Link Fuel

Moths to a flame...

Jason Drury via Compfight

Let’s fill up our tanks with some link fuel.

As I listened to discussions of process variability and churn today, my mind flashed to Deming’s funnel problem.  Don’t adjust a process due to random variation.  You’ll make the scatter worse.  My Poking a Dirty Finger Into the Wound post relates.

 

John Kotter’s latest Harvard Business Review article, Accelerate, came out this week.  It’s a must read.  All those readers who are also Guiding Coalition participants will enjoy the fact that for years you’ve  been living in the system that Dr. Kotter introduces to the world in the article.  We don’t get to live on the leading edge often enough.  Enjoy it my friends.

 

Rob is always feeding me great videos.  Here’s Shawn Achor’s TedTalk on happiness.

Hugh Huck started sharing videos with me too.  I’m glad to have him in the Engine for Change network.  Here’s a great one he showed me from Margaret Heffernan.  (My favorite line comes from Alice’s daughter: “My mother didn’t enjoy a fight, but she was really good at them.”)  Heffernan’s tale of Alice Stewart‘s challenges echoes the “no one believed me, but I was right” storyline of Dave Snowden’s longitude video.  It’s painful to hear how no one believed Mr. Harrison for more than 20 years and no one believed Dr. Stewart for 25 years.  Their stories give me courage to keep fighting for changes that matter to me.  If they could fight that long then so can I.  Will you fight too?

Have a fantastic weekend and be sure to recharge so you can keep driving change.

BONUS: We think we know more than we do about complex issues. Thanks for the link, Hilbert.

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#GCdrive

Wow! What a busy day…launched GC Drive week training, kept my voice going throughout the day (something that was not a given before the day began) and had great participation from the class all day.  Then I took a quick trip to Seattle to meet up with like thinkers (Michael Cheveldave, Hilbert Robinson, Steve Holt, and more).  Now I’m home and my head is aching, so no big post tonight.

But…

1.  Big thanks go out to Rogue Polymath (aka Jay Johnson) for creating the tag #GCdrive to follow on Twitter over the next two days.  Check out the feed now to see what was covered so far.

2. Captured this thought during my ferry ride home.  It screams for its own cartoon.

Q: What’s a surefire way to tell someone has tricked themselves into thinking complex problems are simple?

A: They give you a list of problem categories to choose from and one of the choices is OTHER.

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Kotter visit on the News Wire

Kotter and Whitney

This article went out in the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) news wire today:

MAR25-06:  Leadership Icon Visits Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & IMF

From Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash.- Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF), a Naval Sea Systems Command field activity, was recognized, March 19, by a prominent leadership scholar as one of only one percent of the world’s organizations working to embrace change and finding success.

The change is a result of PSNS & IMF’s “Guiding Coalition,” a strategic planning model that focuses on developing leaders and sustaining results, supporting the command’s mission as a full-service naval shipyard and maintenance facility for the Navy’s ships.

“This is all about listening, seeking to improve the alignment between words and actions, and always striving for excellence,” said Capt. Mark Whitney, PSNS & IMF commander.
“Our efforts are focused on allowing our folks to continuously develop themselves, to connect with and be ready for the future work force, and improve the daily work environment around them. And we are!”

“Only 15 percent of all organizations are really trying to understand how to live with and respond to the rate of change.  Of the organizations, 15 percent are trying to move in a direction that they know works, 14 of the 15 percent are struggling because of the culture or environment that drives them.  Only 1 percent of the organizations in the world are making progress; they are doing what you all are doing,” said John Kotter, Harvard Business School professor and creator of the Guiding Coalition concept, during a recent visit to the shipyard.

According to Kotter, his model shows that “a strong Guiding Coalition [committee] is always needed-one with the right composition, level of trust and shared objective.  Building such a team is always an essential part of the early stages of any effort to restructure.”

PSNS & IMF is continuously looking for ways to streamline its processes and how its most valuable asset, its people, is utilized.

In the last four years, the command’s Guiding Coalition committee has formed a Command University through expanded investments in training; created a Diversity Council; and improved cafeterias, facilities, communications and more.  These initiatives use established methods to develop systems and processes to conduct training, education, optimizing personnel and equipment resources.  This enables PSNS & IMF to attract new employees and maintain the excellence of their current work force.

“For someone who roams around the world and has hundreds of companies, universities and the government, there are some things going on [at PSNS & IMF] that are on the leading edge,” Kotter said. “If you don’t know about them, you’ve got to figure it out; find it. And, if you have been involved, you can pat yourself on the back.”

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It’s the journey

I’m typically an impatient person. But tell me a good story about an incredible (or even a mildly interesting) journey and I will sit in rapt attention. For example, I never get bored reading, watching or listening to anything about Lewis and Clark’s journey to the Pacific ocean.

I think my fascination with any journey is why I love driving change.

I once thought (and my naive’ reading of many business books led me to believe) that change is a near instantaneous process of: Boss reads a book Monday,  implements changes on people Tuesday, is showered with praise from now cheerful people Wednesday, gets big promotion to corporate headquarters Thursday and is celebrated at farewell party Friday.

Turns out, it doesn’t usually work that way.

When I was slogging through a partially successful (and terribly slow) implementation of Theory of Constraints or failing at my first Guiding Coalition attempt, I didn’t realize that I was on a journey.

Now that I’m older and wiser, and know how to drive change (versus drive people to change), I enjoy the journey and–surprisingly enough–I drive a whole lot faster toward my destination.

Plus, now when I hit a snag, a pothole or a tree, I don’t get discouraged.

Those things happen on a journey.

So I pick myself, look around for what or who I’ve still got with me and–most importantly–keep going.

[How do I do this?  I can’t quickly explain, so I’ll borrow some pictures. Think Jim Collins’ flywheel and Stockdale Paradox mixed with Stephen Covey’s  Be Proactive and Circle of Influence.]

I won’t say today that I’ve really reached the destination of my journey.

I’m not quite ready to yell with Clark, “Ocean in view!”

But…if I tilt my head and take a deep breath, I can smell the scent of salt water a little ways off; and now and then I’ve seen a few gulls fly overhead.  So, I keep driving.

If you love a good journey, consider driving change.

If you love a good journey story, keep checking this blog.  I have a few good journey stories to share.

If you’ve got a journey story you want to tell, let me know. I’ll consider posts from guest bloggers.

Keep driving your change, maybe that ocean is closer than you think.

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