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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On my adoration for Admiral Rickover

My friends in the nuclear power program always liked to pick on me because of my intellectual love affair with the nuclear navy’s founder, Admiral H. G. Rickover.  Though I would fain hurt feelings during their sessions of teasing, I really didn’t mind.  I have many people who I intellectually adore, Rickover chief among them and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

For a Rickover fan such as me, the new, nearly two hour film, Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power, was my Star Wars Episode VII.  It is currently offered free to those with an Amazon Prime subscription, so watch it today.

Why is it an important film for change agents?  Because it shows the real challenges a change agent faces as they try to remake the world.  Rickover faced more than most and his story shatters many novice change agent’s beliefs that the path toward their change should be smooth.  It will not be.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.  Rickover sacrificed more than most and accomplished things beyond all expectations. He has left a legacy that continues to benefit us to this day.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of his death.  An entire generation has grown up and gone to sea without ever knowing a world with him in it.  I was grateful to be part of the program he started, if only for a short time.  I continue as a change agent in the shadow of his example, and I’m grateful to dwell in it.

I won’t ruin the great scenes of the movie for you.  Watch it.  Then, check out these old Engine For Change posts that tell some of the stories applied to driving change.  May his example challenge you and change you in some small way.  Why not try?

Thoughts From a Change Agent

Limited Only By His Own Ability

Heroes

Your Baby’s Ugly

Say-Do

I Still Shout

Be Not Afraid

Recycling – Project 1

A Profession

 The Failed Model of Executive-Led Change

Finding the Devil and Salvation

The Destructive Power of Similarities

Focused Where it is Truly Needed

Seeking Productive People

 

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Upcycling Your Change

I’m back to blogging! Hooray!  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a moment to sit down and share with you the thoughts bouncing around in my head.  I hope you’ve missed me.  I’ve missed you.

Let’s start this new blogging momentum with a video: Upcycling Your Change.

This is the presentation I gave at the Intel Agile 2014 conference in Hillsboro, Oregon in April.  Enjoy!

I welcome your comments and feedback.

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Featured Case Study

Check out this featured case study at Kotter International’s website: Creating an Engine for Change.

There’s even a video of Dennis Goin and I talking about driving change with a network in a command-and-control hierarchy.

As my husband says, I am one of those weird people who loves her job.  I hope that shows in the video.

Watch the video, read the case study, and post your comments.  I’d love your feedback.

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Kotter introduces Accelerate

I’m excited to share with you a recent video from John Kotter describing his Accelerate model and why it is desperately needed today.

I’ve been privileged to lead a transformational change group leveraging this model for the past six years.  It works. It’s amazing.  I’m glad the world is finally getting a chance to see it.

Enjoy the video and please leave comments on the You Tube site, especially with your stories about how this model has changed your life if you’ve been part of that 0.001%.  Kotter will love to hear from you. The world needs to hear from you. Why not share?

http://youtu.be/Pc7EVXnF2aI

 

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Learned Helplessness

A good friend told me a story about the fish who starves among a tank full of food and I had to search out the video to share it with you.

Too often we believe that we can’t change our organizations, our communities, or our world because we’ve tried and tried and tried and tried and tried and failed over and over and over again.  (Did I labor that point too much? Maybe so.)  Yet, when circumstances change, what the fish story teaches us, is that we might be too blinded by our past experience to see the new future possibilities.

We can break out of that delusion, but only after we recognize its existence.

What’s changed in your life that makes winning more possible today?

You are not helpless.

You are powerful.

You can drive your change.

Why not try?

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SEASPIN Videos Ready to View

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s taken me a while, but I finally got the SEASPIN videos ready for you to view.

Thanks to Hilbert for taping the session and loading the videos for me.

I like to think I’m tough enough to take any feedback you have on my presentation. (We’ll see if I’m self-deluded).

 

Please do post comments and tell me what you liked or didn’t like, what you loved or could be improved.  Ignore the movement of the camera  (we had no tripod) and the lighting problems (you take what you can get when you’re presenting for free and taping on the fly).  All other comments are fair game.  Remember: You can like the videos on You Tube too.

Part 1 bounces a bit because Hilbert’s camera decided to put up a fight only a moment in.

Part 2 is the meat of the presentation.  If you can’t dig into the whole 1 hour 24 minute video you can dip in for the first 6 minutes to set the stage, then at around 46 minutes to hear about the playground project and at 1 hour 15 minutes to participate in the call to action.

Part 3 covers the questions portion.

Enjoy.

UPDATE: Here’s the handout if you want to see it.

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Try Improv

The rules of improv are simple:

1. Always agree with and add to the last person’s statement.  “Yes, and…”

2. Always make the other people look good.

If you’ve watched a comedy improv troupe in action, you know improv results are always unexpected and hilarious.

If you apply those same improv rules to your team discussion, you can create memorable, amazing discussions.

Peter Sims, in Little Bets, sings the praises of improv in unleashing creativity.

I’ve seen the improv power at work among my own group of friends, a troupe of our own that gets together one day twice a year to discuss improvement methods and implementations.  We talk for 12+ hours and the conversation never idles.  We talk at a mad rush all day, building on the first kernel of conversation using the “Yes, and…” improv language to build, and build, and build. By the end of each day we’ve learned more than any of us thought possible and had a wonderful time doing it.

This week I tried a safe-fail experiment using the improv rules to unleash creativity during a two-person meeting.  Our goal was to create a new training product and we had few boundaries to limit ourselves.  Using the “Yes, and…” language we created more than a few major “ah-ha” ideas.  I’m excited to try the concept out again with another team next week.

So far, I’m hooked on this improv idea.  Try it out and tell me what you think.

If you’re interested in how the improvisation method works to shut off the judging center of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, check out the research of Dr. Charles Limb at this Ted Talk.

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