those constraints are crucial in building credibility with key stakeholders, such as unions and customers.

Small Groups, Loosely Connected

Anybody who has ever been married or had kids knows how hard it can be to convince even one person about a significant decision. So it is somewhat puzzling that business leaders so often think they can convince thousands through mass communication campaigns. The truth is that change happens when people convince each other.

That’s why every change efforts depends on small groups, loosely connected, but united by a shared purpose. Small groups engender trust, loose connections provide reach and a shared purpose gives a change effort a raison d’être. You need all three to successfully drive a transformation.

Consider the case of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which in 2007 saw sales for one of its top drugs fall by 70% due to the launch of a generic version. In order to compete more effectively, the company’s leadership embarked on an ambitious effort to instill lean manufacturing practices across 25 sites employing 17,000 people.

Yet rather than try to transform the whole company all at once, it chose one keystone change, involving factory changeovers, at one facility. It had limited impact, but with the success of that one initiative at one facility, it then moved on to others, implementing the transformation in phases, speeding up as the process gained momentum.

The result was a 25% reduction in costs, an improvement in quality and a more motivated workforce. It’s tough to imagine how that could have been achieved if the management had simply decided to cut salaries instead.

Training To Empower Transformation

When Barry Libenson first arrived at Experian as Global CIO in 2015, he spent the first few months talking to customers and everywhere he went they were asking for the same thing: access to real-time data. That was much easier said than done, because it meant that he would have to shift from a traditional data infrastructure to the cloud, which would entail far more than just implementing new technologies.

“The organizational changes were pretty enormous,” Libenson told me. “For example, agile development requires far more collaboration than traditional waterfall development, so we needed to physically reconfigure how people were organized. We also needed different skill sets in different places so that required more changes and so on.”

To spur these changes, the company identified high potential employees that it thought could help drive change. It also brought in outside partners to train them in agile development, so that they could train and coach others. Those employees then became centers of excellence and helped drive change even further throughout the organization.

“Building trust was crucial to making it all work,” Vijay Mehta, Chief Innovation Officer at the credit bureau stressed to me. “When you are trying to build an innovative, fail-fast culture, people need to trust that they won’t be penalized for being ambitious and failing. So that had to come from the top and be constantly pushed all the way down to make it all work.”

Transformation Is Always A Journey, Never A Destination

All too often, we see change through the lens of a specific objective. Paul O’Neill needed to return his company to operational excellence. Wyeth needed to cut costs to compete with generics. To provide its customers with the access to real-time data, Experian needed to shift its decades-old infrastructure to the cloud.

Yet change is never as easy as it first would seem, because the status quo has inertia on its side, which can be a powerful force in any enterprise. In fact, research by McKinsey has found that only 26% of transformational efforts succeed. The reason is that change is often narrowly construed as a series of procedures, a cost cutting target or a technology implementation project.

Yet Alcoa, IBM, Wyeth and Experian succeeded where most fail because they saw driving change as more than just a series of objectives, but as a shift in values, skills and capabilities. That’s why they started not with a detailed plan, but with building trust, because leaders can’t implement change, they can only inspire and empower it.

The truth is that transformation is always a journey, never a destination. O’Neil’s focus on safety unlocked a passion for operational excellence. Gerstner’s focus on IBM’s customers led it to a highly profitable service business based on deep partnerships. Wyeth’s lean manufacturing program empowered its employees to create value for the company and its customers. Experian’s shift to the cloud was just a prelude to an ambitious foray into artificial intelligence.

None of this would be possible without trust, because trust is open ended. It is, in its essence, a social contract that demands that employees, customers and other stakeholders are not treated as merely means to an end, but ends in themselves.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog and previously appeared on Inc.com
— Image credit: Unsplash

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