Skip to main content

Change Management - The hard part ... System 1 Engaged.

At Fundamentals of Change Management post I described four key concepts of change management that any logical and rational being can agree with immediately. But when it comes to applying those concepts and causing a change, the model breaks and the change agent encounters a bunch of emotional and irrational beings. They see proposed changes as an attack to their existence.

It turns out that these two types of beings (logical/rational and emotional/irrational) are in fact the two sides of the same being. They are intelligent and emotional beings with strong logical and cognitive ability, and they belong to a group, tribe or family. They have their own dreams, self-image, self-esteem and ego. With this, they each create their own identify in the society they live in.


Our guy (in above picture) is a human who is emotional with cognitive ability, has unique individual identity and belongs to one or more social groups. When we don't pay attention to that, then no matter how good your intention is you will encounter a strong passive or active resistance when proposing a change.

Who the hell are you to tell him to leave his mermaid, take the risk of climbing the mountain just to get a box of treasure?! What do you know about his life, and context he lives in? What do you know about his past and future dreams? You know nothing, Jon Snow!

I have tested and experimented different ways of causing change in organisations, teams and individuals (including myself).  Every time I caused the change with pure reasoning and logic, it was unsuccessful, had a short life and/or encountered huge resistance. The key was to accept the current reality of people's lives, see these people as unique individuals who belong to one or more social groups and have compassion and respect for them. And also the people themselves had to want the changes. Only then the changes encountered little or no resistance, were more effective and had long life.

I have witnessed failure in change initiatives, even after passing the rocks of resistance. This was simply because change also requires new behaviour and habit that may cause physical changes to neurones in the brain. The process takes time, it requires individuals to really want to change, and it is evolutionary.

That is why Kanban Change Management principles are designed to frame an evolutionary change:

  • Start with what you do now
    • Understand current processes, as actually practiced
    • Respect existing roles, responsibilities & job titles
  • Gain agreement to pursue improvement through evolutionary change
  • Encourage acts of leadership at all levels




Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Escalate, Escalate, Escalate!

What is escalation at organizations? Is it a way to solve problems? Is it a way to report things? Is it a way to put more pressure? Is it a CYA technique? What is it? How do you use it at your organization? How other colleagues of yours use escalation? Really, think about it and observe.

At IT service companies, leadership measures the performance of IT Help Desk by number of escalated work items over a period of time. The less escalation the better. The reasons are simple:

It is cheaper for companies if an IT Help Desk Specialist resolves an issue than an experienced technical specialist at one or two level higher. This is simple math, one gets $X and the other get $X*2And when client gets result fast, he/she will be happier. So, less escalation equals happier client in IT Services. Client raise an issue, IT Help Desk Specialist resolve it, BOOM, Next!

At organizations, It is amazing (sadly) to see how much lower level managers escalate problems, that they and their fellows can resol…

DAD Inception Phase Workshop Agenda

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) realised the reality of the projects and introduced back phases to Agile community. Whoever works in a project based company, especially a project based company where projects are usually less than one year in length and each are for different clients, understands the reality of Agile in such environment. When you start working on a new project for a new client, it is essential to go through a phase that you get to know each other better, to understand the business purpose of the project, to understand the scope of the project, to know what are the high level architecture and what technologies are going to be used and who is the initial team, and if funding is available and also when things must be delivered and to whom.
In answering these questions you may need to meet with different people, run couple of workshops and brainstorming sessions. And this is called Inception Phase. As DAD is more like a goal oriented decision framework and not a prescrip…

Collocation is not the silver bullet for success and agility

To collocate or not to collocate? Most companies that are new to agile have been "consulted" by a "Scrum" Agile Coach, who suggested that they must break their organisation and have cross-functional teams to sit together in one location. Is that the recipe for success?.. Is it really?

Even though collocation has its benefits, it is not the necessary condition for a successful delivery team. Collocation as a dogmatic view may hurt you more than you think, and will not necessarily help you to deliver more successful products.

I am neither for nor against collocation, but I have experienced and worked with both approaches. And each sometimes worked very well and sometimes failed. All the variations of teams geolocation (collocated, fully-dispersed, partially-dispersed, or distributed) can work. It all depends on how the collaboration model is setup, what is the context and conditions, and how much the team and organisation are aware of each other, and are aligned.

Ha…