This Thursday at 9am Pacific Time, I'm moderating the monthly member call for the LinkedIn group Strategic Sourcing & Procurement. Group members know that I choose the topic every month based on feedback, ideas and volunteers from the members. So when Maureen Kelsey stepped up and offered to share some of her insights on 'change & transformation' for our February call, I was thrilled. It's a hot topic and one that many group members....as well as Ariba Exchange readers...are focused on.
If you can, join the call.
And if you're joining, it will help you to read the interview below that I did over email with Maureen. Consider it homework.
Question: What prompted you to approach me about the 'change & transformation' topic for one of our group member calls?
Maureen Kelsey (MK): Several months ago I was asked by McKinsey to participate in a global survey on the topic of change and transformation of organizations. The results were published on 27 December 2010 under the heading:
“Though a majority of respondents at publicly traded companies say their redesigns increased shareholder value, only a very small group of respondents—8 percent of those who have been through a redesign—say their efforts added value, were completed on time, and fully met their business objectives.”
As we are focused on change and transformation and have already extensive, widely published evidence that the vast majority of these initiatives are unsuccessful, one can wonder why organizations continue to do the same thing over and over expecting different results, a commonly held expression of insanity.
And let’s consider too why so many hold on so tight to the mechanistic approach in light of the fact that humans are part of Nature, also widely published and surely no secret that organizations are systems comprised of living organisms—people.
Let’s do some grounding looking at some recently published articles, like the article published 26 December 2010 by various online sources, such as yahoo and CNN: “According to a recent survey by job-placement firm Manpower, 84% of employees plan to look for a new position in 2011. That's up from just 60% last year shows that 84% of American workers want to leave their jobs.”
In this article Lauren says: "I'm currently in an environment where I'm not learning anything and am not challenged by any of my work," she said. "It just makes me feel like I'm wasting my time." One needs to ask the question, if 84% seek work elsewhere, where will they go, from one meaningless organization to another?
A final example that shows just how “out of tune” organizations / systems are, is a recently published “I'm Bored - The Significance Manifesto”, a part of which follows:
“I'm bored (when I'm not horrified) by the fact that most boardrooms seem to be on a quest to win the gold medal in this year's Sociopathy Olympics. And I'm bored of excuses that are instantly, constantly cooked up about it. "The market demands it." "Our investors made us do it." What is this, first grade?”
Question: How can we understand what all this could mean?
MK: An observation made by Carl G Jung:
“Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.”
Consider too Deming’s Profound Knowledge Model which shows psychology is one of the 4 points underlying system, knowledge and variation.
In systems thinking, knowledge is the product of science which occurs within the system or organization, while understanding is the product of why (and often whys) which occurs outside the system.
Both are equally important although it is a common mistake that an imbalance exits between the two as understanding is so often considered unimportant, like the necessity of head and heart.
It is advantageous to learn the dynamics, in particular typology, or how your own individual psyche works and how psychic energies function in humanity.
Deming’s Profound Knowledge Model
System * Knowledge * Variation / Psychology
Certainly, focusing in the McKinsey Report on the “How the best organizations do it” provides truly beneficial information. An issue of particular interest, as one of the root causes, is:
“However, among respondents at the most successful organizations, the challenge most frequently cited as the most harmful is company leadership undermining the change. In our experience, this tends to happen when leaders wait too long to make difficult talent-management changes.”
The above represents a personal observation that I have made for years—most companies have been and continue profiling out diversity and talent who have the needed skills to bring about successful change and transformation.
Here, I would like to restate a part of Jung’s observation:
If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.”
In Eugene Pascal’s book, “Jung to Live By” he mentions that the process of alchemy shows that there is opportunity for 80% of lead to be transformed to gold. In this regard, may the light shine upon us all and may we consider:
“Man's task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious.
We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
C G Jung
Let’s consider too some wise words by Albert Einstein: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Question: How can we look at change differently?
MK: We can look at Change and Transformation as a process, adaptable, agile, flexible….. to living organisms, like orgs that are comprised of people).
Process summarized: See + Do + Finish
First barrier: Failure to see the need and overcoming resistance.
Overcoming first barrier and creating the See –create a powerful contrast (see, hear, taste, smell, touch) between what people have thought and what needs to be and engage with them in an experiential way to breakthrough this initial barrier.
This function is the same way we physically see something. We need contrast and we see things best that are directly in front of us. Creating the contrast or difference and then experientially engaging the people.
Second barrier: Failure to get people capable to do something new that they have never done before; overcoming the “I don’t know how and/ or I’m not good at it.
I’d rather be good at the wrong thing than bad at the new thing.”
Overcoming the second barrier: Think through capabilities of people’s ability to actually make the move (change) becoming capable so that they good do it. To make individuals capable, it is necessary to pay attention to the active development of the individuals, helping them by giving them knowledge, training, technology, encouragement and support. Give people confidence through new skills.
Third barrier: Failure to finish because it takes time, one can get tired; lot’s of energy at the outset with no results to show. It’s like when a child always asks on a trip, Are we there yet?
Overcoming the third barrier: Someone close to the individuals because when one is tired and just wants to give up, because it’s just exhausting, someone tells them it’s worth it. Champions are needed not only at the top but also close by where the work gets done continuing to encourage because there’s so much energy at the beginning without any result. People need to feel that someone cares about their success. Help them know where we are at, all the feedback about this and lots of encouragement in a real, authentic way.
Key elements of the process: Personalized introspection, using intrinsic motivation, keeping it simple or practical and at the same time powerful with integrity, dignity and sincerity with and for the individual(s).