Posts Tagged ‘change’

We were talking about this at lunch today.  People often give up on using correct technique too soon primarily because it’s uncomfortable.  It’s actually faster and easier to type with all ten fingers than just index figures or in today’s world, thumbs.  People can get really good with the hunt and peck system but it’s unlikely they will be great.  However, it takes time, practice and a lot of frustration to use proper technique.

So my advice is that in training people can only give up on the proper technique after they’ve mastered it.  For example, you can’t give up on the cold calling script until you’ve gotten appointments using it.

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Recently I had an opportunity to lead a number of process improvement sessions.  One of the things that’s challenging is that it’s really a divergent/convergent process.  By divergent I’m mean that early on the discussion is expansive with a lot of options.  Later on as decisions are made the process is convergent leading to closure. 

As a facilitator, it’s important to allow the early chaos to happen because that’s part of the creative process.  I continuously remind everyone that this is a normal part of the process and everything will come into focus as we go along.  A lot of people are uncomfortable with this messy state of affairs and try too soon to organize things or cut off discussion.  You just have to push back and tell people to be patient.  I use parking lots to help record all those ideas that we won’t be dealing with in order to keep some focus to the discussion.

I also let people know when we are shifting gears and going into the decison making phase.  That’s the point were judgements are appropriate and necessary.  I find that when I train others on this type of faciliation that they have to see this happen at least once to fully appreciate what really happens.

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I heard a speech by Dr. Mitch Kuzy last year.  He made a very interesting point about change.  He said that when you decide to make a change you go through a decision making process often takes a long time.  If that change requires other people to accept the change, you are faced with one major problem.  They haven’t gone through the process of deciding to change yet.  They may be weeks, months or even years behind your thinking process.

It’s really this statement, “I see the problem, we have to change know, and here’s the way we need to do it.”  The response, “what are you talking about, I haven’t even thought about this yet and you want me to change.”  Sound familiar.

One really big example of this point is when you hear political leaders talk about climate change with the statement, “the discussion is over, now is the time to act.”  The natural response is, “what discussion, did I miss it. ”  If you want to get others to go along, you really need to step back and open the discussion and let others participate.  This is even if you know the eventual outcome.  It’s part of helping others change.  I know it’s frustrating but without it nothing really changes.

I think this goes along with something I read in win/win negotiating.  If people don’t think they got a fair deal, they will find a way to renegotiate one way or another.  So if you push a change or idea on others, they will find a way around it.  It’s one way you get unintended consequences. 

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I found this statement to be very interesting:

“Behaviorists seem to believe that people learn only when it’s worth their while. Humanists seem to believe everyone wants to learn. But learning is a form of personal change, and that can be resisted as often as it is embraced.” James Atherton

Take something like learning speed reading.  It would seem that there is a big personal benefit to learning to read faster.  And if you really wanted to learn, what a great tool this would be.  Instead of reading a dozen books in the same time you could read hundreds.

So why the resistance?  It’s a big change.  It changes the way you can take in information and puts on the pressure of once you’ve read all those books, now what are you going to do?  I’ve heard that reading slowly is pleasurable.  So what am I giving up? 

 I’ve written about this several times before about how beliefs can get in the way of learning something new.  So without dealing with the change issue, teaching can be very challenging even with a good rewards system.

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I’ve worked in more than a hundred different companies and they all do seem to have a unique “corporate culture.”  Actually it’s more like a corporate personality which is a hard thing to change.  There are rules, norms and values driven from the top but there are also a lot of informal things that connect people. 

 It’s interesting to see how a company like GE has created a change culture that is embedded in just about everything they do.  I was facinated about how DuPont carried over a saftey culture from the early 1800s.  And I liked how Disney approached everything as a stage show. 

I’d be interested in your stories about corporate culture.

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There have been a lot of studies about what employees value.  Almost to the point where they have created a mythology that doesn’t get challenged. 

Here’s the problem with the studies.  They look at actions or categories of ways to motivate employees such as praise, recognition, monetary and non-monetary.  However, they don’t really look at the degree to which each is used.  Here’s the example:

The studies say that money really isn’t a big motivator.  To that I’d ask the question, “how much money are we talking about?”  Are we talking about a $5 spiff or a $100,000 bonus.  I’d say the amount of money has a lot to do with it. 

The idea of recognition from the boss always ranks at the top.  But..how much recognition are we talking about?  Every no and then, or every 5 minutes. 

Without the calibration on the different motivation strategies they tend to have less value than they should.  If I gave you the choice that you’re boss would praise your work every day or you could get a check for $50,000 what would be more motivating for you?

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Plan B

One of the things that takes projects off track is that doing things the way we’d like to sometimes isn’t possible.  For example, we’d like everyone to come in for a two day workshop.  With all the schedule demands it might be months before that happens.  So what’s plan B?  Is there something that will work, that won’t be significantly different?  Can you do the same thing in short web conferences?  Can you send out materials for people to read so that you can get going on something?  You might even need a plan C or D.  Keeping things going might be more important than exactly what you wan to do.

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