Category Archives: Ensuring successful business change

Facilitating operational excellence in and for business change projects


Notes from an APM Midlands Branch seminar by Elisabeth Goodman

About 40 people attended this evening seminar in Coventry on 30th January 2014.  The intent was to share a case study based approach of some of my experiences of leading and facilitating operational organisational change projects, and of using Lean and Six Sigma to support organisational change.  It also proved an excellent opportunity for the participants to share some of their experiences, and for all of us to learn from each other.

The delegates present appeared to be a mix of practitioners and consultants in project management, all of whom had encountered Lean and Six Sigma in some form.  It also became apparent as the evening progressed, that many of those present had a real interest in organisational change, with experience of the challenges and some of the successes involved.

Case studies of operational excellence and organisational change with Lean and Six Sigma

My case studies included:

  1. Coordinating a group of cross-organisational champions involved in rolling out Lean and Six Sigma as a way of working in a global Pharmaceutical R&D organisation.  I was also one of a team of four trainers for running three-day (Advocate or yellow belt), and two-week (Expert or green belt) training courses, and coordinated site-based ‘lunch and learn’ sessions for ongoing mentoring of the practitioners.
  2. Leading a global R&D programme consisting of several project work-streams for developing solutions, and implementing new governance and procedures to address the major outcomes of an internal audit.
  3. Project managing the introduction of an operational excellence culture, again using Lean and Six Sigma, for a Contract Research Organisation for pre-clinical studies, in France
  4. Running one-day in-house and off-site courses in Lean and Six Sigma, and in Change Management.

Organisational change case studies

Approaches to Lean and Six Sigma and Change Management in Project Management

It was obviously not practical to go into these approaches in any depth within the time available but my key framework for Lean and Six Sigma projects is the DMAIC framework: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control.

My approach for Change Management is described in my new book: The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook .  It addresses the behavioural aspects of change: personal journeys through change; how to move from being a victim or survivor through to being a navigator of change.  Clients I work with have found it very constructive to be able to articulate their concerns in a ‘safe’ environment as well as explore how they could tackle the change in a more positive way.

My approach to change also addresses procedural aspects, for instance using a checklist of questions (why is the change happening – the “burning platform for change”, what are the goals, who will be affected, when, where and how).  Again, my clients have found this relatively simple approach extremely helpful for articulating and gaining alignment on the key messages for their change strategies.

RiverRhee approaches to LSS and Change

I also referred to a previous APM event that my Associate John Riddell and I had led in Stevenage and Norwich a few years ago [Lean Six Sigma and Project Management].  In this seminar we explored the potential intersections and opportunities between Lean and Six Sigma and Project Management.

Riddell and Goodman on LSS and Project Management

Challenges, successes and questions about Operational Excellence and Lean and Six Sigma in organisational change

The participants in the Coventry seminar spent ten or so minutes in ‘huddles’ exploring their challenges, successes and questions and then shared the main themes with the rest of the room.

The challenges discussed included:

  • Change being scary
  • How to articulate the benefits
  • How to gain engagement with both the new processes and the new behaviours involved
  • How to ensure effective and visible leadership
  • How to pull the organisation together and add value quickly when facilitating significant organisational and team change
  • How to communicate the what and the why effectively
  • The importance of thinking about those not used to the world of change that we as practitioners are so well versed in
  • How to start on the right track right from the start in terms of the communication, people and physical aspects of change

The successes were fewer and included:

  • Being able to communicate the what and why of change
  • Ensuring the challenges are not barriers to change
  • Getting over the low points to achieve confidence in the change

Additional questions raised included:

  • How to ensure that the challenges are not barriers
  • How to ensure that the changes continue beyond the life of the project both in terms of culture and in terms of the way the business runs
  • How to accelerate through the change so that the organisation, the people and the processes are all aligned
  • How to apply Lean and Six Sigma in a non-repetitive environment
  • How an individual can use Lean and Six Sigma to make change happen both in their job and in the organisation as a whole
  • How to apply Lean and Six Sigma to services in the public sector
  • Can Lean and Six Sigma be used in IT projects to improve on the benefits delivered
  • How to apply Lean and Six Sigma to specific goals in a global context
  • Hints and tips for success in change projects

Some of these challenges, successes and questions were reflected in the detail of the case studies that I then shared.

Insights from case studies on Operational Excellence and Lean and Six Sigma in organisational change

It would take another blog or in-depth white paper to go into the detail of what I presented, so I am only posting the main slides here.  Do post a comment of anything you heard that you would like to highlight if you were at the event, or get in touch with me if you would like to learn more about what I covered.

Operational Excellence learnings

LSS in organisational change

RiverRhee one day LSS courses

RiverRhee one-day change management courses

Learnings, take-aways and further questions discussed

Sponsorship. A theme that sparked a lot of interest was that of sponsor turnover and the importance of getting the right sponsor with the right level of commitment.  Participants thought that there might be a tipping point: when the project is far enough along, or there are sufficient numbers engaged for the sponsorship to no longer be such a key factor for success.  The importance of having strong senior sponsorship may also vary with the scale of the organisation, or of the change involved.

Certainty and Control.  What makes change scary for people is not knowing what is going to happen, and what is happening not being under their control.  Even if the news is bad, knowing it is better than the guessing and rumours that go on with a lack of information.  Lean and Six Sigma approaches give people the opportunity to influence the change.  Using representatives / champions supports two-way flows of information.  Focus groups can also be a good way to involve people.

Lean and Six Sigma can be applied in non-repetitive, creative and service environments.  There is an excellent book by Michael George, Lean Six Sigma for Service that I’ve also referenced in a previous blog [Lean Six Sigma in R&D and service delivery].  My experience of working with scientists in drug discovery, and with people in finance and human resources is that there are always some processes in every type of work that can benefit from being simplified and streamlined to free up creativity.  For the discovery biologists it was the critical review of their cascade of assays for evaluating new chemical compounds as potential drug candidates.

People who ‘get it’ live it.  One delegate was particularly taken by this phrase: finding such people makes our work as change agents easier.  They are certainly the champions or sponsors to start with, especially in organisations that are “too busy” firefighting (and rewarding firefighting [Getting it right rather than firefighting]) to take the time to apply Lean and Six Sigma to make more time.

Effective organisational change is not easy!  There will always be complications and questions to answer to enable the smooth running of organisational change programmes and projects. However, some of those present, who were early on in managing their change projects, were reassured by the fact that the evening’s discussion confirmed that they were going about things the right way.

A good fit with the new APM Enabling Change Special Interest Group

This was an excellent occasion for the chairman of the new APM Enabling Change SIG, Martin Taylor, to share a few words about the scope, status and next steps for this group [link], and I will also be sharing these notes from the seminar with my colleagues on the committee.

Notes

The full presentation of Facilitating Operational Excellence in and for business change projects can be viewed on SlideShare.

Elisabeth Goodman is the owner and Principal Consultant of RiverRhee Consulting and a trainer, facilitator, one-to-one coach, speaker and writer, with a passion for and a proven track record in improving team performance and leading business change projects on a local or global basis. 

Elisabeth is an expert in knowledge management, and is accredited in change management, Lean Six Sigma and MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator).  She has a BSc in Biochemistry, an MSc in Information Science, is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Information and Library Professionals (CILIP) and of the Association for Project Management (APM) and is also a Growth Coach with the GrowthAccelerator.

She is currently a committee member for the APM East of England branch, and for the APM Enabling Change Special Interest Group.

Elisabeth Goodman’s 2013 blogging year in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Change Management, Lean and Six Sigma, and Knowledge Management continue to be the most popular topics for my readers, with a little Project Management thrown in.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook – now available!


by Elisabeth Goodman

I’m delighted to say that the first in my new series of  “The Effective Team’s ” workbooks is now available.

The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook

Elisabeth Goodman (author), Nathaniel Spain (illustrator), November 2013 - ISBN 978-0-9926323-5-9

54777 RR cover design_Page_1 medium

This first book in the series focuses on Change Management.  This is the description on the back of the book:

“A well-managed change initiative is something special to behold!  The author’s experience with business support groups such as Library and Information services, and with organisations in the Life Sciences and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) have been instrumental in shaping her approach to leading teams and to teaching and coaching individuals about Change Management.  This workbook has been designed to reflect her approach.  It encompasses personal journeys, reactions and resistance to change (the ‘people’ aspect of change) and the processes to use when planning and implementing various types of change.  The plentiful principles and methodologies are explained through scenarios and are accompanied by exercises for team or individual practice.  There are also notes on further reading.  The book is targeted at operational teams, but project teams will also benefit from its rich insights and depth.”

THE detailed content of the book

The book begins by taking the reader through variations of the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s change curve – where change is perceived as negative or positive.  It then explores how resistance can be useful, using Richard McKnight’s victim, survivor and navigator representations.

The reader is then guided on how to go about articulating the strategic context for change in a way that will help team members be aligned on the key messages to use with their stakeholders, and some influencing techniques that they might use to achieve lasting behavioural change.

The next chapter explores how to go about understanding stakeholders’ perspectives, before getting into communication, training and support techniques for effectively implementing and embedding change.

The final chapter explores how to measure benefits, impact and effectiveness of the change.

Supplemental content includes full page versions of charts and tables for use in the individual and team activities, a detailed coverage of the case studies used to illustrate the book, and some notes on further reading.

Cost and availability

Copies are priced at £10.00 each, plus packaging and posting, and can be ordered via the RiverRhee Publishing web page (http://www.riverrhee.com/publications/books/)

Future books for enhancing team effectiveness

Future books in “The Effective Team’s” workbook series will address other themes relating to RiverRhee Consulting’s work for enhancing team effectiveness.  Topics will include high performance teams, operational excellence, knowledge management, and facilitation.

Notes

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale (using training, coaching and consulting).

Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Le chemin du changement – The journey of change


Le chemin du changement

Guest blog by Pierre Gillibert

Note from the editor - Elisabeth Goodman

Pierre Gillibert is a change manager and coach based in France.  We met via LinkedIn and have started to exchange our experiences on facilitating change in France, the UK, and in the US.  Pierre’s blog is written on the basis of how change is perceived by managers and employees in France.  It’s something of a call to action about the importance of embracing the change journey as well as how to go about it.  There are some points that resonate with attitudes and perceptions in the UK / US, although there is perhaps more of an acceptance of the importance of change management in these countries.  For those who prefer reading their blogs in English, I’ve done my best at a translation below the French version.  (Do feel free to tell me if you have improvements to make on my translation!)

Où va-t-on ? Où veut-on aller ? Des questions, l’entrepreneur s’en pose.

La première interrogation est passive, on y perçoit de l’impuissance.

La seconde, c’est prendre en main les commandes de l’entreprise et décider de l’objectif que nous voulons atteindre, c’est avoir une vision.

Bien, me direz-vous mais comment parvenir à cet objectif ?

Prendre le chemin du changement voilà la réponse. Ce changement perpétuel il faut le prendre comme un processus, processus particulier car jonché d’obstacles dus à l’incertitude.

Le chemin doit être parcouru par tous les collaborateurs de l’entreprise. La force, l’incantation, la communication à outrance ne mobiliseront jamais des acteurs qui ne croient pas aux schémas organisationnels successifs qu’on leur impose.

Nous agirons pour que tous partagent la vision de l’entreprise, l’objectif à atteindre.

On parle beaucoup de résistance au changement. C’est vrai, c’est dans la nature de l’homme de résister et parfois pour des causes admirables.

C’est dans la nature de l’homme aussi de changer, de s’adapter ne revenons pas sur la théorie de l’évolution.

Alors qui résiste ? Tout le monde, l’ouvrier, l’employé, le cadre, le cadre supérieur, les dirigeants, tout le monde à ses raisons pour résister. Nous dépasserons ces résistances.

Nous mobiliserons les énergies sur un objectif partagé.

Nous créerons l’esprit d’équipe. Nous aurons des objectifs intermédiaires à conquérir. Nous ferons communiquer l’ensemble des acteurs sur les processus métiers et les enjeux du changement.

Les processus métier doivent être la base de toute action pour le changement.

Nous travaillerons ensemble pour obtenir des « short term wins » et les partagerons pour motiver et mobiliser les équipes ainsi que les femmes et les hommes qui produisent. Nous devons tous être fiers du travail réalisé par les équipes et l’ensemble de l’entreprise.

Le mérite des ouvriers et des employés qui continuent d’assurer la production doit être reconnu.

Oui nous créerons de nombreuses équipes, solidaires, qui iront toutes dans la même direction et qui échangeront sur toutes les avancées réalisées.

Nous communiquerons, pour cela nous devons apprendre à nous connaître, à nous écouter et à respecter nos différences qui loin de nous éloigner les uns des autres doivent nous rapprocher.

Nous disposons de méthodes, d’outils, de technologies, de consultants spécialisés, de coachs, bref nous devons mettre en œuvre tous les moyens pour réussir cette mobilisation.

Pour conclure sur ce billet, rien ne se fera sans la confiance accordée au plus niveau, la reconnaissance des efforts accomplis et surtout n’oublions pas le droit à l’erreur.

The journey of change

Where are we going? Where do we want to go? Every entrepreneur asks themselves these questions.

The first question is passive; there is a hint of helplessness.

The second question is about taking control of our destiny: deciding what we we want to achieve,  having a vision.

OK, but how do we get there?

Just make a start. Change is constant and should be approached as a process, one that will be fraught with obstacles due to the uncertainty involved.

It’s a journey that everyone within the organisation must participate in. Force, mantras, and endless communication alone will not make people change if they don’t believe in the succession of organisational changes imposed on them.

What’s needed is for everyone to participate in the vision of the organisation and the objectives to be achieved.

There’s a lot of talk about resistance to change, and in fact it’s in our nature to resist, sometimes for very worthwhile reasons.

It’s also in our nature to change, to adapt – need we mention the theory of evolution?

So who’s resisting? Everyone: the worker, the employee, the middle manager, the senior manager, the directors. Everyone has reasons to resist. We will address those reasons.

We will harness people’s energies around common objectives.

We will create a team spirit. We will have milestones to achieve along the way. We will get people to focus on the underlying processes, and the changes involved.

Focusing on the key processes must be the basis for any change programme.

We’ll work together to achieve “quick wins” and will share success stories to motivate and engage the teams and individuals involved. We should all be proud of what individual teams and the organisation as a whole have achieved.

We should recognise the value of workers and employees who continue to keep the organisation’s production on track.

And yes, we will create numerous teams, working together, all heading in the same direction and sharing their achievements.

We will communicate, and to do so, we need to get to know and understand each other, to listen to each other, and to respect our differences in a way that, rather than distancing us, will bring us together.

We have the methods, the tools, the technologies, the expertise of consultants, the coaches. In brief, we should use all the means available to us to achieve this engagement in change.

To conclude, nothing will happen without putting our trust in people at all levels of the organisation, without recognising achievements and, especially, without accepting that mistakes can happen.

Elisabeth Goodman’s 2012 blogs in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for my blogs.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog (Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them) had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

These were the top viewed blogs:

  1. Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them  November 2011
  2. What can Lean and Six Sigma and Dilts’ Logical Levels of Change bring to effective change management? March 2012
  3. Why is employee engagement such an important topic?  March 2012
  4. Top Tips for Motivating Teams  January 2012
  5. Lean and Six Sigma in R&D and Service Delivery – opportunities and challenges  February 2011

Click here to see the complete report.

The Future of Project Management – an evening with Paul Major


The Eastern Branch of the APM held a very enjoyable evening seminar on the future of project management with Paul Major (@changemakerPM, http://paulmajor.wordpress.com) on Wednesday 7th November.
I captured Paul’s main points, and the course of the discussion in a series of tweets, which I’ve reproduced here with some additional notes.

Shifted from delivering transformational change through “personal heroics” to using Project Management for success!

Paul’s origins are in leading transformational change, and indeed this is his continuing focus.  But the difference he discovered some years ago was in being introduced to the rigorous processes of Project Management and how these can make transformational change more successful.

Paul’s emphasis now on how to change things in a way that can be sustained through facilitation & influence

Just introducing something new and hoping that it will take hold is of course not enough – effective change relies on changing behaviours and mindsets.  That is what Paul aims to do.

Just doing team hoohah to get started!

This was a very interactive seminar!  Now and again we would do a team ‘hoohah’ to get ourselves energized and ready to talk to each other… That was the theory, and in fact everyone joined in, had a laugh and it worked very well.

Prehistory from 2570BC; exploring 1870-1956; forming 1967-1974; adapting to 1996; defining to 2010

Paul took us though an interesting journey.  Project Management has, as we know, been around a very long time – how would the pyramids been built without it.  The various PM organisations were formed in the 1960s-1970s, and lots of new training, standards and reference books started to emerge in the following decades and yet, Paul argues, we are still very much in the ‘defining’ stage of the profession.

APM membership accelerating at rate of extra 1000 members per year since 2006

The growth in membership has definitely been exponentially accelerating and is now around 20,000.

Olympics radically changed public perception / recognition of Project Management

The Project Management associated with the London 2012 Olympics was not only highly effective, but also seems to be making the professional suddenly more glamorous!

Living in a world that is changing beyond exponentially – amount of things & change – that is the world for Project Managers to deal with!

We watched what became, at least for me, a very scary video!  I know the world is changing exponentially in terms of the growth of data, information, knowledge; people’s connection to the internet; the size of populations etc..  But there’s nothing like seeing a graphic catalogue of the actual figures to really bring this home.

Using dreamer, realist and critic mindsets to explore this theme

I really enjoyed Paul’s approach to this workshop.  Being a facilitator myself, it’s fun to experience someone else facilitating me for a change, and to learn from their techniques.  We split into 3 groups and each group had to play one of these roles to explore what the future of project management might be.  Being in the ‘critic’ group was a tough one for me as I am in eternal optimist!  Paul has listed the outputs on his blog – http://paulmajor.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/apm-east-of-england-event/ – and the next few tweets were my summary.

  • Realist: motivation, people skills, high visibility, all needed to greater extent going forward; + more process
  • Critic: won’t be able to keep up with profession; more maverick; organisations want specialism
  • Dreamer: PM taught from early age; PM held in esteem; common language; automatic lessons learned (sic)

Paul’s view: PM’s will become the world’s changemakers (aside have heard same for #IM /Library profession)

The first part of the tweet speaks for itself.  The aside is a reflection of what I have heard with one of my other professional hats in the field of Information Management and Librarianship.  They too wonder about their changing roles in a world of exponential change and where people have ready access to information but perhaps are not always accessing and evaluating it effectively.

Our challenge is not creating and managing successful processes

Paul suggested that Project Managers are perhaps too inwardly focused on the mechanics of project management and should instead be focused on the next tweet.

Enabling change creates a real legacy & sustainable benefits

PM’s should be focusing on what they are creating for their stakeholders, now and in the longer term – as the Olympics team has done.

Being taught as a life skill in (some) primary schools

I think this was news for some of the participants.  Another interesting aside is the greater emphasis on ‘Information Literacy’ as a Life Skill in secondary schools at least.  Does anyone reading this blog know if that is also being taught in primary schools?

PM is now one of only 4 recognised professions in Siemens: will fail if not brilliant at PM

Paul was speaking from his discussions with people at Siemens – borne out by one of the delegates whose daughter also works there.  I wonder to what extent this is echoed in other innovation based organisations?  The next 2 tweets were about PM being key not only in the private but other sectors:

  • PM is competitive advantage in private sector
  • PM is key to enable service delivery in public sector to meet changing needs

PM profession still 1st generation talking about definitions – need to move to 2nd level & do something with it

Echoing an earlier point..

Otherwise someone else will move into PM space & will become process jockeys cf. Institute of Change Management

I can’t remember which Change Management organisation Paul was referring too in his talk.  There are a few!  One of them is the Change Management Institute, which has a UK branch – http://change-management-institute-uk.com/index.php  Interestingly, they do list Project Management as one of their competencies.

Forrester Research 2009 PM skills much more about emotional intelligence / soft skills to influence thinking

I didn’t pick up the details on this, but did find this very interesting presentation which mentions soft and other skills – http://www.slideshare.net/gotomeeting/project-management-by-forrester-research

PMs focus on the route & process; stakeholders focus on the end point – PMs need to reflect that

This and the next two tweets echoed and summarised earlier points

  • Shift from PMs delivering an output to changemakers delivering a legacy!
  • Shift from safe pair of hands (though still need them) to changemakers (some exist already)

Dr Martin Barnes: Project Management is the management of change…

I didn’t pick up the full quote, but this is the CEO of APM basically reinforcing Paul’s point about the changing role of Project Managers

Excellent presentation from@changemakerPM http://paulmajor.wordpress.com

Yes – all-in-all an excellent way to spend a Thursday evening!  And I am now following Paul on twitter and wordpress.

PM key to our survival in society!

Some of Paul’s closing words!

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale.

Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis. 

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Why is employee engagement such an important topic?


By Elisabeth Goodman

My blog on employee engagement (Employee engagement – some interesting data and perspectives for Lean and Six Sigma practitioners) is, of all the blogs that I have written since 2009), the one that has attracted the most attention.  I wrote it in response to an article I read in the business section of the Sunday Observer1 – a very informative study that the Observer had commissioned, rich in case studies and data from FTSE 100 companies.  So why has this blog attracted so much attention?

Employee engagement is the key to organisational and team effectiveness

The Observer article caught my attention because employee engagement, or involvement is intrinsic to business process improvement through such techniques as Lean and Six Sigma.  If people are not engaged, they won’t be committed to the organisation’s goals, won’t be able to communicate those goals as part of building strong customer relations, and won’t be looking for ways to achieve those goals through efficient internal processes.

People also need to be engaged in order to achieve effective business change.  Participants in my Change Management courses sometimes find it a revelation to hear that resistance from those experiencing change is a good thing, something to be welcomed.  Resistance is an indication that people are actually beginning to engage with a change:  that they are considering what the impact will be on them, rather than oblivious to or ignoring it.

And without engagement, people will find it impossible to identify and share the learning and insights, which are essential to healthy and thriving teams and organisations if they are to learn from their mistakes and build on their successes.

As I wrote in the December 2011 version of my RiverRhee Newsletter, “The answer comes from within… with the help of others”, it’s only possible to have an effective team or organisation if people are engaged.  Employees have the key!

‘Empowerment’ and ‘Intrapreneurs’

One of the big themes in my life as a corporate employee was ‘empowerment’: encouraging employees to appreciate and act upon the idea that they had ‘the power’ to make decisions and carry them out without necessarily referring to their managers.

As someone who is now self-employed and runs my own business, the idea of acting otherwise makes no sense at all!  I work in teams in an associate relationship, and we collaborate in our decision-making and actions.  I meet a lot of entrepreneurs, and have often wondered what it would be like if people took an ‘intrapreneurial’ approach to working within organisations.  In a 2010 newsletter (‘Finding our voice’ – a route to greater employee engagement and empowerment?), I suggested that what might help people to do this is to take a more active perspective of their careers – so that they view their current job as one that they have chosen, and are in control of, rather than something that they are being subjected to (to put it a bit bluntly!).

What if there weren’t any managers?!

I really enjoyed reading the case study of Morning Star in the December 2011 edition of Harvard Business Review.2   Hamel describes a leading food processor, with revenues of over $700 million and 400 full-time employees, which functions entirely around the principles of self-management.

At Morning Star, no-one has a manager, each employee negotiates responsibilities with their peers and is responsible for finding the tools that they need for their work, everyone can spend the company money, there are no job titles or promotions, and compensation is decided between peers. The only ‘boss’ is the overall mission of the company.

This model works at Morning Star because it combines an individuals’ responsibility (and freedom) for managing their work within the context of the overall mission, and collaboration between peers to define and review individual roles and expected performance.

The article goes into a lot more detail, but one of the many interesting aspects of this model is that engagement and empowerment are not issues at all in this kind of scenario.  As a result of this approach, every individual inevitably has to:

  1. Use their initiative
  2. Continuously develop their skills to enhance the quality of their work
  3. Display flexibility to respond to the changing environment of the organisation
  4. Work in a collegiate way to fulfill their role in relation to their peers
  5. Make decisions that directly affect their work

These are wonderful illustrations of process improvement / Lean and Six Sigma (1,2,4,5), Change Management (3), and Knowledge Management (2, 4) in practice.

Some final thoughts about thriving

I love my work, and welcome Monday mornings as the start of another week of new discoveries, opportunities to work with others and practice and develop my skills.  I meet many others running their own business that feel the same.  It sounds like the employees at Morning Star may also feel like this.

Another Harvard Business Review article3 suggests that giving employees a chance to learn and grow will help them and the organisation to thrive.  This time the managers are in charge again, but some of the themes re-occur:

  1. Providing employees with the discretion to make decisions directly affecting their work
  2. Ensuring that people have the information they need to understand how their work relates to the organisation’s mission and strategy
  3. Encouraging good (civil) behaviour – positive relationships
  4. Offering performance feedback

The authors suggest that these 4 mechanisms will foster vitality (or energy in individuals and in those with whom they interact), and learning (or growth from new knowledge and skills).

Conclusion

It seems that, unless people are running their own business or are self-managing themselves in an organisation such as Morning Star, employers need to study and support the mechanisms that will enable employee engagement and so help individuals and the organisation to thrive.  We’re obviously not there yet.

Why are you interested in employee engagement? It would be great to read your comments.

Notes

  1. Are more firms listening to their staff or are they just paying lip service? Observer, 22 August 2010, pp38-39
  2. Gary Hamel.  First, let’s fire all the managers. Harvard Business Review, December 2011, pp49-60
  3. Gretchen Spreitzer and Christine Porath.  Creating sustainable performance.  Harvard Business Review, January-February 2012, pp93-99

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

What can Lean and Six Sigma and Dilts’ Logical Levels of Change bring to effective change management?


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

This is the fifth and last blog in our series on “Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a time of change” based on our recent publication in Business Information Review(1), and other publications and seminars in progress.  We explore two last tools: Lean and Six Sigma in Change Management and Dilts’ Logical Levels of Change.  We also suggest some next steps for you to practice what you will have learnt, and ask whether you would be interested in some follow-up support, and if so, what form that might take.

In case you missed them, this is what we covered in our previous blogs

In our first blog (Enhancing team effectiveness in a time of change – an introduction), we described the challenges being faced by organisations, teams and individuals and the impact that these changes have on them.

Our second blog (Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them) explored how people (either as individuals or teams) respond to change and how to help them through their journeys in a positive way.

Our third blog (Tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change) introduced five more specific tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change.

Our fourth blog (Team development, pre-requisites for success and temperature checks: tools for effective change management) explored three of the tools: team development, pre-requisites for success and team temperature checks in more detail.

Lean / Six Sigma

The Lean and Six Sigma process improvement philosophies and tools can be extremely useful to a team undergoing change.  We have worked with organisations to help them develop strategies and implement change in an approach analogous to that described by Steven Spear(2):

  1. Identify the value to be delivered, and your team’s goals, in the context of your customers’ and other stakeholders’ expectations
  2. Adopt an end-to-end (cross-organisation) process orientation i.e. going beyond traditional silos to explore how to deliver customer value most effectively and efficiently
  3. Commit to identifying, solving and learning from problems
  4. Build capability within the team to perpetuate a culture of continuous improvement

Even short workshops around any one of these steps with a team undergoing change can already help them to be better equipped to deal with it.  We have worked with an academic library team preparing to centralise processes for books and periodicals that were previously decentralized across several college libraries.  An engagement with a pharmaceutical contract research organisation (CRO) has enabled it to engage people across the whole of its organisation, deliver real savings in cost and time, and embed this approach as a sustainable way of working.  You can read more about these case studies on our web site (RiverRhee Consulting case studies).

Dilts – Logical Levels of Change

This tool is one that can be used both as a diagnostic, and as a planning tool in a time of change.

Robert Dilts is a leading figure in the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) who recognised that it is important for team leaders to act at multiple levels to achieve change.  He developed the Logical Levels of change model, as a helpful way of understanding the elements of effective team performance(3).

Logical levels of change

Environment

The ‘Environment’ is outside the team: the place and time where and when the team works, the team’s customers or stakeholders, the physical layout of the work area.

Behaviour and capabilities

‘Behaviour’ consists of specific actions: what each team member does, says and thinks.  This will be the outward display of having successfully introduced new working practices and so it will also be useful to define the key expected behaviours for implementing a particular change.

‘Capabilities’  (or ‘competencies’) are skills, qualities and strategies, such as flexibility and adaptability.  They are consistent, automatic and habitual, are how work gets done in the team and will often need to be defined, taught and practiced in order to support change.

Performance management is an established process for managing goals for Behaviours and Capabilities in most organisations.

Values and beliefs

‘Values’ are what an individual or team holds to be important.  They act as the ‘why’: the emotional drivers for what a team member or the overall team does.  ‘Beliefs’ are what an individual or team holds to be true, and so influences how the person or team acts.

Values are critical: for most of us, they are key, unconscious influences on how we act.  The values demonstrated by the team leader are particularly important.  For example, a team leader who values harmony could act to reduce tension in the team.  In some circumstances, it could be more important that the team leader values achievement, and temporarily ‘parks’ an issue of tension in order to meet an important deadline.

Within the team, it is vital that the team leader manages a sensitive debate on the values which will be important for future team success, meeting the needs of its customers and stakeholders – not necessarily the values which the individual team members hold most strongly.

At a time of change, it is helpful for the team leader to ask all the members of the team to state their Beliefs about working in the team – and to facilitate a healthy debate about these.

Identity and purpose

‘Identity’ is how a team thinks about itself, the core beliefs and values that define it, and provide a sense of ‘who the team is’.  Healthcare professionals could have an identity as nurses, for example.

‘Purpose’ refers to the larger organisation of which the team is part.  It connects to a wider purpose – ‘for whom?’ or ‘what else?’  For healthcare professionals, their purpose could be to alleviate suffering or to provide care.

Using the Dilts model

The model helps the team to understand its status, and to make choices about what to do.  It has a natural hierarchy, and indicates where change is required in the team, to assist its effectiveness in the wider organisation.  Where the nature of the wider organisation has changed, and the role of the team has changed within it, then the team would work through all of the levels, from identity downwards, to consider what has changed and to redefine itself.

When introducing change in an organisation: our first thought might be to put up posters, or run training courses.  To achieve change, it’s tempting to focus activities on the lower levels of Dilts’ pyramid, because they are more ‘visible’, and easier to act on.  Organisation change, for example, (changing the organisation chart, reporting lines, which skills are located in which team), affecting the bottom three levels of the pyramid.  But change at these lower levels will not necessarily affect the higher levels, and we can both identify examples where large amounts of energy went into these activities at the lower levels but little into the identify and values of the new organisation, with poor results.

We can create more lasting and sustainable change, by working on purpose, identity, values and beliefs.  These higher levels in the pyramid are generally more ‘invisible’, harder to change and harder to assess because they address the thoughts and emotions of individuals. For lasting and sustainable change, we therefore need to consider the new purpose of the team, what the new identity would look, feel, and sound like, and what the values and beliefs would be to sustain that new purpose and identity.

It is worth significant effort to engage the organisation and its teams in this as much as is practically possible.  This is the way to change those thoughts and emotions, which will then motivate changes in capabilities and behaviours.   Training courses and posters could be developed which re-emphasised the changes in identity and values, while also developing the capabilities and behaviours needed.  Development of the environment to support the change would also honour the new identity and values.

Conclusions and suggested next steps for you & for further support

There are many drivers for change in today’s business world, and change brings challenges to teams, who are delivering services today and need to evolve to deliver differently tomorrow.

Fortunately, there are many well-established methods of assessing and developing team effectiveness, and our series of 5 blogs has covered several of them.

Now that you’ve read this, and perhaps some of our other blogs, what might you do differently?  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Think about the changes that you are experiencing, either at work or at home.  Where are you on the change curve in relation to these?  What action(s) could you take to help you move through the change curve?
  2. If you are responsible for initiating or driving change, think about your personal or organisational context for change.  Is there a way of better articulating the associated purpose, identify, values and beliefs (i.e. as in the Dilts’ model)?
  3. If the change you are involved in has an impact on others, think about what they may be experiencing in the change curve and what might help them through it; use Lean and Six Sigma techniques (in this blog) to identify and engage all the stakeholders involved in an end-to-end perspective of the process
  4. If you are leading a team, or would like to support the team leader, consider the status of the team in terms of team development, and the prerequisites for team success, and engage the team members in building the (new) team
  5. Review the list of tools for organisational change and team effectiveness, and try at least one of them.

And finally, these blogs on organisational change and team effectiveness have achieved a record level of readership.  We’d like to offer further support and are considering webinars, e-books / workbooks, training courses additional to those that we already offer (see RiverRhee Consulting training and development).

Would you be interested in some further support?  What form would you like this support to take? Do let us know!

Notes

  1. Goodman, E and Loh, L. (2011) Organisational change: a critical challenge for team effectiveness.  Business Information Review, 28(4) 242-250
  2. Spear, Steven (2009) Chasing the Rabbit. How market leaders outdistance the competition and how great companies can catch up and win.  McGraw Hill
  3. O’Connor, Joseph (2001) NLP workbook.  London : Element

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.

Team development, pre-requisites for success and temperature checks: tools for effective change management


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

This is the fourth in our series of blogs on “Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a time of change” based on our recent publication in Business Information Review(1), and other publications and seminars in progress.

In our first blog (Enhancing team effectiveness in a time of change – an introduction), we described the challenges being faced by organisations, teams and individuals and the impact that these changes have on them.

Our second blog (Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them) explored how people (either as individuals or teams) respond to change and how to help them through their journeys in a positive way.

Our third blog (Tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change) introduced five more specific tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change.

This fourth blog explores three of the tools: team development, pre-requisites for success and team temperature checks in more detail. Our next and final blog in this series will explore the other two tools: Lean and Six Sigma in Change Management and Dilts’ Logical Levels of Change.  We will also prompt you to reflect on the series of blogs on this topic, and initiate some activity to review and enhance the effectiveness of the teams you belong to.

Using a team development model to progress towards and sustain a ‘high performance’ team

We have used a version of the Tuckman(2) and Hersey-Blanchard(3)  team development models with teams that are just starting up, as well as with already established teams.  It helps leaders and team members to understand where the team is in its evolution, and what they could do to help it develop towards a stage of ‘high performance’.

The renewing (also sometimes referred to as ‘mourning’) and forming stages are the ones that will happen most frequently at a time of change for the team.  These are the ones that require the most ‘hands-on’ and directive attention from the leader.  For a team going through change and renewal, it is important for the team leader and members to celebrate the successes of the past (as previously mentioned), and to take note of what made them successful.

Team leaders and members may fear and try to avoid the storming stage but this is an important time for people to air their views openly and share their ideas constructively in order to make the team stronger.

In fact the team leader needs to play a different role at different stages: one-on-one interactions with team members are especially valuable in the storming stage and a focus outwards to stakeholders in the high performing stage.  Through awareness of these different stages, team members can also support the team leader and other team members, as well as ensure that they are fully developing their role within the team.

Structured learning techniques such as discussing other teams’ experiences in ‘Peer Assists’ at the start of a team’s life, conducting ‘After Action Reviews’ (timely debriefs on lessons learnt) at key milestones, and holding in-depth ‘Learning Retrospects’ at the end of a team’s life can be particularly useful to capture and share lessons learnt between existing and new team members and others outside of the team(4).

Identifying and agreeing on best practices as pre-requisites for success

We have coached team leaders in using variations of a list of prerequisites as a checklist for effectiveness.  Team members can help to identify, prioritise and explore best practices for check-lists such as the following:

  • Clear purpose & goals
  • Trust & support each other
  • Open communication
  • Clear roles
  • Diversity
  • Task / Relationship Balance
  • Decision Making
  • Meeting management
  • Information Management

Using team temperature checks to monitor and enhance team effectiveness

We use team temperature checks as a diagnostic with the previous prerequisites, at a time of change, to determine the status of the team, and to actively engage team members on the priorities to be addressed going forward.

The relative importance of each prerequisite will change during the life of the team, as will the team’s perception of how well they are performing.  Rather than dwell retrospectively on everything that is not working, the team should focus on the biggest gaps between importance and performance of a prerequisite, and explore the suggestions for improvement in order to move forward in a constructive way.

At the request of team leaders, we have polled members individually to obtain ratings of the perceived importance and performance against each prerequisite, and to encourage them to make suggestions for improvement to bring back to a team workshop.  Using an external objective facilitator can help with this, although in the long-term teams could manage this themselves e.g. by doing periodic ‘After Action Reviews’ in team meetings, or at key milestones.

In a time of change it may also be appropriate to involve customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in this process.  This will deliver two benefits: getting some external input, and also building relationships with people of importance to the team either during or after the change.

Notes

  1. Goodman, E and Loh, L. (2011) Organisational change: a critical challenge for team effectiveness.  Business Information Review, 28(4) 242-250
  2. Tuckman, B. and Jensen, M. (1977) Stages of small group development revisited, Group and Organizational Studies, 419-27
  3. Hersey, P and Blanchard, K Situational Leadership.  See for example : www.12manage.com
  4. Collison, Chris and Parnell, Geoff (2004) Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management from Leading and Learning Organizations. Capstone; 2nd Edition

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.

Tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

This is the third in our series of blogs on “Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a time of change” based on our forthcoming publication in Business Information Review, and other publications and seminars in progress.

In our first blog (Enhancing team effectiveness in a time of change – an introduction), we described the challenges being faced by organisations, teams and individuals and the impact that these changes have on them.

Our second blog (Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them) explored how people (either as individuals or teams respond to change and how to help them through their journeys in a positive way.

This third blog in the series will introduce five more specific tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change.  As it will take some time to describe each of the tools, we will just summarise them here, and hope that you will come back to find out more about them in our future blogs. (Of course if you’d like to find out more sooner, do please let us know.)

It’s natural for teams to go through a ‘storming’ phase to get to ‘high performance’

Tuckman(1) and Hersey-Blanchard(2) amongst others have developed models for describing the stages that teams go through in their development. We have used a version of their team development models with teams that are just starting up, as well as with already established teams.  It helps leaders and team members to understand where the team is in its evolution, and what they could do to help it develop towards a stage of ‘high performance’. Teams are often relieved to realise that it is natural and in fact desirable to go through a ‘storming’ stage in order to get to high performance.

There are check-lists of activities that teams can use as pre-requisites for success

We have coached team leaders in using variations of a list of prerequisites as a checklist for effectiveness.  We have encouraged them to involve members of the team in its success, through workshops that explore best practices from other teams that they have been involved in.

Team temperature checks are a great way to monitor and enhance team effectiveness

We use team temperature checks as a diagnostic tool combined with the list of pre-requisites, at a time of change (including team start-up).  It helps teams to determine their status, and to actively engage all their members in a discussion on the priorities to be addressed going forward.

The relative importance of each prerequisite will change during the life of the team, as will the team members’ perception of how well they are performing and of what they can do to improve their performance.

Lean and Six Sigma tie in with change management

The Lean and Six Sigma process improvement philosophies and tools will trigger off change for teams and organisations, but can also be an extremely useful support for a team undergoing change.

Many organisations now use a combination of both Lean and Six Sigma tailored to their own culture and needs, and we have worked with some of them to develop strategies and implement change for continuous improvement.

Dilts’ “Logical Levels of Change” can also be a useful support for change

This last team tool is one that can be used both as a diagnostic, and as a planning tool in a time of change.  Robert Dilts is a leading figure in the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) who recognised that it is important for team leaders to address multiple levels to achieve change.  He developed the Logical Levels of Change model, as a helpful way of understanding the elements of effective team performance(3) and so we can and do use this too to help teams and the individuals within them through change.

Our next blogs in this series will explore each of these five tools for supporting teams during their journeys of change in more detail.

Notes

  1. Tuckman, B. and Jensen, M. (1977) Stages of small group development revisited, Group and Organizational Studies, 419-27
  2. Hersey, P and Blanchard, K Situational Leadership.  See for example : www.12manage.com
  3. O’Connor, Joseph (2001) NLP workbook.  London : Element

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.