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Thursday, May 30, 2013

HOW CHANGE MANAGEMENT IS DONE Part 1: Introduction

Despite decades of research on change management, almost 70 percent of organizational change efforts fail. John Kotter, Harvard professor and change management guru, says they fail because organizations don’t take the holistic approach required to achieve and maintain change.

In his effort to increase the success of change initiatives, Kotter devised 8-Steps for Leading Change, a set of tactics tailored to eight critical stages in the change process. For presentation in this blog, we've divided them into two groups: Planning and Implementation.  
Kotter’s eight steps are:
     1) Establish a sense of urgency
     2) Form a guiding coalition
     3) Create a vision
     4) Communicate the vision

     •  Empower others
     •  Plan for and create short-term wins
     •  Consolidate improvements and produce more change
     •  Institutionalize new approaches

These eight steps provide clear directions on the “what,” but fall a little short on the “how.”

That’s where change initiatives derail. While most senior executives realize learning is critical to achieving meaningful change, many don’t realize it takes more than a few classroom or online training sessions to achieve the level of learning necessary to make the difference between success and failure. That’s where HR comes in.

Front-line training professionals responsible for the learning behind any change initiative know that true change can only be achieved through a process of targeted learning that does two things:

     1. Sells the desired change to the people who have to make it happen

     2. Teaches those people (and gets them to adopt) the new behaviors required to make the change happen

Following Kotter’s eight steps, the remaining two posts in the series contain some proven tactics and tools HR professionals can use to create targeted learning that supports holistic change, giving your organization’s next change initiative a higher chance of success.

Below are links to all three posts in this series:




Please share your insights and questions by posting comments to this blog. For more information on change management, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com, or email us info@discoverylearning.com.

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This post was extracted from an article by Sue Kennedy, Chris Musselwhite, and Tammie Plouffe, originally published in Training magazine (Lakewood Media Group).

HOW CHANGE MANAGEMENT IS DONE Part 2: Planning

In Part 1 of this series, "How Change Management Is Done," we introduced John Kotter's "8 Steps for Leading Change." The first four below involve planning and preparation.

1. Establish a sense of urgency
According to Kotter, at least half of failed change efforts are due to a failure to establish a sense of urgency around the targeted change early in the process. To make sure everyone understands the need for change, initiatives should engage all employees, right from the start. 

Suggested tactics include:

     •  Customized engagement surveys
     •  Culture surveys
     •  Employee focus groups

Surveys and assessments provide benchmarks to evaluate progress. Focus groups can illuminate and validate the findings of engagement and culture surveys, provided they are held soon after.

2. Form a guiding coalition

To lead change, Kotter states you must make sure an influential group leads the change effort. To do this, HR should create Shared Learning Experiences for the management team. These experiences give leaders a common understanding of challenges and opportunities involved and create a bond around the need for change. As part of the shared learning experiences, leaders should be led in the development of Action Planning Themes—common themes around which all action and communication in the initiative will be organized. These themes can be drawn from feedback provided by the engagement and culture surveys, and their development reinforces the need for the change.     

To help leaders communicate the change, develop a Case for Change—a clearly articulated rationale behind the need for the change to communicate and sell the need for the change consistently and compellingly.

Finally, have the leaders communicate the Action Planning Themes and the Case for Change to all levels of the organization. Their enthusiasm and participation will be instrumental in engaging others in the need for the change.

3. Create a vision

Creating a vision helps everyone understand why they are being asked to change. When people understand the objectives, the directives they’re given, and the changes they are asked to implement, they tend to make more sense, reducing resistance.

Once a coalition is formed and trained to communicate the change, a participatory, hands-on experiential learning experience can provide the deep and lasting understanding of exactly what change needs to occur, why, and how to accomplish it.

4. Communicate a vision

Thanks to the power of the shared experiential learning, everyone will gain a renewed sense of the urgency as they form a bond around the change. To take advantage of this enthusiasm, a good follow-up tactic is to have leaders create compelling personal “elevator pitches” for communicating the vision and need for change.

The process of creating these talking points empowers leaders, enabling them to communicate and model the behaviors required to make the change. The success rate of change initiatives increases dramatically when leaders communicate and actively model the change they are advocating.


Below are links to all three posts in this series:




Please share your insights and questions by posting comments to this blog. For more information on change management, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com, or email us info@discoverylearning.com.

________________________

This post was extracted from an article by Sue Kennedy, Chris Musselwhite, and Tammie Plouffe, originally published in Training magazine (Lakewood Media Group).

HOW CHANGE MANAGEMENT IS DONE Part 3: Implementation

In Part 1 of this series, "How Change Management Is Done," we introduced John Kotter's "8 Steps for Leading Change." In the Part 2, we covered the first four which involved planning and preparation. Here we address the last four which focus on implementation.

5. Empower others to act

To sustain the momentum, it’s crucial to transfer the knowledge and training from any learning solutions providers to your organization’s HR team. This transfer of knowledge is critical to your company’s ability to lead and implement future change efficiently and cost-effectively.

This can be done with train-the-trainer sessions to certify your organization in the tools used. Putting additional personnel at all levels of the organization through the experiential learning and communications skill training will help reinforce the vision and equip more people to effectively communicate current and future change.

6. Plan for and create short-term wins

It’s important to ensure people feel they are making progress. Do this through measurable goals and action plans, working with team leaders to implement and follow progress being made at every level. Hosting e-learning sessions with regional or divisional leaders to share best practices and success stories is effective.

As the initiative progresses, administering additional engagement surveys and shared results demonstrates the organization is changing, which will continue to bring enthusiasm to the initiative.

7. Consolidate improvement and produce still more change

Noting that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early, John Kotter’s seventh step calls for the quick integration of changes achieved even as additional change is produced. In other words: Keep up the momentum.

This can include:

     • More experiential learning
     • Peer coaching and leadership assessments
     • Monthly conference calls to keep everyone informed of successes and results,
     • More employee and customer surveys. 

It pays to encourage leaders to share successes with reports. This facilitates better two-way communication, reinforces the learning, and supports desired new behaviors.

8. Institutionalize new approaches

Making the case for his final step, Kotter says that in order to make change stick, it must become part of the organization’s core; i.e., evidence of the changes must be visible in the company’s daily processes and procedures. In other words, you must institutionalize new approaches as quickly as possible. For example, train-the-trainer sessions can be a critical factor in institutionalizing the new approach to management and communication, as they help to ensure the organization’s ability to implement future change in partnership with HR.

Likewise, positive word of mouth about the experiential learning can spur desire among all employees for future hands-on learning experiences.

This final step, institutionalizing the new approach, ensures the organization is “living” the change it has been implementing, and not just talking about it.

Below are links to all three posts in this series:




Please share your insights and questions by posting comments to this blog. For more information on change management, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com, or email us info@discoverylearning.com.

________________________

This post was extracted from an article by Sue Kennedy, Chris Musselwhite, and Tammie Plouffe, originally published in Training magazine (Lakewood Media Group).

Four Ways To Know whether You Are Ready For Change

Which companies have the edge?
In our experience, the companies most likely to be successful in making change work to their advantage are the ones that no longer view change as a discrete event to be managed, but as a constant opportunity to evolve the business. Change readiness should be the new change management.

What is change readiness?
Change readiness is the ability to continuously initiate and respond to change in ways that create advantage, minimize risk, and sustain performance. The age-old challenge: balancing the tension between the internal and external focus required to do all three equally. This continuous and integrated approach to change requires the coordinated participation of everyone in the company, not just a few change agents or change leaders.

Old theories no longer work
Our understanding of change has remained fundamentally intact since the innovative work of Lewin in the 1940s. Likewise, the concept of change management as a process or reorganizing, restructuring, and reengineering which evolved incrementally over two decades.

Leaders know these theories no longer work, and even seem crazy considering how much the marketplace and corporate environments have changed in the same period. Product lifecycle has never been so compressed, nor the need to innovate so fierce.

No 10-step change management process is going to help in a crisis of the magnitude of BP's oil spill, and while that example may be extraordinary, it does illustrate the need for change readiness vs. change management.

70% failure rate: something needs to be fixed
The discrepancy in the accelerated rate of change and the outdated change management practices still employed today unarguably have much to do with the 70% failure rate of change initiatives – a dismal statistic validated by study after study. Failure rates this high demand a new mindset and new actions, but before you can improve your change readiness, you must first assess current change awareness, agility, reactions, and mechanisms.

1. Change Awareness

Change Awareness is a company's ability to redefine itself as necessary. This contextual focus is critical to innovation – the right product at the right time. Good change awareness practices include scanning the environment for opportunities, focusing on emerging trends, and planning for the future.

Questions to ask

• Does your company have people responsible for regularly assessing the market for new opportunities and market changes?

• Does your company proactively search for opportunities for brand renewal and product innovation?

2. Change Agility

Change agility represents your company's ability to engage people in pending changes. This is an internal focus that is critical to the company's ability to effectively implement identified innovations. A great idea won't matter if you can't muster the capacity and commitment to carry it through. An organization with good change agility has the capacity to stretch when necessary and quickly shift resources to the place they will make the most difference. Leadership should inspire confidence and trust, and consistently.

Questions to ask

• How agile is your company? 

• How effective are your managers at engaging and delivering the changes envisioned by your decision makers? 

How well does your company actually facilitate and execute on change when it is needed?

3.  Change Reaction

Change reaction is the ability to appropriately analyze problems, assess risks, and manage the reactions of employees. This internal focus ensures your company can sustain the day-to-day business while reacting in a timely and appropriate manner to self-initiated and market-dictated change.

Questions to ask

• How effectively do you and other leaders at your company assess risk and manage unplanned change? 

• How well does your organization react and respond to crisis?

4. Change Mechanisms

Change Mechanisms should encourage clear goal alignment across functions, the ability to integrate a change into existing systems, accountability for results, and reward systems that reinforce desired change behaviors. This contextual focus is critical to the ability to implement desired change with no interruption to daily operation.

Questions to ask

• Are your structures and systems flexible enough to adapt and support the implementation of change? 

• Does your organization have the structures and systems in place to support the successful implementation of change?

We have found that managers at successful companies are asking themselves questions like these in the effort to build a capacity for change readiness instead of change management.

How are you working to increase your company's change readiness?

For more information on change management, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.

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This post was extracted from an article by Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe, originally published  the the Harvard Business Review's HBR Blog Network.



Create a Culture of Development

Few argue the wisdom of success planning.

With the number of years an employee stays with one company now at an all-time low, identifying who to invest in is more important than ever. Instead of gambling on a few high-potentials each year, why not create a culture of ongoing assessment and development for all individuals throughout the organization?

Within your management ranks, you already have all the manpower you need for this task. No one knows better the performance, leadership potential, skills, and development needs of an individual than the manager who oversees their work every day. When managers are responsible for the development of their reports, they begin to think beyond getting the job done today to thinking about the skills their people will need to do the job in five years. This big-picture thinking keeps companies agile and able to meet constantly changing market demands.

Do your managers have the appropriate resources for leadership development?

In order to create this culture of development, there must be a shift to supplying managers with the appropriate resources:

Performance reviews

When done correctly and periodically, performance reviews can provide a good view of a person's long-term job performance and can identify development needs long before they turn into organizational issues. In this way, the management pipeline is kept healthy and viable.

360 Assessments

This assessment tool is convenient and anonymous and can provide invaluable insight into a person's effectiveness as well as a very accurate roadmap to guide future development.

Coaching

Once an area of development is identified, coaching provides the extra push required to help individuals  make sustainable change in future behavior that make them more effective and valuable to the organization.

Action Learning

A well-crafted business simulation provides a learning experience that relates directly to the workplace, allowing individuals to practice leadership and collaborative behaviors and skills in a safe, risk-free environment with quick feedback.

In a culture of development, everyone wins.

Individuals feel valued, managers have better-prepared workers, and organizations gain a management and leadership pipeline that will never run dry.

Please share your insights and questions by posting comments to this blog. For more information on organizational development, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
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Article by Chris Musselwhite, EdD, originally published in L&L (Leading & Learning) Lead-zine.



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

LEADERSHIP: To Have The Most Impact, Ask The Right Questions

Questions give you the chance to hear what the other person is thinking, giving you more opportunity to accurately determine his or her influencing style. By really listening to the person's response, you will know whether you can move on to your next point, or if you need to back up and readdress something in a way that helps the other person see your perspective and brings him or her closer to your position.

According to a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality*, when people feel listened to by those trying to influence them, their liking of, commitment to, and trust in the influencer increases – all of which strengthen your influencing capability in the situation and overall.

It's important to remember there are different types of questions, and what kind will be most effective depends on the situation and what you are trying to elicit from the person.

1. Convergent questions: What, where, who, and when questions get a person to clarify the specifics of what he or she is thinking. Converging questions can be important when time is of the essence or you are dealing with someone who is theoretical.

2. Divergent or expansive questions: Why and what if questions ask a person to expand on what he or she is thinking. Divergent questions can be important when you need someone to see the larger contest of a position.

3. Integrating questions: If…then what questions demonstrate an attempt to find common ground between opposing positions. This builds trust and encourages compromise, which is important in situations where the stakes are high for both sides.

Asking the right questions enables you to see whether you can continue to "push" your opinion to a receptive person or if you need to "pull" the person back into the conversation before you lose his or her attention. Asking questions keeps people engaged, which is paramount when you are trying to influence someone's thinking or behavior.

Perhaps most importantly, asking questions frames the entire conversation as an inquiry in which both sides are coming toothier to uncover the best solution. Not only are you communicating that you haven't come with an immovable agenda, you are demonstrating that you care about and are open to the other person's perspective, creating trust. This is intentional influence at its most effective. A culture of trust is a trademark of high performing teams and organizations, and the benchmark of great leadership.

For more information on leadership development, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
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This post was excerpted from an article by Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe originally published by The Harvard Business Review.

*  Ames, Daniel; Maissen, Lily Benjamin; Brockner, Joel. "The role of listening in interpersonal influence." Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 46, Issue 3, June 2012, pages 345-349.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MOTIVATION Part 5: Reward Openly And Often, With More Than Money

In Part 4, the practice of providing good feedback was covered. This five-part series of strategies for creating a culture of motivation ends with this post on effective rewards.

Although many companies use compensation to motivate, this is actually a reward tactic. Monetary reward may reinforce desired behavior once it’s demonstrated, but it is ineffective as a long-term motivator. Even worse inconsistent compensation can actually do the opposite; for instance employees become dissatisfied when it’s not provided.

This is not to say that appropriate compensation isn’t necessary. In fact, according to Frederick Herzberg, known as the father of modern motivational theory, while the presence of certain basics (good working conditions and an appropriate salary) don’t necessarily increase job satisfaction, their absence contributes significantly to job dissatisfaction. Herzberg’s research found that monetary rewards don’t compensate for ineffective management and that real motivation comes from the work itself. So if rewards don’t motivate, what does? According to Herzberg, the top motivators in the workplace include achievement, recognition, meaningful work, responsibility, advancement, and growth. HR can be instrumental in developing a program of consistent recognition for use by managers.

Recognition extends the motivating effects of achievement into responsibility and accountability, which are motivating for the employee, valuable for the manager, and cost-effective for the organization.

Here are some tactics managers can start to use to reward and motivate employees:

• Use responsibility and advancement as awards. A high performer deserves more responsibility and the respect that comes with it.

• Celebrate as a team. Lead a mini celebration in the office at least once a week for even a small win.

• Congratulate one-on-one. Give a pat on the back to at least one person a day for his contribution.

• Promote only on merit. Promote based only on visible results.

• Personally reward great performance. Give small rewards for exceptional performance on an irregular basis that are of value to the individual, such as an afternoon off, dinner out on the company, or a long weekend to be home with her family.
    Links to other posts in this Motivation series

    Part 1: Creating a Culture of Motivation
    Part 2: Get Reacquainted with Staff
    Part 3: Establish clear expectations
    Part 4: Provide good feedback
    Part 5: Reward openly and often, with more than money

    For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
    _______________________

    This is one of the motivation strategies from "Creating a Culture of Motivation" by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in T&D, a publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). 

    MOTIVATION Part 4: Provide Good Feedback

    In Part 3, we made the case for establishing clear expectations as a critical strategy in creating a culture of motivation. Here we stress the importance of providing good feedback.

    The best managers realize that their  job includes developing their direct  reports—this includes acting as mentor  and coach and providing timely and appropriate feedback. Here are some  suggestions that managers can use to  provide the level of feedback that will  keep their people not only motivated,  but also growing: 

    Coach, don’t criticize. 
    When you are  tempted to give feedback, examine your  motives. If feedback will not improve  the organization or the individual, don’t  give it. If it will facilitate performance or  career development, it is coaching and  not just criticism. 

    Don’t give answers, ask questions. 
    Asking good questions helps people  learn to problem solve and make good  decisions. It gives them the opportunity to discover answers for themselves,  which adds meaning to their work and  helps build skills. 

    Praise first, then give suggestions. 
    Offer five compliments for every constructive criticism, and don’t mix the  two in one conversation. 

    Timing is everything. 
    Make sure you  are providing feedback when it can  still be helpful. Feedback given after it  can be implemented is often seen as  criticism. 

    Be specific. 
    When you do give feedback, talk in specifics, not generalities.  Describe the impact the person’s behavior or decisions is having on the project  or others. Make constructive suggestions and offer help. 

    Humanize it. 
    When giving feedback,  take 15 minutes to think about the  individual. Consider her strengths and  weaknesses. Determine what two or  three actions the employee could take  to improve the project and contribute  to her own development. 

    Be discreet. 

    Always communicate  feedback in a private, nonthreatening  manner.

    Links to other posts in this Motivation series

    Part 1: Creating a Culture of Motivation
    Part 2: Get Reacquainted with Staff
    Part 3: Establish clear expectations
    Part 4: Provide good feedback
    Part 5: Reward openly and often, with more than money

    For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
    _______________________

    This is one of the motivation strategies from "Creating a Culture of Motivation" by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in T&D, a publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). 


    MOTIVATION Part 3: Establish Clear Expectations

    In Part 2 of this series, we discussed the strategy of getting reacquainted with your staff. Here is another strategy for creating a culture of motivation in your organization.

    Make sure that managers understand  the importance of starting each project  clearly, stating the desired end result  and parameters for achievement. Once  clear expectations are established, it is  critical that managers provide the latitude to let people determine how they  are going to achieve them. By nature,  people are problem solvers. We like to  figure things out and determine how  things are done, especially when we’re  the ones charged with doing it.

    When managers give people the  opportunity to provide input into the  work process, they create buy-in and  a sense of ownership. People who feel  ownership of their work are likely to  find work more meaningful than people  who have no say in how goals are  accomplished. And meaningful work is  much more motivating. 

    Recognizing this natural human  drive to be a part of the solution is a  critical first step in motivating people.  Here are some suggestions to help managers in your organization begin to set  clearer expectations: 

    Require all leaders to clearly state  goals of any new project before it is  started.
    This will ensure everyone is on  the same page. Also, everyone will know  whether the project is successful, as  well as what could be done to increase  success on future projects. 

    Set measurable objectives.
    Don’t put  requirements in performance appraisals that cannot be measured. Use the  SMART system (specific, measurable,  attainable, relevant, and time-bound) of  developing objectives. 

    Model behavior. 
    As the leader, be the  first to meet (and exceed) the standards  set for others.

    Links to other posts in this Motivation series

    Part 1: Creating a Culture of Motivation
    Part 2: Get Reacquainted with Staff
    Part 3: Establish clear expectations
    Part 4: Provide good feedback
    Part 5: Reward openly and often, with more than money

    For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
    _______________________

    This is one of the motivation strategies from "Creating a Culture of Motivation" by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in T&D, a publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). 

    MOTIVATION Part 2: Get Reacquainted With Staff

    In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the challenges and rewards of creating a culture of motivation in your organization. Here is the first of four strategies to accomplish this.

    A manager’s first priority is making sure  that each employee is in the job best  suited to her skill set and professional  aspirations. This means taking the time  to get to know his people. This can be a  challenge for those managers who naturally focus more on the job than on the  person doing it. 

    When employees feel that managers care more about the work than  about them, they may feel insignificant.  Equally, when an employee feels that  his manager is as concerned about him  as he is about the work, he is far more  likely to display trust that is characteristic of high-performing companies. 

    In addition, when managers take the  time to create this sense of trust among  employees, they gain invaluable insight  into what motivates each employee.  What motivates one person may do  nothing for another.  

    If a manager really knows his people,  he will know that while Joe may feel  recognized by being assigned as the  manager of a large project, Jane might  feel more achievement from a more  hands-on role in producing the end  result. Having this individual knowledge is critical for a manager to be able  to effectively motivate. Here are some  activities managers can use to get to  know his people and discover what  motivates them:

    Encourage people to ask questions  about their current assignments.  
    A  person with lots of questions probably  needs more input, while a person with  few questions probably needs less. When  people feel matched to their responsibilities, they are more likely to be more  motivated and perform at their best.

    Re-read résumés of employees. 
    Become reacquainted with the skills  and weakness of each person in the  team. This will enable managers to better mentor workers in their personal  development while also better using  their skills for the success of the department and the organization.

    Take time to listen. 

    Ask people: “Where  do you want to be in five years?” Really  listen to their answers. It is surprising  how much people can learn from each  other during a brief exchange. Network with staff. When managers know the strengths of their people,  they can connect individuals to others  who can help them do a better job, and  everyone benefits. People asked to help  others feel valued, and those receiving  help feel supported, both of which are  truly motivating.


    Ask for and consider input from direct  reports.
    Be sure managers do not  dismiss people purely because they do  not think alike. Appreciation for diverse  opinions is invaluable. This small  awareness can equal big payoffs.

    Delegate more.
    Draw a matrix with a  list of employees down the left-hand  side and a list of the tasks the team is  responsible across the top. If tasks were delegated to others for one week, which would go to which person? Why? How  well do managers really know each  employee’s capabilities? Have managers delegate at least two of tasks this week.  In addition to motivating and developing others, this will also help managers  evaluate their own ability and willingness to delegate.

    Mix it up.
    Managers should develop a  cross-functional team so people can  gain a perspective on other parts of the  organization. This contributes to their readiness for change, and the change  capacity of the entire organization. Plus,  when done with support, it can make  the work more interesting, and more  motivating, for everyone.

    Links to other posts in this Motivation series

    Part 1: Creating a Culture of Motivation
    Part 2: Get Reacquainted with Staff
    Part 3: Establish clear expectations
    Part 4: Provide good feedback
    Part 5: Reward openly and often, with more than money

    For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
    _______________________

    This is one of  the motivation strategies from "Creating a Culture of Motivation by Chris Musselwhite originally published in T&D, publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)

    LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Series Introduction

    Who doesn’t want to be a more effective leader? Ironically, one of the most direct routes to leading more effectively is through being a better follower. In fact, the similarities between effective leaders and effective followers are significant. 

    In Good to Great, Jim Collins describes Level 5 leadership as one of the significant factors that drives an organization from being a good organization to a truly great organization. He describes Level 5 leaders as results oriented, modest, self-effacing, and always ready to attribute success to people other than themselves. 

    The greatest leaders surround themselves with great followers and give them credit. The best way to identify, attract, and direct great followers? Be one. Lead by example. 

    By being a truly great follower, you model and inspire behaviors in others that increase the opportunity for success in your organization. 

    In other posts, we’ll expound on seven characteristic behaviors of great followers and examples of how they build leadership:

    •   Be Honest
    •   Be supportive 
    •   Be reliable
    •   Always seek to understand the big picture
    •   Ask good questions
    •   Be aware of your own assumptions
    •   Practice integrity
      Modeling these behaviors will not only increase your own leadership effectiveness, it will increase the effectiveness of your superiors and your direct reports. Indeed, when these behaviors are the norm in an organization, everyone is more effective, everyone’s job is easier, and everyone is happier. 

      For more information on leadership development, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
      _______________________

      This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009

      ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE Part 1: Are You Ready For Change?

      Our organizational experts say managing change is no longer enough and explain how your company can become change ready.

      Since 1990, organizational development has focused on the organization’s capacity for managing change, i.e., how managers can be better change agents, leaders, and managers of change.  

      With the rate of change today at its fastest in recorded history, managing change is no longer enough. Instead, we must begin to create change-ready organizations that can respond to change in real time and come out better for it on the other side. Change readiness, it seems, is the new change management. 

      Rather than just one facet of an organization’s capabilities, change readiness is the coordinated integration of many factors and abilities, including the culture. Consider these questions, each from a different discipline, with your organization in mind: 
      • Does your organization have a continuous improvement mindset? 
      • Are innovation and learning valued and rewarded? 
      • Is leadership respected and trusted? 
      • Does your culture reward or punish risk-taking? 
      • Do senior leaders model agility and flexibility? 
      • Does your organization have a dominant change preference, and how does that impact the way change is framed and understood?  
      • Does your leadership respond appropriately and lead effectively in a crisis? 
        Although each question provides a window into how change ready your organization is, it’s only when all these perspectives are considered as a whole that your company’s true change readiness can be revealed.

        Links to all posts in this Organizational Change Readiness series:

        Part 1: Are You Ready For Change?

        For more information on change readiness, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
        ______________________ 

        The posts in this series are adapted from "Change Readiness" by Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe, originally published in American Executive.

        Business Simulations Positively Impact MBA Training

        Using business simulations has proven to be an extremely effective way to give MBAs practical, hands-on skills in a non-threatening environment.

        Trying out solutions without risk
        Typically in these simulations, participants are organized into teams that compete to solve a hypothetical business problem, and it is an excellent way to introduce MBA students to the types of challenges they’ll face when they start running companies. Unlike the more traditional training experience, a business simulation models natural systems and human interactions. It can be an especially powerful intervention tool when learning objectives include a change in behavior. Participants are able to see and discuss how they behave, make decisions, and collaborate with others in a realistic scenario. Simulations can pack a remarkable amount of learning into a short time-frame, yet the lessons are sustainable and transferrable to the workplace. MBA students can be much more prepared for situations they were previously not ready for.

        Practice makes perfect
        Simulations address the classic issue of MBA graduates who are highly knowledgeable about management theories but then forget how to apply them under stress. This stems from the ideas of organizational and experiential learning theorist Chris Argyris. He suggests that our espoused theories (what we know) do not always translate into our theories in use (what we do). This seems to be especially true when there is ambiguity, stress, or a charged emotional environment, all of which are common elements in today’s high-stakes and fast-paced business world.

        Bridging the knowledge application gap
        Simulations help bridge the knowledge-application gap by compressing the “learning horizon.” This is a term coined by organizational learning thought leader Peter Senge, and it refers to the time required to experience and then understand the consequences of our actions and behaviors. When we are dealing with complex problems in an environment with a lot of noise, the learning horizon may be extended so far that the connection between action and consequence can be lost. This can be remedied with simulated learning. By compressing the learning horizon in a simulated learning experience, we accelerate the time from action to consequence to learning. Simulations provide opportunities for reflection on behaviors and the chance to experiment with new ones, in a compressed, safe, and non-judgmental environment. In a simulation, individuals can step outside comfort zones, try out new ideas and behaviors, and make mistakes– all without risk to careers or the organization.

        Changing the heart as well as the head
        In a simulation, attitudes, knowledge, and skills learned in business school are called into action as adults actively participate in situations involving the whole person. The best simulations challenge the heart, as well as the head. This is not often the case in traditional classroom training experience.
        ______________

        For more information on effective business simulations, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com, or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
        ______________

        Adapted from an interview with Chris Musselwhite for the following article:
        Weinstein, Margery. “B-School vs. C-School: Does an MBA necessarily translate into success behind the desk in the corporate world?” Training magazine, The Lakewood Media Group. March 27, 2012. 

        MOTIVATION Part 1: Creating A Culture Of Motivation

        The "jobless recovery" that has stretched from 2011 into 2013 means that managers everywhere are facing ambitious productivity demands with the leanest teams in decades. Motivating people is a perennial management challenge, but in times like these, it's up to learning professionals to ensure that motivation is given more than just lip service.

        This starts with providing managers the training and skills they need to effectively motivate people to consistently perform at their best. This is especially  important for young managers, who often report that keeping staff motivated is  among the most challenging of their new responsibilities. 

        As always, the first job of HR is to educate. Informing your managers about the  benefits of a motivated staff will inspire them to want to become better at motivating others. Research shows that managers who are effective at motivating their  direct reports reap the reward of employees who can handle a variety of assignments, work more autonomously, report higher levels of job satisfaction, and  contribute more to the success of the department, the organization, and in return,  to the success of their manager. 

        Plus, when you get your managers to assume more responsibility for motivating, they start to think beyond getting the job done today and begin considering  what their people will need to be effective one, two, and five years from now. This  big-picture thinking does more than keep employees happy, it helps keep the talent  pipeline full, staff more agile, and the organization ready and able to meet constantly shifting market demands.

        There are proven strategies for creating a culture of motivation in your organization. Click on any one to get more detail about how to practice or implement it:


        By providing your managers with the  training and skills they need to be better motivators, learning professionals  can work with managers to create a culture of motivation in which individuals  feel valued, managers have more capable workers, and the entire organization  becomes more agile and change-ready.  Now that’s a win-win-win proposition.

        For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
        _______________________

        Extracted from "Creating a Culture of Motivation" by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in T&D, a publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

        ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE Part 2: Integration Framework

        In Part 1 of this series, we offered a list of situations that could indicate your organization's need to address change readiness.

        Thanks to an emerging organizational change capacity framework that integrates all of the relevant information and questions in a meaningful way, you can begin to define and measure your organization’s readiness to change in four key capacities (see diagram):

        1.     change awareness
        2.     change agility
        3.     change reaction
        4.     change mechanisms

          Change awareness is the ability to proactively search for and see opportunities for renewal and innovation. An organization with good change awareness is skilled at scanning the environment for opportunities and emerging trends, planning for the future, and redefining itself as needed.  

          Change agility is the capacity of leaders to facilitate and deliver change that’s needed. An organization with good change agility can communicate and engage commitment to achieve needed change in a timely manner, giving it the capacity to stretch, adapt skills, and shift resources when necessary. 

          Change reaction represents the ability to analyze problems, assess risks, and manage the reactions of employees to react and respond appropriately and quickly to unplanned change (change that stems from market, economic, and technology changes rather than internal strategy and innovation). 

          Change mechanisms are the structures and systems that support the implementation of change. This includes having clear goal alignment across functions, the ability to integrate a change into existing systems, accountability for results, and reward systems that reinforce desired change behaviors. 

          Links to all posts in this Organizational Change Readiness series:

          Part 1: Are You Ready For Change?

          For more information on change readiness, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
          ______________________ 

          The posts in this series are adapted from "Change Readiness" by Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe, originally published in American Executive.


          ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE Part 3: Holistic Approach

          In Part 2 of this series, we provided an integration framework for addressing your organization's evaluation of change readiness. In this post, we'll offer a more holistic approach. 

          •  How high is your change awareness? 
          •  How do you scan the environment for new opportunities and market changes?
          •  How about your change agility?
          •  Is your organization able to engage and deliver changes envisioned by leadership?
          •  How quick and appropriate is your change reaction?
          •  Does the organization effectively assess risk and manage unplanned change?
          •  How well are your change mechanisms performing?
          •  Are organizational structures and systems capable of supporting the implementation of change?
            The answers will be different for every organization, but the questions have never been more relevant or more important to the survival of your company. 
            Once you integrate the information about your organization’s change readiness revealed by examining your company’s change awareness, change agility, change reaction, and change mechanisms, you can assess and quantify your change readiness from four important strategic perspectives: 

            1. Problem projects. What are the forces behind the failure of current change initiatives?

            2. New initiatives. What can the organization do to increase the chances of the success of future initiatives?

            3. Macro analysis. What can the organization do to proactively increase its overall capacity for innovation and change readiness?

            4. Metrics: How can the organization measure its efforts to increase its change readiness and benchmark progress along the way?

                  Remember, your organization’s change readiness isn’t just one capability; it’s an integration of many factors. By considering all of them, you can gain a better understanding of organizational change and the current change readiness of your own organization.

                  With this understanding, you can begin to develop the characteristics that increase change readiness (and extinguish the ones that stand in the way), creating a change-ready organization that that will thrive and improve because of change rather than simply survive it.

                  Links to all posts in this Organizational Change Readiness series:

                  Part 1: Are You Ready For Change?

                  For more information on change readiness, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
                  ______________________ 

                  The posts in this series are adapted from "Change Readiness" by Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe, originally published in American Executive.

                  LEAD BY EXAMPLE Part 6: Be Aware Of Your Own Assumptions

                  In Part 5 of this "Lead by Example" series, I discussed the importance of asking good questions. In this post, I cover how essential it is to be sure you're aware of the assumptions underlying everything you do or say.

                  Being aware of how your own assumptions affect every situation is an essential trait of good followers and influential leaders alike. Here’s an example. A manager came to me about the problems she was experiencing because of her supervisor’s micro-managing style on a recent project. She assumed he didn’t trust her, so she reacted to every question and interaction defensively. Getting things accomplished was painful for both. 


                  I suggested an alternative way to view this situation. Perhaps this project was really important to her boss and he gave it to her because he trusted her to do a good job, even though he remained anxious about the project’s outcome. When she began relating to him from this assumption, their relationship turned around. She realized that her assumption of her boss’s lack of confidence in her ability was feeding his anxiety and insecurity. They started enjoying working together and got much accomplished in record time.

                  Links to all the other posts in this "Lead By Example" series:

                  •   Introduction
                  •   Be Honest
                  •   Be supportive 
                  •   Be reliable
                  •   Always seek to understand the big picture
                  •   Ask good questions
                  •   Practice integrity

                  For more information on leadership development, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
                  _______________________

                  This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009

                  LEAD BY EXAMPLE Part 1: Be Honest

                  In the introduction to this "Lead by Example" series, I shared my conviction that modeling certain behaviors--leading by example--sets apart the effective leader. In this post, I cover one of these critical behaviors: being honest.

                  Tell the truth to everyone, including your boss. But be sure you do it in a way that isn’t blaming or, worse, embarrassing. This may seem simple, but it can be difficult in practice. 

                  Here’s an example. Just recently, I was involved in a culture survey for a large organization in which the feedback from the employees was very negative. When this was presented to the CEO, he indicated no steps were to be taken, as his senior management team had assured him that the negative issues had already been addressed, just not in time to affect the survey. 

                  From our perspective, not addressing the situation would have been a mistake, both for the CEO and the entire organization. So we were happy when not long after that conversation, he came back to us seeking help in addressing the negative feedback. 

                  When asked about his change in direction, he confided that a female senior executive met with him in private to raise the concern that by choosing not to address the situation, he might be falling prey to sabotage by members of the senior team. 

                  Because she was honest in a discrete and constructive manner, the CEO valued her opinion, seeing her as more of an asset to him and to the organization. By taking the risk and being honest, she increased her own ability to influence decision-making in the organization a key leadership competency.

                  Links to all the other posts in this "Lead By Example" series:

                  •   Introduction
                  •   Be supportive 
                  •   Be reliable
                  •   Always seek to understand the big picture
                  •   Ask good questions
                  •   Be aware of your own assumptions
                  •   Practice integrity

                  For more information on leadership development, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
                  _______________________

                  This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009

                  LEAD BY EXAMPLE Part 2: Be Supportive

                  In Part 1 of the “Lead by Example” series, I discussed the importance of being honest.  Being supportive is another critical element of effective leadership.

                  On the most basic level, your job is to make your boss and your organization successful. If your boss has missed something important, you should take care of it yourself or tell your boss about it. And, as we saw in the previous example, discretion is critical.

                  I’ve coached many managers who complain about their bosses and miss that it is their responsibility to the organization (and their boss) to take up the slack. When you let your boss look bad, you look bad, and everyone suffers. When you are supportive, your boss will trust you more. This may result in your inclusion in the loop of communication reserved for those at the most senior levels. This makes you more visible within the organization and more valuable to your department. It also increases your chance of receiving more leadership positions and responsibility in the future.
                  _______________________

                  Links to all the other posts in this "Lead By Example" series:
                  •   Introduction
                  •   Be Honest
                  •   Be reliable
                  •   Always seek to understand the big picture
                  •   Ask good questions
                  •   Be aware of your own assumptions
                  •   Practice integrity

                  For more information on leadership development, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
                  _______________________

                  This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009

                  LEAD BY EXAMPLE Part 3: Be Reliable

                  In Part 2 of this "Lead by Example" series, I discussed the importance of being supportive to both superiors and reports. Here I cover how critical it is to be someone they find reliable.

                  When people can count on you to do what you say, you become an asset to them, the organization, and yourself. When you are reliable, your superiors will give you more responsibility, even managers who have a hard time delegating to others. Micro-managers become micro-managers because they lack confidence in other people (whether justified or not). 

                  You add to this positive reputation by going the extra mile, even when it’s outside your job description. Doing something that needs to be done instead of blaming others or delegating shows you see and work toward the bigger picture, which is characteristic of all effective leaders. 

                  Links to all the other posts in this "Lead By Example" series:

                  •   Introduction
                  •   Be Honest
                  •   Be supportive 
                  •   Always seek to understand the big picture
                  •   Ask good questions
                  •   Be aware of your own assumptions
                  •   Practice integrity

                  For more information on leadership development, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
                  _______________________

                  This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009

                  LEAD BY EXAMPLE Part 4: Seek To Understand The Big Picture

                  In Part 3 of this "Lead by Example" series, I made the case for being reliable as a key leadership trait. Here, I discuss how critical it is to always step back and understand the big picture.

                  When you work with the big picture in mind, others are far more likely to see you as a leader. It will also help you be a better follower. For example, the next time the boss’s actions or decisions appear unreasonable or inappropriate, remember that you may only see a part of the bigger picture that the boss sees. 

                  Instead of assuming your boss is wrong, seek information that will help you put his or her actions into context. Ask intelligent questions in the effort to discover the reason behind the actions. The better you understand the big picture, the better advocate you can be for the things you are responsible for and the things that are important to you. 

                  Here’s an example from my own company. We recently hired a new staff member. In his efforts to quickly ramp up on our products, processes, and customers, he is asking me hundreds of questions. By asking good questions, he’s not only making himself valuable to the organization faster, he is making me rethink many of our current processes—both of which will contribute to the success and growth of the company.

                  Links to all the other posts in this "Lead By Example" series:

                  •   Introduction
                  •   Be Honest
                  •   Be supportive 
                  •   Be reliable
                  •   Ask good questions
                  •   Be aware of your own assumptions
                  •   Practice integrity

                  For more information on leadership development, please visit our website at www.discoverylearning.com or email us at info@discoverylearning.com.
                  _______________________

                  This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009




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