My 2 year old understands more about leading organizational change than many corporate executives. He recently started counting out loud, and he’s good. Typically he counts like this:
“One, two, five, nine,” or “One, two, six, eight, five.”
See how hard things get after two?
So why do so many companies have umpteen improvement initiatives spread across multiple divisions with teams that wind up changing what other teams changed before the first change even got fielded? Whew! Talk about confusing!
If you don’t believe my 2 year old, how about Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler?
The authors of Influencer suggest that just a few initiatives, with overwhelming attention and support brought to bear across all levels of the organization, have a much greater chance of success. Take a look at the framework* they provide for change by addressing both ability and motivation at the individual, peer, and institutional levels.
Within the organization change management community, the best tools I’ve found that support this type of approach are the Capability Maturity Models from the CMMI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University**. Their focus on practices that support institutionalization of processes across an organization, in addition to the entire People CMM, map very well to many of the ideas presented in Influencer.
As we approach the holiday season and prepare for the new year, do yourselves and your organizations a favor: Look at all the change and improvement initiatives currently on the table…and count no higher than two.
*I have no affiliation with any of these authors or their materials; I’m just a fan.
**I am currently a CMMI Institute-certified lead appraiser and instructor for the CMMIs for Acquisition, Development, and Services.