Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2nd in a Series on Change Management: Howard Jacobson’s Career Capital & Averted Loss

As a part of this series on insights from the literature on ChangeManagement, I want to share an insight related to change resistance as a form of prudent "career capital" investment, retained control and averted loss. These ideas came from a presentation, "Driving Change: A Marketing Model", I saw at the Fall 2013 Digital Health Coalition Summit by Howard Jacobson, PhD of Vitruvian. 

In this deck, he does a great job of recasting my view of change resistance from mere fear to additional views like: 1) career capital investment, 2) retained control and 3) averted loss.

The key resonant idea he talks about in his presentation is career capital, a resource we have all worked to accumulate over time and which we are loath to invest unless we are sure of a positive return. When viewed this way, stakeholder slowing down and resisting change makes sense, as it allows time for “loss aversion”, a great term the author uses, and helps the perception of retained control. One might even say that change is irresponsible if it does not come with sufficient proof of positive outcomes in these areas.

I know that as change leaders, I often am not seeing it this way. I realize I might make more progress, and better business cases, if I empathized with how my stakeholders perceive change in these ways. This insight cautions me to be more patient, persistent, thorough (and curiously courageous, as the author calls for) in how I plan and conduct my interactions with those I'm asking change of.

On reflection, it also causes me to be mindful of the ways in which I resist, and sometimes even work against change, in those cases where I believe, usually unconsciously, that change is a loss of control and a negative investment of my own career capital. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

1st in a Series on Change and Its Management, or what I learned from HBR on Change Management

As part of my regular saw sharpening, I decided to read the "HBR 10 Must Reads on Change Management" recently. It is truly 10 of the best articles I have read on the subject and I highly recommend it. 

It was both encouraging and discouraging to read. It demonstrated that change can be managed, ( I rather say shaped, sheparded and guided) but not without great patience, persistence, discipline, savviness and a touch of luck. As a change manager myself, I am newly challenged, encouraged and committed upon this read so much so that I am going to write a series of blogs about what I have learned for both my remembering and executing. In all these reading the three most resonant points that came out were that change:

1) is a continuous process and when you think you are done, you are only transitioning to some new phase which hopefully continues in the direction you were working on and not some other.

2) requires self change and care if you want to survive it well and be the authentic force it requires in order to occur successfully, and

3)  is more easily opposed and thwarted than achieved, thus change management is not for the faint of heart, or weak of constitution.

As I consider the change we are working to shepard in our own conservative organizations, these readings brought home the fact that our own lack of knowledge, savviness and discipline in approaching change execution has hurt us, and I hope these writings will help to remedy some of that.

I will write about my insights from these readings over several  posts, as a series, so stand by.