Archives for May 2014

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

May 29, 2014 1 Comment

The more things change, the more they stay the same, by Kevin Gangel, Unstoppable Conversations

Unstoppable Conversations

Change hurts.  Not universally true, but close enough when we look at teams and organizations going through large-scale change initiatives.

In our last article, Change Management is only a Better Yesterday, we said that real, lasting, productive change usually doesn’t happen during a change initiative because the background context (the paradigm, the worldview, the thinking) that brought us the need to change in the first place stays firmly in place and drives the show during the change.  And when that happens, the bright and shiny future looks an awful lot like the dusty, dented, and hard-used past.

We looked at the kind of Thinking that, uninterrupted, will drive the self-fulfilling prophecy of failed change management.  The type of thinking, like a series of thought bubbles following everyone around through the change, and the associated actions that people take from that thinking look like this:

“There’s not enough” gives the action called Protect

  • “We’re right, and they’re wrong” only has room for the action called Tell, “Educate”, Argue, or Correct
  • “We have to get this right” is correlated to the action of Overplan AND Under-deliver
  • “We’ll tell you if and when we have to tell you” can only result in Keeping Things Secret, Deflecting authentic questions and concerns, and Safeguarding Information like it was gold
  • “We’ve got one shot at this” gives the action, or inaction in this case, of Not Taking Risks and Controlling everything you can get your hands on, including processes, people, and information
  • “They can’t handle the truth” provides endless opportunities to Treat People Like They are Dumb and to Protect Them for Their Own Good
  • “Look smart, don’t look dumb” gives the action of Pretending You Know something when in fact you are clueless
  • “Don’t tell me what to do” gives actions in the realm of Punish, Jockey for Position, and Argue.

Now let’s look at the impact of those actions.  Because every action has a result.  And every lack of action, in-action, has a result, as well.  And when you tally up the repeated actions of a large number of people then the aggregate results eventually become our new set of circumstances.  And when those actions are driven by ineffective, survival-based thinking, then those circumstances end up being the exact ones that we wanted to avoid in the first place…Oh, the irony!

  • Protect, taken in a context of scarcity, has the result of
  • Tell
  • “Educate”
  • Argue
  • Correct
  • Overplan
  • Under-deliver
  • Keep Secrets
  • Deflect questions and concerns
  • Safeguard Information
  • Don’t Take Risks
  • Control people
  • Control process
  • Control Information
  • Treat People Like They are Dumb
  • Protect Them for Their Own Good
  • Pretend You Know when in fact you don’t
  • Punish
  • Jockey for Position
  • Argue…wait, we said that one already…see #4!

Change Management is only a Better Yesterday

May 26, 2014 72 Comments

Change Management is only a Better Yesterday by Kevin Gangel, Unstoppable Conversations

Unstoppable Conversations

Everyone says change is good, right?

But what do we actually mean when we say we want change?

If you’re like me, you mean there’s someone or something that you don’t like. And if they would just change—in the way we know they need to change—we could then get on with the important things in life. The good stuff.

We go to work on changing them, changing it, and if we’re part of a large team or organization it will look like this:

  • Get the smartest and most important people in a room. Make sure there’s coffee.
  • Get agreement on what it is that’s wrong with everyone and everything— primarily who and what is not in the room.
  • Decide which parts of them and it most need fixing.
  • Decide how to fix them and how long it should take.
  • Come out of the room. Don’t tell anyone else who or what is about to be fixed, but go to work preparing the details of the fixing plan until it’s crafted just right.
  • Call a meeting, webinar, or conference call. Declare that we now know how they need to be fixed. Plus, we have the perfect plan, including timetables and org charts (well, not real org charts, but ideas about org charts, anyway) for how they are going to be fixed and by when the fixing will be complete.
  • Congratulate them on their courage and flexibility for taking on the plan in which they had neither input nor choice. Assure them of how great it’s going to be. Then pat them on the back and wait for the change we’ve designed to happen.
  • Rinse and repeat.

If you’ve been through an organizational change initiative, that’s probably at least partially familiar.

Let’s look at your own experiences. Ever had changes rolled out when you weren’t in that closed–door meeting? Ever been the middle manager, asked to implement the thing that you’re supposed to pretend you helped invent, all while smiling and nodding and pretending to agree with all the decisions made? Ever had to pretend you firmly believe everything is going to be a-ok?

Or perhaps you were on the other side of it. You put your best intentions and care into crafting the plan, only to watch everyone else now ignoring it, tearing it down, watching it die, and complaining about it when you’re not looking. Chances are your experience has been one of frustration, disappointment, maybe even of betrayal and despair.

Never mind the statistics on how mergers, project implementations, and change initiatives turn out in the real word. (Dismal, by the way.)

That’s how change management usually goes and we’re left with this multiple–choice result:

Circle the resulting organizational situation that you’re painfully familiar with.

  • A fast start that goes like wildfire, until it suddenly falls off a cliff.
  • A drawn out period of foot dragging, resistance, and formation of increasingly combative ‘camps’: the converted vs. the ‘over my dead body’.
  • Utter chaos as everyone runs around with no common understanding or direction. Communication and relationships decline until the situation is even worse than before the change effort.
  • All of the above.

At best, those change initiatives are just a ‘better yesterday’; that is, incremental improvement that falls glaringly short of the intellect, talent, and effort that went into the initiative. At worst, the hole is in fact getting deeper and it would’ve been better if the changes had never started in the first place.

It’s inevitable.

Because what precipitated the need for change in the first place HASN’T CHANGED at all. In other words, those multiple–choice results above are inevitable because the Context hasn’t changed.

The Context, the background thinking that made the initial change necessary, usually looks like this:

  • There’s not enough:  mindshare/time/money/resources/will/buy-in, etc.
  • We’re right, and they’re wrong.
  • We have to get this right.
  • We’ll tell you only if and when we have to tell you.
  • We’ve only got one shot at this.
  • They can’t handle the truth.
  • Look smart—don’t look dumb.
  • Don’t tell me what to do.

Imagine 8 executives around a board table, CxOs and Directors from Finance, Legal, Sales, HR, and Operations, all of whom have one of those statements in a thought bubble hovering over them.  Now run the meeting and see if the strategies, tactics, and action plans that get spit out of that meeting look anything like the implementation plans you’ve been a part of.

Imagine these thoughts, in multiple iterations, silently running in the background for 8 people during a meeting. The meeting’s about whatever it’s about, but those thoughts, that Context, invisibly creates a group paradigm. Within this paradigm, which no one articulates aloud but everyone’s operating from, there’s usually only one way the future is going to turn out. It’s going to look an awful lot like the past circumstances that were in existence prior to the change initiative.  Except this time, everyone will be even more resigned and cynical because this was supposed to be the one time that it was finally going to work.

You can actually look at the actions being taken inside the change initiative, and if you’re open to mapping it on to the group paradigm (the thinking) that is running the show, there is an almost one to one correlation between those thought bubbles and the actions being taken.

Infographic time. Look at the one–to–one correlation of Context to action:

  • “There’s not enough” gives the action called Protect
  • “We’re right, and they’re wrong” only has room for the action called Tell, “Educate”, Argue, or Correct
  • “We have to get this right” is correlated to the action of Overplan AND Under-deliver
  • “We’ll tell you if and when we have to tell you” can only result in Keeping Things Secret, Deflecting authentic questions and concerns, and Safeguarding Information like it was gold
  • “We’ve got one shot at this” gives the action, or inaction in this case, of Not Taking Risks and Controlling everything you can get your hands on, including processes, people, and information
  • “They can’t handle the truth” provides endless opportunities to Treat People Like They are Dumb and to Protect Them for Their Own Good
  • “Look smart, don’t look dumb” gives the action of Pretending You Know something when in fact you are clueless
  • “Don’t tell me what to do” gives actions in the realm of Punish, Jockey for Position, and Argue.

Let’s bring it back to your experience. See if you can map these actions to what you’ve observed in others during a change implementation. Then, see how many of these actions you can map onto your own behavior when the heat was turned up in your last change implementation.

Bottom line? If it were just one person thinking that way and taking those actions, we’d probably be ok. But it’s most of us thinking and acting that way, most of the time, when we’re implementing change. When you add that all up, you’ll see that it takes a direct and dramatic toll on the people and on the results within an organization.

We’ll look at that impact in the next article, when Part II explores how “The more things Change, the more they stay the same.”

What’s Your Most Successful Way to Generate Leads?

May 24, 2014 Leave a Comment

We asked powerhouse leaders of the Evolutionary Business Council this question and here’s what they shared:
Online Chart and Graph1. “I love my automated lead generation system. It not only pre-qualifies my prospects and gives value, but it also asks them their biggest frustration or struggle about their business so I know how best to serve them.” Lisa Mininni of ExcellerateAssociates.com

 

2. “When speaking, I hand out evaluation forms with the question, Do you know of places for Teresa to speak? I usually get 4-5 suggestions from people in the audience so that I can keep my speaking scheduled filled.” Teresa de Grosbois wildfirews.com

3. “I’ve integrated my lead generation system into my tweets which has increased the number of people going to my site. Keeping my tweets consistently going out on Hootsuite has been the key.” Joel Young Truthscompany.com

4. “When speaking, I always give something for free to the audience. There’s not a time where they don’t want the free offer and it increases my conversions.” Barb Stuhlemmer BLITZBusinessSuccess.com

 

5. “On the last slide of my speaking engagements I have a  number that people can text their name and email address and automatically receive my presentation. It also opts them into my free newsletter, too, increasing my community of readers. Sharon McRillbettybrigade.com

 

6. “Right after I complete training, I ask my contact at the organization if they would be willing to warm introduce me to someone in their organization. This results in at least two other engagements to train within the organization.” Marilyn Suttle marilynsuttle.com

 

7. “I have a funnel approach and start the funnel with a $7 offer. It continues to the highest price at which time they are vetted into the advanced and higher priced services.” Terri Levineterrilevine.com

 

8.”Warm word of mouth marketing works for me. When I meet a potential joint venture partner, I keep my asks narrow and tell them how I can help them. Steve Hobbs

 

9. “When I receive a positive response from a radio show that I’ve been on I ask them to joint venture. We then collaborate on a teleseminar and split the profits from the teleseminar. Todd Brockdorft toddbrockdorf.com/

 

10. “When speaking, I place a provision in my speaker contract that if they like my presentation to make a warm introduction to other people in their network.” Valerie Shepard heartoflivingvibrantly.com/

 

11. “When interviewed on radio shows I offer a free personal health assessment with a report customized to the person. In addition, on the back of my business card, I offer information for a free gift and hand them my business card with the free gift side up. Introductions become leads.” Scott Schilling scottschilling.com

 

12. “At the end of a speaking engagement, I offer an introductory package. They get great value, and I get solid leads with people who want to work with me.” Laura Rubinstein  TransformToday.com

Sometimes you come across something so you good you gotta share it! …by Seth Godin

May 8, 2014 Leave a Comment

 

Sometimes you come across something so you good you gotta share it! Check out Seth Godin’s blog.

This is fantastic from a word of mouth marketing perspective.  It really showcases sharing reviews and as a bonus money goes to charity. 🙂  Click to Read!