Change management, innovation, leadership

As you can imagine, I spend a fair amount of time keeping up with changes and challenges faced by industry and business in the fields of change management and innovation. So I’m constantly on the lookout for information and news that may impact behaviour and best practice across organisations.

Here’s a pick of what I’ve been attracted to this week:

Change Management

In Australia, our index is dominated by banks more than any other developed … is preparing for a total change in systems over the next few years, which carries extra … In Australia, clients have responded to high wealth management fees and …

Australia’s gas market is entering a time of change: increasing supply, such as coal … Matt Zema, managing director and chief executive of AEMO, noted that this …

As Australian Ageing Agenda has previously reported, despite almost a … in the sector meant some organisations were primarily focussed on responding to change. … “Any new technology requires proper project management processes and …

 But when the right change management programs sit alongside either targeted initiatives or broader transformation programs, the potential overall impact of …

 “Lots of organisations have got big change managementprocesses going on, and what I’m finding slightly strange is that they’re not linking their performance …

Innovation News

The Australia & New Zealand Internet Awards (ANZIAs), co-created by .au Domain Administration (auDA) and InternetNZ, is an annual awards event which acknowledges those who excel in making the Internet a more …

Unilever Foundry and Lions Innovation are partnering to launch “Foundry 50 at Cannes” – a search for the world’s top 50 marketing technology startups that are innovating to help brands better connect, engage and relate with …

This is your permanent identity for Business Insider Australia. Email address. Your email must be valid for account activation. Password Minimum of 8 … In a recent conversation with economist Tyler Cowen at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Thiel gave a very simple, and very libertarian, explanation for why innovation is happening only behind screens. We’re in a “two-track” era of innovation, he said, with lots of breakthroughs happening in the world …

Australia needs to step out of its comfort zone and work on the basics in order to attract and retain talented people in the tech space before we can get e.

A new incentive spearheaded by AusBiotech has been launched to provide information on a new proposed tax policy measure to support Australian companies working.

In the second article on innovation stakeholder management, Anthony Ferrier focuses on two examples where he tried to generate broad support for innovation.

Where My Words Have Travelled

publish around the place from time to time. Here’s the latest:

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are the subject of a lot debate in the blogosphere. Will they be a disruptive technology for universities? Will they take over the trainer’s job in corporate organizations?

From a higher education perspective, it’s easy to see the selling point for students

In 1987 Paul O’Neill became the CEO of Alcoa. Taking over the helm of a company usually means making grand statements about finances, about cutting costs, and change the investment priorities. But what O’Neill did at his first investor press conference was a little different.

To improve productivity in organizations you need only get leaders out in the field

The controversial Koch brothers wrote a book called the Science of Success (2007). I don’t recommend you read it as it’s one of those books that successful people write where they think they were successful because of these management techniques, whereas it’s more likely that because they were successful they could try out these management techniques (fads of the day?).

According to the ASTD’s 2013 State of the Industry Report, U.S. organizations spent $164.2 billion on employee learning and development in 2012. The report does a good job of categorizing and classifying expenditure. But what about ROI? How can managers structure training to ensure a positive ROI?

How often have you rolled out a new IT project that failed to deliver the desired benefits? Most projects fail to deliver benefits because of poor change management. Little to no attention is paid to the people side.

From the Vault

One of the most viewed posts on this blog is Top Ten Ways to Show Appreciation to Staff, and today I received yet another reminder about how important it is to acknowledge your staff and who you work with.

A person I worked with on a previous consulting assignment has decided to move on because she feels under appreciated. She is a gun; this is a huge loss to the business in question.

LAST month I wrote about Kaizen versus innovation, and how neither is better than the other they are in fact two elements of the same thing.

But in any project, whether kaizen problem solving initiative or a completely new innovation there is often a drive to deliver quick wins.

Instead of focusing on quick wins, focus on the big wins. These are the hard things, often strategic and often focused at the constraint of the organisation. This means dramatic changes and upside when cracked.

A Model for Continuous Organisational Change

A Model for Continuous Organisational Change

I was recently reviewing some organisational change case studies and came across a discussion paper outlining how Cisco moved from a traditional technology, silo-based organisational structure to a lifecycle-based model. This new structure produced a number of positive outcomes:

  • A reduction of client impacting incidents from 150 per quarter to around 70
  • A reduction of impacted hours from more than 1,000 per quarter to 300
  • A reduction of defective root cause from over 40% to less than 10%
  • Customer satisfaction scores approaching 100%, and SLAs satisfied within timeframe rose from 55% to 90%

While these results are incredibly impressive, what I feel is most impressive is the new model that Cisco IT has employed. This lifecycle based model is a replication of a model for organisational change that is regularly employed by change leaders as well as the most forward thinking and innovative of companies.

Six stages of continual organisational change

Cisco IT now operates under a six stage methodology. This structure was already used by Cisco Services when implementing customer networks.

1 Prepare for organisational change

The process of organisational change begins with the preparation stage. This involves high level strategy discussions, examination of opportunity, and creation of the future vision. Identifying competitive advantage and creating a business case for organisational change is at the fore during this stage. It is likely that discussions will be accompanied by customer surveys, and future business needs will need to be anticipated also.

2 Planning for organisational change

Change management will need to assess the level of readiness for organisational change, assessing resources needed and measuring against current resources available. A more detailed plan for the organisational change will need to be drawn up, with objectives clearly outlined.

3 Design the roadmap for change

During the design stage, change management will be charged with designing fail-safes. Risks will need to be assessed, and remedial actions planned. Training and coaching needs must be judged and planned, and line managers given clear responsibilities for implementation.

It is during the design stage that communication and engagement strategies will take on renewed vigour. Getting people on-board now, helping to identify individual and group needs will help in the engagement process and in early breakdown of resistance to change.

4 Implement organisational change plans

Change management pulls the strings, but managers and supervisors will now come to the fore by implementing organisational change. These secondary change leaders should be well-versed and coached in all aspects of the organisational change required, with a direct line to change management and company executives.

Implementation should begin small scale, enabling any problems and issues to be identified and resolved quickly. These learnings will then be taken to the next stage.

5 Roll-out organisational change on the larger scale

Having ironed out any problems that arise in the initial implementation, it is time to roll out further. Experiences from the initial roll-out will help to refine implementation, and change management will be better equipped to respond to the needs of employees and departments. Coaching and support mechanisms are important, with managers and supervisors tasked to engage their people in the organisational change and react to resistance.

6 Optimise and iterate

The roll-out continues, with the rate of organisational change gathering pace. Team meetings should be used to discuss successes, failures, and garner suggestions for further improvement in process and practice. Encouraging a culture of togetherness and working toward the objectives set will help to engage people in the process of change.

One-to-one meetings are also important here, helping to identify individual needs, concerns, and allowing the more reticent to put forward their ideas.

The secret seventh stage of organisational change

Real competitive advantage is only achieved when an organisation’s culture leads to continuous change. This is the secret seventh stage of organisational change. Create an environment where people are encouraged to always look for ways to do things better, more cost effectively, and more efficiently.

Then, quite simply, rinse and repeat.

By employing such a stage-based approach to change management, your organisation will be able to be proactive in its markets. Your people will be engaged, operating within a culture of continual improvement and better able to respond to new competitive pressures as they arise. Effectiveness and productivity will continue to improve as your business benefits from the natural human desire to get things done more easily and efficiently.

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Five Things a Change Leader Must Talk About

Five Things a Change Leader Must Talk About

A change leader has two very clear spheres of responsibility. The first, and most visible, is the onus to get organisational change up-and-running and then see its expected outcomes met through employing project management skills. The second is as a people manager.

Many a change leader has neglected this second responsibility, placing most efforts on the first. This is a natural consequence of the tangible nature of organisational change ­– if a project fails everyone knows, but few will see inadequacies in people management skills. Yet failing to recognise the importance of people management in the change management context is a major reason for failure to meet the goals of change.

When it comes to change management, people management and project management are inextricably linked.

Don’t fail your organisation: manage your people

Communication is the greatest tool we have as human beings, and the most potent of management tools, too. A change leader who neglects to speak to their people is planning for the failure of organisational change.

People are naturally inquisitive, and when they are left with indecisiveness and uncertainty they will soon draw their own conclusions. This leads to the rumour mill turning, scaremongering coming to the fore, and a resistant workforce.

People also want to know that they matter in the process of change, and that they are viewed as important to the organisation. They want to know their concerns are understood and listened to, and that they have a future.

A change leader needs to communicate with their people, answering all these ‘wants’. When you communicate effectively, your people will help drive organisational change to success. Here are five things you must talk about if you want to be an effective change leader:

1 Tell people what you and the organisation expects from change

Just because you know expected outcomes and the change path, don’t expect your people to. Be explicit when talking about the organisational change: discuss timings, individual and group involvement, and the targets set. People work better when they understand the project: it is the job of the change leader to ensure this understanding exists.

2 Ask people how they are progressing through the organisational change

People need to be checked on to make sure they are doing what they are meant to be doing. More important than this is the need to ensure they have the opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns, and receive guidance. Schedule regular team meetings and one-to-ones that will ensure this happens.

3 Be interested in your people’s outside lives

Ask people about their weekends, their families, and what they do to enjoy themselves outside of the working day. Be interested in them and they cease to believe the organisation sees them as no more than a number. Whatever business you are in, remember that first and foremost it is a people business.

4 Find out about people’s aspirations on the road to effective change

As a change leader, you’ll understand that organisational change will create opportunity for employees. But does this opportunity match their aspirations? Ask about people’s hopes for progress and promotion, and begin to discover their true potential. Fail to do this and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a workplace full of lethargic employees.

5 Say “thank you”

Give praise where praise is due. Tell people when they have done well, and help them feel valued. Recognise contributions and when people have gone the extra yard. People who feel appreciated for the effort they put in become champions for change.

Yahoo’s CEO gets it right

When Marissa Mayer took the helm at Yahoo, the company had stagnated. Its shares had fallen from over $40 in 2005 to less than $15 at the end of 2008 and languished around this level until Mayer became CEO in July 2012. Customers were drifting away, employees were disgruntled, and investors were selling.

Mayer has produced an all-round improvement at Yahoo. Earnings have moved forward, and shares are now trading at over $45. Employees are engaged and once more believe in the organisation and their place in it.

Mayer has proved an incredible talent manager. She made people excited at Yahoo again. In 2013 she instigated a program of employee focussed initiatives: more than 550 in all, with the aim of boosting morale. She has introduced programs that get people engaged and empower them with a real say in product design. Her real gift to Yahoo is not a trebled share price and rising earnings: it is a roll-call of employees who feel valued and happy that the organisation is a place where they can grow in their professional lives.

Search no further than Yahoo for the secret to effective organisational change

If you want to make effective organisational change, you need search no further than Yahoo. Take a leaf out of Marissa Mayer’s book and communicate with your people at every opportunity. Believe in them, and they will believe in you.

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