Change: Make it simple

There are many popular ideas and models in the change management literature like ‘the rational decision-making model’ or ‘DMAIC’ (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). In simple terms you identify the root cause of a problem, choose the most effective solution from a long list that you created earlier, assign someone to implement it, and then see how they got on after the holidays; or something like that.

There’s just one small problem with this

When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember that the original objective was to drain the swamp.  And not only are the circumstances, in which these models are supposed to be used unpredictable, but managers and team members have also been known to behave irrationally from time to time. Like many things that happen in a cosy academic library, in theory all the models work – in theory 

The problem 

Complex rat runThe truth is that any changes an organisation chooses to make will be more complicated, take twice as long, and cost at least twice as much as planned. The problems with all of the change management models is that they fundamentally assume that a manageable root cause can be found, good plans will be made, everyone will do what he or she is supposed to do and in a timely manner, and that the expected outcomes will occur according to a pre-determined timeline; under budget of course. 
Just knowing in advance that none of these things are likely to transpire is a step in the right direction. And yet, despite the obstacles, organisations don’t have the luxury to just stand still. In fact, staying where you are requires as much determination and a commitment to resources as changing. That’s because everyone else around you is changing. 

Don't let complex issues make you stand still

Will Rogers once said that even if you’re on the right path, if you stand still, you’ll get run over. Since you will have to change just to maintain the status quo, how about simply choosing instead, to change for the better? You don’t even have to wait for a management consultant to come along and tell you that it’s something that you ought to consider. Instead of digging in your heels, you can leap for joy. You can tell your shareholders that the handwriting is on the wall, and that if your company doesn’t change, it will be run over by those that do.

What would be a good first step?

You could start by challenging everyone in your organisation to make a 1% improvement in the work that they do. Just 1%. That increment is so small that it may not even be measurable. Seek out the simple things, such as getting as many people as possible to start thinking about how to improve their own personal productivity. That could be all it would take to accelerate your growth or turn things around.
Let’s say that you have 100 people who work in your company, including you: everyone from the CEO down to the cleaners. If each person improved their contribution by just 1%, your company would improve hugely by this time next year. Would that be 100 x 1% = 100% or more? Do you think that anyone would notice a ½% per person improvement in 12 months? I bet they would.

Some times a trojan mouse is as good as a trojan horse...

Simple rat runMany hands make light work and every little help. Check out the change management library if you wish, there is a lot of seriously good ideas in there but there is no reason to make it business improvement any more complicated than is necessary.
If you want to know more about simple, trojan mouse type approaches to change or business improvement - feel free to contact me here

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