The Change Process: Learning how the organiza4on 4cks
The more you know the environment at work, the be<er you’ll be able to ﬁgure out how to best posi4on a new idea, geBng it Understand your approved and adopted. organiza4on to be You don’t want to try to change the able to make change. environment and all its associated poli4cs and cultural norms. That might be a Career Limi4ng Move (CLM). It’s also probably impossible. Create change but don’t try to change (As is trying to change your boss, or your boss’ boss.) your organiza4on. What is helpful is learning how your workplace 4cks. 2
Be like Sherlock Holmes Using keen observa4on skills, look for clues about your organiza4on: • What is most valued? • How are decisions made? • What are the business cycles? • Who inﬂuences what and whom? • What goals are most revered – formally or informally ? 3
Prac1ce “perspec1ve taking” A valuable observa4on approach is called “perspec4ve taking,” which is simply the ability to see things from others’ perspec4ves in order to understand and interact with them. The more you understand the perspec4ves of other people, the be<er you can posi4on your ideas with them. What it’s like to be him or her? • What might appeal to her? • What is he likely to say no to? • What mo4vates her to take a risk on something new? • What holds her back? 4
What is the big picture? What are the organiza4on’s expressed goals or objec4ves? What is the organiza4on’s philosophy, or mission? What does the organiza4on stand for and why does it exist? How does your idea support these stated goals and values? 5
What does the organiza1on value? What stories have become legends? What happened that made the story something worth retelling? Are there elements of that experience that people would love to be able to do again? Did it shine a light on the organiza4on’s strengths? Is there a way to align your idea with those aspira4ons? What do people get recognized and rewarded for – formally or informally? What does the organiza4on value the most? Risk or certainty? Speed or though]ulness? Challenging status quo or upholding standards? Finding new opportuni4es or improving what exists? 6
How do things work? • How does informa4on ﬂow? • Which departments are responsible for which ac4vi4es? • Are ini4a4ves with diﬀerent sized budgets assessed diﬀerently? • Where does the decision-‐making power rest? • What are the business cycles? • When are new project funding decisions made? • How soon in the cycle do new ideas need to be introduced, and in what way • Are calendar ﬁscal year budgets and plans decided on in September? • When do managers put their ﬁrst drac plans and budgets together? 7
What are the hidden signals? • What emerging trend is creeping into conversa4ons? (Is there a way to link with it?) • What terms and buzzwords signal that people are looking for or considering new ideas? • What types of new ideas have been approved in the past two years? Shunned? Why? • Who in the organiza4on gets new ideas or projects green lighted? What helps her or him get support? What could you learn from that? • When you ask people to retell memorable stories about work, what kind of words do people use? How might those words help you understand what is most important to people – or communicate your idea? 8
How do people make decisions? What inﬂuen4al people tend to support what kinds of new programs? How does your boss (or the person you’re seeking approval from) like to make decisions? • Lots of data and best prac4ces? • Knowing that you’ve socialized the idea with certain key people and received their support? • Seeing results from a small-‐scale pilot? • Learning that a compe4tor is doing something similar? At what 4me of year do most decisions get made? How do you get on the “decision agenda”? 9
How will people feel? Organiza4ons are made up of people. All change aﬀects people. You may have a strategy that could double sales, cut costs by a third, and win industry accolades. But it s4ll aﬀects people. To be successful, ﬁgure out how people feel and factor that into how you frame the idea, socialize it, and roll it out. The be<er people feel about the idea, the more likely it will work. 10
About the author Lois Kelly’s clients are the type of execu4ves – and corporate rebels -‐-‐ intent on making new things happen, which means they some4mes work ahead of everyone else and need help posi4oning and communica4ng their ideas to get people to believe, support, invest and buy. That’s why companies like SAP, FedEx, Hewle< Packard, and Communispace hire Lois. She creates clarity from complexity, and inspires people to change. Lois is founder of Foghound, and co-‐creator of the Rebels at Work movement. 11
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