Change Doesn't Have to Be a Dirty Word

The fact that everybody knows there needs to be change somehow doesn't make it any easier to accept. Sometimes it's not about the logic its the emotion that influences us. As a manger you have probably found yourself explaining all the reasons that change is needed to employees who have simply looked at you and said - no, there must be another way.

Dealing with emotions, I believe, is one of the reasons leaders see change as a dirty word. Why? Because it can be hard to deal with. Many different emotions and people go through them at different stages. It would be easier if everyone was angry at the same time or all in denial etc., wouldn't it? Maybe. Maybe not.

What makes matters worse is that the more change there is, the more employees see that the last change was unsuccessful (compared to effort and impact) and the more constant it is, the more emotion there is likely to be.

Leading Through Uncertainty - Top 8 Tips for Leadership When the Future Is Hanging in the Balance

You cannot open a newspaper or listen to the radio or TV nowadays without hearing about some organisation that is downsizing, closing down or completely restructuring itself. Global companies are moving their operations to 'cheaper' locations, public service organisations are having their budgets slashed while many are just failing to keep their heads above water in the current economic crisis.

We only hear the news when the final decisions are made public. But for many of these organisations, they have already had to endure weeks and months of waiting and wondering where and when the axe was going to fall. Thousands of people are getting up every day and going to work worrying about if, and for how long more, they are going to have a job. Many leaders are lying awake at night struggling with how long more they can sustain looking their people in the eye and telling them that they still don't know what the future holds. The stresses all round are massive.

Business Success Is a Function of the Mindset - The Value of Change


The death of Steve Jobs exposed us all to so much information about what drove his leadership style. From the general discussions that flowed after his death, one can discern that visionary leaders like have certain characteristics in common, irrespective of the diverse industries, personal background and business style.

In business schools, one learns about the significance of change as a catalyst for business growth and success. Therefore, it may not be too difficult to convince business owners and managers about the positive values of change; yet, experience tells us that the practical aspects of evidencing the adoption of change as a business philosophy can be difficult to demonstrate in most businesses. This is more so with small businesses where the owner/leader is actively involved in the production processes giving him/her little room to reflect purely on supposedly routine administrative functions.

Developing a Culture of Continuous Improvement


This article provides an overview of organisational culture, how it is formed and the practical actions that can be taken to understand and shape it. The prevailing culture of an organisation has a major impact on its ability to react to changes in market forces, develop innovative new services and products or adopt more efficient practices and processes. We have written this paper for managers within a wide range of organisations who are looking for practical advice and information to help them create an environment that will enable them to successfully adopt improvement methodologies such as Lean, Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement.

A Definition of Organisational Culture

An organisation's culture comprises all of the values, beliefs, assumptions, principles, myths, legends and norms that define how individuals and groups of people think, make decisions and perform. 

Realising Benefits From Your Investment In Lean


The only reason for an organisation to invest in Lean (or similar methodology) is to generate business benefits. The benefits expected are most commonly financial in nature but could also include for example improved customer service, increased productivity or safer processes. Lean is structured common sense and provides individuals and organisations with a clear methodology to help them transform culture and improve performance.

A Lean Organisation can be simply described as one that successfully generates significant benefits from their investment in Lean over an extended period. In addition, the Lean Organisation will have very specific behaviours that support the use of Lean and the adoption of new, more effective, processes, along with widespread staff engagement.

Can Interim Management Increase the Success Rate of Your Project?

For cash strapped businesses in today's economic climate, time really is money. With budgets being cut and staff under ever increasing pressure to perform, day-to-day projects can be a real struggle to complete. One way in which a number of companies have tried to combat this, is with the employment of an interim manager.

An interim manager is a senior level member of staff that is brought in to assist in the running of specific projects. Over a short-term contract, which can last anything from a few weeks to a few months, they bring specialist knowledge into any team. With extensive experience in completing projects in this way, interim managers implement long term changes.

With the economy in the unstable state it is in currently, interim or change managers tend to only be brought in to boost poorly performing companies. This can be due to a particular crisis, the sudden departure of a senior level member of staff, or just to boost flagging sales. By bringing in these temporary members of staff, companies can find their feet quickly and easily.

Your Business' Operational Brand

When we decide to make improvements to our business, the number of options available to us can seem overwhelming. Anyone who has looked into the Lean Transformation toolbox will remember how they felt when they first saw the full range of methods and techniques. However, there is a very simple way of deciding which tools will work best and that is to ask yourself whether the way your business operates lives up to the brand you have designed for it and the image you wish to project to your customers. To put this into perspective let me tell you briefly about some work I did with one of my clients. They were under pressure from their customers to improve their performance, particularly with respect to on time deliveries, and were about to embark in some Value Stream Mapping activities. At the point that I came to support the business there was already a long shopping list of methods, problems and potential improvements available for review. The problem was that after some analysis they were now stuck deciding on the most effective course of action.

Change Readiness As Currency

There are many different kinds of currency, but they all do the same thing - they can be exchanged for something else. Money is the item we most commonly think of as currency, but there are others. Frequent flyer points or rewards programs are a kind of currency, allowing you to exchange points for travel or goods.

The education sector has its own kind of currency. In Australia, students in their final year of high school sit for exams and receive a ranking. The higher a student is ranked the more choices they have in university courses. Their ranking is a kind of currency they can use to 'buy' their way into particular courses.

The change process, too, has its own currency; and that currency is change readiness. People with readiness in abundance have the ability to take up all sorts of opportunities and adapt to circumstances in their environment much easier than those who really struggle with change. Their readiness is a kind of currency that allows them to capitalise on opportunities and to adapt and innovate.

3 Strategies to Work Positive in the Vertigo Economy

I recently returned from a week of speaking engagements to awaken the next morning to a case of vertigo. I woke up, rolled out of bed as usual, and the floor rose up to whack my head. It was kind of like being drunk on a rollercoaster ride.

Over the next several days, I was in bed or in my recliner, hanging on for dear life, wishing the room would stop spinning. As the rotation slowed, I moved around some.

That's when I thought, "This is like trying to do business today. Just when you think you have figured it out, everything moves and you're off balance again."

Here are 3 strategies that benefited me in the dizziness that will help you Work Positive in this Vertigo Economy.

Op-Ed: Born In the USA

In Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen wrote that he was "Born down in a dead man town." Well, those towns may be coming to life again, as companies begin to consider reducing the manufacture of products offshore and begin to move to "insourcing," "onshoring" or "reshoring." While off in the distance, America's next big import from China may be jobs. As the cost of doing business rises in traditionally low-cost countries like China, companies are rethinking their offshoring plans. Other countries may currently offer rapidly developing domestic markets, artificially low currencies and significant government incentives to attract foreign investment; the U.S. is still the number one place to make sophisticated, high-cost goods.

A combination of economic forces is eroding China's cost advantage as an export platform for the North American market. With unemployment still at record levels for the foreseeable future, the U.S. offers a flexible workforce and a growing corporate sector. The USA is becoming more attractive as a place to manufacture many goods consumed on this continent.

Causes of Change Resistance

It has long been observed that resistance to change is a common characteristic of organizational life. For change managers and leaders, resistance is a big problem that can threaten positive change outcomes, cost lots of money, damage an organization's competitiveness and efficiency, and jeopardise its position in the marketplace. To know how to deal with resistance, it is important to understand where it comes from.

Mostly, resistance is caused by a lack of change readiness. There are 5 areas where this lack of readiness becomes most critical. These areas are:

1. Individual change readiness is weak. Individuals who lack the 7 change readiness resources and whose personal narratives are filled with barriers and problems find change really challenging, and often resist it. They do so because they don't feel confident with change. 

Morale and Change: What Role Does Morale Really Play in Your Business's Change Strategy

I was recently asked by a friend and colleague about the role employee morale plays in the change process, and how I recommend implementing change with either good or bad morale present.

First, for this discussion, morale will be understood to be the overall mood of an organization. This mood will be either good or bad, exist in varying degrees, and apply differently to people throughout the organization. The aggregate of all the individual moods within the organization becomes the overall morale; i.e. "The morale here at XYZ Co. is pretty good."

Secondly, it's very important to understand that morale is an effect. Many believe morale to be an underlying emotion, but it's not. Morale is an outward expression, a physical manifestation of some emotional state. As such, morale should not be the focus of change but rather a measurement of how successful a deeper change strategy is.

Dangerous Job Risk Management Methods

Unfortunately, injuries and fatalities at the workplace are part of our lives. Some jobs are more dangerous than others, and the danger and risk level they contain is much greater than regular office jobs. Having a dangerous job naturally means being exposed to risks. But that doesn't mean that those risks can't be managed, and correct dangerous job risk management can greatly improve job safety and keep injuries and fatalities at a minimum.

Here is an example of a simple, 5 step process to dangerous job risk management:

1. Identifying and ranking the major workplace injury and fatality causes: First things first - why are workers being injured or killed? This basic step will help to focus on the main risks of the profession (Causes can be highway and road side accidents, falls, injuries by equipment, etc....).

If You Want to Change Your Business, Start With These 3 Steps

Much of the work that I do is focused on helping businesses go from where they are to where they want to be. I always work hard to make sure that the changes I help businesses make are sustainable, meaning that the leaders in the business are the ones to drive the change. Though every organization is different, most of the challenges that businesses and leaders face involve creating a fully engaged, capable team of people that can execute the mission of the business better than the competition while adapting to the changing market conditions. While that's a daunting task, I help these businesses make that change happen and often these are three of the critical steps.

Clarify Where "There" Is

Many of the leaders I work with recognize that they are not where they need to be, but they have not yet clarified what the new destination looks like. 

So, You Are Just Too Busy Huh?

Has selling really changed in the past several years? Are people just too busy today to have a conversation with someone who can help them increase their business? You would be amazed how many times I hear on the phone from prospects, "I'm just too busy to discuss this." So I follow up with, "Are you too busy to discuss how I can bring you more customers?" or "Are you too busy if I can show you how you can solve a major business challenge today?" Whatever - the point is - are people really to busy or stressed to consider options that will benefit them or are they just turned off by anyone, no everyone, trying to sell them something?

I have heard from hundreds of clients over the years things like, "Thank you for sticking with it." "Thanks for all your effort to sell us." Etc. But I have often asked, "What if I hadn't stuck with it, you would have never known the benefits you have enjoyed." They all agree. 

Why the Turnaround Failed: Former Hostess Brands Executive

We're witnessing the last rasping breaths of Hostess Brands, the national baking company in which I briefly held a senior position. For years, the company has been one of the living dead, just like the hordes in Zombieland, a movie that celebrated Twinkies' iconic status. Now the end is certain, and it's sad because it didn't have to happen. You see, long ago Hostess lost touch with its greatest asset, its people.

In 2010 I joined the Hostess turnaround team as SVP and General Manager of the Atlantic Business Unit. My mission was to start delivering bottom-line profit through a route delivery organization nearly one thousand strong, from central Virginia to Florida. As I had done many times as a soft drink bottler, I launched the sales transformation by getting close to customers through our employees. I conducted countless depot meetings and ride-alongs.

Here's an epiphany conversation with one of our route salesmen; I'll call him John. John was in his fifties. Like many of our employees, he had been with Hostess a long time. 

Why Renting Plastic Packing Crates Is the Best Solution for a Business Move or Reorganisation

The number of cardboard boxes required would be difficult to estimate and therefore to budget for. Heavier items are best packed in smaller boxes, which would make them easier to lift, so a variety of box sizes would need to be considered. Cardboard boxes are typically supplied flat-packed, so time is wasted assembling and sealing boxes. Cardboard boxes vary in their strength and durability, and are broadly available in a single or double walled construction. Double walled construction offers the most strength but even then if boxes are exposed to moisture or excessive pressure they become weakened.

Plastic packing crates are manufactured from tough polypropylene, which makes them exceptionally robust and secure. They are specifically designed to hold and protect the items within them, so the risk of damage to contents is minimised. Most removal crates come in lidded varieties which means they are weatherproof and can be securely sealed.

Organisation Culture Change

Culture is essentially the way an organisation does things. Culture is something that is shared either in the organisation as a whole, or among specific groups or functions within the organisation. Culture drives the way in which people behave within the organisational setting. It's important to organisations because the way it does things has a direct impact on the effectiveness of the organisation.

Culture is difficult to measure possibly because it is not a hard process that can be adapted and changed through the directives and policy. Instead culture is intangible, and is built from a mixture of norms, beliefs, values and symbols that are played out in the day-to-day machinations of organisational life.

Furthermore cultures are dynamic and change over a period of time, resulting from group interactions, leadership behaviour, organisational structure and rules of interaction. As people leave or join the organisation the culture of the organisation will shift over a period of time, the size of the shift will depend on the intensity of shared experience within the organisational setting.

Setting Up Stability Between Family and Business

The main reason why a lot of people work practically 10 to 12 hours a day six days per week is for the leading reason for providing a better lifestyle to their spouses and children and see that they are happy. On many occasions they'd also like to be a part of the overall process of happiness, but rarely are they a part of it. Mainly because their business and work keeps them so busy and under pressure, they neglect this important and vital aspect of life. The primary reason for developing and generating income is to appreciate it with their loved ones which on the other hand get blurred while in the whole operation of creating wealth and establishing revenue.

Therefore, it's very important to identify a middle path that will make sure that a proper balance is established between family life and business life. In the event that this isn't executed, it is likely to create friction and tension in homes and over a period of time your family members drift apart and don't build a love and a bond within them. 

How Can the Role of Leadership Be Best Understood in Organizational Change?

Leadership as the Head

The Head offerr a prescriptive long-range strategic framing of the role of leadership in organisational change, common in bureaucratic approaches to organisational theory. The Head may take a normative re-educative approach influencing bodily reactions to stimuli; asserting power with mind over matter to affect change in a power-coercive approach; or making decisions to improve the wellbeing of the body to perform better by employing an empirical-rational leadership approach.

In this context the role of leadership relies heavily on the bureaucratic position, political power, authority and an implicit assumption that all change is a result of a planned change strategy, whether continuous or episodic. It also assumes that it is driven from the top in a linear way influencing how the Body responds. 

Efficiency and Effectiveness in Higher Education

1. Introduction

Higher education has seen increasing pressure on funding since the Gershon Report in 2004. This has been accelerated by the new, more market-focused environment created by the current government. Responding to the new funding environment has become a key priority for all higher education establishments, something highlighted in the recommendations of the 2011 Diamond Report. These recommendations state that the way forward is through the adoption of LEAN, increasing and improving collaborative arrangements and putting the effective flow of information at the heart of transitional arrangements. This paper provides an overview of the key concepts that underpin the recommendations within the Diamond Report.

2. Integrated Improvement & LEAN

LEAN is a concept with a long-pedigree. Many people associate it with the transformation of the automotive manufacturer Toyota over the last 50 years but its history extends much further back in time. 

What Are You Assuming: Stability or Change?

Sometimes situations can be so difficult and unpleasant that we long for change - it can't come fast enough. At other times, we are perfectly happy in our circumstances and wish things would never change. But whether we regard time as our friend or foe, things inevitably change.

We all face the same reality of change, but some handle it better than others. How well we handle it has less to do with our external circumstances and more to do with what goes on inside of us - the attitudes, assumptions, and resources we bring to the circumstances we face.

Take assumptions as an example. Traditionally, the holy trinity of management has been control, organise, and plan. What assumptions lie beneath this well-trodden surface? The assumption is that we can control, organise and plan. And that we can predict what will happen in the future so we know what to control, organise, and plan. And that we will continue to have the knowledge and skills in the future to handle whatever the future brings.

Have Trainers Really Grasped the Importance of Training Transfer?


Trainers face pressure to demonstrate that training delivers the desired skills, knowledge and behaviours required to enable the organisation to improve its performance. Transfer demonstrates the effectiveness of a training programme and is important because, it is believed that there is a relationship between improving employee capability and achieving competitive advantage.

Training spend in the UK is approximately £23.5bn per year. Stakeholders want a return on investment (ROI) from the training delivered. However, the 2011 CIPD Survey found only 28% of organisations measure ROI and conduct a cost/benefit analysis.

Definitions and Meanings

A review of research offered a number of definitions regarding transfer:

Adapting Business to the Change in the Economy

Your marketing message will have to change.

Where you market will change.

The person you market to will change.

And how you market will change.

But make no mistake about it, the money is still there, it's just in someone else's bank account.

The magic is what folks are willing to pay for - even in "this economy". Folks will always find a way to pay for what they want. You may have HAD what they WANTED a few years ago, but is it what they want today?

Is Culture Change Needed In My Organisation?

Culture is seen as "the way we do things around here". There may be more technical descriptions, but this certainly sums up why culture has such a big impact on organisational performance. It is an issue MD's can struggle to get to grips with, as many of the issues that surround culture are deep rooted in history.

If an organisations is suffering from a negative culture, they may experience many of the following symptoms:

    Employees doing the bear minimum
    Staff failing to contribute ideas
    High percentage of staff using up their sick pay
    High staff turnover
    A tense and unproductive working environment
    Poor cooperation between departments

Living Life on Your Own Terms

It's just not a good use of your life to hang on. Think big, act big. Release what is not yours to carry. Don't be afraid to move on.

Give yourself permission to do this. Give yourself permission to "lighten up."

Because it is only when you lighten up that you will fly.

This something I have spoken about before and a good time to talk about it again. Because so many people on graduating high school and going on to college, or graduating college and planning for their future careers.

As a young children we depend on our parents to make the right decisions for us. As teenagers we rebel because we are beginning to want to take control of our lives and the responsibility of making the decisions for ourselves. 

3 Simple Ways to Positively and Profitably Change Your Business

I watched a sandpiper scurrying around the beach looking for something to eat. At least that's what I thought he was doing. But he used most of his time and energy to chase away other birds. If another sandpiper approached his territory, he quickly ran over to chase him off. Then another bird invaded the opposite end of his area and he was off to chase her away. Back and forth that little bird ran, spending virtually no time eating and all his energy chasing away the competition.

Do you spend most of your daily energy at work defending your familiar turf, chasing away change like this paranoid sandpiper?

If you do, you'll quickly starve to death in this economy.

Why Failure Is Not An Option

The most important secret of wealth preservation is to make peace with your fear of becoming poor. You can't control the economy. You can't control the forces that affect your business. But you can control your emotions. By making friends with fear, you will enjoy the wealth you have and make smart, wealth-building decisions.

To make friends with fear, you have to imagine yourself living a simple life, one that can be supported by a modest income, enjoying your work and the time you spend with your family and friends. Imagine that until you feel comfortable with it.

What is your idea of what wealth is?

For some people's wealth is financial. But for others, wealth can be just having friends and family they are close to. 

Career Coaching for Success in a Changing World

Change brings stress and its human nature to find comfort in patterns of consistency. The crutch of predictive repetitiveness is that it is unsustainable. We need to change or adapt in order to survive. The world is changing with more frequency as we enter the knowledge economy fueled by digital communications and technological advances. These changes create uncertainty and reinventing our knowledge, skills, and abilities on a weekly basis is more than challenging. Globalization has contributed to the mass confusion of where we fit into the picture and how we could do something substantial with our lives. There is more competition for resources than ever before in our human history.

With all this change and complication has come increased knowledge and understanding. We have acquired more worldly views and gained a new appreciation for learning as a society. Doors have opened where there were none before. New industries have evolved and newer platforms will emerge in the future. 

Changing Change

Change is uncomfortable. It's not what we're accustomed to experiencing. Typically, the process of change doesn't "feel" good. Now, sometimes it feels good to know we're doing something that's outside of our norm and for our best, but usually, we don't enjoy the product of change until we're reaping the hard-earned rewards of our work - which happens after we've endured the process of change.

People are reluctant to change - not because they don't believe there might be a better way, but because the process of getting to where they want to be - feels all too unfamiliar. So, they turn back - they go back to what they know - they return to routine.

If you've read any of my articles before, you know by now that I'm fascinated by change-management concepts. I'm intrigued by human behavior, especially as it intersects (and sometimes interferes) with our professional lives. How do we stop doing what isn't working and start doing what would help us become successful?