Willingness to Change LO5994

Dr. Scott J. Simmerman (74170.1061@compuserve.com)
05 Mar 96 11:27:59 EST

Replying to LO5956 --

Julie wrote, in response to LO5936 - the wagon metaphor:
>So the issue for me would be how could we have them all
>alongside each other?

I don't think it is possible for everyone to have a clear view of
the front. Organizations are not _really_ like a flock of geese
-- the organization must produce/distribute something and
everybody cannot share the lead and maintain a continous view of
the front. We need wagon pushers, too, and they will have a
limited view.

Yet we can certainly keep people informed. We can add a
metaphorical viewscreen at the back that offers them some view of
the front. We can post a Mission statement that is real and of
value. We can do other things, too, because we have to keep them
(all of us, actually) motivated to push forward.

People can have a voice, too. They need that. My experience is
that Pullers are not inclined to listen well, as a general rule.
After all, what do the people at the back really know, anyway?
(Yaaahh. If there ever was a self-limiting prophecy, that's one.)

So, as Julie observed, they really do need to integrate their view
of things with the view at the front and get at least some
*alignment* of goals, like geese more than starlings!

And, as Julie added,
>And again I truly believe it to be possible to have the leaders
>alongside the pushers

It comes back to taking the time, on occasion, to actually put the
wagon up on blocks, take stock of the reality of the journey,
identify what's going Thump Thump, generate some ideas for
improvement, design some plans for implementation, and maybe even
play with the wheels. But we are SO BUSY trying to meet the goals
and objectives (timeliness, load per labor hour, etc.) that we
don't HAVE the time to sit down -- or at least it may appear to be
a threat to productivity. And what is the cost of this
"Continuous Unimprovement" (thanks to Mike Androlewicz at Emerson
Electric for that one).

Julie also added,
>and I believe there are ways to do this .. but I suspect that
>they feel risky .. once you stop to move alongside the wagon ..
>and whilst you realign yourselves the rope probably looks pretty
>slack from the pushing as well as the pulling angle ....

Yes. Feel Risky is a real. Stopping forward movement is risky.
Asking for ideas is risky (perceived loss of leadership, power,
etc.). Trying new ideas is risky. But risky is also NOT doing
these things. Not innovating and improving the journey is often
demotivating and not improving quality and cost is suicidal. And
yet we also know that people do not like to have things done TO
them and thus it's better to have the group involved. So wagon
pushers need to tolerate a bit of discomfort to make changes

Another similar concept is that wagon pullers get promoted upward
because they are good wagon pullers. When the organization starts
rolling downhill (moving faster than they can control or that they
are used to), they feel threatened and will often "dig in their
heels and resist the changes." This may be active or passive,
depending on the individual. Wagon pullers must get more
accustomed to "jumping onboard" rather than what has proven to be
successful for them in the past, "Pulling Ahead, Resolutely."

My model of Change involves four simple factors:

* The current level of discomfort with the way things are
(not FEAR, please!)
* The attractiveness of the vision of the future
* The individual or group's previous success with change
* The peer or group support for the effort

If we increase any or all of the above we make change more likely.
(We can also do this WITH them.)

We get less comfortable by identifying the square wheels that
already exist and the round wheels that could be improvements
(cognitive dissonance). They, we clarify and/or share the vision
of the future and make it more attractive to the pushers
(explaining the benefits of change and maybe even giving them a
role in its design). We create a positive environment where
attempts at improvement are rewarded, recognizing the long-term
stakes involved. And we allow the group to be involved in the
design and implementation of the program.

But let us not be foolish. I left out another important group.
All around us are Spectator Sheep -- you know, the ones who aren't
involved in the effort and who go, "Naaaaa. Baaaaa." whenever we
propose new ideas or suggestions for improvement. But that's
another story in itself.

Hope that you found this interesting. The plot thickens.

Naaaa. :-)

Fore the PHUN of It!


Scott Simmerman Performance Management Company, Taylors SC 29687-6624 74170.1061@compuserve.com

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>