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Changes happens

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Changes happens

  1. 1. Changes happens, like it! The other day I tried to explain the PDCA circle (Plan-Do- Check-Act) for my daughter. She is bright, so I guess it was more my way of explaining that failed. She came back with questions like “If you do not ‘Do’ in the ‘Act’ part, what do you then ‘Do’ and what is ‘Act’?” and “Shouldn’t you do the ‘Check’ after the ‘Act’ or is the ‘Act’ more like another ‘Do’?” and so on. Frustrating when you realise that your kids are smarter than you are, or at least when you cannot explain what you do at work.
  2. 2. Discover need for change Everything starts with the discovery of need for change. This can come as an external charge or as the result of deliberately change and improvement work. The external forces that demand us to change could be regulatory (changes in laws, taxation rules or union agreements etc), they could come as “higher awareness” (environmental policy’s, work safety etc) or due to changes in market competition (new products or “needs” on the market). Need for change could also come from within, deliberately as the result of continuous improvements and good change management. Change will come, like it!
  3. 3. Make it urgent • To create a sustaining and positive change we have to create an understanding of the underlying problem. This calls for involvement! To involve includes making others understand the problem and the solution in a way they can grasp. • The understanding of the problem and the trust to the solution is a maturity process that everybody needs to deal with. The quicker you present the problem and the fact that “we are going to deal with this”, the quicker you can come to a solution and also have a common will to make the new way of work sustainable. • People forced into a solution of a problem they do not know anything about or didn’t know existed are more prone to go back to old habits and “the old way to do it” and are more likely to object to the change. • Most workers takes pride in what they do at work. Many times the work is also done in a splendid manner. Why then change? The understanding of the underlying problem and the fact that some tasks can be done in a marvellous style, but still be a totally waste of time and effort seen from the customer (and hopefully the company) perspective. • Involve leaders and team members into the problem definition as well as the solution of the problem to create a stable basis for change.
  4. 4. Make it ready If you don’t know where you are you will not be able to point out the new direction. Without direction no improvement. Start with the current situation and remember to measure and collect base line metrics. You will not know for sure if you really improved or not if you do not measure before and after.
  5. 5. When you know your current state and your wanted position you need to clarify what the means are to get there and make sure that everybody can buy in on the new direction. “Hopefully everybody loves the idea of change” Hopefully everybody loves the idea of change, but usually not. It is about making the number of detractors as few as possible and preferably get them on the “well, okay” side of the game and at the same time make the number of enthusiasts as many as possible. But remember; your employees should be enthusiastic about the reasonableness of the chosen path and their authentic understanding of the urgency and need to change. Don’t fool anyone and don’t tell lies to cover the truth – it will get you in the end.
  6. 6. To create stability in the change process the management team needs to be aligned and all decisions needs to be firmly established. Do not hesitate to bring in external support to develop the group to a competent change team. Lack of management support or dissonance in the team is the most reliable way to failure.
  7. 7. Make it happen This is the “Walt the talk” part of the change process, and where you will discover it you did your planning part good enough or not. Again involvement is the key. The new way of work needs to be learned and accepted. Try the new way of work and allow improvements and adjustments as long as the plan and target are clear. Document the improved processes and have workshops about how to handle the “new” in both hard terms (roles, responsibilities, processes, strategy) and soft terms (culture, teamwork). A good way to involve and evolve is to visualise. When everything is on the board there are no secrets and everybody can help out to improve. Remember that there is no “I” in “teamwork”. Everybody counts.
  8. 8. Make it stick The change is worth nothing if you cannot make it stick. Going back to old habits and non-working processes is a double waste. You have to make sure that you stick to the new set up. The new ways of work need time to settle. Do not accept fall-backs! Allow leaders and workers to reflect and discuss the new way of work and how this could be improved. But always bear in mind that there was a reason for change in the first place. The old way wasn’t good enough and will not be just because people don’t like changes. Visualise your target and your progress. If it goes in the right direction – make everybody a winner. If it goes in the wrong direction – make everybody responsible. Leadership is everything here, and good leadership will always conquest.
  9. 9. Continue with improvements and start over again to assure continuous and sustaining change towards your perfect state. Change isn't that bad after all!

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