The CHANGE…. as can be seen…..@ April,2012 edition of Leadership Development Carnival, hosted by Shri Tanmay Vora

April, 2012 edition of Leadership Development Carnival, hosted by Shri Tanmay Vora  has also not missed the perennial feature of any major discussions on leadership development – CHANGE.

We begin our sojourn of Change by first looking at “The Adaptability Paradox” – the difficulty we have as leaders staying current and ‘learning through’ the change.

The author, Linda Fisher Thornton, talks to us “about how difficult it can be to change when we have been successfully doing something the same way for a long time.

The well worn path that we have followed for years is easy to follow. We know the rules, the processes, the tools, the pitfalls and all other aspects of that path.

Our comfort with that path makes it harder for us to see that even though the ‘way we have always done things’ has led us to success in the past, it may not in the future.

Sometimes the familiarity of the well worn path makes it harder for us to see what’s changing around us. And even if we do see changes, we have to choose to adapt to them. One element that makes it difficult for us to easily embrace change is the time involved in learning new ways of doing things.

The paradox is this – When I adapt to change, it will be MORE DIFFICULT short term and also EASIER long term.”  She calls this as “The Adaptability Paradox”.

“Initially, we must accept that it will be more difficult as we learn new tools, skills and approaches. Long-term, our productivity will increase and it will be easier for us to get work done. When we learn through the changes, our lives and work become EASIER because we are approaching them in new successful ways – with new thinking, new tools, new information and new skills.

Here are some of the warning signs that our skills are becoming outdated:

  • People are routinely using terminology we don’t know
  • It is becoming more difficult to get things done the way we’ve always done them
  • People are not seeking out our input the way they used to
  • Coworkers are adapting to new approaches and are more productive than we are
  • There are new studies, books and articles being mentioned that we haven’t read
  • There is free technology for improving efficiency in our line of business that we aren’t using
  • We feel out of the loop somehow but can’t quite figure out why

If we miss the signs of change (or if we see the signs but do not adapt), our skills become outdated fast – just as fast as the speed of change.

When a change in the world, our world, becomes a change we’ve ignored, then by doing nothing, we are actively choosing the more difficult path in the long run.”

This leads us to the next logical step, and also the article of the Carnival: Are You Ready for Change? In this article Guy Farmer first indentifies “signs that you or your organization may not be quite ready for change:

  • Leaders and employees emphasize how things have always been done.
  • It takes a long time for any new idea to be considered.
  • Leadership doesn’t listen to suggestions or a variety of perspectives.
  • Decisions have always been made by the same individuals or group.
  • Leaders view change as admitting failure or as a threat to their authority.
  • Leadership is happy with the culture of the company but nobody else is.
  • The prevailing leadership style is reactive and focused on the past.
  • Change is only discussed as a negative or something to be avoided.”

He then lists “Signs that you’re ready for change:

  • Leaders and employees are open to doing things differently.
  • New ideas are entertained and considered promptly.
  • Leadership is open to suggestions and varying perspectives.
  • Independent decision-making is encouraged at every level.
  • Leaders see change as an opportunity to grow and lead more effectively.
  • People work together to build a culture that benefits everyone.
  • The preferred leadership style is proactive and forward-looking.
  • Change is openly talked about and used as a tool for progress.”

So “Is your approach to change more like the first list or the second? … When you resist change, you’ll likely find yourself dreading anything that’s different and scrambling to put out fires and stifling progress. If you invite change, you’ll enjoy dealing with the challenges that come your way and building workplaces that’s flexible and agile.”

We thus proceed to Blanchard’s culture guru S. Chris Edmonds’ article “Leaders, Change What You Pay Attention To”, where he shares a ‘best practice’ recommendation: “leaders must change what they notice. Every day.” while taking up the required culture change.

The “culture change model requires that companies be very disciplined in setting expectations on two fronts: performance and values.” He notes that in most organizations, the leadership does work hard enough to enhance the performance clarityHowever, the importance of value clarity seems to be overlooked.

“Most leaders in organizations have been trained to look at performance metrics. Organizational systems have been designed and refined to present up-to-the-moment data about performance metrics. Those metrics typically include:

  • Widgets out the door
  • Quality of products and services
  • Financials, including revenue, expenses, and net profits
  • Waste, scrap, and/or recovery
  • Labor costs
  • Raw materials costs
  • Market share
  • Customer satisfaction

“These are important metrics to track as they all contribute to or erode financial success and the long-term viability of the enterprise.

“However, they are not the ONLY metrics leaders must observe closely. And, suggesting that leaders spend 50% of their time and attention on things OTHER than performance metrics causes consternation (and worse).

“Why? Most leaders have not experienced an organizational culture that requires values alignment as well as high performance. Without relevant role models or “on the job” training for managing values AND performance, organizational leaders don’t know what to “do differently” to do those things effectively.

“The leaders need to Pay Attention to Value Metrics, Too. These values metrics provide insights into how well the employee population believes that their company trusts, respects, and honors them, day in and day out.

  • Employee morale
    Do employees believe the company is a good place to work? Do they recommend that others work there (or stay away)? Do employees apply discretionary energy to their work tasks and opportunities?
  • Employee perceptions of the company’s culture
    Do employees believe that the organization has their best interests at heart? Does the corporate culture enable staff to share hopes and dreams about the future? Are they happy about working in the company?
  • Employee perceptions of the company’s leaders
    Do employees believe leaders are credible, behave with integrity? Do employees believe what leaders tell them? Do employees rally around leaders during times of stress or do they disconnect?

“How do you measure traction in these metrics? Wander around your workplace. Ask questions. Listen. Conduct regular employee surveys. Hold leaders and staff for values expectations.

“To free up time, energy, and space to observe these values metrics, leaders must delegate some of what they’ve been doing to stay on top of performance metrics to trusted, talented staff. Very capable staff are ready to provide data that enables leaders to keep track of performance standards and accountability.

“Great bosses create safe and positive workplace that inspires high performance and values alignment.”

The secret to creating a sustainable business that creates passionate employees who exceed performance standards and consistently wow your customers is embedded in the graphic the “Performance Values Matrix”, at left, in the Blanchard’s culture change model.

This model comes from Jack Welch, who, while President/CEO of General Electric, was the first corporate senior leader to formally hold leaders and managers in his organization accountable for both performance and values.

“To make your company values measurable and actionable, follow these steps to define your values in behavioral terms.

  1. For each value, brainstorm potential behaviors that you’d be PROUD to see all staff demonstrate when they’re modeling this value.
  2. Cull through the behaviors to reduce the list to three to five behaviors per value.
  3. For each behavior, define three key measures: “exceeds standard,” “meets standard,” and “needs improvement.”
  4. Test these measurements with key players throughout the organization.

5.    Survey entire organization using your custom values assessment, twice each year. Publish results throughout the organization in as many ways as necessary to ensure all staff know how the organization is doing with the goal of “modeling our values.””

We, thus, had great pleasure at looking in great, verbatim details, each of the articles on the subject of CHANGE in the present April 2012 edition of Leadership Development Carnival. The adaptability [to the Change]has in-built inherent paradox, understanding which gives a clear perspective to our readiness for the Change. All, and any, change, in the ultimate analysis call for building up safe and positive workplace that inspires high performance and values alignment.


In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

13 thoughts on “The CHANGE…. as can be seen…..@ April,2012 edition of Leadership Development Carnival, hosted by Shri Tanmay Vora”

  1. We have a very interesting article ‘Inspire People to Change‘, by Mr.Paul B. Thornton, MBA, M.Ed., on “Great Leadeship
    The author has following to recommend as regards What to Do:
    “First, inspire yourself. Discover what gets you excited. Second, think about your life stories. What challenges and obstacles have you faced and overcome? Craft your own personal stories that you can use to inspire others. Third, build your vocabulary. Ed Zimmer, Founder and President, Zimmer Foundation says that a large vocabulary helps you select the best words to sell your ideas and inspire people to change.

  2. “Organizations, and the people within them, must constantly re-invent themselves to remain competitive. As a result, today’s leaders must do more than manage the status quo – leaders must be champions in change readiness – the ability to continuously initiate and respond to change in ways that create advantage, minimize risk, and sustain performance.” writes Rick Toben in his article ’14 key change management elements’.
    These tips add to much needed arsnel of multi-dimensional views in order to anticpate the change.

  3. Flexbility is totally essentail always. If value metrics fall, performance metrics plummet immediately afterwards. Leaders MUST be open and observant and plan creative ways to incorporate the building of value metrics and performance metrics in a seamless intertwining of incentives for both types of metrics.

    1. I have been re[ probably nth time]reading Perry Mason novels.
      He describes this quality of flexibilty as ‘somewaht ability and lot of agility’.
      In my undersatnding, this means that one should be able to foresee the changing kaleidoscope and be able to adapt to the cahnges as they happen.
      This is more a mindset issue than ability issue.

  4. We have two good articles on the subject of CHANGE::
    Holy Change, Batman! The Six Essential Tools Every Change Agent Needs — “a few must-haves for any change adventurer. Plenty of room left to add your favorites as well. Stock your Utility Belt now and have it ready. The next time a change jumps out at you – “Pow!” “Blam!” – you’ll be ready.”
    Responding to Change: Will You Be a Victim or Architect of the Future? — “For better or worse more change is headed your way. The good news is YOU are in charge! What do you want to improve? Your processes, your business, your personal life? You can drive that change starting today! Unwanted change forced on you? ”
    Both articles are authored by Jeff Cole

  5. Mr. Tim Milburn presents this “equation, ito create a working plan to make the change happen (move toward better) :Purpose + Strategy + Influence + Communication + Resources = Leads to Actual Change – People will move toward accepting your change.”
    He has then used the same equation to create all nonacceptable situations [ Chnage, certainly not, for better] in his article “Finding the Right Formula For Change

  6. We have two excellent additions to the topic – Change – from Process Excellence Network articles.
    In the first one – The PDCA Cycle for a Change LeaderJohn W Moran sets the tone by a quote from Confucius:”Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” He proceeds with “two aspects of making an organizational change.The first is leadership of the change. This consists of creating the vision of the future, the passion for the change, modeling the required type of new behavior, and a description of the driving forces that are making the organization change necessary. The second aspect is the development of the change management process which is the structure in which the organization will facilitate the change. This structure consists of tools, trainings, and techniques to keep the change effort on track.
    He has also very adroitly woven the ” definition of a change leader by Lao-Tsu (604 B.C) when he stated – “As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate. When the best leader’s work is done the people say, We did it ourselves!””
    And finally he states that “PDCA model requires a leader to Plan what they are going to say before they speak, Do deliver a consistent message at all times to the organization about the change, Check to see if what they are saying is inspiring the action required to make the change, and then Act to provide nurturing and care to areas in the organization not moving forward as quickly as desired and to ensure that the gains achieved are held.”

    In the follow-up article –Four Secrets for Leading Successful Change – he takes “it a little bit further and propose four essential ingredients to making change successful.
    These are:
    “#1: Start by building the case for change
    # 2: Develop a consistent message (and keep it consistent!)
    # 3: Don’t underestimate the amount of effort this will take (and don’t lose confidence)
    # 4: View each interaction as an opportunity to engage others in change.”
    His concluding remarks say it all:
    “The change leader must build the belief in the organization for the need for change. This is done by delivering a clear and consistent message on why the change is needed. This consistent message helps build the belief at all levels in the organization for the need to change. This increased belief helps spread the adoption and ownership of the change. The more belief we build, the more adoption we get, and the cultural transformation occurs.

    Once the change is in place one of the side benefits is that the change leader has built up trust in their leadership and imbedded the will and skills in the organization for future change.”

  7. Executive Velocity, a leadership development assessment and coaching firm committed to ensuring the success of top-level executives and business leaders of fast growing and mid-size companies, states that “Good leaders embrace change and know how to guide their members through it.” in thier blog past – Leading Teams Through Change At Work: Tips for Team Leaders – by Beth Miller.
    In that article, the first step -to help yourself – provides an important insight. In effect, “leaders need to take a good look at themselves and seek to understand how change affects them.”
    “As the leader, being highly visible and accessible to your members during change is critical to successful change management. It’s a good idea to celebrate each and every success and make sure members continue to understand why the change is necessary. Update people along the way, and also share any failures, because your team will likely encounter some along the way … Another practice worth considering is using storytelling to lead people through change. In her book, Tales for Change: Using Storytelling to Develop People and Organizations, Margaret Parkin talks about how storytelling can help people embrace and work through change….“The true impact of a leader depends on the story that he or she relates or embodies, and the reception to that story by the organizational audience,” Howard Gardner writes in his book Leading Minds.”

  8. “Change agents spend a great deal of time helping to escort others in an organization through complex changes. But who helps the change agents when they’re on the receiving end of a change? This month, columnist Jeff Cole pulls back the curtain to look behind the scenes at how to manage your own reactions to change.” – Change Agents: What Do You Do When You’re On The Receiving End Of Change.

    “We’re all leaders and change agents either formally or informally. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have an official title and dozens or hundreds of people reporting to you. Individual contributors are change agents in their own right. The secret is this: if you want to lead people through change, you personally have to absorb that change first (and quickly) in order to help others. How can you manage yourself through a change? Here are a couple tips:
    1.Keep your eyes moving 2. If – Then Thinking [if your main route to work is blocked, then you take an alternate route. Some people don’t think to apply this to other areas of their processes or lives. It’s worth a little time thinking in advance — If xyz happens, then I will ….] 3.Stimulus-response [Each choice you make sends you in a distinct direction. One choice leads to another and they build upon each other to send you to a specific destination – your destiny if you will. The choices are yours and yours alone. ] 4. Have yourself as a client [Some of the toughest and most successful people on earth started in very adverse conditions and pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. We all have a multi-faceted version of ourselves in our heads. Tap into the right version of you to help advise the “rest of you” on how to respond to the latest change that just came out of left field.]

    Change unfolds in many ways, directions, and speeds. Using these tips can help keep you nimble and often allow you to “spin” a change in a way advantageous to you!”

  9. “Former US president John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”.

    And business seems to be where the adaptation to change — or lack thereof — seems to have some of the most significant impact.

    Before you can overcome the resistance it is wise to be aware of why the resistance exists. Usually it is a result of one of the following causes…
    •People not agreeing with or understanding the value / benefits of the innovation.
    •Fear of the unknown.
    •People have had no opportunity to provide input in the planning or implementation of the change.
    •Little or no reward / benefits to the people impacted by the idea.
    •Increased effort from people required as a result of implementing the idea.
    •Fear that the change will result in job cuts.
    •Personality clashes between the people affected by the idea and the ideas inventor.
    •No trust of the people who have been mandated to implement the change
    •Belief that the change is unnecessary or will make the situation worse
    •A belief that the idea is inferior to another idea.
    •A feeling that the change will result in a loss of security, status, money or friends.
    •Bad experiences from similar changes that had been or been attempted to be implemented in the past.

    Change is necessary, resistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated. ”

    Courtsey:Resistance to Change is Futile, You Will Be Assimilated

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