Archive for the 'Change Mgt' Category

The idea monopoly?

Keith June 24th, 2008

When leaders learn to creatively engage their subordinates in everyday decision making, they can make change happen.

I have written here before about Change Management.  I am still of the opinion that this is an entirely misunderstood function in most of today’s organisations.  It was thus rather refreshing to read in the current issue of IABC’s Communications World magazine that someone has actually done some research that supports my view!

The quote above is from John Smythe, the author of the article Engaging Employees to Drive Performance.  (This is available to IABC members online at the magazine site above.)

The usual concept of change is that it is “done” by executives (usually aided and abetted by consultants).  We have more recently introduced the discipline of Change Management as a way of helping people to adapt to the agreed change.  Today, we focus more on Employee Engagement as a way of more actively getting staff involved in understanding the change, rather than just being told about it after the fact.

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Small is the New Big

Keith September 12th, 2007

Just got a newsletter from Helen Paige of The Paige Group.  (We met at KM Australia recently.)  She included some great ideas from Seth Godin’s book. 

Godin advises us to “Relax.  Don’t work so hard.  Take a little time off.  Chill out!”  So how do we get everything done?  Godin says, “there’s no correlation between success and hours worked”.  He suggests:

  • Maybe the new economy does not favour the speed-to-market; first-mover-advantage, winner-takes-all mind set.
  • Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate this work ethic.
  • Maybe the current marathon work culture is nothing but an excuse to avoid making the hard decisions.
  • Maybe work expands to fill the time allotted for it.
  • Maybe understanding the key issues and making decisions about how to act on them can be the secret to success.

… which leads to these questions:

  • How would you rate your corporate work ethic?
  • How is your time-management?
  • How well do you understand the key issues your best clients are facing?

Our Intranet, the Wiki

Keith August 21st, 2007

Just picked up this interesting Case Study of a Wiki changing an Enterprise.  This was posted on actKM by Andrew Mitchell, from James Robertson.

The Formula for Happiness

Keith March 28th, 2007

Just saw this on the Dilbert Blog.  Great idea – particularly in its simplicity.

A reader has acted on one of suggestions in this post – there is now also a Happiness Formula Wiki.  Go and add your thoughts!

Another reader noted that “current research shows that happiness causes success more than success causes happiness”.  Scott Adams responded, “given that happy people are typically optimistic, energetic and fun to work with, I can see how happiness would lead to success.” 

I think that there is also a correlation between happiness and luck.  (I could be wrong…)

Someone did some research a while ago into luck.  He interviewed a wide range of people who consider themselves to be lucky, and then analysed all the responses.  He found four basic principles that “lucky” people live by:

  • They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities.
  • They make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition.
  • They create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations.
  • They adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

So what’s your formula for happiness?

Quote for today

Keith February 24th, 2007

To truly show respect to people means to listen to and
value their opinions, engage them in making decisions and
trust them to take risks.  People will only share their
knowledge when they feel that they are trusted and
respected.

How to make your people more creative

Keith February 9th, 2007

Mark Schenk at Anecdote posted an article a while ago on the impact of management style on individual creativity and innovation.  He included a quote from an article by Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School on the importance of team leader behaviour.

Teresa found that individual creativity is a critical element of productivity, efficiency and work quality in today’s complex work in organisations. This article gives five key leader behaviours that have a positive influence on people’s feelings – and thus on individual creativity.  My paraphrase is as follows:

  • Support people emotionally.
  • Monitor people’s work in a particularly positive way – give positive feedback on their work, or give them information that they need to do their work better.
  • Recognise people for good performance, particularly in public settings.
  • Consult with people on the team – ask for their views, respect their opinions, and act on their needs and their wishes to the extent that it’s possible.
  • Collaborate – actually spend time working with team members on specific tasks.

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Stop the train, I want to get off

Keith February 6th, 2007

Shawn has just posted an interesting article at Anecdote about the problem with Melbourne’s train system.  With holidays, and other interruptions to my normal commute, I haven’t been using our train service much since before Christmas.  I’m not looking forward to riding the rails again this Friday!

As Shawn has explained, this seems to be more than a mechanical problem, even if a very complicated one.  As soon as you have people involved, it potentially becomes complex.

Back when I worked it the pure IT space (on a system called “EDG”), I had an interesting problem-solving experience.  The problem – and the ultimate solution – ended up being fairly simple, but actually finding the cause was a little more complicated.  However, the whole situation became more complex, due to people being involved.

I was fairly new to the team at the time, but had already become fairly familiar with the system.  However, I was still being treated as the “junior”.  Wiser heads than mine had already solved major problems on EDG; they could solve this one too. 

The unusual aspect of this particular issue was that two different things started going wrong at about the same time.  The senior people set to work, going through the usual fault diagnosis procedures.  Some were addressing one of the symptoms; some were working on the other.  I wasn’t called upon for my (fairly limited) experience.

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Telling stories

Keith January 17th, 2007

The original title at the top of this blog was: “It’d take a lot of it to make a man laugh.”  Why?  Of course, there is a story behind it… 

I heard it from my father many years ago, when I was a child, living on a sheep station near the town of Birregurra in western Victoria.  He relayed this story from his boss – Charlie, the property owner - who was a participant.

It was 15 August 1945.  Everyone in the town was celebrating V-J day – victory over Japan, and the end of World War II.  People were driving up and down the main street, making lots of noise.  Most likely a fair amount of alcohol was also being consumed! A man named Mark Ward, in the transport business, was riding on the bonnet of one of his own trucks.  The driver stopped suddenly, catapulting his passenger forward.  As he slid forward, one leg caught on the front bumper of the car, resulting in a very nasty compound fracture.

When visiting him in hospital later, Charlie commented to Mark, “God, it must have hurt!”  Mark replied, “Well, it would take a bloody lot of it to make a man laugh!”  

This has always seemed to me to be a quintessential example of Australian humour.  Our traditional humour is black, self-deprecating and sarcastic.  Maybe this has been shaped by the harshness of our environment or by the convict origin of European Australia just over 200 years ago.  It is a strong part of our culture.  This is a country where our most holy national holiday (ANZAC Day) is a celebration of a famous military defeat (at Gallipoli).

Stories can convey so much information, often in a few words.  In this example, a brief narrative can say so much more about culture than reams of written analysis.

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