Tag Archives: John Kotter

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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Change Management Needs to Change

Change Management Needs to Change

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

In 1983, McKinsey consultant Julien Phillips published a paper in the journal, Human Resource Management, that described an ‘adoption penalty’ for firms that didn’t adapt to changes in the marketplace quickly enough. His ideas became McKinsey’s first change management model that it sold to clients.

But consider that research shows in 1975, during the period Phillips studied, 83% of the average US corporation’s assets were tangible assets, such as plant, machinery and buildings, while by 2015, 84% of corporate assets were intangible, such as licenses, patents and research. Clearly, that changes how we need to approach transformation.

When your assets are tangible, change is about making strategic decisions, such as building factories, buying new equipment and so on. Yet when your assets are intangible, change is connected to people—what they believe, how they think and how they act. That’s a very different matter and we need to reexamine how we approach transformation and change.

The Persuasion Model Of Change

Phillips’ point of reference for his paper on organizational change was a comparison of two companies, NCR and Burroughs, and how they adapted to changes in their industry between 1960 and 1975. Phillips was able to show that during that time, NCR paid a high price for its inability to adapt to change while it’s competitor, Burroughs prospered.

He then used that example to outline a general four-part model for change:

  • Creating a sense of concern
  • Developing a specific commitment to change
  • Pushing for major change
  • Reinforcing and consolidating the new course

Phillips’ work kicked off a number of similar approaches, the most famous of which is probably Kotter’s 8-step model. Yet despite the variations, the all follow a similar pattern. First you need to create a sense of urgency, then you devise a vision for change, communicate the need for it effectively and convince others to go along.

The fundamental assumption of these models, is that if people understand the change that you seek, they will happily go along. Yet my research indicates exactly the opposite. In fact, it turns out that people don’t like change and will often work actively to undermine it. Merely trying to be more persuasive is unlikely get you very far.

This is even more true when the target of the change is people themselves than when the change involves some sort of strategic asset. That’s probably why more recent research from McKinsey has found that only 26% of organizational transformations succeed.

Shifting From Hierarchies To Networks

Clearly, the types of assets that make up an enterprise aren’t the only thing that has changed over the past half-century. The structure of our organizations has also shifted considerably. The firms of Phillips’ and Kotter’s era were vlargely hierarchical. Strategic decisions were made at the top and carried out by others below.

Yet there is significant evidence that suggests that networks outperform hierarchies. For example, in Regional Advantage AnnaLee Saxenian explains that Boston-based technology firms, such as DEC and Data General, were vertically integrated and bound employees through non-compete contracts. Their Silicon Valley competitors such as Hewlett Packard and Sun Microsystems, on the other hand, embraced open technologies, built alliances and allowed their people to job hop.

The Boston-based companies, which dominated the microcomputer industry, were considered to be very well managed, highly efficient and innovative firms. However, when technology shifted away from microcomputers, their highly stable, vertical-integrated structure was completely cut off from the knowledge they would need to compete. The highly connected Silicon Valley firms, on the other hand, thrived.

Studies have found similar patterns in the German auto industry, among currency traders and even in Broadway plays. Wherever we see significant change today, it tends to happen side-to-side in networks rather than top-down in hierarchies.

Flipping The Model

When Barry Libenson first arrived at Experian as Global CIO in 2015, he knew that the job would be a challenge. As one of the world’s largest data companies, with leading positions in the credit, automotive and healthcare markets, the CIO’s role is especially crucial for driving the business. He was also new to the industry and needed to build a learning curve quickly.

So he devoted his first few months at the firm to looking around, talking to people and taking the measure of the place. “I especially wanted to see what our customers had on their roadmap for the next 12-24 months,” he told me and everywhere he went he heard the same thing. They wanted access to real-time data.

As an experienced CIO, Libenson knew a cloud computing architecture could solve that problem, but concerns that would need to be addressed. First, many insiders had concerns that moving from batched processed credit reports to real-time access would undermine Experian’s business model.. There were concerns about cybersecurity. The move would also necessitate a shift to agile product management, which would be controversial.

As CIO, Libenson had a lot of clout and could have, as traditional change management models suggest, created a “sense of urgency” among his fellow senior executives and then gotten a commitment to the change he sought. After the decision had been made, they then would have been able to design a communication campaign to persuade 16,000 employees that the change was a good one. The evidence suggests that effort would have failed.

Instead, he flipped the model and began working with a small team that was already enthusiastic about the move. He created an “API Center of Excellence” to help willing project managers to learn agile development and launch cloud-enabled products. After about a year, the program had gained significant traction and after three years the transformation to the cloud was complete.

Becoming The Change That You Want To See

The practice of change management got its start because businesses needed to adapt. The shift that Burroughs made to electronics was no small thing. Investments needed to be made in equipment, technology, training, marketing and so on. That required a multi-year commitment. Its competitor, NCR, was unable or unwilling to change and paid a dear price for it.

Yet change today looks much more like Experian’s shift to the cloud than it does Burroughs’ move into electronics. It’s hard, if not impossible, to persuade a product manager to make a shift if she’s convinced it will kill her business model, just it’s hard to get a project manager to adopt agile methodologies if she feels she’s been successful with more traditional methods. .

Libenson succeeded at Experian not because he was more persuasive, but because he had a better plan. Instead of trying to convince everyone at once, he focused his efforts on empowering those that were already enthusiastic. As their efforts became successful, others joined them and the program gathered steam. Those that couldn’t keep up got left behind.

The truth is that today we can’t transform organizations unless we transform the people in them and that’s why change management has got to change. It is no longer enough to simply communicate decisions made at the top. Rather, we need to put people at the center and empower them to succeed.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pexels

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