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.
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!
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)
• Involve leaders and team members into the problem definition as well as the solution
of the problem to create a stable basis for change.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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