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Mastering Positive Change


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Sara Lewis, the Managing Director of Appreciating Change was interviewed on the Business901 podcast, Mastering Positive Change. This is a transcription of the podcast.

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Mastering Positive Change

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Mastering Positive Change Guest was Sara Lewis Related Podcast: Mastering Positive Change Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Sarah Lewis is the Managing Director of Appreciating Change, a psychological change consultancy focused on helping leaders and managers achieve positive change in their organizations. Appreciating Change specializes in using rapid response change methodologies. With over 25 years’ experience of helping individuals and organizations change, she regularly presents at National Conferences and publishes in magazines.Appreciating Change is a business psychology consultancyspecializing in helping organizations to achieve sustainablechange. Working closely with the client to ensure partnership andownership, we bring expertise in psychology and in social changemethodologies such as Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space andWorld Café. All of these approaches help reduce resistance tochange and the need to create ‘buy-in’, rather people co-createthe change of which they will be part. Recent clients include:Aston Business School, Kronos, DeBeers, Vectoraerospace andBuckingham County Council.This year we have begun offering a series of Masterclassworkshops to give people the chance to learn directly fromSarahs experience in the field of Positive Psychology andparticularly the use of Appreciative Inquiry in the workplace.These run every 3 months and alternate between a Masterclassaimed at fellow practitioners, which is tailored to those who havesome experience and understanding of the theory behindorganizational change already, and a Masterclass aimed atleaders in organizations which is more aimed at helping them usethis learning in their management of the organization. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe Dager: Welcome, everyone. This is Joe Dager, the host of"Business901" podcast. With me today is Sarah Lewis. Shes themanaging director of Appreciating Change, a psychologicalchange consultancy focused on helping leaders and managersachieve positive change in their organizations. Her most recentbook is "Positive Psychology at Work," and the work that I ammost familiar with is the book "Appreciative Inquiry for ChangeManagement." Sarah, I would like to welcome you. I have to add"AI for Change Management" in such a short time has becomeone of my most referenced books. Could you give me a shortintroduction to the book and yourself?Sarah Lewis: Id be delighted to. Thank you, Joe. The book is adistillation really of 10 or more years of working with appreciativeinquiry and training people to use this approach, realizing thatthere were certain things that people asked time and time againand were interested in understanding more about. I thought itwould be a good idea to try to put it all down in writing to make itaccessible to people. I was very lucky to be helped by mycolleagues Jonathan and Stefan who coauthored the book withme.For myself, Ive been working in an appreciative way based onappreciative inquiry approaches from about 1993, when I wasintroduced to this way of working through an institute here. Ithas just transformed my practice and also actually my experienceof the world. Its a very powerful approach I find.Joe: Well, what prompted your new book, "Positive Psychologyat Work"? Does it cover a broader spectrum of AI or does it zerodown into it?Sarah: Theyre two separate strands. Appreciative inquiry, asyou will know from your reading, was developed by DavidCooperrider in the States, from Case Western University throughhis work there. Recently, separately and in the psychology world, Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsMartin Seligman, 10 or 12 years ago now, started becominginterested in whats the difference between naught and plus five,as it were, in human flourishing, human wellbeing, happiness,lives well lived. Whats the difference between being OK andreally thriving?Psychology has spent a lot of time looking at the differencebetween minus five and zero, so examining mental ill health,failure to thrive, unhappy people and different times. Wevelearned a lot about how to get people back to a good enoughpoint. But Martin Seligman started becoming interested in whatmakes people exceptional and can we learn from that?So it seemed to me that there was a real match between thesetwo approaches and that almost appreciative inquiry was theorganizational arm of positive psychology. I wanted to explorewhat happens if you bring these two approaches together.What does it mean for leaders and managers in organizations?How can they benefit from this exciting research in this area ofpositive psychology in a practical and pragmatic way, so that theycan make a difference in their own organizations?Joe: Why is positive psychology important to an organization?Sarah: Essentially, organizations spend a lot of time focusing onwhat goes wrong in an attempt to prevent it from happeningagain. Very reasonable, clearly we need to learn from mistakesand failures and find out how to prevent them reoccurring. Theissue is that if you study mistakes, failures and things that arentworking, what you learn about is them. What you dontnecessarily learn about is what makes success.One of the things were realizing is that if you study yourorganization from a perspective of when are people working attheir best, what are the most successful things that were doing?When do people feel really great here? What engages people Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsabout their work? What do people find motivating, what are thevalues that hold us together? These kinds of things you learnabout the factors for success.Interestingly, some of the research thats been done, again, byan American academic Ken Cameron, who has studied the best ofthe organizations. Those that are very productive, very profitableand great places to work he calls flourishing organizations.Its clear that they do thing qualitatively differently to otherorganizations. Its not just more of the same. They do thingsdifferently.Joe: In doing things differently, Im going to assume from theconversation, is taking more of a positive approach, right?Sarah: Well, there are three key elements. One definitely is thispositive approach. We call that an affirmative bias. Within theorganization theyre always looking to affirm the best of whatthey do, to affirm that the strengths, skills and abilities that theirpeople bring, to look to the best of what theyre able to do andbuild on that. Also, they have a tendency to be interested in theexceptionally good, like the positive deviance in the organization.So rather than just ignoring when someone does better thaneveryone else as some strange anomaly -- "Well, thats justso-and-so or thats just so-and-sos team, they just gotlucky," -- theyre much more interested to find out whathappened."Well, what is she doing in her department thats allowing her toget these particularly good results? Can we learn from the best ofour range of activities?"So they put in much energy into that as they do to examiningwhere things might be not quite up to scratch. And then the thirdthing and this is very interesting I think, and very much relates tosome other research in positive psychology about emotions. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSo something else they found out about the most flourishingorganizations is that they demonstrate a lot of what you mightcall "the virtues." Like compassion, and forgiveness, and interest,and support, and humility. And just words that arent alwaysassociated with organizational life.Joe: I find that quite interesting, because it really is a deeperdive from Appreciative Inquiry.Sarah: Yes, absolutely. Appreciative Inquiry, one of the mainprinciples that its built on is this principle of positivity, whichessentially says that, "change takes energy." And energy thatcomes from positive emotions is much more sustainable as asupport for change than the energy that comes from what youmight call negative emotions. Particularly fear is often used inorganizations to try to promote change. Fear, anger those sortsof emotions are important. They produce a short burst of energyto change something. Whereas things like hope, optimism,passion, excitement, joy, or interest, these emotions, thesepositive emotions, create a much more sustainable movementforward for change.So Appreciative Inquiry has always recognized this importance ofpositive emotions to help organizations, and as part oforganizational life, particularly around change. And the moreresearch that is done into positive emotions through the positivepsychology field, the more apparent it becomes what an assetthat are, both to us in our own lives, and to organizations.The huge difference it makes. You may have come across ShawnAchors work. Hes done some fantastic broadcasts on TED and soon, whos really coined it. And said, "You know what wererealizing now? Is that happiness causes success. Not successcauses happiness. That when were able to develop more positiveemotional states for ourselves as individuals and in ourorganizations, then we do better." That is very exciting I think. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe: Well I think it is. But to frame that and to look at it fromanother context, I grew up in world of fixing problems. I went outand looked for problems to fix. Boy, thats a change for me. Imthinking as I observe something, when Im listening to someonetalking, and Im looking for problems. Im looking how I can helpsomeone. What youre saying, I shouldnt be looking for theproblems. I should be helping someone expand on the positives.But its easy to say it. Its difficult to do, I think.Sarah: Its interesting. Youre absolutely right. No ones sayingits an either/or kind of situation. We still need to continue tosolve problems, and we solve problems extremely well. Asorganisms, and biological organisms, human beings are verygood problem solvers. It stands us in good stead. But sometimeswe try to apply that skill where it doesnt produce the goods,particularly in social situations. So working with teams, perhapspeople who have fallen into conflict. That kind of thing. Problemsolving that doesnt always move us forward. So there are twoelements that I want to sort of highlight here.One is that I think David Cooperrider came up with a fantasticexpression when he said in one of his writings that, "Everyproblem is the expression of a frustrated dream. If we didnt havea sense of how things could be, we wouldnt know that anythingwas wrong." Which I think is a brilliant insight.Clearly, when were talking about a problem, were actually alsoexpressing our sense that things could or should be different. Partof what Appreciative Inquiry does is it says, "Well, if talking aboutthis, whatever it is, as a problem, isnt solving it, isnt moving itforward, why dont we talk about the other end of that equation.Start imagining how things could be if we build upon the best ofwhat we do have."If we focused on what is working around this problem area. Builtmore that and grew more of that. How might the world be? That Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemshas a very liberating and shifting effect for a group of people invarious ways."The other point that you raised I think is very important, is abouthow we do train our brains. And evolutionary speaking, itsimportant for us to spot danger, problems, things that arentworking. So were very oriented towards doing that.Our work life encourages us to do that even more. Particularlypeople, quality inspectors, accountants, people like this, whosewhole life is made up of trying to spot whats going wrong. Thatpart of their brain becomes very well developed.What we dont necessarily spend so much time is developing theappreciative abilities. So our critical abilities tend to be very welldeveloped by the time were sort of in adulthood. But ourappreciative abilities, our appreciative eyes, and ears, andjudgment, and intelligence, tend to be underdeveloped.Therefore, for a lot of people, it does feel very odd. These parts oftheir brain are not as well developed. Theyre not as skilled atdoing this.Joe: You talk about fast and efficient when you talk aboutpositive change and appreciative inquiry. What makes it fast andefficient?Sarah: Thats a very good question. To understand that we haveto contrast it with the dominant model of change, this is the ideathat change is a huge plan. In most peoples minds when theyrethinking about organization or change its about a small group gettogether, they decide what the strategy is, they maybe gathersome data as well, and they pull together a plan or perhapscreate a vision, that kind of thing, and then they go out to therest of the organization and try to sell their vision of the futureand their understanding of the best way to get there toeverybody else in the organization. That takes a huge amount of Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemstime because theyre pushing their ideas into the rest of theorganization and youll be familiar with the expression weve gotto get buy-in. Obviously if theyre trying to get someone to buythat must mean theyre selling. The other one is were going tomeet resistance here. People dont like change, were going tomeet resistance. You hear all that. Thats our default normal wayof dealing with change.What appreciative inquiry and the other transformational,collaborative approaches to change do is turn all of that on itshead and they say lets start with the large group, lets start witheveryone whos going to be part of this change one way oranother, everyone whos going to be affected by this as best wecan. The whole system, but you cant always get quite the wholesystem.As best we can the whole system thats part of whatever it iswere talking about and lets together first of all understand whatweve got to build on, which is the discovery part of theappreciative inquiry process, and then imagine using that,building on that, how we want our organization to be, which isthe dream part of the AI process. Then realize how weve got tobe now to move in that direction, which is the design part.Then the delivering part is what are we going to go away afterour congress together today and do to make this happen. Whatyou get is a lot of people co-creating both an understanding ofthe situation and also some ideas for what the future could holdand some shared clarity, some shared common ground abouthow things need to be different now to help move towards a goodfuture.People are getting by overcoming resistance and all of thatbecause peoples voices have been present in the process ofcreation so they own it. Its the secret of participation, really,done in a particular way. Because of the way appreciative inquiry Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsworks, very much creating positive emotion and a positive pulltowards the future, people are motivated to go away and dothings to make these futures happen.In that sense its very fast and its very effective.Joe: Could you touch upon the SOAR framework instead of usingthe SWOT analysis. Thats a positive approach of looking at thepresent situation.Sarah: SOAR was developed by Jackie Stavros and others as away to apply appreciative inquiry to the strategic challenge.Generally speaking, in appreciative inquiry we dont goinvestigating, for instance in this context, threats and weaknessesbecause the more we talk about them the bigger they get in ourminds, as it were, and if we cant do anything about them it justdepresses everybody. If we work on what are our strengths, whatare the opportunities, what aspirations do we have for theorganization, building on those, and how do we know if weremaking progress, i.e. results, people are able to stay in a muchmore positive frame. Remembering always that as we said beforeits not that were ignoring difficult things its that were talkingabout them differently and therefore are allowing different thingsto happen.Ive used SOAR with a few different organizations and it worksreally well. If theres an issue that has to come up of course it willcome up and then we work within the context of thatconversation to try and reframe that in a way that is going tohelp us do something with it, to reframe it in a positive way.Which is a bit about what you were saying when you werelistening in your meetings developing that ability to think where isthe positive in all of this?What can I ask that will allow people to see that there issomething good here? For instance, if someones talking about aweakness or a threat it might be what do we have thats going to Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemshelp us with that? What do we have that might ameliorate that?If we thought about this as an opportunity rather than aweakness how would we be acting differently?Its just something about moving away from the standardconversation where you run into these buffers of depressingconversation.Joe: We talk especially in Lean terms you always hear the fivewhys. Why, why, why and stuff. Is there an alternative in positivepsychology to the five whys?Sarah: Again I would say theres nothing wrong with the fivewhys if youre in a rational, analytical, logical problem-solvingplace and you get to a root cause. If youre dealing with anengineering problem, that may be very appropriate. Thechallenge arises when people try to take that way of thinking intosomething like a social situation, because people are, as weknow, very emotional and creative entities. Were not justrational, logical thinkers. We also have an emotional life, animaginative life, an interior life, a social life, all sorts of things.We are very capable of cutting off our noses to spite our face,putting our emotions before our logical and rational analysis.When its all very emotion-free, and its nothing to do withrelationships particularly and its a mechanical problem, then Ithink the five Ys probably works extremely well.Its when you take that and try and apply that to something like ateam not functioning terribly well or a relationship not functioningterribly well, or low morale in an organization, it just doesnt tendto produce useful answers.Joe: I have to mention that Derek Lusk was talking to me aboutAI on Twitter. Appreciative inquiry is his dissertation topic thathes working on. I asked him what question he would have ofyou. He said that appreciative inquiry seeks to change norms, Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsvalues, policies, ideals. He wanted to know how AI is affected byan increasingly diverse employee population; if thats changingthe way we use AI.Sarah: Its interesting. First of all, I think appreciative inquiry isincredibly scalable. So hes absolutely right. In the broadestterms when you want to use it at an organizational level, thoseare very much the cultural things that youre trying to change.You can also use it at a team level and you can use it in coaching.But to go back to your key question, the diversity of theworkforce is absolutely what appreciative inquiry thrives on.Appreciative inquiry regards the organization as a socialconstructed phenomenon, i.e. it is constructed by the people inthe organization.The patterns of relationship, conversation and interaction thatpeople exhibit in the organization are really what make it anorganization, our patterns of relationships. I sometimes say thatwe talk our organization into existence every day by the way webehave with each other.Were looking for how to better help the organization bestrespond to the changes in the environment, to spot theopportunities that are coming up for the organization to grow, torespond to changes in the organization that might threaten itssurvival and so on. The more diversity we have in terms ofdifferent peoples understandings of the world, perceptions of theworld, experiences of the world, conceptions of the future and soon, the more possibility, the more resource we have within thesystem for it to find a useful way forward.So diversity is actually a real asset for appreciative enquiry andwhat we have to do with that of course is create sufficientcommonality amongst the people who are part of the system thatthey are able to move forward together. And commonality is notthe same as consensus. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsPeople dont have to have exactly the same views and opinionsand share exactly the same things. There has to be sufficientcommonality, as I sometimes say, to allow for conjoint action,i.e., action that is reasonably coordinated with other people.Again this can stand in contrast to other ways of working withorganizations that look to eliminate diversity and wantsconsensus and there is one true path, there is only way to thinkabout, talk about, act within our organization. They do run intomore difficulties when they need to adapt because its hard forpeople who have alternatives to find a voice in thoseorganizations.When we work with appreciative enquiry we are interested in allvoices because we dont know where possibilities that may helpthe organization find a good use for productive way forward. Wedont know where those possibilities might lie.Joe: I think what appreciative enquiry lends itself to is more ofthat designer type look. It looks at a more a holistic solution,looking at the system as a whole and that you dont necessarilyjust draw out different solutions, you keep them and you evolveto a solution, rather than pick a solution and lead with it. Is thatfair to say that?Sarah: Oh, absolutely, because its all about this kind ofco-creation. So people are coming together to co-create waysforward and the resources that are used with appreciative enquiryare to do with imagination and possibility and past experienceand the diversity of skills and knowledge that people in theorganization have. So you want to get a good range ofpossibilities so you can start finding good solutions and goodways forward.Joe: In your experience, what are the main problems leadersrun into when trying to achieve change like this? Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  14. 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSarah: Thats a very good question, because leaders do have tounderstand their organization, their role in the organization andchange differently to get the best out of these approaches. Sofirst of all they have to understand that the organization is aliving social system and that they cant control it in that sense. Itsself-organizing, its made up of individuals who are essentiallyfree agents that may be on the payroll etc, etc. So the illusionthat the leader controls the organization is one thing they have togive up. Another one they have to give up is the idea that theyknow everything, that they actually understand the organizationbetter than anybody else because they are at the top of thestructure. Thats not necessarily the case either. Thats an illusionthat they need to give up to be able to give suitable credence toother peoples account of how the organization is.So there are lots of things about understanding an organizationdifferently. The leader in an appreciative enquiry kind of approachis one amongst many in a privileged position. So they are onevoice amongst many, they are able to set some of the context.They have particular privileges so they can say we have limitedbudget for whatever we come up with, or it needs to be in thesekinds of broad parameters.But what they are doing is they are, in an appreciative way, isthey are calling on the collective intelligence of the organization.This is where it starts to become hugely liberating for leaders.There is two things, one is they dont have to work it out allthemselves. There are however many brains that are in theorganization who can apply themselves to the challenge with asmuch information as each of them have.Joe: Well, you lead to a very good point. I forget which book Iwas listening to, the person said is that you are not the smartestperson in the room; the room is the smartest person. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  15. 15. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSarah: Well, obviously they said that. In much fewer words,thats pretty much the point I was trying to make. So for theleader, they dont have to solve it all, and they dont have to haveall the answers. Thats the same thing really. But the main thingis they dont have to have the answer. What they have to havefaith in is the fact that the smart room, the room as a whole, thesystem will find a way forward, if given the right conditions.Joe: One of the things I used in a recent workshop that I got foryour book, AI for Change Management, was using reflectingteams. Could you describe that a little bit to me and expand on ita little?Sarah: There is different ways of using reflecting teams. What itdoes is it puts the team thats in the reflecting space into what Iwould call listening position. Often this is done in what they call agoldfish bowl process. Some people will be in a group talking andother people will be around them listening. You might have thesenior team who are discussing their understanding of thesituation, the broader situation that the organization isresponding to, and some of their initial thoughts at the momentabout how the organization might act. They might have aselection of people from around the organization who arelistening. The people outside dont have to respond to anythingthat they hear the senior managers say, they are just there tolisten. After a while you would ask the audience, what has beenthe audience to get into small groups and give them somequestions to consider, what did they found most helpful about,what their board have got to say, and what have they noticedabout what they are attending to, what other things do they thinkare important for the board to attend to in its decisions and, Idont know, whatever, some questions.Then the board members can either be situated each in a group,or just wander around from one group to another. But again theyare not there to have to answer to anything that they hear. When Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  16. 16. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemspeople are put in a position where they dont have to respond towhats being said, they hear so much more because they donthave to have a defense, have an answer, have a comeback, havea rationale to bring to something that somebody has said.They can just let it sort of sink in a bit more and hear things thatthey dont hear when they are in that normal conversationalspace.Joe: I think thats the interesting part that I found out about it isthat how much more you hear when you are not sitting theretrying to determine your response.Sarah: Absolutely. The hearing sinks in deeper, because you canhear it. It has more impact. Something that somebody wouldhave rejected out of hand if they had had to defend it, they areable to allow it enough room to have influence.Joe: In your book, you discuss Open Space and World Cafe.Could you just briefly describe the two methods.Sarah: Yes. Ill start with Open Space, which is again a verypowerful methodology that I use more and more with groupswhere I can. Essentially its a way of allowing a group to set theirown agenda around a topic for what are the important things thatneed to be spoken about, discussed in some way and then justtrying to structure for doing that. So very broadly it would needto be some business critical issue that needs discussion andmaybe decision making, and then you bring the system to thatissue that are relevant to it. And after some preliminaries youessentially ask everybody who is there to put forward what theythink needs talking about, what the questions are, what theywanted to discuss, what options they want to explore orwhatever. Then you can start the rest of the day from that.So, youd have a number of rooms, and youd allocate a numberof discussions to each of the rooms. The person whos raised the Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  17. 17. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemstopic is the host for that discussion. Then, people attend thediscussions that theyre interested in.This is just so powerful, compared to many day long meetings Ihave been asked to facilitate, where basically, we have an agendaand it starts at nine and it finishes at five and everyone has toattend to every item, whether theyre interested in it or not,whether its relevant to them or not.When people are allowed to go where they are interested, andwhere they are connected to the topic, they feel connected to thetopic, they just have, its just, again, its so much more faster andmore effective.Joe: Before we go into World Cafe, can you use Open Spaceinternally within an organization? People could gather and have,just a block of time that they could attend the meetings that theyfelt important to them. I mean, that sounds like a facilitated thingat a conference, or things like that, but can that really workwithin an organization?Sarah: I cant say Ive heard of it. But I see no reason why itshouldnt, why one shouldnt be able to develop an organizationthat works much more on Open Space principles for its meetingsand discussions. I have to say, one of the great benefits of notbeing part of a larger organization is I dont spend a lot of time inmeetings, except when were there because people want to talkabout whatever it is Im there for, if you see what I mean.Joe: Sure, sure.Sarah: So, I dont have to sit through those interminablemeetings, where Im just waiting to get to my item. We knowthat hours and hours of peoples time can be wasted when theyrein meetings, not sure why theyre there, not sure what theyresupposed to be contributing or taking away. But becausesomeones told them they have to be there. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  18. 18. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe: Go on and explain the World Cafe a little bit.Sarah: World Cafe, I think, is a methodology thats really goodfor very exploratory conversations. Essentially, all of these areways of people having conversations in conversational group size,simultaneously, so you can 20, 50, and 100 people, but onlyworking groups of six or 8. Then, have those conversationsconnected. In World Cafe, people start at cafe tables. The idea isthat people talk to each other in a much more relaxed way whentheyre in a more relaxed atmosphere. It was a bit of intent torecreate a cafe atmosphere.Theres different ways you can do it. But essentially, lets just sayyou have different questions on different tables around the keytopic, whatever that might be. And I start off at table A, and wehave a discussion there around the question on that table. Andthen, one person stays at that table, after about 40 minutes or anhour, and then, the rest of us move off to a different table toaddress a different question.You have the continuity around the particular question over twoor three rounds, maintained by the person who stays at the table.But lots of connectivity as different people disperse to differenttables, if you can see this.Its difficult to explain it just in the imagination, but differentpeople disbursed to different tables and join in the conversationthere. So the person that has remained from the previous roundwill bring everybody up to speed on where weve got to, whatsbeen mentioned so far in relation in this question. Then just startanother discussion.Again, its a way of having lots of things happeningsimultaneously and people being able to connect to two or threedifferent questions that interest them during the course of theafternoon or the day. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  19. 19. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe: I think there were two that were very interesting concepts.Have you continued to expand on them? Are you still using them,those two concepts?Sarah: Definitely I still use them. Increasingly for me, Isuppose, appreciative inquiry is the overarching approach,methodology, philosophy or way of life, to be honest, for me now.When Im designing interventions for organizations to help themmove forward in whatever particular area it is, thats myoverarching frame. Within that, I may well bring in World Cafeand Open Space as part of the process of appreciative inquiry.Ive also expanded it into manufacturing organizationsparticularly. Theres a process called SimuReal, which is again alarge system and much more similar to the lean type thing, butagain, socially organized.Its a system where you bring the whole system into the room.Then you simulate the process in the organization. Withmanufacturing organizations particularly that tend to be verygeographically disbursed, so theyre over big sites. Secondly,people are very bound to their bit of the process.Being away from your workbench is regarded with suspicionbecause they want people on the line or on the bench. So peopledont understand what impact their action has further down theline. Its known as the silo mentality. Im sure youve heard theexpression.If youre able to get the whole system in a room, then you canrun a simulation, over two or three months, of something like anorder going through the system. With people making thedecisions that they do in their own context, that looks sensibleand seem to solve a problem.Someone might say, "Well, we havent got quite the right numberof bits for this order thats coming through of ZY, but I know that Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  20. 20. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsAB will fit just as well as ZY. So lets take a couple of these ABsand put them in the box, and Ill write it up afterward."In no time at all, nobody knows where anything is, nothing iswhere it is supposed to be. The computer is sending outmessages. The ERP system is sending out messages that no onecan fulfill. I find that works really well as well.Anything where you get the whole system together so that theycan see what theyre doing, its just tremendously powerful.Joe: It sounds very interesting. It sounds like a good thing forme to do Monday at a meeting Im going to.Sarah: It takes a bit of setting up, I have to say.Joe: How do you typically introduce AI or start an engagementwith someone?Sarah: This, again, is one of the reasons why I wrote the bookbecause its a question that gets asked so often. I guess there area couple of principles. One is you always have to start where yourorganization is at. People rarely, although increasingly, rarelycome saying. "What we want is an appreciative inquiryintervention," or, "What we want is strengths based way ofworking." They usually come saying, "Weve got this problem.Can you help us?" thats your invitation to start having adiscussion about tell me how life will be when this problem issolved or how things would be if you didnt have this problem orwhat is it that you actually want more of? I can see you want lessof whatever the problem is. What would you like more of?Thats a way of starting to get to talk about it. You dontnecessarily have to say what were doing is appreciative inquiry.You just start working with them in an appreciative way. Thenhow much of the software, as it were, that you explain to thepeople youre working with depends on what feels appropriate. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  21. 21. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsSome of the language is not easy for people if theyve nevercome across it before. Somebody very wise said, "If you want tobe able to work with people you have to be sufficiently similar notto be frightening, but sufficiently different to be able to addvalue." I think thats the balance youre always trying to findwhen youre negotiating a new piece of work with someone.If their whole language is around the organization as a machineand problems and error and theyve never heard the wordpassion or excitement in an organizational context and you comein talking about what gives life to the organization and positivecore and an appreciation you may be too alien for them to beable to think that you can add any value.You have to moderate how you join with the organization so that,as I say, you seem sufficiently familiar and yet sufficientlydifferent. Does that help?Joe: I think that was brilliant. When we go through these thingswe always think that were going to be the change agent, wejump into it and everything. About 10 minutes into it you look atall these glassy eyes looking at you. Its really starting with thecurrent state. Your journey of a mile starts with one step.Sarah: They also already have a solution in mind. This is part ofthe issue. Theyll come to you saying, "Can you help us?" andthen they say, "What were thinking we need is..." so you need tostart with that. Ive found organizations say were going to issuea survey of something. OK, well tell me a bit about the survey. Iwonder if we can just add a couple more questions in there.Youre not dismissing what theyve already done but yourebeginning to make it a little bit more appreciative. Wouldnt it begood if we asked people a couple of questions about what theyenjoy about working here, what they think are working? Typicallythe whole survey will be about whats wrong with theorganization. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  22. 22. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsYouve got lots of ways of just starting to bring the appreciativeparts in and then building on it from there.Joe: You run a master class workshop every three months.Could you tell me about it?Sarah: Yes. We just started doing that this year so we ran thefirst one specifically for external change agents, as it were;Consultants, facilitators, trainers, that sort of thing. What I try todo is for them to bring together some of the most recent researchand leaning in this area and we play around with how would youintroduce this into an organization through workshops yourself?Its really training the trainers I suppose, up-skilling people whodo that sort of thing. Next week well be running a similar kind ofworkshop but aimed directly at leaders and managers which willbe much more about how can you use this in your organizations?Here are some of the key findings, some of the research, some ofthe supporting evidence around the difference, some of the keyelements of this area.Positivity, which we talked about; feeling good, good emotions,understanding peoples strengths, what distinguishes flourishingorganizations, and appreciative inquiry as a methodology forbringing all of these things together in your organization. Itll bemuch more oriented around how do you do this in little ways.What can you do within your sphere of influence as the leader ormanager to start bringing some of these things into your workarea.For some people that might be big, they might say I think Imgoing to go away and think about addressing this organizationalchallenge from a more appreciative perspective. Someone elsemight be a much smaller thing like we really could use runningour meetings slightly different. I run a team and we always startwith problems and maybe we should start with celebrating a fewsuccesses that have happened since the last time we met and Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  23. 23. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemstaking time out to notice where people are doing well and whatsgoing well.Joe: If you had three pieces of advice for leaders for achievingthe fast, effective, sustainable change what would they be?Sarah: I think one would be you dont have to do it all alone.Draw on the collective intelligence of your organization. Theywant to survive as much as you do, they want to help. There maybe some issues in the way theyve been treated in the past butits as important to them as it is to you that this organizationcontinues to do well. One would be dont feel you have to do it allalone. The second would be, humans have evolved in such a waythat they need more carrot than stick to be at their best. Becausewe over-weigh negative things and under-weigh positive things,we actually need three times as many good experiences asnegative experiences to start to enter the enchanted place ofcreativity, connectivity, generativity, synchronicity and all thegood things that help organizations to move much faster andmuch more efficiently.Yes, you need to obviously keep a minimum line on things. Butwhat most organizations need a lot more of is the good stuffpumped into them, so that positivity thing.I think the third piece of advice, which is a much more genericone, is its becoming increasingly clear that the leaders who areable to have the most positive impact in their organizations,whatever their style may be, the key thing is this thing aboutauthentic leadership. Part of authentic leadership is being openand transparent in -- thats the other thing -- a managed way.I remember some of the London Business School people said thatafter all their analysis, the art of leadership boiled downed to fivewords, which was, "Be yourself more with skill." All of thosewords are important, things like doing difficult things and askingfor forgiveness, being humble about the fact that this is not doing Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  24. 24. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsit on your own. Everybody here has contributed to what weveachieved this year. Those old-fashioned in a way is beinggrateful.Everybody who comes to your organization helps to create it doessomething that moves it forward. Theres something aboutallowing that side of yourself to come through to people, becausepeople do respond and emotions are very contagious, virtuouscircles.If we see people being heroic, were more inclined to be a little bitmore heroic ourselves the next time the opportunity arises. Ifsomeone is helpful, we see someone being helpful or someone ishelpful to us, were more likely to do it to somebody else.You can set off these virtuous circles of very positive interactions,which just have not escalating, but the virtuous circle gets biggerand bigger benefits in terms of performance and productivity inthe end.Joe: Is there something you would like to add about this topicthat I didnt ask?Sarah: I hope whats come through is that I think were at avery exciting time, where were beginning to really make a shiftfrom understanding the organization as something resembling amachine, that people need to be coerced into being part of, tounderstanding the organization as a social construction thatpeople need to be affirmed for being part of. And that what isfantastic as far as I am concerned is, I think there is a lot ofethics to do with working with organizations because youinterfere with peoples lives and you need to I think, be verycareful about what you are doing and give it a good thoughtabout the impact, the interventions you are offering are going tohave on the quality of life of the people who are going to beaffected. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  25. 25. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsWhats really good news about these ways of working is thatintroducing more positive emotion into organizations and morepositivity, helping them understand what peoples strengths areand how to work with them, helping them to appreciate whatpeople bring to the situation, not only is it good for organizationbut it is good for individuals when we are able to experiencepositive emotional states as opposed to negative emotionalstates.It affects our whole body in terms of our physiology and our brainand its just really good for us. And over the long term it affectsthings like longevity. So we have this chance to do two goodthings at once. If we work using some of these exciting bits ofresearch that are coming through from the pioneer academicswho are the ones who are doing the fascinating psychologyexperiments that people do, them and their subjects, out ofwhich we get really useful knowledge that we can take intoworkplace and start helping people and the organization bebetter.Joe: How could someone contact you?Sarah: We have our own website, I have an email address, which, and we have a UK phonenumber, which is 0845 055 9874.Joe: You will also be exhibiting at the CIPD annual conference inManchester this year. What are the dates for that?Sarah: That is November 6th to 8th. And it is in the CentralConference Hall. Its a great exhibition if youre an HR person.People do come from abroad as well, so its quite internationaland they have, the exhibition is great, there is also a conference.If anyones got the funds for that as well, this is the highlightconference in the UK for the HR community, that’s highlyrecommended too. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  26. 26. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe: Well, hopefully my listeners of the podcast will stop by andsay they heard about it from the Business901 podcast.Sarah: Well that would be wonderful, and thank you so muchJoe for creating the opportunity to share some of this good newswith people.Joe: This podcast will be available at Business901 andBusiness901 on the iTunes store, and I want to thank you againvery much, Sarah.Sarah: Been a pleasure. Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901
  27. 27. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Lean Marketing Systems Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: Web/Blog: Twitter: @business901 What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated on many difficult issues. Joes ability to combine his expertise with "out of the box" thinking is unsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, cost effectively and with ingenuity. A brilliantmind that is always a pleasure to work with." James R.Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providingdirection in areas such as Lean Marketing, Product Marketing, ProductLaunches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt,Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performanceplanning methodologies in small businesses. The simplicity of a singleflexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result betterexecution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus theplan.An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with aconsulting style utilizing an individual from your organization or a virtualassistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities toplug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. Asproficiencies develop, Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting theprocess as needed. The goal of implementing a system is that the processeswill become a habit and not an event. Business901 Podcast Opportunity Expert Status Mastering Positive Change Copyright Business901