Change Management Archives

Wall Street Journal Chart on Producing GrowthThis is a great conceptual model. Get used to seeing it. You will more and more.

The chart comes from an article, In Search of Growth Leaders, that appeared in July 7′s Wall Street Journal. Wally Bock features the article in the weekly review section of his Three Star Leadership blog.

The article is ground breaking on it’s own. It’s a report on a study that’s not been done before–identifying leaders of revenue growth from the mid-level in large companies.  The authors detail a host of attributes that mark and enable growth hounds and then sum up their findings with this chart.

The nut of the chart is this: Read the rest of this entry

Influence – Why is it so hard to teach?

I just returned from a big company meeting where I joined a team to train a big group of new hires, nearly four hundred in all. The training went well. And the team of trainers got to talking about recent training sessions that hadn’t gone well. Influence training came up again and again.

There are a host of classes that are relatively likely to get high reviews–sales skills, presentation skills, critical thinking skills. Not that the subjects are necessarily easy to teach, but when the day is done, participants are grateful and it shows in their reviews. This is often not the case with influence. With a lot of workshops on influence, scores are uneven, some high, some very low.

There are two problems with influence workshops as they’re often led, one lies with the leaders and one with the participants. Read the rest of this entry

The Heart of Change Management

Vision is an “it” word just now. We’re caught up by vision, aren’t we? Dazzled by it. Blinded by it, I think, at least in regards to driving change.

Of course, vision is important for some things, for driving an organization forward toward a common goal, for inciting people to work hard. As long as they are doing work they want to do. But it doesn’t make people change, at least you can’t lead change with vision. Managers often think you can, even that you must. And their initiatives stumble over that conviction.

“Things would be much easier if my boss would just let me handle his calendar.” 
“I could help my partners so much if they would just invite me into the planning process earlier.” “They could develop more momentum much more easily if the product team would pick a brand name that makes sense.”

I see issues like this after staff members have tried for weeks, often months, sometimes longer to resolve them. They are little petrie dishes of change management led by vision. The basic formula is this: Life would be so much better (vision), if only you would do what I say (change). And the staff and managers advocating for these changes learn through the laboratory of experience that the formula doesn’t work. Read the rest of this entry

A Dirty Shame

When marketers try to create disgust and embarrassment or any other experience for their audiences.Microsoft Dinosaur

I usually think Dan and Chip Heath, the authors of Made to Stick, are right on in their analysis. I’m an avid fan. Which is why I was so surprised that they were off the mark in their June 2008 article, and off in such a fundamental way.

It’s a despicable practice, they say, for marketers to create social stigmas to sell products. The problem is that the thesis misconstrues what it is that marketers (or influencers of any stripe) can do.

Marketers, when they’re at their most persuasive, don’t try to create shame, disgust, embarrassment, or social stigma.  Nor for that matter do they try to create joy, pride, esteem, acceptance, or any other experience. Read the rest of this entry

In a recent post, Daniel Pink introduces us to the idea of Emotionally Intelligent stop signemotionally intelligent signage. You’ll find a fun and provactive video on the idea here (and only 7 minutes long). It’s a compelling idea as far as it goes in the video. Then he missteps in his blog by endorsing signs like the one you see at the left. The concept demonstrably falls down when you try to use an empathetic appeal like this one to stop cars. Here’s why.

First his idea: Some signs are merely informational (This way to Terminal F). They don’t need to appeal to the emotions. Other signs attempt to change our behavior. And they would benefit from demonstrating empathy (Relax. The train comes every 2 minutes) or appealing to our empathy (Keep dogs off lawn. Kids play here). 

Good idea. Intuitively appealing once Daniel has pointed it out to us. And useful for some purposes. So why does it break down in the stop sign example? Read the rest of this entry

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