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.