Friday, March 22, 2019

What is Innovation?

Innovation is developing new ideas that lead to the creation of new products, processes, or services. Innovation is using out-of-the-box thinking to drive change. 

Surveys tell us that over 85% of businesses believe that innovation is a priority for them. Innovation can mean creating and implementing new ideas, developing new products or improving existing products and services.

Innovation also known as change means to alter or to be different. Change is not a new leadership concept. Change is the only thing that is really constant in business. Without change, improvement and progress would not happen. 

Change can be either planned or unplanned. Planned change is a process that involves strategic planning to reach goals and objectives. Unplanned change happens suddenly as a result of specific circumstances.

Change can be driven by internal or external forces. Internal forces are factors within the organization such as culture, values, policies, processes. External forces are factors that come from outside of the organization such as economic factors, competition, and consumer needs. 

Innovative leadership is having a shared vision for innovation; open idea exchange, rewards, and recognition that encourages an active flow of ideas. Innovative leadership is actively removing organizational barriers to innovation. No criticism of new ideas, freedom to move beyond traditional methods, and constant communication. 

An innovative approach to leadership means to bring new thinking and different actions to how you lead. How can you be agile in the absence of information or standard policies? How can you think differently about your leadership style and the future challenges you and your employees face? 

Innovative leadership involves creating an organizational climate where employees apply innovative thinking to solve problems and develop new products and services. How can you help others to think differently and work in new ways to face challenges? How can you keep your organization alive and a step ahead of the competition?

Four Steps to Help Drive Innovation

1. Set the example.

2. Communicate constantly.

3. Implement innovation-friendly policies.

4. Do not hide from failure.

The use of innovative leadership and the creative thinking that supports change - is the key to finding what's better, what's new, and what's next. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking in business is a method for dealing with complex problems. Critical thinking is to examine something in a systematic way in order to understand or interpret it better.

Critical thinking (CT) is used to gain a greater insight into, and interpretation of, complex issues and problems. 

5 Elements of Critical Thinking 

1. The ability to distinguish between difficult and complex problem types. 

The difference between difficult and complex is that a difficult problem is hard, not easy, and it requires a lot of effort.
A complex problem is also difficult but different because it is made up of several parts, not just a single element.

2. The ability to identify important information and turn it into solutions.

3. The ability to identify and recognize harmful beliefs and values, and challenge them. 

4. The ability to identify the existence of logical connections between one issue and another related issue.

5. The ability to draw effective conclusions to what actions are required.

What is Thinking Complexity?

As a manager, the goal is to minimize problems -which means we must look for problems before they surface.

If we want to be successful in leadership, we need to improve our thinking skills so that we can deal with the complexity of challenges in business.

The ability to simplify complex problems is an asset to individual leaders and to the organizations they serve. The best way to learn this leadership ability is to try and understand what it is that successful leaders with a high degree of thinking complexity do.

What Do Leaders With High Thinking Complexity Do?

1. They Use Systems Thinking.

Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things regarded as systems influence one another within a complete group.

System thinking requires a change in thinking away from individual, controlling views, and toward views of organizations as complex structures that encourage continuous learning.

Systems thinking is different from that of traditional forms of management thinking and evaluation. Traditional management thinking focuses more on separating the individual parts of what is being evaluated. 

Systems thinking focuses more on how the thing being evaluated interacts with other issues. A set of elements that interact to produce a behavior.
This means instead of isolating smaller parts of an issue or problem being evaluated, systems thinking works by expanding its view to take into account a larger number of interactions as a problem is being evaluated.

2. Leaders With High Thinking Complexity constantly seek feedback and new information. 

They tend to be more open to new information, they attempt to unify separate things. 

3. They Simplify Complexity For other people.

The most successful leaders today seem to be able to simplify complexity for their teams.
They make sense out of issues and problems that are multidimensional and connected. This is how they help those they lead deal with increasing complexity. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Great Leaders Simplify Complexity

The most successful leaders today seem to be able to simplify complexity for their teams. This is a good way to drive change. Jump over the complexity. You can drive change by helping people deal with the increased complexity in the work environment. You can help them make sense out of issues and problems that are multidimensional and connected. 

Although there is no one solution to dealing with organizational complexity, keep the focus on organizational challenge, not the leader. Our surveys suggest that as work environments get more complex, employees prefer nontechnical communication. 

Be careful that you do not use too much technology. A computer can tell you how many employees you have, it cannot tell you how many hearts you move. Leadership is a people business.

To better manage change and organizational complexity, leaders need to understand how the employees at all levels see it, and then recognize what 's driving it. We want to retain the kinds of complexity that adds value, remove the kinds that don't. 

When you approach a complex problem, start small. Define the problem in a single sentence. After you compress  the problem, gather the facts that surround it.
Consider some of the possible solutions. What you are going to do about the problem, how you are going to implement the solution, and how you are going to evaluate the results. 

The best approach to solving a problem depends on the situation. In some cases, a manager is better off learning everything they can about the problem and then using the facts to come up with a solution. The old management saying "gather the facts and then react".   Sometimes this works.

In other cases, brainstorming and creativity might be the best approach. When trying to solve a problem, it is important to follow a problem solving cycle, which includes gathering knowledge and creating strategies.

The 7 Basic Steps of a Problem Solving Cycle 

1. Identifying the problem

2. Defining the problem 

3. Gathering and organizing information 

4. Creating strategy 

5. Allocating resources

6. Monitoring progress

7. Evaluating results

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Creating a New Climate

Culture and climate are two factors of an organizations environment that can either hurt or help your change initiatives.The terms  culture and climate describe the environment that affects the attitude and behaviors of both managers and employees in an organization.

Culture is all about beliefs, traditions, and values (what the company beliefs and how they have always done it).

Climate is all about leadership style, organizational structure, and standards of behavior (the current feeling of the company).

Organizational climate reflects the physical and psychological aspects of the organization that are most open to change and that provide the preconditions necessary for change to take place.

In other words, climate is all about a new leadership style that creates improved attitudes and behaviors. Climate is about how employees "feel" about coming to work each day.

A new organizational climate is driven by management structure and leadership style.There are several aspects of an organization's physical and social environment that comprise its climate. 

4 Major Areas of Organizational Climate

1. Physical Environment -

A physical environment that is welcoming and open to change and innovation. A physical environment that encourages employee participation and engagement.

Work areas are open,  visible and inviting. Noise level is low. Employees  feel, safe and comfortable everywhere on company property. Work areas are clean, updated, employee friendly. Employees have sufficient resources and supplies to perform their job. Employees are involved in the leadership and operation of the organization.

2. Social Environment  - 

A social environment  that promotes communication and employee engagement.

An environment that supports learning. Open communication and interaction is encouraged. Management and employees  communicate daily. Employees are partners in the management process.

When possible, decisions are made with the participation of employees. Managers are open to employees' suggestions, employees have opportunities to participate in decision-making.

Management and employees are trained to prevent and resolve conflicts.

3. Positive Environment  -

A positive environment  that promotes a sense of belonging and value. 

All interaction of management with employees is supportive, respectful, responsive, and caring. Employees trust management and the organization.
Management and employees are friendly. Standards of behavior are high among management and employees. The organization is open to diversity and welcoming to all cultures. 

Employees feel that they are contributing to the success of the organization. The leadership and organization are respected by the employees.

4. Environment that Promotes Learning -

An environment  that promotes learning and self-fulfillment.

Management  methods respect the different ways employees learn. All employees are encouraged to succeed. 

Progress is monitored and evaluated regularly. Results of assessments are communicated to employees.Results of assessments are used to evaluate and redesign policies and procedures.Team and individual achievements and performance are rewarded and praised.  Managers are confident and knowledgeable.

What makes organizations with great climates and cultures different?

1. They are full of good managers and team leaders. These leaders, by themselves, create a new climate that slowly shifts culture.  

It is the talent, knowledge, and skills of the leader that creates the new climate. Before you can drive change, you must position leadership for change. 

2. They Require that all of their management people coach their team members every week and touch base with them every day.

3. They Create a new climate that transforms organizational culture and leadership style from one that dictates change from the top down
to one that encourages and drives change from the bottom up.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Why Do Most Change Initiatives Fail?

Although the need for organizational change is huge, most change initiatives are not fully successful. 
If you want to be successful at change management you have to change the way you think about driving change, not just thinking outside the box, but leading outside of the box.

Put your focus on employee pull, not on the "push" methods of traditional management. Pull your employees to success. Don't try to push them. Driving change is all about changing employee behavior and attitude.

5 Top Reasons Why Organizational Change Fails

1. Lack of management support.

2. Lack of employee involvement.

3. Lack of communication.

4. Lack of planning and evaluation.

5. Lack of perceived need for change.

Research tells us that about 60% of change initiatives fail. But, if we look at the top 20% of the organizations in the US only about 20% of their change initiatives fail.

So, why do average organizations fail with their change plans 60% of the time? How do the top 20% of the organizations succeed 80% of the time?

When I work with organizations, the answer to a failed change plan is always the same.  Come up with another change plan. If that one fails, they repeat the process.

This is the traditional way of approaching change management. If the change plan fails, it must be the plan! So, we go back to the drawing board.  Conduct a few more brainstorming meetings, have our key management people write up a few reports, send out more emails, create more task forces, etc. 

The problem with change management is not the change plan. The problem is how most managers go about implementing the change plan. There is a difference between change management and change leadership.

Conducting meetings, writing reports, changing policies, and creating task forces is all important but that is not change leadership.  It is change management.

If all we do is manage change, how do we create the space for change to happen?
When I work with organizations, I like to ask management people this question:

What do you spend most of your time on each day? Meetings and emails is the most common answer. 

Before change management can work, we need to change what we value. Instead of doing more
management things, we need to do less. Get rid of some traditional management things and replace them with leadership activity.

Top organizations are more successful with their change initiatives because they are leading them, not managing them.Most of the organizations that I work with the managers have an addiction to over thinking.They focus on processes and policies, not on culture, behaviors and attitudes.

They over manage change. You need to motivate, inspire, and drive change, not  manage it.
We need to stop over managing and start involving the people in the change process.

A Killer Approach to Change Management

1. Ask your people killer questions.  You cannot dictate change. Ask them what they would do?  How do they feel about it? 

2. Kill some of the rules, policies, and traditions. It is too many rules, policies, and too much management that kills creativity and innovation. 

3. Kill complexity.  Make things simple.

Why are most organizations overloaded with change plans?

There are many reasons, here's three common ones:

1. Leaders love coming up with ideas to make things better and when they do, they usually create another change plan.Too many of them don't think about what implementing the change will cost in terms of time and money. They have the attitude "we'll find a way," even though the employees are already overloaded with work.

2. When something doesn't work, there is an urge to correct the problem immediately. Too many times we focus on the problem, not the cause of the problem. 

3. Being proactive is looked at as a good leadership trait, causing leaders to create more change plans just to get recognition and look good.

The change policies, processes, and procedures that were implemented to simplify and improve operations usually becomes more and more complicated with each new change initiative. 

Before you implement another change plan, slow down and evaluate the big picture. Don't just implement a series of efforts to fix symptoms, make sure that you are fixing the root cause of the problem. Don't overload the organization with change initiatives that produce little or no benefit. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

How Successful are Organizations at Implementing Change?

IBM quizzed over 1,500 leaders, sponsors, and change managers from some of the leading organizations in the world. 

The IBM survey covered a wide range of small to large projects designed to implement organizational, operational, strategic, and technology based change. 

The IBM survey reinforces the idea that for companies to survive in today's competitive climate, they will need to successfully drive change.

The IBM study reveals that the percentage of CEOs expecting substantial change has increased from 65% to over 80% in the last few years. 

How successful are organizations at implementing change?

The IBM study reports most CEO's consider themselves and their organizations largely ineffective at bringing about change. 

They reported the following change program success rates:

41% met all of their objectives.

44% missed one or more of their objectives.

15% missed all of their objectives or aborted the project.

Although 59% of change initiatives failed to meet their objectives, the top 20% of organizations, the study reported, are successful 80% of the time. 
The bottom 20% of the organizations only achieve their change objectives 8% of the time. 

The IBM study provides valuable information about the key barriers to successful change.

What are these barriers to change?

- 8% Technology 

- 12% Change of IT systems 

- 15% Change of process 

- 16% Lack of employee motivation 

- 18% Lack of transparency because of missing or wrong information 

- 20% Lack of change know how 

- 32% A lack of support and commitment from Top management

- 33% Lack of resources

- 35% Complexity is underestimated 

- 49% Culture issues

- 58% Problems changing mindsets and attitudes 

When IBM uncovered the key success factors of driving change, it highlights the items that enable successful change. 

What are the key issues that help drive change?

- 19%  Incentives

- 33% Efficient organizational structure 

- 36% Adjustment of performance measures 

- 38% Training programs 

- 48% Change supported by culture 

- 55% Change agents  

- 65% Culture that motivates and drives change 

- 70% Honest & Open Communication

- 72% Employee involvement 

- 92% Top management support

Today's business climate is causing organizations to change their traditional view of change. Change can no longer happen in isolation - it must impact the whole organization, and involve all of the people in the organization from the bottom up. 

Before you can manage change, you must first determine what change management actually means in your situation. For example, do you have sponsorship for the change at the top management level? Can you get "buy-in" from all of those involved and affected, directly or indirectly by the change? 

If you want to be a successful change agent, spend as much time on the emotions of the people as the elements of change. 

New Change Management Model

1. Involves the team

2. Communicates constantly

3. Plans properly

4. Creates urgency

5. Encourages creativity

6. Uses collaboration

7. Finds solutions

8. Never gives up

Old Change Management Model

1. Does not involve the team

2. Poor communication

3. Poor planning

4. Uses fear

5. Limits creativity

6. Divides people

7. Creates more problems

8. Poor follow-up

Prepare your employees for change, starting with management: The process of change doesn't happen in a day.
Through  communication and experiences employees can process and accept change by understanding what it means for them. 

If you want your employees to learn a new way, you have to deprogram them from the old way. Change management is all about changing employee behavior and attitudes.

To move forward, management needs to communicate the value and advantage of change. As employees begin to replace current beliefs with new ones, create opportunities for employee input. 

Involve the People in the Change Process

1. Make sure that they understand the purpose for change.

2. Let them play a part in planning the change.

3. Let them help create a picture of desired outcome.

4. Help them develop new behaviors.