Blog: Change management

10 Steps to Successful Change Initiatives

Date: 07-03-2011 17:30 | Author: Cyril Dyer | Category: Change management | Tags: change, process, improvement, effective, efficient, Buy-in, Initiatives

So, you have had an idea. It’s a great idea! You get one of your best teams to look at how to get the idea on-stream, but after 6 months… still nothing. So why did the initiative fail?

It’s a common problem. There are quality initiatives, there are production initiatives, there’s process improvement. So why do 80% of these well intentioned initiatives fail?

Your bright idea...

10 steps to success…

The first thing is to look closely at your idea and ask what is it I’m trying to change and why?  What problem are you fixing? If you can’t explain what the problem is then 80% of others won’t recognise your big idea!


STEP 1 – write down what you think is the problem that your big idea is fixing

STEP 2 – test your problem on a colleague, do they agree?

STEP 3 – refine your problem, or if need redefine your problem

STEP 4 – test again, get consensus, have you articulated the problem well enough for other to recognise?

STEP 5 – get your coalition together and agree the problem in open forum (BUY-IN)

STEP 6 – NOW go for it, try your big idea! Does it fix the problem?

STEP 7 – test your solution

STEP 8 – test again, get consensus, have you articulated your solution well enough for others to recognise?

STEP 9 – get your coalition together and agree the solution in open forum (BUY-IN)

STEP 10 – BINGO! Your big idea just became reality.

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...every problem looks like a nail.

Date: 21-10-2010 12:58 | Author: Derek Glen | Category: Change management | Tags: change, agile, scrum, process, improvement, tools


In yesterday's post, I explored how people may (unintentionally) limit themselves when it comes to tackling problems, based on what they know and what they can do. It's interesting to note that we've come across a few telling examples of this over the past year whilst developing our 'Agile Framework'.

The company, for example, which has invested heavily in its agile environment, building state-of-the-art 'pods' which are geared up to support small, integrated Scrum teams. They major on communication, with interactive whiteboards and a communal, touch-of-a-button video-conference system which can instantly link the team to their counterparts at any of half a dozen other sites. All of this technology focus is home territory for a company at the cutting edge of communications technology.

But is it working? Well no, not yet. The technology is lovely, but the teams (and the individuals within them) have not yet adopted the right behaviours to get the most out of them. Savings have been made, of course, through lower travel costs, but have the benefits of Scrum been realised? No.

An internet company with a 'difficult' supplier (which develops much of their core platform) has plans to adopt Scrum as the heart of its agile development approach. The benefits case, however, is incomplete, as contractual constraints make it too difficult to bring the supplier along on the transformational journey.

So Scrum may be used in a small way, by some peripheral teams, whilst the real value proposition - changing the development of the main product to agile - remains untapped and on the 'too hard' pile.

Then take a third case - an organisation with a robust and well-established development methodology, has invested heavily in agile techniques over the last couple of years, trying to introduce elements of agile into its existing lifecycle. However, certain parts of the lifecycle, such as a structured, but inflexible test and release cycle, have prevented even those teams which have whole-heartedly adopted agile from reaping the benefits of early success.

The consequence in this particular company? Well it seems their interest in agile is waning, with fewer teams adopting it, and management interest has started to move on to other ways of 'doing things differently'. Some are still using it in places, but the benefits are hard to find. Yet across industry in general, agile methods are very much in vogue, with more and more companies embracing them.

More evidence that in order to identify and embrace opportunities for improving efficiency, you must look at the problem through a variety of lenses, not just the familiar ones closest to hand.

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What can you change in a 'morrow'?

Date: 12-04-2010 18:02 | Author: Derek Glen | Category: Change management | Tags: change, management, getting, started

My daughter's four and a half (don't dare forget the half!) and she measures things in 'morrows'.

So Grandma and Granddad are coming to visit, and she asks, 'Are they coming tomorrow?' 'No.' 'Are they coming the next morrow?' 'Yes.'

She's making a flag for them out of card and crepe paper, and it's going to take a while. 'How will you get it finished?', I ask her. Undaunted, she tells me, 'I'll start it tomorrow, then finish it the next morrow.'

There's a lesson here for big change - the kind of seismic change that is required when we are faced with the wrong shape, size or capability of organisation to satisfy our current and future customers. We need to break it up and make a start.

So if you are daunted by the scale of change you're facing, don't look for parts of the picture to cut back on or avoid. Instead, figure out what you can change in a morrow. (And not just any morrow - tomorrow!)

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Customer experience matters

Date: 29-03-2010 11:09 | Author: Derek Glen | Category: Change management | Tags: customer, retention, experience, CEM, transformation

Customer experience can suffer when budgets are tight. But customer experience matters more when whole industries are facing cost challenges: if customers are being more picky about how and where they spend their money or time, it's vital to provide a memorable service and stand out from the crowd.

It pays off in spades, too. Great customer experience means increased revenues. Forrester research shows that a 1% improvement in customer retention for Federal Express resulted in $100m revenue.

The same report cited Dell prioritising cost efficiency over customer experience in their call centre costs during the downturn of 2001. As a consequence they struggled to build that capability back up as the markets grew, and were still struggling to handle 45% of calls 5 years later.

Finally, shifting attention away from the customer experience leads to missed opportunities. If others are cutting back and retreating into their shells, there is a great chance to be bold, invest and come out ahead - just as the advice on marketing is to hold or raise your spend when times are tough.





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Painting a picture of change

Date: 16-11-2009 14:59 | Author: compita | Category: Change management | Tags: change, management, vision

In our last newsletter I wrote about commitment and the need to communicate the ‘why’ of process improvement. Now I’d like to consider how to make the ‘why’ stick. Knowing how to communicate the reason ‘why’ we need to change is one of the keys to unlocking commitment.

I’m often asked, “How do I get commitment (sometimes it’s called buy-in) from senior management to make the change?” Running a PI programme is all about changing the way an organisation works. So of course, a PI programme needs buy-in, if indeed, it is to succeed.

Let’s start with the people involved in change. Who do we need to get the buy-in from? Is it just the boss? Although senior management hold the purse strings and steer the company’s strategic direction, the truth is you need to get everyone’s commitment to change. Getting everyone to say, “Hey yes, this is a great idea. Let’s get on with it!” is of course no easy task. In fact it is often one of the hardest.

So how do we do it? The first thing everyone needs is a shared vision of a common goal, a picture they can understand. Individuals need to see where they fit into the picture, and visualise what’s in it for them. Then we must ‘sell’ the picture to everyone within the organisation.

The first ‘sale’ is to senior management. Getting them to believe in the goal is one of those key moments. They are either for or against. Those still sitting on the fence, I’m afraid to say, are probably against the goal.

The second ‘sale’ is to the rest of the business. Everyone needs to understand and believe in the goal and the value it will bring them. If we can address these issues then we’re 90% of the way to getting the commitment that is needed.

The second thing we need is a shared belief that the goal is achievable. For this, we need a robust process improvement plan or roadmap. What are we asking others to do and when? Everyone needs to understand the plan and how they each will contribute to its success. The plan needs to communicate, communicate, communicate what’s required and when.

If we can paint a picture that everyone believes in, then take that picture, plan its reality and let everyone know, you’ve just given your programme every chance of success.

Cyril Dyer

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Getting commitment to change

Date: 16-11-2009 14:54 | Author: compita | Category: Change management | Tags: change, management, commitment

Why improve your processes? How can you get commitment to change?

Let me start with the word change. Unfortunately, change for many signifies the unknown, and brings with it fear of the future. However, change must be viewed as the driver that moves us from one state to something better, and everyone involved must understand that the change is worth the pain and effort.

If we accept that to improve we need to change then let’s consider what we need to change. First, we need to get clear in our minds what drives our business. It’s these business drivers that determine what needs to change. Once we understand the drivers we can consider the processes we must change to enable us to achieve them.

Next we must convince everyone involved why we are making the change. It’s hard enough to sell the idea that we need to change but it’s much harder to sell the ‘why’. Fundamentally, each person involved needs to understand what’s in it for them!

Finally there’s commitment. We all use this word regularly, and in many different ways - the most common I note being senior management commitment. However, let me try a simple statement that can apply to all: ‘Commitment can only be given if we know what we are changing and why’.

I leave you with a few well-chosen questions. The answers will, I am sure, help you understand your commitment to change.

What are the needs of the business?

What process change is needed?

Why are we changing?

What are the tangible and intangible benefits?

Are we all agreed that we need to change?

Cyril Dyer

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