Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Goldilocks and Change Management

Everyone's Different

The Goldilock's Principle
From the leader and change agent perspective, organizational change is a lot like The Story of the Three Bears. Goldilocks had three experiences:  a meal (porridge), a rest (chair), and sleep (bed).  In all three experiences, she didn't like the extremes (too hot/cold, too big/small, too hard/soft), but she did find "just right" in all three experiences.

Larry McCleary practiced as a pediatric neurosurgeon in Denver.  In his 2007 book, The Brain Trust Program, he wrote:  the brain wants to be "just right."  Most of our biological systems (i.e. blood sugar) provide examples of how our bodies strive for "just right" as well.  Consequently, I'm thinking:

If the brain works that way, wouldn't the 
person operating that brain work that way?

From this point of view, people experience change on an individual level quite differently.

Each Person's Truth is Truth
Do we experience change as too ...


What is too fast for one is too slow for another.  What is to structured for one is too chaotic for the other.  On and on I could go.  I don't think I'm saying anything groundbreaking here ... one size does not fit all.  But I ask you ...

Where do you accommodate for divergence and differences in your change initiatives?  Do you have ...

1.  Communication Plan
2.  Training Plan
3.  Participation Plan

I just had the pleasure of having lunch with Dick Daft last Saturday.  He's written the best (imho) text on management, simply called Management.  I told him that I thought he was the person that had fashioned the need for a Participation Plan in addition to the Communication and Training Plan.  He said, "no, but I like that idea."  So who knows ... my Google search has not turned anything up; maybe I just imagined it.

The Bottom Line
If you have too much or too little resistance in your change effort, it is doomed to fail.  While we understand the dangers of Groupthink and obedience in theory, none of us comes home after a long day saying, "it was a rough day ... nobody resisted what I was doing today.  In fact, we experience quite the opposite.  When we are in conflict with people who resist us and our ideas, we become out of sorts, thinking we've had a "bad" day.
(click to enlarge)

Now don't get all "absolutist" on me here.  I'm not saying that too much resistance is a good thing.  We can argue that in theory and in practice that too much resistance is a change killer.  However, this does beg a few important question for change leaders ...

1.  How much resistance is just right?
2.  How do you know?

I'll weave in the resistance cousin in my next post:  commitment


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