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Friday, September 7, 2012

Lean Quote: It Can Be Difficult, Perilous, Even Uncertain Leading Change But Six Elements Can Create Success

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1532)

Many think culture creates successful results but the contrary is true. Changing the culture of an organization requires effective management. There are six C’s for effective change management that anyone who has influence and accountability for team success should possess:

Commitment – Empathy and support from the top levels with the ability to persevere through the inevitable resistance to change. The willingness to assign good personal and the time and money required for the improvement effort.

Communication – The skill to communicate to the entire workforce on how, when and why change is going to occur, combined with the ability to gain their input, ownership and buy-in. Clear and frequent communication is the key to dissipate uncertainty and fear.

Consensus – An agreement on the best path to take forward for success. Involvement of the people concerned to create ownership and alignment of vision. The greater the connection to the change the greater the willingness to change will be.

Consistency – People need to understand that this is not just a fad that will pass, but that you are serious about sticking to it. Repeated desirable thinking, behaviors, and practices form the basis of an organization’s culture.

Cultivation – Encourage and foster learning and teaching at all levels in the organization. Refine the culture of the organization as needs and opportunities change. Make the change relevant to everyone within the organization

Constantly – Regular uninterrupted activity is required for all people in the organization for all the C’s above. Always looking to improve all aspects of what we do to add value and eliminate waste.

The effectiveness of change (E) is the product of the quality of change (Q), time the acceptance of change (A) : E = Q x A. Excelling in either quality or acceptance is not all it takes; both factors complement each other.

There is no quick solution for changing the culture of an organization. With effective management to focus on the quality of change and the six C’s to aid in the acceptance of change you will be well on your way to transforming your organization. Having the ability to master these six characteristics is the embodiment of a highly effective and successful leader.

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