(This is Part 3 of the article “3 BIG mistakes of Organizations impacting long-term growth”)
An alternative title of the post could have been “Making laggards leapfrogs”.
The third mistake is around Change management and roll-out. AND it is so counter-intuitive, that the implications are downright radical!
The 3rd BIG mistake is that Organisations start “Change” with people who love and welcome change! And rely on them for its success.
Change everywhere follows the sequence of pioneers, early adopters, early and late majority, and laggards. It is a realistic map of how adoption takes place. However, that may not be the order to follow when rolling out a deliberate change initiative.
Following or relying on this order would be akin to an erroneous conclusion following a great premise. Sometime, the intuitive paths shown in the map are to be shunned in favour of counter-intuitive and long winded routes for an effective navigation.
The map is not to be given up but utilised in a different way.
Following the sequence in the same order is a classic recipe for killing the Change initiative and still, everyone uses it like there IS no other option. The appeal of this model is so strong that it hasn’t struck anyone to look for an alternative and the failures never get traced back to this most deadly implementation sequence.
Instead of elaborating on why this is such a counter-productive model, let me paint another scenario which would automatically expose the feet of clay this one has.
Imagine a scenario where change is not rolled out in a hurry, or unidirectionally, but in a phased manner. It starts with visionaries who have no competence in thinking it through. The Think tank or the strategists pick up the lead and thrash it out at the high-level and maybe some nitty-gritty too.
Till here, everything is the same as the conventional model. From here the alternative model diverges. Instead of the pioneers and early adopters, it is taken to the laggards and the late majority, the ones who resist and fight and criticise every change tooth and nail; the ones who have to be dragged through any change! These are the bad boys in the dictionary of change.
In the alternative model, we take the blueprint of the next change first to them. Because these are also extremely quality conscious people in many ways. They have high benchmarks, from existing order of things of course, and when they resist, they provide an extremely precious quality testing of the initiative, even before it is rolled-out. This group ensures that if something is to be changed, it doesn’t get replaced by another which is not even patch on the present. Since these people have an inherent resistance to replacement, their critique would be penetrating, comprehensive and some more.
If the Change office is “listening deeply” the version 2.0 of the change blueprint comes out with far lesser creases. And this can be done on the fly while the wheels are already in the motion.
It is then taken to the early majority. And then to the early adopters. Ever hungry of change, they lap it up, as greedily as they would have lapped up even the one or two or three sigma version. By this time the late adopters and Laggards have got the extra time they need to assimilate things. A great amout of resistance having thawed, adoption is accelerated by the incorporation of many things from their wish list in the 2.0 .
Brought in decisively and without an option now, turns these laggards and late majority into leapfrogs.
Not all, but some critical strategic initiatives deserve this.
Contrast this with the regular scenario of Change lovers jumping to the change as soon as proposed and shoving the half understood (half baked) down the throats of whoever they can manage to get hold of. Even by the time it has reached the early majority, they are already jumping for the next new adrenalin rush.
And I am not saying this as a judgement but as a diagnosis. OK, so let me go ahead and be a little judgemental here.
They are like those pizza delivery boys who are in such a hurry to deliver the pizza box that they run and deliver empty boxes.
The good pizza deliveries know that pizza delivery guys can NOT be trusted with checking the insides of the boxes, the quality an even distant expectation. They are not designed so. Their design supports scooting, and they need to be utilised so.
The more vicious ones of the Change Lovers know that in the long term, we are all dead and that no one goes back and checks the bombastic promises and claims made in the last year review. They have already moved on to their next enthusiastic change and supposedly pioneering their next big idea.
These pioneers are distinct from the visionaries and innovators if you have the discretion!
Beware of the Change Lovers. Give them small ticket items at regular intervals to keep them busy but keep the big ticket ones for the real Change Agents!
Aah, now that it is off my chest, I can authentically say that it is not a judgement but a diagnosis of an ignored root cause!!
How does this sound prima-facie?
Do you think there are organisations and leaderships who can be courageous and committed enough to follow this alternative?
Is your organisation one of them??