Globally there is a slow erosion of those binding forces for people to “go that extra mile”. The employee-employer psychological contract is degrading. The degree to which people identify with their job and consider job performance as important to their self-worth is slipping .In our recently published survey Focusing Change to Win identified the main culprits:
Lack of Leadership
Lack of Adaptability
Lack of Communication
Lack of Control
More than ever, we need to repair, build and protect the trust people have in their employers.
In North America, our evidence from 8 expectation alignment projects ranging from Royal Bank of Canada through Nature Conservancy to Turner Construction shows a clear trend. Leaders consistently under-estimate the gap between what they expect of their managers and what people think is expected of them. Inall studies, leaders had 65%+ more expectations than their people were aware.
In the UK, managers need to do more if they want to earn employee trust , according to the latest survey into employee attitudes from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Trust in senior management is declining, particularly in the private sector, with
Only 25% employees willing to place a lot of trust in senior management to look after their interests and
Only 41% placing little or no trust in them to do so.
Essentially, new research suggests that many employees are losing faith in their management yet it seems leaders have don’t connect this condition with losing ground competitively. Continue reading →
At school and district levels, managing scarce resources to sustain or improve results has never been more challenging. Striving for consistency and efficiency builds tensions between those who care most about equipping children for an uncertain future.
Increasingly critical eyes on the education system advocate blunt instruments like “stronger management”, more top-down management, tighter controls, and simple incentives. This is surprising since such methods are failing the private sector by dispiriting and limiting people’s contribution. So, why should we expect anything different in education?
This is aggravated by the economy. We simply don’t know what jobs will be there in twenty years. Today, apart from a few core skills we cannot know what knowledge or skills will be needed in the future.
The consequences are that teachers complain that their jobs, while rewarding, are getting harder because of too few resources, too much paperwork, crowded classrooms, students with emotional problems, low pay and high-stakes standardized tests.
Isn’t time to realign administrators, unions, teachers, parents and students? The realignment is from teaching a curriculum more efficiently, to one of inspiring lifelong learning to thrive in a rapidly shifting economy.
The difficulties of cutting the red tape in Government.
Here’s an example. Many Calgarians voted for change last October or November because they didn’t see things changing, but how much more difficult is it to change organizations like the City of Calgary? (See Naheed Nenshi’s “cutting the red tape” podcast that contributed to his election for Mayor of Calgary) Here’s his latest comment on his cutting red tape campaign and how long it’s taking:
“We are actually going to look at a reinvention of how we do the whole process of planning, approvals and permits, and that’s going to get underway right now,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters, after a council committee approved $150,000 for public consultations on cutting red tape, an initiative that already had a $236,000 budget.
But while staff are already working on that major overhaul, Nenshi clarified later that it will likely be a year before changes are in place. Council will be looking to the incoming planning general manager to oversee much of that internal revolution.
The red tape consultation with businesses drew 202 submissions, and the vast majority concerned the city hall division responsible for permits and business licensing.
One particularly shocking testimonial read: “Two different city inspectors were actually arguing in the parking lot as to what the rules meant or did not mean in relationship to requirements for our equipment. Seven inspectors went through our warehouse before we could receive our (occupancy) permit.”
In another case, the development permit process stifled the creative process. “We want to paint a mural on a building and the DP is going to cost more than the mural!”
The first thing leaders have to cope with is more complex politics. On top of internal politics that exist in any organization they also have the political dynamics of executives, elected representatives and their appointees. Continue reading →
The continued high failure rates in implementing change owe much of their origins to the fallacies of change management and how people view research (based on Korzybski). See how many are true from your experience
1. Over-Simplification: The belief that complex organizations mirror what their leadership views .
“I think we have a pretty good handle on what people think, we don’t need a survey to tell us what we already know”
2. Re-definition:A propensity to cast strong sub-cultures as sources of weakness when they may in fact contribute to the organization’s identity.
“It’s the field technicians that’s the problem. They are still resistant to the newer products ans systems”
3. Missionary zeal:The belief that a complex community can be converted to a single purpose that overrides its fractional – often factional – interests and perspectives.”
“I am sure when the see the case for this change they will come along”
4. Displacement: the attribution to cultural causes of structural weakness. It is not the values but the organisation or control system that is faulty.
“You know if we had a fully integrated reporting system I think we could overcome many of communication problems”
5. Scapegoating: The attribution of group’s values to responsibility for failure.
“It’s sales responsibility to ensure good customer follow up but they just don’t seem to care and want to go on to the next deal”
6. False Attribution to one cause what is due to many causes. E.g.
“they didn’t adopt the new technology because they weren’t computer savvy”
7. Discounting: Concluding that because one factor plays a role, another does not; the fallacy of drawing negative conclusions from positive observations. E.g.
“Our exit interviews show that people are leaving for higher pay and so it’s not anything that management can do differently”
8. Myopia:The idea that change management can divorce the individual from their working environment. E.g.
“People are change resistant because they don’t like the new curriculum”
9. Gut over Data: Drawing conclusions on implied assumptions that when explicitly stated are rejected. E.g
“Yes, I know that’s what your findings say but I think it’s really a recruitment issue”
“You can prove anything with statistics”
10. Politics: Many assumptions influencing reasoning are of the hidden, unconscious type. E.g.
“When we presented our findings only Joe and Lisa said what they felt, the rest just looked uneasy”
11. Hereditary: Demonstrating that a characteristic is hereditary and not alterable by the environment E.g.
“We found that traditionally main land Chinese expect a “thirteenth month’s pay before Chinese New Year, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“We wouldn’t have any of these problems if we could get more mid-westerners with their good work ethics”
12. Environment: Demonstrating that a characteristic is altered by the environment and claiming that it is not hereditary. E.g.
“We are getting more quality problems since we installed the new line. It’s the new displays they don’t understand”
Since all important human characteristics are environmental, therefore environment is all-important, hereditary unimportant, in human affairs E.g.
“It’s not so much their experience that matters it’s how they are led. We need our leaders to lead not shilly-shally around having more team meetings”
Great, but how can this help me?
This is probably the first thing on your mind after reading this Blog. How about asking us? The first call is free! Just email me to set it up. Don’t wait, get The Crispian Advantage working for you!. If our conversation leaves you needing more, we offer at a reasonable fee telephone and video coaching improve bottom line results. If that still doesn’t do it, we’ll work with you on a solution.
_________________________________________________________________________ For Help in Getting Your People on the Same Page Nick Anderson, The Crispian Advantage
If you think change is expensive, how about failed change?
Instead, how about Focusing Change to Win?
The Cost of Failed Change
Failed change means lost opportunity, competitive vulnerability, poor revenues, lost employees, increased cynicism and fear. Its residue is a hostile and toxic culture, where change resistance becomes the norm.
So, why is this survey important?
Change management’s track record isn’t getting any better and, isn’t likely to, if we don’t do different things. Who says?
Change failure rates continue above 60%
Surveyed executives still say people are the main reason for failed change
World economics are negatively impacting working and commercial relationships
Technology continues to deliver faster, opportunity-rich and competitively challenging solutions that often impact jobs and working relationships.
Change management was never easy, and now is even more challenging. Unfortunately, any consensus on the causes and solutions of failed change remain elusive. Yet, some organizations do manage successful change. This puzzle is what motivated this study and led to this question and our survey:
A Fine Line
What are the meaningful differences between those that thrive on change and those that just survive?
After analyzing over 6000 contributor comments, there are clearly those that understand this condition and those who do not. They realize that working relationships are increasingly stressed in the drive for ever faster responses to competitive threats and opportunities. Unfortunately, this survey confirms other studies. Too many organizations are still trying to do things differently not do different things. In a recent study:
“96% of leaders say their current business models are misaligned with emergent realities, unforeseen challenges and changing priorities. Two-thirds say “extensive changes” are required. Yet they also confess they don’t know how to go about fixing what’s no longer delivering sustainable competitive advantage”
Today leading in a complex world is one of the hot topics being discussed across organization and conferences. Every one faces complexity both in a small or large-scale industry. This complexity is driven by uncertainty and accelerating change. For organizations to thrive in this rapid challenging business environment, leaders must learn to adapt and embrace the complexity, to see it as opportunity to achieve uncommon result. This chapter present valuable insights about KPMG study confronting complexity. It identifies factors that cause complexity. It also suggests ways through which a leader can address complexity and turn it into competitive advantage.
Authors Kelly Nwosu and Nick Anderson
The challenge with managing complexity and leading in a complexity world has become an excuse for some business people to keep the status quo, to abandon thinking ahead and to push strategy to one side, because they don’t believe it can be flexible and responsive enough to help them in a rapidly changing world (ED, 2011). But, most organizations that succeed in the midst of complexity are those that think differently and turn the potential challenges into a competitive advantage. They also see it as an opportunity to make their company more efficient. According to the recent study confronting complexity conducted by KPMG International, the study reveals that more than 90 percent senior executives across 22 countries say their organization’s success depends on managing today’s complex business issues. Yet, less than half executives believe the actions they are taking to manage complexity have been very effective (KPMG, 2011). On the other hand, the IBM survey on global CEO’s also show that the language for reducing complexity has change, CEO’s are now talking about how to transform complexity into an opportunity to gain competitive advantage (Balkan, 2011). In our research, we were able to identify what complexity is all about, factors that cause complexity and actions to discuss the issues of complexity. In particular, this chapter covers three parts. Part 1 focuses on managing complexity while the second part focuses on leading to the essence then part 3 focuses on leading learning.
Since change management came into fashion, a litany of failure has left its mark and our respondent’s echo what many have gone through in the last 8 years. It seems through their eyes, resistance has to be viewed as a “brown field” site. Gone is the naiveté of “a job for life” and an enduring contract between leaders and other stakeholders. Now, change is synonymous with downsizing, doing more for less, etc. For these respondents, they paint a picture of failed change, broken trust, fractured communication and poor leadership. We summarize their comments into the following:
Cultural Toxicity of Failed Change
“If people don’t trust you, what change do you stand?”
“People can’t be bothered”
“What’s in it for me?”
“Not knowing the purpose of it all” – a litany of communication failure
Getting people focused and committed on implementing a strategy has never been more difficult as von Moltke said:
strategic plans do not survive first contact with the enemy, and hence must be always open to revision.
In today’s competitive environment every action has many reactions that aren’t easily anticipated. This is probably a major factor why 60% of change initiatives fail in North America and why something is going wrong with strategic planning.
One area that many executives either ignore or only pay lip service to are the cynicisms that previous initiatives strategic planning have accumulated in the organizations psyche. Here are some that you ignore at your peril
Crucial to understanding your people, as Peter Senge describes, is identifying where people are on the apathy-commitment continuum. He identifies two areas of personal need that they want satisfied in their working lives:
personal benefit which comes from compensation, benefits, position, recognition, or other non-tangible benefits
personal sense of fulfillment of their life’s purpose, vision, or calling.
Leaders need to grasp how well each person’s attitude and their contribution is met directly by company goals or objectives. Then they can assess where people sit on the apathy/commitment continuum. Any misalignment between personal needs and your strategy will generate unproductive or counterproductive behavior, if not actively managed
The avalanche of data at ever increasing speeds creates greater corporate ADHD. The result is decision making suffers from “24×7 news cycle” thinking where now is better than later. Competitively, it means increased market stress and rapid cycles of wicked problem solving. So, what can we learn about remaining competitive?
It’s 20 years since I produced my Masters Thesis on managing change for competitive success based on Pettigrew & Whipp’s research of the later 80s and 90s. Since that time, strategic planning was reborn in the 1990s. New approaches for strategy focused on growth through mergers/acquisitions and joint ventures, generation of innovative ideas through decentralized strategic efforts within the company, emergent strategy, and the leveraging of core competencies to create strategic intent. By the start of this century the focus shifted to strategic and organizational innovation, including reconciling size with flexibility and responsiveness. New alliances mean cooperative strategies, complexity, changes in commitments of corporate social responsibility, etc. Today’s strategic planning and execution requires new models of leadership, less formal structures, and more commitment to self-direction.
Unfortunately, both strategic planning and implementation’s effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired with 60% of all change initiatives failing. Sydney Finkelstein summarizes areas of most strategic planning failure: launching new ventures, promoting innovation and change, managing mergers and acquisitions and responding to new environmental pressures. So in this era of dramatic change, global alliances, and a variety of environmental pressures, the potential for failure is very real.
This blog looks at what leaders need to consider to avoid being another survey statistic.
On both sides of the Atlantic, the employment compact is fracturing along the lines of manufacturing outsourcing, poor change communication and inconsistent leadership. The bottom-line is that “doing more with less”sounds macho in closeted executive strategy sessions. The reality is that those who get the work done feel the stress of over-work and unabated insecurity is eroding trust in their leaders.
How close are we getting to the “old lie”?
Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.( Translation: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”
Wilfred Owen – Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – it is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is great to work your butt off and then a get a pink slip
North Americans grow more cynical of being asked “go the extra mile” with even fewer resources. As a result, change resistance is increasingly more complex and individualistic.
This fracturing eats away at competitiveness. The leadership challenge then is to repair, build and protect the trust people have in their leaders and other functions.
In North America, over the last ten years I have conducted expectation alignment projects in very different organizations like Royal Bank of Canada, Qwest Telecommunications and Turner Construction. In every project, leaders consistently under-estimated the gaps between:
What they expect of their people and what the people actually think is expected of them.
What they think people expect of them and their people actually expect of their leaders
In all projects, leaders had 65%+ more expectations than their people were aware. As you read on you will see that my findings are disturbingly endorsed on both sides of the Atlantic.
Back in 1995 I worked with my client Peter Barlow then VP Global Account Management and Major Projects for APV (Food Process Engineering Company) on developing a Major Account Management System. Now over 15 years on I ask:
What’s changed in Key Account Management 15 years on?
Building and maintaining profitable relationships with your most important customers is more challenging than ever. The stakes are even higher of investing reduced resources on a few customers (accounts) with that nagging doubt of “backing the wrong horse”
“… (Managers) often don’t realize or understand how markets change and believe sales to be just how it was fifteen years ago.” (TACK Sales Leadership Survey 2011)
“Doing business with and actually making money from your largest strategic ‘partners’ has never been more difficult….Only a few corporations are getting it right.” (Richard Ilsley, SMCG 2010)
This blog takes a hard look at strategic, key or major accounts (KAM) and why many senior executives remain concerned 15+ years on. To do this retrospective I have drawn on several current experts in the field including a paper by Richard Ilsley of SMCG, TACK International and Mercuri.
For 40 Years few have challenged Matrix Management’s viability. Most writers remain convinced that a matrix approach is superior to a hierarchy, but why hasn’t it been more successful? This blog looks at pointing the reader to answer:
How do ensure we get the promised rewards of the Matrix?
First, a definition for SHRM
In a matrix structure, an employee reports to two managers who are jointly responsible for the employee’s performance. Typically, one works in an administrative function, such as finance, HR, information technology, sales or marketing, and the other works in a business unit related to a product, service, customer or geography.
The matrix model is a network of interfaces between teams and the functional elements of an organization. As its simplest it is:
I developed this as a discussion paper for a client’s European Sales Management Effectiveness Project. The interesting perspective is how the issues raised in the early 90′s are still validated by Deliotte’s 2010 survey of 250 Sales VPs. It begs the question:
Why are Sales Compensation Hydraulics Still Leaking?
1.1. How do you design a good sales compensation plan?
Specifically, a good plan:
Uses performance metrics that drive the company’s overall strategy;
Ensures roles, skills, selling, processes, internal culture, etc. are consistent with the overall sales force strategy
Are mechanically sound ; and
Can be administered efficiently.
Fits for your sales organization?
Can be administered with existing people, processes, data, and technology
(The following is based on Frank Cespedes book Concurrent Marketing, The Management of Major Sales (Neil Rackham) and 2010 Strategic Sales Compensation Survey by Deloitte & Varicent)
1.2. Compensation Hydraulics springs a leak
Since the mid 90’s the great bulk of literature still emphasizes what might be called
“Compensation Hydraulics”: Push this pay lever and get this kind of behavior.
This type of thinking fails to recognize that sales compensation is dependent upon, data analysis, strategy, values and human motivation. Many forget to ask:
How should we pay our customer facing people? (Which inevitably involves a range of business issues?)
Intervention theory1 and the consulting process2 have developed to provide more effective methods by which organizational change is conducted. These methods have emerged in order to operationalize a theory of changing rather than a theory of change. The latter is what Bennis3 found to be the focus of most discussions on organizational growth and change; yet a theory of changing is needed to create planned change in organizations and not just to explain natural change after the fact.4
People problems are very varied; they can also be complex. There is no all-embracing theory for
understanding them and no magical formulas guaranteed to solve them. The problem-solver, where people problems are concerned, must be an experimenter. There are, however, a few guidelines which, if observed, will help to save the problem-solver from wasting time and effort on ultimately unprofitable activities.
Managing Change for Competitive Success – Questionnaire
This interview structure is designed to help interviewees talk about their principles and core values about leading which guide their behavior at work. In each section, interviewees are asked about their proposals for change and how they should be implemented and then asking why they feel implementing such proposals are necessary. It is this “why” question which is the most important. It is the answers to these “why” questions that particularly should allow comparisons between each interviewee’s guiding principles and values of leading, in specific situations. It should then help us decide how we are going to develop a coherent sales strategy by understanding what people mean by:
“building a rich, engaging purpose”
“creating more effective management processes”
“developing their capabilities and broadening the way they look at the world of work”
This discussion starter gets leaders thinking about leadership and help them move toward consensus before starting a major change initiative. (For more in-depth discussion please go to the Leading in Complexity Blog Series).
A critical issue is helping the team to “walk through” the range of relations they will meet managing change, dealing with the practicalities and intricacies
of people, departments, factions and geographies.
A large part of the task is not just ensuring leaders understand their change environment but that the organization can continue to learn and act on over time.
A frequent and often crucial situation in management today is one in which one person is seeking to persuade another to accept proposals for change. This situation commonly occurs when a subordinate presents a case to his or her boss.
Unfortunately, people usually spend a great deal more time and effort in collecting supporting facts and figures than in planning for the face-to-face interaction on which the success of the whole exercise usually depends. Careful consideration of interactive strategy at the planning stage can both assist in the selection of effective arguments and result in more persuasive interactions.
This discussion of the issues involved concentrates on persuasion in the boss-subordinate context; but the principles considered apply equally well to any situation in which one person is seeking to gain the co-operation or the consent of another.
So, more people across the company need to communicate with customers and prospects before, during and after the sale. This increases complexity and the difficulty of “Keeping Everyone On The Same Page”