Organisational Change Management Volume 1

Framework 61 Switch Principles

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This approach acknowledges change is difficult.

It involves 3 principles, ie

i) direct the rider . rational (follow the bright spots; script the critical moves; point to the destination)

ii) motivate the elephant . emotional (find a feeling; strengthen the change; grow your people)

iii) shape the path . making change easy (tweak the environment; build on habits; rally the herd)

Three principles

1. Direct the rider

Follow the bright spots (often we do not know what to change to and this makes it difficult. Need to be more selective, ie be careful of factors that are true but useless (TBU). To find out what you will working towards and at the first small sign that you are heading in the right direction, by asking the following questions:

- When does the problem you are facing not happen?

- What are the first small obvious signs that things have changed?

Bright spots are specific to you, ie where are you succeeding now. Need to reassure people that they are capable of solving their own problems.

To find a bright spot, you need to find out what is working today and how we can do more of it

- Are there people in your organisation who are leading the right way?

- Are there people in your organisation who exemplify the direction we want to head?

You need to shadow people who are doing the right thing, understand what they are doing so that they are able to make others in the organisation follow them)

- script the critical moves (a lack of understanding how to change can be mistaken for resisting change. Need to overcome decision paralysis)

- point to the destination (change is easier when you know where you are heading)

Recipe for determining bright spots

- gather the data on the issue

- study the date to find the unusual positive performers

- ensure that you understand the current way of doing things

- understand the bright spots to see what makes them different

- check that these bright spots are not exceptional, ie can be explained away

- encourage reproductions of the performance bright spots in the organisation

NB Do not look for the perfect way. Look for the best one available.

Script the critical moves (people may look like they are resisting change when they actually have no clue about how to change; need to overcome decision paralysis)

- be clear about how people should act (look at behaviours)

- rank the to-do list, ie prioritise tasks to be done, eg what is the most cost-effective way of making progress? What is going to have the quickest and most obvious impact (the low hanging fruit)?

- transform aspirations into actions (this isn't always a neat, elegant translation. Sometimes best approximation is adequate)

- get rid of any abstractions and focus on a few critical practical concepts

Checklist you have the right critical move

- Does it evoke emotion (find the feeling)?

- Does it feel do-able (shrink the change)?

- Was it part of a success story in the past (find the bright spots)?

- Will your people see the connection with a big picture (point to the destination)?

- Will it provide a quick win (grow your people)?

- Will it create positive peer pressure (rally the herd)?

- Is it consistent with the way people think about themselves in the organisation (grow your people)?
NB Would it pass the video test, ie Is your request specific, and is it behaviour that an outsider would understand?

Point to the destination (it is easier to change when you know where you are heading)

You need to paint a rich, detailed picture of what the right destination looks like. It needs to be

- concrete, ie you can imagine it

- motivational, ie you can understand why it is a destination worth chasing

- clear, ie easily understood

Avoid metrics as destinations. Metrics like SMART goals, financial goals (return on equity, gross margin, etc). Generally, metrics do not inspire people

Need to focus more on outcomes than processes

Need to be aware that people consistently miss/ignore/underperform the expected behaviours and try to rationalise their lack of performance. To handle this, set goals that allow no dissent, ie black and white goals. On the other hand, if black and white goals are not achieved consistently, people can become demoralized, ie overreaction to failure.

2. Motivate the elephant

Find the feeling (be careful of paralysis by analysis; you cannot analyse your way into change. Need to have people excited about the change)

Can you make the need for change visual? Things you see are more likely to evoke emotions than things you read or hear, ie

- What could you show your staff that would show them what's possible?

- What could you show them that would get your competitors upset?

Negative versus positive emotions

"Negative emotions are effective to motivate people to tackle short-run challenges that require clear, forceful action. They're less effective when people need to think flexibly or creatively. Which do you need? If you need to inspire positive emotion, you can point to a bright spot that reminds people that they've been successful in the past"

Chip Health, 2011

Use testimonials from stakeholders as motivation for the need to change.

Shrink the change (people are easily demoralised by the size of change. Need to develop ways so that change is in acceptable chunks with achievable milestones so people feel that progress is being made)

Does looking at the historical overview give you confidence that you can tackle the current and future challenges which may look small in comparison?

When people are fearful of change, reduce it to its key elements and keep it simple, eg can you try a new approach to one customer, can you spend 1 minute practising the new sales pitch?

Plans are small wins. Remember

"Burnout happens when a team confronts the same problems, over and over, without feeling progress. What is a clear milestone that you'll recognise enough to celebrate"

Chip Health, 2011

Don't let success feel too distant. Focus on more immediate and obtainable goals, ie short-term wins, low hanging fruit, etc.

Are you being that specific with your goals? How long does your team have to wait before they have a sense of how they are doing? If the answer is months, you have the wrong goals. If it's hours or days, that's great"

Chip Health, 2011

Grow your people (need to appeal to an identity that makes people feel strong; don't forget you need to inoculate people against failure; breakthroughs can require a 'smash through' approach)

i) Cultivating Identity

You need to have staff who are keen to make the change.

Some questions

- What do people pride themselves on in your organisation?

- What one adjective would most flatter your boss? (Some examples of the adjectives are creative, hard-nosed, people-focused, customer-obsessed, honest, frugal, etc)

If that adjective is one most valued in the organisation, then you are most likely going in the right direction to finding the right identity.

The identity needs to be shared. Some questions around identity:

- Can you appeal to an identity that already exists? For example, doctors and nurses identify with being healers, parents respond to being mums and dads, etc

- Is there a common history?

- Is there a competitor you can highlight? For example, a competitor which could pose a threat.

- If there's no existing identity, can you help people create an identity that they would admire?

- Is there some public action that could foster an identity?

- Is there a habit that you can build to reinforce the identity?

ii) Build the growth mindset

Communicate with staff that initially they could face challenges and will need to persevere and to be resilient

Need to have a positive attitude towards growth so that you can realise your potential, ie building muscle of future payoff

Need to understand that failing is often the best way to learn.

3. Shape the path

Tweak the environment (need to encourage people to change their behaviours and keep away from the 'blame game', ie blaming people; need to remove every possible barrier to action)

Learn to tweak the system, ie make many small changes

What one thing can you shift to make the right behaviours more likely?

Observe and study different processes, systems, etc and identify where the bottlenecks, stick points, etc are. Remove these obstacles. Pay obsessive attention to every step of the process.

"Have you made every step as easy as possible on your employees"

Chip Health, 2011

Learn to prioritise and eliminate wasteful steps.

Celebrate progress.

Avoid the fundamental attribution error, ie blaming the people rather than the process, work environment, etc.

What are the one or two steps you can remove from your business for your employees' benefit?

Build on habits (build on good habits as they are useful in avoiding conflict)

Set an action trigger - the power of action triggers is that decisions are preloaded. If you want to act in a new way, picture the exact time and situation when you will execute the plan.

Can you piggyback a new habit on an old one.

"It's easiest to start a new routine when you can build it on to an existing routine that happens at a regular time and place"

Chip Health, 2011

Create a checklist - prioritise the most important things to do

Stand-up meetings - use this technique to keep discussions brief and focused. Check the meeting behaviours that needs improving and attention; do you need to alter the format of your meetings to make them more effective?

Check to see what staff tend to put off or to displace in favour of more urgent work.

Rally the herd (people follow the lead of others, particularly at times of change when situations are new or ambiguous)

Be smart about social pressure - it can influence the others to conform. Need to protect the minority who are doing the right thing.

Design a free space - design an area for people to meet who are involved in the change process. This is an informal meeting place

As people who resist change can cluster together and reinforce each other's concerns, there is a need to showcase people who are actually supporting the change plus celebrating successes.

(source: Chip Health, 2011)

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