I once worked with a company during a change initiative when a company’s business was not going particularly well. The CEO called a meeting of his upper management to discuss how things weren’t going particularly well. A huge process change was three months behind schedule and already $20 million over budget. He began by opening the meeting with, “I want to know who is responsible for the mess we are in, so we can fix this.”
In one of the first cultural change projects that I worked on, I was tasked with teaching company members process improvement and critical thinking skills. The organization was committed to involving everyone in improving their processes and making a difference in the way they served customers with increased efficiency.
When I first started working in the field of organizational development, my mentors told me three things that I always needed to remember about change: people don’t like it; people don’t understand it; and people won’t like you for trying to implement it. For the most part, I believe that is the case. Why?
I recently had a VP tell me that she had assigned one of her directors the task of doing a comparability study of their company’s compensation and benefits vis-à-vis other companies in their industry. After the director had completed the study, the VP grilled the director on his findings. The director had a difficult time answering the questions that she asked and came across as lacking in confidence. The VP was then faced with a dilemma: should she make the presentation to the Board of Trustees herself or should she run the risk of allowing the director to make the...
During the holidays, my youngest children rigged a booby trap in our Christmas tree, so if Santa Claus touched the tree a little bell would sound the alarm. I was really quite amazed at their ingenuity in an attempt to catch the old elf delivering gifts on Christmas Eve. The entire situation made me reflect on the importance of the alarms that are present in our lives. These alarms act as a warning that we are moving or steering off course.
Earlier in the year I spent two days working with and teaching a number individuals helping them improve their ability to hold difficult conversations. After the session one of the organization’s directors who stopped by to observe said, “This is all well and good, but you know, you can’t teach a pig to sing!”
Negativity in our speech and attitudes seems to be running rampant in our culture at the present time. There is more mention in the media about injustice, instability, or inequality than there is mention of opportunity, integrity, and virtue.
Many of the organizations that I have worked in this year are involved in dramatic change. They are doing more to meet the increasing demands of customers in order to compete with companies within their industry. They are implementing new productivity standards which is causing them to measure more effectively the behaviors of their employees and the return on investment for the implementation of newly defined competencies. Because we usually get what we measure,
I recently had a manager explain to me that he had a department with over 200 employees and that his biggest challenge was a lack of productivity. When I asked him what he meant by that he stated, “I just don’t understand why people can’t do what I ask them to do!”
When people fail to meet our expectations or perform poorly, they may offer any number of reasons, excuses, or stories in explanation for their lack of results. These explanations should signal that “fake talk” has occurred and may be occurring again. From our research, we have identified a number...
With recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, among other places around the country, and with the election of Donald Trump, people’s positions and opinions have become more and more polarized. Civil discourse and meaningful dialogue have been replaced by rancor, accusation, disrespectful language, and wild speculation unbefitting a civil and democratic society.
One of the greatest challenges of running the river in Grand Canyon is learning how to navigate the rapids. There is an average of one rapid every half mile from Lee’s Ferry, Arizona to Pierce Ferry on Lake Mead, Nevada, a distance of over 283 miles. In order to run these rapids successfully,
During the last several weeks, I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of leaders at a very large company in the Midwestern United States about how to increase innovation through collaboration. This singular organization is trying to change its culture by involving its individual associates in making a difference to the success of their business by improving any process that directly impacts their customers. Such an endeavor is not only admirable, but absolutely essential to their future viability in the marketplace.
Any change of this magnitude is always fraught with challenges because people often meet change with resistance....
For some time now I have been coaching a manager who has had several challenges with her director. One Friday night recently, my wife and I had gone out of town for the weekend for a little rest and to do some planning for the upcoming year. At about 12:30 a.m. the phone rang. This client was calling to tell me that she had texted her boss and quit her job. I was shocked and somewhat disappointed by her decision. I tried to help her see the upside of all she had been able to accomplish, but her mind was...