Trapped by our assumptions

We assume we can do must less than we can while at the same time assuming others can do much more than they can.

Reversing this assumption trap allows us to accomplish much more at a rapid pace because we harness our own power while giving others grace as they try to harness theirs.

Believe in your own power to create your change.

Remove the obstacles that keep others from seeing their power too.

Together you’ll change your world faster than you thought possible.

Why not try?

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Separate Questions

What you choose to change and how you choose to change are two separate questions.

The first question is best answered by the people who are closest to the work.

The second question is best answered in partnership with a professional who has studied and implemented rapid change techniques.

It is important to celebrate what you know and be humble enough to seek help when you need it.  Why not try?

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Leadership Shortage?

There isn’t a leadership shortage.  There is a belief shortage.

You are a leader. You can lead.  Believe it.

You can start the path that leads to better, faster, safer, and happier.

Overcoming the crisis of belief requires you to stop putting your faith in others in your organization and start the change with yourself instead.

Act first. Learn first. Lead first.

The world is waiting for you. Believe it!

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Change Perspectives & Dissolve Resistance

In my Change Agent Essentials classes I’m often asked how to quickly eliminate people’s resistance to change.  Here’s the simple method I offer, after making sure the person asking first clearly understands the importance of driving change not driving people.

I call this method 5 Steps to Change Perspectives & Dissolve Resistance.

Step 1: Invite all the people affected by the change, or representatives of all the people, to a meeting place (virtual or physical).

Step 2: Create four categories of input, typically represented as a 2×2 matrix.  The categories are Positive Effects of the Change, Negative Effects of the Change, Positive Effects of Not Changing, Negative Effects of Not Changing.

Step 3: Give everyone sticky notes or their own separate electronic space to write their thoughts.  Then ask everyone to silently and independently write the affects from their perspective for each of the categories.  They can have many affects associated with each or none for some of the categories.

Step 4: Have everyone post their affects onto a common board.

Step 5: Those who want to remain and work towards a win-win solution for all are asked to stay, review the shared information, and suggest improvements to the change that would result in win-win.

This 5 step process can take as little as 20 minutes or as long as a day.  It depends on how many people involved, how challenging the change, and how creative the win-win solution designers are willing to be.  The only pre-work is deciding whom to give a voice through inviting them to the exercise.

I took my inspiration for this quick method from the video “Overcoming Resistance to Change – Isn’t it Obvious?”.

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Project Manager Point of View

Thanks to Kendall Lott for producing a great series of podcasts titled, “Project Manager Point of View (PM-POV).” Thanks to PMIWDC for hosting them. Thanks to Michael Hannan for introducing me to Kendall and the podcasts.

If you’re looking for thought-provoking, brilliantly produced, quick podcasts to get your creative project manager ideas flowing, check out PM-POV.

And, if you were wondering, yes I do spend my Saturday nights listening to project management podcasts.  You may be pitying me, but don’t.  First, the podcasts are fantastic.  Second, I listen while relaxing in my hot tub with a cold beer.  That, after a long week, is close to bliss.

Why not try out PM-POV? Wherever you listen, I bet you’ll be glad you did.

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Can you afford not to attend?

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, “I can’t afford to attend.”

That’s the first thing I hear when I ask people, “Will you join me at Accelerate Results 2016?”  People from a wide range of organizations and industries all respond the same.

Now, most of these people don’t even know how much it costs when they tell me they can’t afford it.  For all they know, it could be free…It isn’t.  They just immediately say they can’t. As a change coach, I know to question any obstacle that jumps so quickly to mind.

Then follows a Socratic dialogue roughly like this:

So you’ve asked to attend?

No, but I know there is no budget.

If there isn’t room in the current budget, what would it take to get the budget increased or go over budget?

I don’t know.  I’ve never asked to go over budget.

What do you think they’d say if you did?

They’d say the project can’t afford overruns.

So if you can’t afford overruns, does that mean you always hit your delivery dates?

No. We are often late.

Are you often late by greater than a week?

Yes, usually.

Do you lose revenue or functionality when you are late?

Yes, of course.

Do you have a rough number in mind of how much it costs your project for each week late?

Yeah, I guess.

Then you can afford cost overruns?

Yes, apparently.

Now, is the cost of being late higher or lower than the cost of attending Accelerate Results?

Oh, much higher.  At least 10 times, if not 100 times higher.

Yet you still can’t afford to attend?

…. <silence>

In the end, each person has to decide what they will do.  All I can do is help people see that what is holding them back is often as they say, “penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

There’s a wealth of better results waiting for you.  All you need to do is decide to do something different.  If you want ideas for what that something different might be, why not attend Accelerate Results 2016?

Can you afford not to?

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Connections

Now is the time to connect with the information you want.  Stop waiting for the information to find you.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Subscribe to the leading magazine covering a topic you’re curious about.
  • Write to a blogger or an author that you’ve always wanted to ask a question.
  • Ask a friend for that presentation you’ve been thinking about.
  • Skype with a academic that researches the field you’re learning about.
  • Schedule lunch with a friend to discuss your ideas.

Regardless of how you get connected, the important thing is to choose to be connected and then act first.  Don’t wait.  Find what you’re looking for today.

Now more than ever, it is out there waiting for you to find it. Why not try?

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Now

When are you going to write your book?” – Bob Steinmetz

Every time I talk to him, my friend Bob asks me the same question.  Over the years my answer has evolved from, “Someday,” to “Soon,” to “Maybe next month.”  I’m happy to announce today that my answer is, “Now.”  I started writing my book today.

A few months ago I practiced what it might be like to write a book by writing a book proposal.  The proposal wasn’t accepted, but it prompted me to start learning about how I might publish a book on my own.  With the help of two awesome new authors, Dr. Dan Diamond and Michael Hannan, and the encouragement of two established authors, Rich Sheridan and Dr. Bob Sutton, I finally felt ready to write.

Looking ahead, I know I’m only going to have my limited moments between the time the kids finally, FINALLY, go to bed each night and when my eyelids refuse to remain aloft to write. Yet, this lack of minutes will not slow my progress.  I’m committed (well, I will be once I hit publish on this post) to getting the book published as an ebook and paperback by April 1, 2016.  Everyone’s always called April “my month,” and this year that’ll be true.

Watch for “Engineering Accelerated Results: How to Rapidly Drive Results Without Driving People” coming soon.

I always ask you, “Why not try?”  Writing this book and committing to publish it by a specific date is me living my values.  I asked myself “Why not try?” and I no longer had a reason to stay stopped, so off I go.  <Zoom!>

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Captured Moments

Each person learns differently, so I know poking around the old posts on this site might not be for you. Why not learn more about Driving Change via several videos captured over the past two years? My April K. Mills YouTube channel has links to many of the videos of my speeches from the past two years around the world.

If you’ve only got time to watch one or two, may I suggest Choosing Change from Agile By Example in Warsaw, Poland in 2015 and Upcycle Your Change from the Intel Agile & Lean Development Conference in 2014.

For my union friends, the keynote from Gdansk, Poland called Driving Change was delivered from the stage at the European Solidarity Center.  The European Solidarity Center is an amazingly haunting tribute to the strength of ordinary people who unite to change the world.  Speaking from the stage there truly moved me.  It’s a memory I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

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