Rethink the Carrot and Stick

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The Wrong Quick Wins

A few thoughts from me on quick wins and why we go for the wrong type.

Hands up if you’ve ever had a project sponsor say they needed quick wins? Usually, it’s about showing that you’re doing something to the company board so your project isn’t cancelled or it’s about showing you can make savings. Both of those indicate an immature organisation that’s ready to cancel change activities before they’re due to return results. Some changes take time, some can be done more quickly. The same change activity isn’t necessarily the right type of activity to achieve short and long-term changes. So if you’re on a long-term change project and you’re asked for quick wins, start to head off the question with looking at the original plan for when you’re due to complete your first phase. A better idea is to use quick wins to generate motivation within the users. They didn’t agree to the change plan, instead their managers signed-up to it. They have some inkling of what’s going to change, or in the case of many organisations, they’ve seen many change activities come and go with little result for them. So you’re on the back foot already. Quick wins should be about the users, such as front-line teams or field workers. Listen to their needs, hear their pain, uncover the activities giving them the most problem. And only after you’ve listened, start to generate a few quick solutions to their problems. These solutions are not intended to be long-term fixes. Instead, the quick wins are simple changes that can alleviate their pain. That’s how you get people to believe in you. At the same time, you can be addressing the longer-term fixes. The best thing is that quick wins, when approached from this perspective are usually easy, sometimes just a case of asking another team to respond differently or moving some office furniture around so people can work with less stress. Remember it’s not about achieving savings but making the working lives easier. What’s your experience and how do you approach quick wins? #changemanagement #motivation

A photo posted by Alan Ward (@awkward2006) on

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Rodents Don’t Scuba Dive – Innovation In The Real World

Diving in Black and White
Diving in Black and White

I’ve always liked the concept about innovation being the introduction of something that’s already done in one industry sector into another sector where it’s not (yet) done.

Incomplete Definition

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stand-up as a complete definition of innovation. For instance, it falls short by not recognising innovation from within. By that, I’m not referring to new types of products (e.g. the internal combustion engine) since those would be better classed as inventions. Many new products are existing concepts with new features, so would be better described as improvements. But taking a product and using it for a different purpose, e.g. using an internal combustion engine to power a unicycle could be an innovation.

What I like about the simple concept is that it immediately makes people think about what they Continue reading “Rodents Don’t Scuba Dive – Innovation In The Real World”

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The Change Stand-off in Innovation

Circular Star Pattern by Anna Anikina
Circular Star Pattern by Anna Anikina

For a long time now, I’ve had the view that we only have so much time to change an organisation before the organisation changes us. I’ve seen it happen with dynamic people that become subdued over time as they encounter obstacle after obstacle, resistance, red-tape and other forms of organisational resistance to change. Maintaining innovation, or rather the ability to innovate and to generate innovation in a client, is key with external consultants.

Background

In reading this article today on Why Outsiders are the Most Innovative People  adapted from work by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire, I was reminded why it’s important to introduce a fresh perspective.

I’m independent in that I’m not tied to any company or organisation and I enjoy what that brings to both me and my corporate clients. Yes, I’m prepared to challenge what client staff have accepted as normal over time. It’s the response to that initial challenge of the status quo that gives me an idea of how well the planned change activity will progress, or at least how much commitment we should expect to receive from client staff.

Continue reading “The Change Stand-off in Innovation”

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Trouble-shooting and Solving Problems

Wood pile
Wood pile, where is the underlying problem?

To be able to fix the problem, you first need to know what the problem is.

More specifically, you need to know which problem to fix first.

Your staff may already be telling you what the problem is, you may already know what it is, but what if that’s not the most important problem and the underlying problem is something else entirely?

That’s where using an external consultancy can prove valuable. We’re impartial, unencumbered by politics, with no axes to grind and passionate about uncovering the real underlying causes.

Uncovering your real problems and the causes of what’s troubling your department is the first step in improvement. It’s a ring-fenced engagement with a clear gateway meaning we’ll agree what work is to be performed before we commence to following stages, if at all.

This could be the start of a Lean improvement project or end up with a more strategic solution.

Want to know more, then contact us for more detail.

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