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Pondering change

Pondering change

The task to change others can be a daunting one. Even if considered an ordinary consultant task by many, for me it never was. As a result, I contemplated the topic quite a bit. This slide deck contains the results of my thoughts and personal research - nothing scientific, but rather a collection of personal observations, insights and strategies to deal with the task.

The first part contains some ideas regarding the intricacies of change in order to understand the challenges better. The second part contains some ideas that (should) help to get along with the task a bit better. The last part are some complementing ideas like how to deal with people playing unfair.

After all, it is just a personal collection of ideas and insights without the claim of being generally valid. Also, as usual the voice track is missing. Still, I hope the slides will help you to get along with the challenges of changing others a bit better.

Uwe Friedrichsen

May 07, 2019

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  1. Pondering change Models, limits, and the impact of culture Uwe

    Friedrichsen – codecentric AG – 2017-2019
  2. Uwe Friedrichsen IT traveller. Dot Connector. Cartographer of uncharted territory.

    Maintainer of timeless wisdom. CTO and Fellow at codecentric. https:// www.speakerdeck.com/ufried https://medium.com/@ufried @ufried
  3. Motivation A not too far-fetched scenario

  4. One of the main job of a consultant is to

    drive change. From individuals to organizations, we're asked to make peoples' jobs different … -- From a review of “Fearless Change” Source: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/53162423
  5. We expect you to change them

  6. No. We don’t think so

  7. You haven’t tried hard enough

  8. We said, we don’t think so!

  9. Try! Harder!

  10. Go! Away!

  11. This is really killing me …

  12. Disclaimer The contents of this talk are not scientifically proven,

    but based on my personal empirical experiences. Therefore, I cannot guarantee that the presented ideas and insights will solve any of your change problems. Yet, I would be really happy if they would make your encounters with the sometimes daunting topic change a bit more agreeable. At least for me, they did …
  13. Part I Understanding the intricacies of change

  14. 1 You cannot change people. People can only change themselves.

  15. 1 You cannot change people. People can only change themselves.

    Corollary You cannot change organizations. Organizations can only change themselves.
  16. You Person to be changed influence Current Desired change Assumption

    We can directly influence the behavior of the person to be changed
  17. You Person to be changed Current Desired influence change Assumption

    We can directly influence the behavior of the person to be changed Wrong
  18. You Person to be changed influence Do not change Change

    differently Different Current Desired Your input Other input Reality Independent evaluation and decision Change partially Between Often not reached
  19. Options • Using force/fear • Neither desirable nor sustainable •

    Manipulation techniques • Usually not desirable • Risky (backfires heavily if detected) • Better options • Show perspectives and how to get there • Support people in doing the transition
  20. You can show people where the door is and what

    lies behind it, but you cannot push them through the door.
  21. 2 The normal distribution of people.

  22. Innovators (2,5%) Early Adopters (13,5%) Early Majority (34%) Late Majority

    (34%) Laggards (16%) Source: Geoffrey A. Moore, Crossing the Chasm, Harper Business Essentials, 1991 “Anything new to explore?” “Hey, what are the innovators doing over there?” “Hmm, there is quite some motion. Let’s check it out.” “Better wait until the majority is moving.” “Everything was better in the old days!”
  23. People are different • Behavioral distribution ensured survival as a

    species • Sometimes gets in the way these days • Understand whom you are talking to • People have a general predisposition • Actual group membership can vary depending on topic • Distribution model also applicable to organizations
  24. 3 Change is a gut feeling.

  25. Perceived risk Perceived benefit Will change Won’t change Gut feeling!

    Steepness of line depends on individual
  26. Perceived risk Perceived benefit Laggards Late majority Early majority Early

    adopters Innovators
  27. Most people only change, if (they feel) they have to.

  28. Understanding gut feeling • Accept that the gut decides, not

    the brain • Pure rational reasoning will not make people change • Change always means leaving the comfort zone • Ask yourself why the people being changed should want that • Do not try to change laggards • Try to mitigate their negative impact instead
  29. 4 Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

  30. Culture is the social behavior and norms found in a

    company, shaped by the past experiences of the people involved
  31. Company Culture Past events shape culture t defines response Current

  32. Effects of culture on change (1/2) • Culture is an

    effect of the past on the present • Handling of new events based on patterns learnt in the past • Change means dealing with unknown events • No learnt patterns as standard responses available • Company behavior depends on its cultural predisposition
  33. Pathological Power-oriented Bureaucratic Rule-oriented Generative Performance-oriented Low co-operation Modest co-operation

    High co-operation Messengers shot Messengers neglected Messengers trained Responsibilities shirked Narrow responsibilities Risks are shared Bridging discouraged Bridging tolerated Bridging encouraged Failure leads to scapegoating Failure leads to justice Failure leads to inquiry Novelty crushed Novelty leads to problems Novelty implemented Westrum, Ron. (2014), The study of information flow: A personal journey, Safety Science 67, pp. 58–63
  34. Company Culture shapes slightly (Supports building of reinforcement patterns for

    similar experiences) shapes heavily (Triggers building of avoidance patterns for similar experiences)
  35. Effects of culture on change (2/2) • Culture works like

    a slow-learning big collective brain • Significant time delay between experienced reality and culture • Lots of positive experiences needed to unlearn negative experiences from the past
  36. 5 Timing is everything.

  37. Change and timing • Change takes time … • …

    and at least twice as much patience as you can imagine • Change happens in phases • Know the phase you are in • Address the right people in the right phase • Be patient and make time your ally
  38. Summary Part I You cannot change directly. People are different.

    Change is gut-driven. Culture decelerates change. Timing is crucial.
  39. Part II Implementing change – some ideas

  40. 1 Learn the “fearless change” patterns.

  41. None
  42. Fearless change • Addresses most intricacies of part I •

    Provides actionable toolbox • Especially helps to get the timing right • Lots of tips whom to address when and how • Contains easy to start with patterns • Supports starting small and growing big
  43. 2 Repeat yourself … again and again and again and

  44. When you are just about to jump from the bridge

    if you need to repeat your message once again, most people only start to understand your message for the first time.
  45. Reiterating the message • Repeat yourself … • … at

    least twice as often than you can bear to hear it • Be patient. Be persistent • Repeat yourself … • … at least twice as often than you can bear to hear it
  46. 3 Actively reduce perceived risk.

  47. Perceived risk Perceived benefit Will change Won’t change Help people

    to make this transition
  48. Reducing perceived risk • Help people understand why change is

    needed • Help people understand what is “behind the door” • Implement a continuous improvement process • Helps to change in smaller, easier tolerable steps • Be honest, be empathic, be realistic • Create safe environments to experience the “new way” • For a limited amount of time • With a default fallback to prior state if people do not like it Brain Gut
  49. 4 What people want is not what they need.

  50. [Politics seems to be more and more poll driven, although]

    I don’t know that there’s any connection between what we need and what we like. -- Bill Watterson Source: The Calvin & Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, p. 52, Andrews and McMeel, 1995
  51. What we want Driven by habits and craving for increased

    convenience and immediate gratification. What we need Requires change. Needed for future well-being. Temporarily reduced convenience. No immediate gratification. Often no intersection
  52. If I had asked people what they wanted, they would

    have said faster horses. -- Henry Ford Source: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/15297-if-i-had-asked-people-what-they-wanted-they-would
  53. Don’t give people what they want, give them what they

    need. -- Joss Whedon Source: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/197897-don-t-give-people-what-they-want-give-them-what-they
  54. Really?

  55. What we want vs. what we need • Understand the

    subtle difference between want and need • “Want” usually is about present and convenience • “Need” usually is about future and sustainability • Understand the resulting problems • Satisfying the “want” will not change anything • Going for the “need” will cause resistance
  56. Be aware that if you ask people what they need,

    usually they will tell you what they want
  57. What we want vs. what we need • Be careful

    with the results of polls and interviews • They usually reflect the “want”, not the “need” • Sophisticated questioning needed to reveal the “need” • Try to find a mix of “want” and “need” • Going stepwise from “want” to “need” • Can reduce resistance significantly • Not always possible
  58. 5 Implementing feedback culture.

  59. Feedback culture • Did not see a working version in

    a change context myself • Thus, only based on hearsay and assumptions • Can strongly support change processes • Can make the original change task obsolete • Hard to establish • Requires psychological safe environment to work • Needs to become part of the organizational structure • Requires transparency and accountability
  60. Summary Part II (More) Fearless Change. Repeat yourself. Reduce perceived

    risk. Distinguish “want” and ”need”. Feedback culture.
  61. Addendum 1 Changing at scale.

  62. Changing whole organizations • Three typical approaches • Change by

    pressure • Change by convincing • Change by molting • Each one has its individual pros and cons
  63. Change by pressure • Pushed through top-down • Organization temporarily

    forced to work the new way • Pressure released after change becomes sustainable • Assumption: Learning by enough samples of desired way • Pros and cons • Medium effort for changers, hard for people being changed • Takes medium time, needs active control all the time • Resistance suppressed, might live on under the hood
  64. Change by convincing • Help people change themselves • No

    pressure exercised, constant reinforcement of message • Create environment that fosters change • Assumption: People will eventually embrace the change • Pros and cons • High effort for changers, agreeable for people being changed • Takes long time • People might decide to ignore need for change
  65. Change by molting • Create “new” organization within existing organization

    • New organization works in new way • Make new organization attractive and easy to switch to • Eventually kill remains of old organization • Assumption: Radical renewal is the only way to change fast • Pros and cons • Low effort for changers, feels agreeable for everyone else • Works fast. Radical measure (might create fierce resistance)
  66. Which approach would you choose?

  67. Addendum 2 Hitting the wall.

  68. Politics and playing unfair • Symptom of a dysfunctional culture

    • Will happen in any sufficiently large organization • Can render change tasks hard or even impossible • You can decide how to deal with it • Fight it, avoid it or leave it • Understand the “dirty tricks” • Power game patterns • Manipulation techniques
  69. To beat an a**hole, you need to become a bigger

    a**hole. Do you want that?
  70. Final thoughts Wrapping up and moving on.

  71. Change is hard • Change costs energy and bears risks

    • Reluctantly changing is a survival pattern of every viable and effective living species • You cannot change others. They can only change themselves • Do not accept if someone tries to make you responsible for changing anyone but yourself
  72. Do your best • Support change as good as you

    can • Learn and apply the fearless change patterns • Create positive experiences • Help people not to fear change • Seek help • Look for allies and supporters. You will need them • Do not despair if you fail • It might happen. Accept it. Use it as a learning experience
  73. Moving on • Lots of excellent literature and other sources

    available • Look for them to dive deeper • Make your own experiences • E.g., test how building a feedback culture works in your setting • Share your experiences • Change is a hard topic. We need your insights …
  74. Uwe Friedrichsen https:// www.speakerdeck.com/ufried https://medium.com/@ufried @ufried