|Current Adelaide time:||Contact me: +61 410 642 052|
Fresh News: Thriving on discontinuous change
Thriving on discontinuous change
IBM's 2008 Global CEO Study finds that organizations are being bombarded by change, and many are struggling to keep up. Executives see significant change ahead, but the gap between expected change and the ability to manage it has almost tripled since the last Global Study in 2006.
The question is: How do we create the kind of organization that not only adapts quickly to current trends, but is aggressive about shaping and leading change?
There are two kinds of change — incremental and discontinuous — that are taking place simultaneously and constantly in business organizations around the world. Incremental change is the process of continuous improvement -- what the Japanese refer to as "kaizen." Discontinuous change is the kind of large-scale transformation that turns organizations inside out and upside down.
If managing incremental change can be compared to encouraging a group of joggers to gradually pick up the pace, then leading discontinuous change is like getting those same joggers to leap off a cliff and build their parachutes on the way down.
Incremental change fits the Newtonian framework of a linear, progressive and predictable world. There is an unmistakable logic behind incremental change that makes it easy to communicate and relatively easy for people to adopt. Best of all, it uses current practices as a baseline for the systematic improvement of a product, service or system. And people like the fact that they can base their future success on their past performance.
But much of the change our organizations are facing today is not incremental. It is discontinuous. It is restructuring, reengineering, transformation. It is these actions - and others - that challenge our most deeply held beliefs about the past. Discontinuous change confronts the entire organization with the possibility that the very roles, actions and attitudes that were most responsible for past success will be insufficient, and perhaps even detrimental, in the future. And that concept is difficult to communicate and much harder for people to adopt.
No one likes to contemplate letting go of the skills and behaviors that "got us here." As individuals, we become psychologically attached to the status quo because it is familiar and comfortable. But even more difficult than fighting off the inertia of comfort, we find it hard to let go of the past because it is there that we've experienced personal success.
People like the experience of mastery. That's understandable. It's basic human psychology - but not an attitude that helps us move forward. Although "knowledge is power" may have been an accurate assumption in the past, the reality of today's high-speed business environment is that information and skills become outdated faster than the current fashion. In this climate, employees are valued primarily for how quickly they can learn, unlearn and relearn.
One of the greatest challenges for anyone who wants to become change adept is to identify those practices and attitudes that need to be unlearned in order to more quickly adopt new behaviors. Here are a few questions to consider:
- What do I do best? (What skills and abilities am I most proud of?)
- Which current skills, abilities, and attitudes will continue to make me successful in the future? o How does feeling competent stop me from doing things differently? (Where are the "comfort zones" that I'm most reluctant to leave?)
- What new skills do I need to learn to stay valuable to the organization?
- What do I need to unlearn? (Which skills are becoming obsolete? What practices -- attitudes, behaviors, work routines, etc. -- that worked for me in the past are no longer valid?)
Leaders who help their team or department thrive on discontinuous change begin by identifying those skills and behaviors that they themselves need to learn and unlearn. Then they address the topic openly: They talk about their own problems with letting go of past competencies, they empathize with the feelings of awkwardness that come with leaving the "comfort zone," and they are candid about the reason why they decided to leave some behaviors in the past in order to better serve the future. Then they massage damaged egos by applauding the efforts that all team members are making.
Building a style of corporate behavior that is comfortable with — even aggressive about — the significant change that CEOs project for our future, means that everyone needs to realize that the process of continuous learning, unlearning and relearning is the key to both organizational and personal success.
Carol Kinsey Goman Ph.D. is a leadership communications coach and international keynote speaker at corporate, government, and association events. She offers informative, interactive, entertaining and custom-tailored programs.
• Expert contributor for The Washington Post's "On Leadership" column.
• Leadership blogger on Forbes.com
• Author of "The Nonverbal Advantage: Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work (Bk Business)" and "The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help--or Hurt--How You Lead."
To contact Carol about speaking or coaching, call +1 510 526 1727 or email CGoman@CKG.com. For more information or to view videos, visit Carol’s websites: www.SilentLanguageOfLeaders.com and www.CKG.com.
You can also follow Carol on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CGoman, on FORBES http://blogs.forbes.com/people/carolgoman/, or “Like” her Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carol-Kinsey-Goman-PhD/105398069543578
Reports I have written:
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing
As a subscriber you get kept up-to-date on when new articles are added.
Subscribe now! and receive a free version of my $79 report, Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business.
It's the first in a series of reports I'm writing on how to master the various key elements of social media.
Each report is an-depth, step-by-step process that explains in clear, plain English how to master a particular social media tool and help your business communicate better for better business results.
Each report is easy to read, easy to implement and easy on the pocket -- just $79 per copy.
But as a new subscriber to my blog and newsletter, I'm giving you a copy of the free version of Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business report as a way of saying "thank you" for joining my community.
Please subscribe, then check for the email you will receive from me shortly after, because in the email will be details of how to download the report [1.2mb pdf]
If you would like to use any of the articles on this site that I have personally written (they will either have 'By Lee Hopkins' on them, or nothing at all) please feel free to do so as long as you include the following 'resource box' text and a link back to www.LeeHopkins.com:
Finally, if this site or any of the articles have been of any help to you, perhaps you'd like to say 'thank you' by throwing a few pennies my way. If so, please click on the button below and donate whatever you feel is appropriate. The payment is handled by PayPal and is extremely secure. Thanks.
Subscribe to my weekly business communication newsletter and receive a FREE version of my highly-regarded report, 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business' (that sells for $79)
Find out more...
Related material :
A 12-step plan to take you from Twitter newbie to Twitter supremo and grow your business in the process.
Better Business Writing
You’ve probably always wanted to improve your writing skills in your workplace, but perhaps there wasn't a training course around to help you.
Well, now there is.
Turn Guesstimates into Estimates & close more sales!
Award-winning ProposalKit gives your clients the detailed price quote and proposal they need so YOU close more sales (and boost your bottom line!) Finally you can quote with accuracy, increasing your profitability and professionalism. ProposalKit is easy, customizable, proven, and downloadable now! http://www.proposalkit.com
Social Media White Paper
Trevor Cook and I wrote a booklet to help our clients and friends come to grips with this new online phenomenon called 'Social Media' or 'Web2.0'. Now in its third edition, it is still being widely cited and is receiving lots of favourable comments.
Find out more about it (opens new window)
Vodburner is my tool of choice for recording skype video calls, either for later podcasting or simply for my own record. Now that video is becoming more and more important, I can't imagine online life without it.
More about Vodburner...
What you say about Lee Hopkins:
"One of the best days I've spent with a man! "
"As a speaker, Lee and his alter ego in the guise of avatar 'Lee Laperriere' played a key role in making our virtual event in Second Life a success. Lee was well-researched, engaging and enthusiastic about the possibilities that virtual collaboration brings and his presentation showed that he had really thought about the needs of our audience"
"Wow - what a presentation, it went so well, thank you very much! Fantastic job! "
"Lindy and Lee, you were both brilliant and I'm very thankful and pleased for your efforts, it was excellent. Thank you. "
"One of Australia's leading public relations practitioners in the so-called new media"
"While I only had the pleasure of actually meeting Lee face-to-face several months ago, I have been aware of him in conference programs and through feedback from one of my team members for a while. Lee has an amazing and unique skill for managing the new media to support business outcomes"
"Oz's best social network strategist"
"As for Local Royalty, you really are a Superstar among the bloggers and blogosphere!"
"Lee Hopkins, one of Australia's most respected social media experts"
"Lee was very entertaining and knowledgeable. He demystified social media for me and he made me feel it IS possible."
"His enthusiasm is infectious - exciting stuff!"
"Excellent. A really fascinating insight from an engaging speaker."
"A very difficult topic but it was explained in a fantastically simple way."
"The Walkleys relies on the good will of Australia’s talented communicators to make events like these happen and I can’t thank you enough for taking time out from your heavy schedule to make the convention such a memorable event."
"The workshop was very useful in that it enabled us to directly relate what we learnt in the seminar to our business. Lee was very easy to relate to and he presented all the information in a way that was simple to understand."
"Informative and engaging - gave good overview of new on-line technologies and how they can be applied to businesses. Particularly valued the opportunity to have a separate session to look at the specific needs and potential uses for my own business."
"Great to talk to someone who is expert in their field and passionate."
"The ability to interact one on one with Lee, as well as seeing new technologies and how they can be easily implemented into current business processes [was great]"
"Great. Lee was very engaging and presented info in easy to understand language and examples. Use of music, video, PowerPoint etc keep contents fun and educational. Great stuff!"
“Great! Even I could understand and appreciate the content. Excellent examples, wonderful presentation. I’m going back to share with my team. Thank you. "
“Lee was a great facilitator and his energy and passion for social media was evident."
“Excellent, enthusiastic presenter who is right into what he is talking about. Walking the talk. Just the right amount of info about the different topics. Not too geeky. Strong emphasis on how the tools can assist effective business communication. Relaxed friendly atmosphere. The workshop opened lots of doors, stimulating. I’m strongly encouraged to try things out. Many thanks.”
“Lee was great – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, generous in sharing his expertise. I liked the demonstrations."
"Great Workshop... helped me crystalise my thoughts on social media and now I feel ready to develop the strategy and make use of this great new medium"
Would you like me to run a workshop in-house for YOUR company?
Contact me to discuss how we can bring your company into this new and exciting communication universe.
View many of the presentations I have given over at Slideshare
Why does employee communication matter?
Download a presentation I gave to a group of PR students on slideshare
For your consideration:
Writing for a web audience