David J. Anderson is a thought leader in managing effective technology development. He leads a consulting, training and publishing business dedicated to developing, promoting and implementing sustainable evolutionary approaches for management of knowledge workers. David is CEO of Lean-Kanban University, a business dedicated to assuring the quality of training in Lean and Kanban throughout the world. David may be best known for his book, Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business. David joined me for a past podcast and I ask him acbout Change management.
Related Podcast and Transcription: Change Should Evolve
Joe: When you talk about business change management, can it be a project?plan?type environment? Can you do it that way?
David: I think lots of people try to do it that way that they think, OK, we know the target, in the same way, that we know the requirements for our IT project. So we know the organizational design that we want as an outcome, or we know the process we want to be following as an outcome. Perhaps we even have a good way of testing whether we’ve gotten there or not, some way of recognizing the practices being performed, the artifacts being created, some mechanism for appraising whether we’ve reached the goal. And we’re either taking that target from some textbook or we’ve employed some consultants to come in and design a re-org, an organizational change, a new process. They could be using all sorts of methods for that. It could be Six Sigma. It could be Lean. It could be Theory of Constraints. There may be several others. They may have some customized, hybrid method that their consulting firm has branded and sells directly.
What it amounts to is someone comes in and designs the target process that should be adopted and the target organizational structure. Then someone creates a project plan for it, just like they would with a set of requirements for an IT system, and they figure out which people will need to do which tasks and in what order and perhaps what training may need to be delivered and so on, and they go ahead and they execute against that plan.
Unfortunately, to quote a phrase from the military, the plan never survives an engagement with the enemy. And the enemy, in this case, is people resist, and that resistance is often deeply emotional because the change is perceived as being an attack on their self, their person, their self-image, their identity, or the identity of the group they’re a member of, or it affects their social standing.
As Bob would say if he were here on this interview, they’ll look at the proposed change, and they’ll say, “There’s nothing in it for me.” In fact, it may be deeper than that. They might look at the proposed change and say, “Not only is nothing in it for me; the only thing in it for me is significant career and personal risk.
The best that can really happen from this change is that I survive it. And the worst that could happen is that I end up with lower social status; lower self-esteem, lower respect from my peers, perhaps even a demotion, certainly a job?title change, and perhaps left being asked to pursue practices and skills that at the moment. I don’t have competence or expertise in.
Many individuals look at these proposed planned life skill changes. They think, “There’s nothing positive in this for me, and there is really only a downside.” As soon as they start thinking that way, they resist. The plan that was made with all the best of intentions does not survive that. That’s where these change initiatives get into trouble.
Where there’s really a harmony and synthesis between the work that Bob and I have been doing, is this belief that the change needs to be accepted at the individual level. Individuals need to be motivated appropriately. The change that’s proposed needs to have a positive outcome for them, and they need to believe that in advance. If you can’t design the changes that way, then you run into trouble.
When Bob’s talking about change should be to be pooled. He’s really saying that individuals need to want changes to happen. They need to recognize those changes as something that’s positive for them individually, as well as their organization as a whole. When change is designed by someone outside and then implemented by the individuals. They will push stuff on them. They are likely to resist that.
So, change that’s pulled is self-motivated, if that’s the term we’re looking for. So you’ll recognize that a lot of this is coming back to techniques that are buried inside the Kanban method that a lot of it is about getting people to recognize where change needs to happen and to feel the correct motivation for it and to be suggesting many of the changes themselves.
Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do
Lean Engagement Team (More Info)