The only constant in this world is change. For today’s business landscape, this has never been truer. According to a report from McKinsey & Company, 70% of all transformations fail. This stark statistic underlines the challenges businesses face with change management. Navigating these improvements requires a structured approach, a clear vision, and committed leadership to overcome the daunting odds.
In this episode, we are joined by Kerry Bass, Founder and CEO of Potential to Reality Consulting, to explore the essentials of change management, popular frameworks, and consider how AI and a clear purpose play a pivotal role in successful transformation.
Change Management Frameworks
Frameworks serve as roadmaps for instituting change. They provide organizations with structured approaches to transition from their current state to a desired future state. Here are some of the most prominent frameworks:
- Kotter’s 8-Step Process: Developed by Harvard Business School professor John P. Kotter, this model emphasizes creating a sense of urgency, building coalitions, and institutionalizing new approaches.
- ADKAR Model: This framework stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. It’s a goal-oriented approach that ensures individuals understand and are equipped to undertake change at every stage.
- Lewin’s Change Management Model: Consisting of three stages – Unfreeze, Change, and Refreeze – this model advocates for preparing an organization to accept the change, making the required changes, and then solidifying those changes.
- Customer Transformation: A 7-Stage strategy for aligning customers needs and aspirations with the processes, culture, and technology of the company.
Continuous Improvement: The Kaizen Way
Originating from Japanese management practices, Kaizen stands for continuous improvement. Instead of making significant, disruptive changes, Kaizen advocates for regularly making small, incremental changes. This approach can be applied to any business area, from manufacturing to HR processes. Kaizen empowers employees at all levels to suggest and implement improvements, fostering a culture of continuous growth.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Continuous Improvement
In the contemporary digital age, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly significant role in augmenting the principles of Kaizen by:
- Data Analysis: AI can sift through massive datasets in real-time to identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and areas of improvement that might need to be noticed by human analysis. This rapid analysis can lead to quicker decision-making and enhancements.
- Predictive Maintenance: In manufacturing, AI can predict when machinery or equipment is likely to fail by analyzing data patterns. These insights allow for timely maintenance, reducing downtime, and enhancing productivity.
- Feedback Analysis: AI can process large volumes of customer feedback, reviews, and comments, extracting insights on areas of product or service improvement.
- Automation: Routine tasks can be automated using AI, ensuring processes become more efficient over time. As AI learns from repeated tasks, it can further optimize them, leading to continuous improvement.
- Simulations: AI can simulate changes in virtual environments to predict their potential impact. The digital advisory allows organizations to test and refine proposed changes before implementing them in real scenarios.
- Personalized Training: AI can provide personalized training and resources to employees based on their performance and learning patterns, ensuring continuous improvement at the individual level.
Incorporating AI into the Kaizen methodology means that continuous improvement is not just reactive based on past experiences but also proactive, using predictive insights to foresee and mitigate future challenges. This synergy between traditional methodologies like Kaizen and modern technology like AI is shaping the future of continuous business improvement.
Leadership: The Beacon of Change
Robust and visionary leaders often steer successful change initiatives. Leaders not only act as champions of change, motivating and guiding the team, but they also carry the responsibility of clarifying the underlying reasons and purposes for the transformations being undertaken. A deeper look into the significance of clarity in leadership during change is essential.
- Transparency is Trust: Leaders must be transparent about why change is necessary. The reasons should be presented candidly, whether it’s to adapt to market shifts, embrace new technologies, or respond to competitive pressures. This transparency fosters trust and reduces speculation or misinformation, which can be detrimental during transitional phases.
- Purpose-Driven Change: Changes with a clear purpose can lead to clarity, resistance, and efficient use of resources. Leaders must articulate the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ and, most importantly, the ‘why.’ By providing a clear purpose, leaders can inspire commitment and ensure alignment across all levels of the organization.
- Shared Vision: Leaders should create a shared vision of the future state. This vision is a guiding light, helping everyone understand where the organization is headed and its role in this journey. When individuals visualize the end goal and its benefits, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in the change process.
- Feedback Loop: Open channels for feedback are vital. Leaders should encourage questions and concerns about the change. This two-way communication helps refine the change strategy, making it more robust and ensuring it resonates with everyone involved.
- Emotional Connection: Change is as much a dynamic process as a strategic one. Leaders should recognize and address the emotional concerns and uncertainties of change. By explaining the purpose clearly, leaders can help employees find emotional resonance with the change, making the transition smoother.
Clarity from leadership is critical during change management. When leaders are clear about the reasons for change and its purpose, they set the foundation for a cohesive, engaged, and successful transformation. Clear leadership ensures that change is not just an organizational shift but a collective journey toward a brighter future.
The Power of Purpose
Every change initiative must have a clear purpose. Whether it’s to improve efficiency, enter a new market, enhance customer satisfaction, or respond to customer needs, the ‘why’ behind the change should be evident. Introducing customer-centricity as a primary purpose for change management offers numerous benefits:
- Alignment with Customer Needs: As market dynamics shift, so do customer preferences and needs. Ensuring change management is aligned with these evolving demands ensures that organizations remain relevant and competitive.
- Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: By being attuned to the voice of the customer, organizations can make necessary adjustments that enhance customer experience and loyalty.
- Driving Innovation: Customers are a valuable source of feedback and ideas. Incorporating their insights can lead to innovative products, services, or process improvements that may not have been initially evident.
- Gives direction: Employees understand the larger goals of the business and their role in achieving them when they know how the change impacts customers positively.
- Motivates and engages: People are more committed when they see direct benefits to the end consumer, leading to a more customer-centric culture.
- Provides a benchmark: It helps measure whether the change has achieved its intended outcomes in customer-centric metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores.
Thus, acknowledging the customer as a central purpose in change management aligns organizations with market realities and fosters a culture that prioritizes customer needs, leading to sustained business success.
KPIs: Measuring the Tide of Change
For any change to be deemed successful, it must be measurable. KPIs are the metrics that help organizations track the effectiveness of change initiatives. Incorporating the adoption metric can be pivotal in understanding any change initiative’s success rate and acceptance.
Here’s a deeper look:
- Quantifiable targets: KPIs provide clear goals to strive towards. For instance, setting a target percentage for adoption rates can offer a clear vision of success.
- Performance monitoring: Regularly tracking KPIs, such as adoption rates, can highlight areas that are excelling or require further intervention. For instance, if a new software tool is introduced, monitoring its uptake among employees can be enlightening.
- Adoption as a Leading Indicator: Adoption rates can be an early indicator of a change initiative’s potential success or failure. High adoption rates typically signify that the change is well-received and integrated into workflows, whereas low adoption might hint at resistance or challenges that need addressing.
- Decision-making insights: By monitoring adoption metrics, leadership can determine whether to invest more resources, offer additional training, or make adjustments to facilitate better uptake.
- Feedback Loop: Adoption rates, especially when coupled with qualitative feedback, can offer insights into potential pain points or areas for improvement. This process ensures that change initiatives are refined based on real-world usage and feedback.
KPIs, including adoption metrics, act as the navigational tools guiding an organization through the sea of change. They help validate the success of change management initiatives and offer valuable insights to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved.
Change management is about more than just implementing new strategies or processes. It’s about evolving with purpose, guided by strong leadership, structured frameworks, continuous improvement methodologies, and measurable outcomes. In the fluid business realm, mastering change management is the key to staying relevant and achieving long-term success.
Hey everyone. Thank you for listening. The only constant in this world is change for today’s business landscape. This has never been truer. According to a report from McKinsey and Company, 70% of all transformations fail. This stark statistic underlines the challenges businesses face with change management. Navigating these improvements requires a structured approach, a clear vision, and committed leadership to overcoming the daunting odds.
In this episode, we are joined by Kerry Bass, founder and CEO of potential to reality consulting to explore the essentials of change management popular frameworks, and consider how artificial intelligence and a clear purpose play a pivotal role in successful change.
Grab a copy of my new book, customer Transformation, A seven Stage Strategy for Customer Alignment and Business Value. This is your essential guide for customer success in the digital age. Learn from industry giants, adapt to your customer’s ever evolving needs, and revolutionize your business strategy to achieve sustainable growth. Available now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or my website, and to support the show, visit chris hood.com/show. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform. Follow us on social media, or you can email me directly [email protected]. I’m Chris Hood, and let’s get connected.
Voice Over (01:34):
Connecting access. Granted, it’s the Chris Hood digital show where global business and technology leaders meet to discuss strategy, innovation, and digital acceleration. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Your digital evolution starts. Now. Here’s your host, Chris Hood.
Chris Hood (02:06):
How does change happen in your company? Kerry, welcome. Would you mind introducing yourself?
Kerry Bass (02:12):
Thanks, Chris. It’s a pleasure to be with you today. I’m Kerry Bass and I’m the CEO of Potential to Reality Consulting, and we focus a very small boutique practice on being able to help organizations and individuals leading those organizations be able to accomplish successful change. I’ve been doing this for major corporations and nonprofits and other organizations for most of my working life, so it’s a fun thing for me to do.
Chris Hood (02:42):
Awesome. I’m looking forward to this. We were just talking a moment ago, and I mentioned I’ve been part of countless organizations that have gone through some level of change, and really, if we think about it, probably every company in the entire world has to go through some level of change. What are some of the principles? What’s the foundation that we should start with when we think about change in our businesses?
Kerry Bass (03:08):
Well, as you mentioned, every organization and people have to go through change because life continues to change, the environment changes, and so we have to be able to adapt to continue to survive. And the question gets to be is how quickly do you have to change? And so there’s a number of different frameworks and methodologies that are used to be able to help organizations be able to think in a structured methodology of how to get through that change. One that I’ve adopted, and I’ve found that that is pretty useful to have a generalized framework is one created by an organization called Prosci. And their change methodology is called acar, which stands for awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. And those are the major elements that every organization and individuals have to go through to be able to go from where they are to successfully being in a new environment and be successful in that new environment.
Chris Hood (04:16):
You know, there’s a lot of businesses who probably have some sort of change program in their organization. I think there’s something interesting when we begin to dissect this in terms of frameworks. One of those things is why are we changing in the first place? You can’t change just for the sake of changing. There’s gotta be some element to it. So when you break down your framework here, how does the purpose of the change come into it?
Kerry Bass (04:48):
Well, one of the things that I’ve customized in my work with organizations is a predecessor to the beginning of that practice. And you’ve probably heard it, of creating a burning platform and that sort of thing. The basic reason that you want to change is because you are looking at the environment of which you are currently in, and you see that that will not produce the results that you want to have to be successful in the future. And the immediacy of that change really depends on what are those environments that you have. Sometimes you have to change right away because it’s a matter of existence. There’s been a immediate change, immediate environmental change that says that if you don’t adapt to that, you will die or go out of business or whatever. There’s others that if the leader is doing their role of looking out into the future, they can see we are being successful right now, but I know that the world is gonna change and I see where we have an opportunity to be successful in the future. So how do I marshal the resources that I have today and get them prepared to be successful?
Chris Hood (06:07):
So we potentially have internal influences that are generating change requirement. We may also have external influence for that change as well. Is one harder than the other?
Kerry Bass (06:21):
My experience has been that a dramatic external influence change in the environment is actually more beneficial to be able to get your organization going because you can see it case in point, the pandemic, when the pandemic hit major operations, the business as usual came to a immediate stop and organizations had to figure out, how do I do business in a new dramatic way? Because right now, today, I cannot continue in the way that I’m going. Internal things are a bit more difficult because people are resistant to change and and that’s the nature of, of people. We get used to doing things and we get good at it at the way that it is. And so unless there is an immediate need for me to change, then my mind and my thinking doesn’t lend itself for me to be willing to look out to do something different. Why would I do something different if I’m successful with what I’m doing today?
Chris Hood (07:29):
Yeah. The adapt or die mentality, as you pointed out, is great. When we compare it against the pandemic, it wasn’t because we saw it happening. It became we have to do this. We were forced. And then to your point, the internal side of it, there still seems to be those people in, in an organization that are hesitant for any number of reasons. It’s fear, comfort. You know, we’re, we’re scared of change. We don’t wanna change. We like how things are currently, but what other types of challenges are organizations faced with, whether it’s because it’s obvious like we have to do this or because maybe your internal culture is just not allowing you to be successful in that change.
Kerry Bass (08:13):
Absolutely. You know, one of the, one of the areas that, and it’s real common and, and one of the reasons that this, this field of practice actually got one of the most immediate bumps is technology changes. And the, the old way of working continued to to be successful somewhat, and people were used to it, but the world changed around us. And so therefore, in order, in order for us to be be able to be successful in the new world, we had to get our people, we have to get our people ready to deliver and use new tools and technology that our clients are expecting. One in a story that that had the most dramatic effect on me was working in a in state government. I was in the technology organization and helping to get state level organizations and agencies to be able to implement technology successfully in their operations.
But one very vital critical agency, and that was the Department of Family and Children’s Services had a vital, critical mission, and that is protecting vulnerable children and adults from abuse and neglect. And they were used to dealing this work with social workers in a paper-based environment. But as civilization continues to expand and the speed of change happened, that paper environment was no longer capable of keeping up with the volume and the speed of which things changed with these families that were in need. And so, quite literally, children were dying because the information that a caseworker had documented was sitting in a paper folder on someone’s desk and not looked at by a specialist that need to get engaged. And so the world demanded that a change be made not the world, but the, you know, the, the populace of the state because the a child dime generates a lot of visibility and, and emotion amongst the populace to be able to do something different. And so in order to make that change, we had to be able to keep the, the knowledge and the skills of those people, those practitioners and case workers, and be able to leverage that into the new world of technology such that they would accept that technology and then use it in their casework to accomplish the benefit that we had. And so that was the balancing act that, that we had to go through. And, and being successful at that was so gratifying to me because it literally meant that we were saving lives.
Chris Hood (11:07):
Yeah, that’s an awesome story. And it goes back to we often are faced with change requirement because of external influence. And we see this across a lot of businesses. Customers are expecting to be able to engage with businesses in certain ways. I often use the example of if you go into a grocery store and the teller says, oh, sorry, we no longer take debit cards. We only take cash. There’s a lot of people who would be like, I, I don’t have cash on me. The technology has forced businesses to have to adapt and evolve with the tools and the technologies that we as consumers are using. And oftentimes that does not align with what they already have in place internally, to your point paper versus a, a data system to store the information. We see that level of technological change happening at a much faster pace than most companies are able to even keep up with.
Kerry Bass (12:11):
There was an old law in the computer, well theory in the computer industry called Moore’s Law that basically said that computing technology would double in speed and half in price every two years. And so that pretty much was the standard, although now it’s even faster because there’s some dramatic leaps ahead, particularly with AI and machine learning that has made the the Moore’s law even faster. But the difficulty gets to be then is how do you get your people ready to be able to make that change? I remember in that same example one of the leaders that I visited, I, I visited all the counties in the state that had the agencies that their leaders there, and one of a relatively large state that had a fairly large caseload. I talked to the director of that agency and interviewed her to get her, her team and staff ready to use it.
And she told me, I understand what you’re trying to do. I I get it, but let me show you something. And in her office, she had racks and racks of all of the paper forms that were required to do that job. And she knew ’em by heart, knew everyone, every blank on everyone. She was an expert in the old way of doing business. And so we were now asking her to release her expertise and her knowledge and of value to something that she was unfamiliar with. And then, and how do, how do I provide value to my team now? And that’s what we had to, to deal with is how do we identify the value and the value was in the leadership and the process, not in the paper,
Chris Hood (13:59):
But there’s also value in the knowledge she had, the knowledge of all of the paperwork and why it’s used and for what purpose. And you’ve gotta be able to try to capture some of that in the evolution, even if you’re moving it to technology. AI you mentioned can only take us so far. You, you still have to feed it with that logic and that knowledge. And I think back to the fears, people feel like I’m being replaced. Like, you can’t replace me. I have this knowledge.
Kerry Bass (14:30):
Yeah. And, and the value is in the expertise that you have. You know you can teach a lot of people to fill out a form, but understanding why you have that form and the process of getting results through the system, whether that data is captured on a form or it’s already in a database somewhere, and the the tool providing it for you to make an option, you still have to have the expertise of being able to provide the value. Like in that case of how do you protect a child in a dangerous situation.
Chris Hood (15:03):
Yeah, AI is a great example here because I think I’m alluded to it earlier. You don’t change just for the sake of change. And I would argue you don’t bring in technology just for the sake of bringing in technology. AI right now is one of these tools that is overly being hyped. And so there’s probably a lot of businesses out there that are thinking, oh, we’ve gotta bring in ai, we’ve gotta change all of our processes and put AI in front of it in order to be successful. And again, I, I don’t think that’s the right approach. There still has to be rooted in the process of change a purpose, something that you are trying to achieve. And it can’t be just for the sake of, well, this is the new shiny bright object that we have to do. I always go back to, well, are your customers demanding it to your child safety perspective? Is there a cause that is going to enable something? If that’s the goal, then it should become a little bit easier to sell internally why you’re doing the change.
Kerry Bass (16:08):
One of the examples of the application of AI that I’m pretty positive about is being able to help medical professionals that still, even though that with electronic medical records and the, the application of information technology, that is still a very labor intensive backend process where somebody has to be able to take observations of a, a medical professional and be able to translate that into codes and, and data that can be used for insurance companies and others to be able to manage the payments and that sort of thing. AI is a fantastic way to enhance the capabilities of those professionals without having to have them tied up in doing lots of paperwork. And so in the medical profession, we have a shortage of knowledgeable and skilled workers, and so that is an opportunity for us to be able to address that dramatic need and allowing a nurse and a doctor and a technician to focus on the patient rather than the payments and the processing of, of paperwork to get the payments.
Chris Hood (17:24):
Yeah, I think anything that you can automate and reduce the cycles of and get to the central core challenge or purpose is beneficial. That’s what AI is going to help us to do. I think your medical example is, is an awesome one.
Kerry Bass (17:39):
I agree. And I think that those are some areas of of change that, that we can look at, and society will help that because we have become aware of that, that capability out there, and now we build a desire to say, we want that and we want you to have that. So now those providers have an incentive to be able to adopt that technology.
Chris Hood (18:03):
So one of the first change management principles I learned was kaizen continuous improvement. And I was working in manufacturing at the time, and the principle is fairly basic. You, you take a process, let’s say it’s 10 steps, you figure out how you can continuously improve those 10 steps, maybe you get it down to nine steps, and theoretically you could go from nine steps to eight steps to seven steps. And even if you get to one step to make that entire process done in, in one step, you should probably be able to find ways to continuously improve that one step as well. Right? That’s the principle. Now, I could see AI coming in and making recommendations on how to continuously improve processes. You tell ai, here are my 10 steps, what do you recommend is the first thing we remove? And that kind of advisory of change management, I think could also be very powerful.
Kerry Bass (19:00):
Absolutely. And, and one of the newer tools and applications of machine learning and, and also AI and other information technology tools is process automation. And one of the tools, and one of the things that, that I’ve done and is continue to do business process re-engineering and analysis, and there was an old article, I believe it was in the Hartford Business Review, where it said, staple yourself to an order because there’s a quality principle in Kaizen and lean process process management that says you want to find the constraint. The theory of constraints is that the speed of the process is, is determined by the least productive area or step in the process. And so what you’re doing is you’re looking for where things back up, what they call an inventory, where there’s work waiting, a backlog of work.
That’s where you can take an opportunity to analyze and say, can I reduce that backlog? Somebody? What do I need to do? Is there a step? Well, one example was that when we were automating a healthcare system in one state, we analyzed the process and saw that there was a signature sign off requirement that was, you know, rating on the supervisor to sign off on this requirement. But in the new technology, all of the information that the, the supervisor would have analyzed to say, yes, this is, is meeting requirements was already done. And so we had to remove that supervisory signature in order for the process to get the full benefit of the automation that was there. And so I, I think that is, you’re absolutely right, looking for a way to improve processes and by eliminating the backlogs and making things work more efficiently is a great way to use technology and to look for change and continuous improvement.
Chris Hood (21:10):
Now, you touched on a couple of things in here, which I wanna dissect because I think the backlog, or this is taking too long, I go again, back to when I learned about Kaizen, our model of determining how long something took was a stopwatch. We would literally go from step to step, start the stopwatch, see how long it took, and if it took like five minutes, great, we marked it down, and then we would try to reduce the time for each of those steps. In your example, you paint a picture of somebody signing a document. Now, on the surface that seems pretty basic. However, there are also times where we get to task where there’s an internal bias about the importance of that task. Those are the biases that I think AI can also help us eliminate.
Kerry Bass (22:00):
Absolutely. And you know, the, the great thing that, or the, the real benefit that AI provides is that it uses computer technology to make predictions based on past behavior. So that’s risk management. And so what you look at is situations that says, when these factors are in place, what’s the outcome based on this combination of factors in the past? Well, based on that combination of factors in the past, and I can make a logical prediction that says, within a certain amount of confidence, this will be the outcome, outcome in the future. If I experience the same thing, people do that all the time. And so that’s what you are optimizing is what’s the risk. By eliminating this step,
Chris Hood (22:52):
The before and after also comes into account. When we think about how successful change management is, what are some of the techniques or processes or KPIs that you look at to determine if the change has actually been successful or not?
Kerry Bass (23:12):
One of the biggest and particularly when you’re looking at change management in general, the most significant impact or most significant K p i is acceptance and use of the tools or the process because mo as you mentioned early on, most major transformation projects still fail. I think the latest research that I show, at least 75% of transformations and changes in major organizations fail not because of technology, not because of knowhow, but simply because the people refuse to use it. And so that’s a change management process, and that’s an easy one to find out. Are people using the tools, are they doing something else that they’re comfortable with? And why is, is it because the tool is not really meeting their needs? Or is it because they don’t know how to use the tool or they’re not comfortable using the tool?
Chris Hood (24:10):
I think it’s partly all of it, but the comfort I think is interesting also because you might see short-term gains, but inevitably I think a lot of people will start to fall back on what they’re comfortable with and what they do know. Do you see that often? Do you see a ramp up of adoption? Yeah, we’re doing this, and then all of a sudden it just falls back into the norms?
Kerry Bass (24:34):
It it, that is possible. And that’s particularly the case. If you you know, I, I’ve used the term burning platform. I think one of the, the change metaphors that a lot of people use is when the explorers left the old world and went to the new world and they landed on the shore, they burned the ships or they used the ships to make something else, so we weren’t going back. And so that’s one of the things that you have to do to be able to, to help that situation, is eliminate the means for people to revert back to the old behaviors. They may not go to the behavior that you want, but if it’s not possible to go back to old behaviors, then that helps to make the organization move forward.
Chris Hood (25:20):
Do you see any other areas within an organization that makes change difficult?
Kerry Bass (25:26):
Absolutely. It is an old change management saying that says you have to change the people, or you have to change the people. And so that means that you, you have to get people that are both willing and capable of being successful in the new environment. And so that means that you really need to think through what are the skills and attributes of a successful team member in the, the new environment versus the environment of where you, where you are. And you have to look among those people that you have and say, who is capable and willing to be able to get there. And if they’re not, then you have to figure out what to do about that. The, the, the, the reason that you and you want to take care of that sorting out before you go on your major change journey because it’s demoralizing to your organization for somebody to be lost along the way.
For, you know, for a lot of normal reasons, you can’t tell the rest of the team why a person has separated your organization. But it could be because they started out and they, they thought they wanted to go, or they thought they wanted to stay with the organization until they found out where they were really going and they said, no, we can’t. Or they don’t have the skills or the capability of getting the skills in a, not in a timely enough fashion that you have to make a difficult choice of saying, this person will not be successful where we’re going. And so one of the tools that I’ve found and I’ve added to the, the practice that I have is called Predictive index. And it is a AI enabled old modification. You’ve probably had a a and may maybe seen several different work attitudes and personality tools and scores that you know, that give people a snapshot or a picture of their personality styles or their work styles in various situations.
And the predictive index had a long history and database of particular types of individuals and also in organizations that are in particular types of, of environments, those that are in constant steady environments, those that are going to change, those that are looking to address certain problems. And that tool allows the the user to be able to analyze individuals and find out what their personality and attributes are like and then be able to analyze also the the attributes of the organization and the attributes that are needed to where the organization wants to go and be able to do a, a guess a match that says, based on past performance and past history, people with these type of skills and attributes are more successful in this type of environment. And that’s the type of information that a leader needs to make to sort out the team before you launch into a major change.
Chris Hood (28:48):
I think that’s fabulous advice. And to your point about people and personalities, it made me think of two more questions for you. The first one is, oftentimes we will have somebody come into an organization like yourself to execute some level of change management. And the individuals who are being asked to make the change often don’t look at that individual with any form of respect. And that personality conflict during the change management process can often really be a make or break opportunity.
Kerry Bass (29:29):
Absolutely. And that’s one of the reasons that I work with leaders making the change change an organization is a leader’s responsibility, and it really can’t be delegated or farmed out. It can be assistant. You can get people like me to come in and give you advice and counsel and be able to help you structure your program and transformation effort, but the leader still has to do the work because the leader is responsible for it. If, if you bring in somebody from the outside, the, the hotshot from the outside and say, I’m gonna turn over this change to them and I, and I’m not gonna get involved, and I’m gonna come back at a milestone checkpoint and find out where they are, then the organizations that are resistant to change, quite often you find that they just simply wait out the consultant or the hotshot from afar because they’re, they’re not going to change or worse, they’ve seen lots of hot shots come in and say, we’re gonna fix things, and so this too shall pass.
Chris Hood (30:36):
Now the other side of the personality conversation is, I work for a company I’m just, use me theoretically here. I work for a company, we’re going through a change, but I may not personally believe or align with whatever that change is. And I think a lot of organizations worldwide right now are going through some level of philosophical change or, or value alignment type of change where employees who may have their own personal belief systems may not align fully with what change is happening. What recommendations do you have for those individuals?
Kerry Bass (31:17):
I think that, and that’s one of the things that I’ve been looking at more particularly the great resignation to me is really a great alignment. You, I think you captured it really well. The pandemic brought to head a lot of of focus. Many people go to work to earn a paycheck and they have the skills and abilities to earn that paycheck. And so that’s what they do, and they spend a good bit of time in doing that, and they don’t really think about it that much. But when your time becomes more precious, then you get to thinking about, am I doing things with this time that I really want to do? And I think that’s what’s, that’s what’s happening with the realignment of that. The also thing is, is that I think in order to combat that leaders need to be or address that leaders need to be really clear in their own mind and also have a high level of integrity in expressing what this organization is really about.
One of the most clarifying, and it was really shocking at the time, I believe it was Shopify, their c e o said you know, you hear so often as a cliche, we’re a family here and he’s pointed out directly, we are not a family. You’re not my family. You are a team member. And that was clear because that, that, that we will, as long as we have a mutually valuable relationship, we’ll work together. If you’re, you do providing the value that I have and the need that I have, then you can continue to be part of the team if what I’m delivering and wages and compensation and benefits are meeting your needs and the work is, is in a way that that fits into your framework, the bill, you know, the amount of work, the time that it takes, the schedule as long as that fits, then we will have a harmonious relationship.
And one of the, the interesting companies that changed that is Amazon, if you looked at the way that Amazon changed their perspective, they said, we will adapt the work to meet what your primary objectives are. If you are working to go to school, we’ll pay for you to go to school. If you can only work these amount of hours, we’ll be flexible about the shifts that we provide. And so those, that flexibility and that alignment allow them to attract a lot of folks from work that they were doing in other organizations, that they were only doing it for the paycheck, working at a restaurant, working at another factory or whatever, and they said, if I’m gonna work hard, I might as well work for Amazon because they’re at least trying to meet my needs.
Chris Hood (34:10):
Change is Gary, but align with what matters to you, I think is an important lesson. One final question before we wrap up. If you had one piece of advice, just one, one thing that any business leader organization should start to do right now to make their next change successful, what would it be?
Kerry Bass (34:33):
Be clear and purposeful about your integrity. Why do you exist and why do you want people to work with you? If you’re not clear about that in your own mind and you don’t have the ability to express that clearly and succinctly, you won’t be successful in making the change to where you wanna go.
Chris Hood (34:52):
Excellent. So we’re going to have some information on our website to help you get in touch with Kerry, if you would like to reach out. And I appreciate your perspective so much. It was a fabulous conversation.
Kerry Bass (35:05):
Thanks, Chris. I really appreciate, it’s been great talking with you.
Chris Hood (35:07):
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