Posts Tagged ‘change’

One way to approach enterprise level #transformation

April 29, 2014

Here is a practical way to think about for enterprise change… this is a model of concentric circles. Like an orchestra, get started with the core circle, then start to layer in the other pieces. Keep all of the layers going in parallel. Enlist and encourage others in the system to take on these roles also.

Core circle 1) Observe and listen. Ask questions of understanding. Gain trust.

Layer 2) Begin to mentor and facilitate the middle leaders, and/or the informal leaders to see their need for change. What are the broken windows. What’s working well, what needs to work better. (It quadrant)

Layer 3) Begin to offer feedback and coaching to the leaders at all levels as they seem open to input. Seek feedback on myself as a coach. Model collaborative approach, reflection, transparency. (I quadrant)

Layer 4) Coach the senior leaders to develop a vision for the future. Employ tools that work well with both the number of leaders and the existing culture(s) of the existing system(s) (We quadrant)

Layer 5) Work with leadership to create a system for managing change initiatives.  A system that draws on a combination of volunteerism, and nurtures junior leadership within the org. Look for quick wins out of the gate. Provide adequate Project management structure and exec support so that these projects can evolve and succeed. Celebrate wins. (Its quadrant)

The quadrants refer to Michael Spayd’s work and upcoming book as mentioned here


The Phoenix Project: A Novel About #IT, #DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

October 3, 2013

It’s a business fable. And, I loved it anyway! Remember reading “The Goal” by Eli Goldratt back in B school? This is the DevOps twin.  Written by Gene Kim @RealGeneKim, Kevin Behr @kevinbehr AND George Spafford @gspaff.

What is DevOps?

It’s a concept that signifies tight, systems collaboration between Development and Operations (IT). As this post on Dev2Ops explains, “DevOps is a response to the growing awareness that there is a disconnect between what is traditionally considered development activity and what is traditionally considered operations activity.”

One of my favorite quotes from the book is in reference to an IT department:

“You’ve just described ‘technical debt’ that is not being paid down. It comes from taking shortcuts, which may make sense in the short-term. But like financial debt, the compounding interest costs grow over time. If an organization doesn’t pay down its technical debt, every calorie in the organization can be spent just paying interest, in the form of unplanned work.” “As you know, unplanned work is not free,” he continues. “Quite the opposite. It’s very expensive, because unplanned work comes at the expense of…” He looks around professorially for an answer. Wes finally speaks up, “Planned work?” “Precisely!” Erik says jovially. “Yes, that’s exactly right, Chester. Bill mentioned the four types of work: business projects, IT Operations projects, changes, and unplanned work. Left unchecked…”

If your business includes deploying any type of code to a website or other online access, and uptime and security matter. Then you will relate to this story. And be inspired to work towards positive change!

Rule breaker, rule maker, and not a rule follower

August 26, 2013

One of my execs, whom I have the greatest respect for, called me out a few years ago as being a rule breaker, a rule maker, and not a rule follower. I began to see how true that is and why this way of being enables my success in being a change agent in corporate environments. I was recently invited to share my learnings  on this topic at a local meetup.  The slides are here.  And below is a bit of a summary…

There is a time for rule making, breaking, and following. Motley Fool has a related book which talks about evaluating companies based on their product lifecycle. If they are early stage, look for rule breaker characteristics. If they are late stage, look for rule making.

Rule breaking is something we all do occasionally. If you are in a change agent situation, you will need to be breaking rules more frequently though. And when you break rules, you stand alone. Be willing to do the “failure bow.” You are the one taking the risk. And to stay in this game, you need faith and support.  Get a coach and be a coach, one approach

Rule making is most is effective when we are collaborative and inclusive. Rules made alone, without collaboration, do not stick. People will ditch those “imposed” rules at the first opportunity. Some ideas for collaboration: Be a collaborative leader  (see also part 2 and 3)

Rule following has a place as well. Don’t run around and break every rule in sight. Choose carefully. Focus. Just pick a few to break at a time. Follow the rest.  Inbox zero and GTD help keep the rule following burden low. Reference also, the Marshall Goldsmith story “Is it worth it?”  Pick your battles. Have a great attitude about all the rest!  In terms of literal “following,” a few of my agile mentors are Tobias Mayer, Lyssa Adkins, and Michael Spayd.

I’ve also found many systems mapping tools to be valuable. These tools help us to make sense of, or to build intuition about the people, processes, and products.  

We also practiced using powerful questions within the session, though it was too short of a time box.  Here are a few more of my session learnings:  next time I would just ask people for a show of hands on which category people align with rather than trying to “hear all voices” with over 50 people, and I might open space for questions sooner. Finally, I would leave a bigger time box for the powerful questions exercise. Or sub in a game about rule breaking and making similar to the children’s book “what would you do dear?” allowing for small group discussion around scenerios and then ask people to share a few insights afterwards.


What rules will you break next week?

What broken windows will you stop to fix?

What well worn paths will you collaboratively make into official roads?

Speed limit for change

September 5, 2009

I am just learning the speed limit for change. It turns out that most people and organizations can reasonably be expected to absorb change at a certain rate. Wow – that seems so obvious…but up until a few days ago it was not top of mind for me at all. I figured, hey if this is good change let’s just make it all at once!

Who knew – I am a wanna-be speeder on the change highway.

Being curious – I found a few similar stories …

I’m going to check out this book, Managing the Speed of Change, bummer that  Safari Online does not carry!

Meanwhile, I am listening and watching the already underway change…