If your company is going to stay in business, it has to change, and that can be scary.
For many people, change is more threatening than challenging. They see it as the destroyer of what is familiar and comfortable rather than the creator of what is new and exciting. Most people, and organizations, would rather be comfortable than excellent.
But these days, if you don't change, you stagnate and die. We must implant change in the corporate culture.
As a businessman myself, and as an adviser to executives, I've encountered many examples of constructive change brilliantly executed.
Let me share with you some of the things I've learned:
* People will change only if the alternative is worse than change.
Sometimes it's hard for people to internalize the need for change. A Naval aviator once made an interesting observation to me that illustrates the point.
He said many pilots have died because they stayed with their disabled aircraft too long. They preferred the familiarity of the cockpit to the unfamiliarity of the parachute, even though the cockpit had become a death trap.
Many businesses have died because their people preferred the familiar but deadly old ways to the risky but rewarding new ways. We must teach them that to stand pat is to perish.
* People hunger for stability amid change.
The steady, reliable people in any organization are often fearful of change. We must keep them in mind. We must assure them that change doesn't mean an end to their world; it means a continuation, but with improvements.
Here are some things we can do:
Explain the reasons for the change. When people understand the logic behind change, it becomes more rational and more comfortable.
Show how our plans keep risks to a minimum.
Emphasize the things that will remain the same.
Let them know what to expect, step by step.
Let them know that top management is fully behind the change. Our confidence in the value of the changes will be reassuring to them.
Commend them and recognize them for the constructive changes they make.
* For change to be successful, it must be planned.
We must be in control of the changes instead of at their mercy. Successful changes are based on values.
As Levi Strauss CEO Robert Haas told Harvard Business Review, "Values provide a common language for aligning a company's leadership and its people."
Levi Strauss summarized its values in a document it calls its "Aspirations Statement." Everyone in the company is familiar with it and is guided by it. Whenever a Levi Strauss team analyzes a new idea, among the first questions asked is "Is it aspirational?"
When Honeywell decided to change its orientation from national to global, it adopted a set of values that included integrity, quality, performance, mutual respect and diversity.
These values enabled it to steady its course through the sea of change.
* Planned change involves a three-step process: softening, reshaping and restabilizing.
The softening stage is the most uncomfortable for employees. After years of doing things the same old way, they have been hardened into rigid habits. Now they have to unlearn them.
When you want to soften something, you usually apply heat. During the softening stage, we apply heat by attaching a stigma to the old behaviors we want to discontinue. We stop rewarding them.
This is the time when you're likely to encounter the greatest resistance to change. Even your management people may dig in their heels. After all, you're changing the system under which they rose to their present jobs.
Here's where you need skillful communication: You must make clear the reasons for change and the consequences of not changing. The gain and the pain must be made clear to managers and employees alike.
John F. Welch Jr., the CEO who led General Electric through a highly successful change in corporate culture, identifies four types of management individuals with whom we must deal during the "softening" stage. Here's how he classifies them:
- People who deliver on commitments and share the new values. These are the people you want to retain and reward.
People who don't meet commitments and don't share the new values. These are the people who must go.
People who sometimes fail to meet their commitments, but who share the values. For such people, a change of environment may produce a change in behavior. Give them a second chance.
People who meet commitments but don't share the values. In Welch's words, this may be "the autocrat,the big shot, the tyrant" -people who try to force performance instead of inspire it. The results they get aren't worth the price. They'll have to change or go.
The reshaping phase calls for a positive approach. We're now less concerned with rooting out old ways and more concerned with implanting new ways. Managers and employees must be convinced that the new way is the right way.
Your staff and employees now must learn a whole new attitude toward their work. Managers must see themselves as facilitators, not dictators. Employees must see themselves as value adders, not order-takers or machine operators. This calls for a well-thought-out educational program.
Finally comes the restabilizing stage. During this period, you want the new behaviors to become a natural part of the everyday routine in the work place.
Pilot projects can help managers and employees feel comfortable and natural with the new ways during this stage. Let them try out the new methods in "practice runs" to see how they work.
Another way to replace the discomfort of change with the comfort of familiarity is to provide suitable role models. Find people who are familiar with the new ways and let them model them for the rest of your managers and employees. When your people witness the success of the new methods, they'll feel more comfortable about following them.
The system of compensation and rewards should be based on the new behaviors we want to encourage. If we're asking people to value teamwork above individual effort, then the system must be set up to reward team efforts.
My friend Joe Jacobs, founder and CEO of Jacobs Engineering, used this principle to great advantage during the '80s. Jacobs Engineering's individual offices each operated as separate profit centers. When Joe took on a project that required the pooling of resources from several offices, he had difficulty getting the teamwork he needed.
Executives from each office looked at the project from the standpoint of its effect on the profits of their respective offices. Joe solved this by tying each executive's compensation to the performance of the company as a whole. When he did that, he got genuine teamwork.
Throughout the change process, everyone from line workers to senior management must be convinced that the company is behind the change. CEOs themselves must take responsibility for encouraging the new behavior. They must model it as they deal with people on as many levels as possible in the organization.
It may take years to effect fundamental change, and you should never consider the job finished. Instead, you should look for ways to institutionalize change. When your people are oriented to change and educated in effective ways to bring about change, you're geared up for the future.
Have you successfully implemented change in your organization? What worked for your company?
Dr. Nido Qubein
is an international speaker and accomplished author on sales
, and leadership
. He is president of High Point University and chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company.
Before my research on wholeheartedness (and before the 2007 breakdown spiritual awakening), I was completely disconnected from my creativity. My disconnection took the form of judgment, resentment, and fear:
"A-R-T - how nice. I have a J-O-B - I'm doing real work."
"I'm not the creative type."
"Spending time creating is self-indulgent."
Behind all of these emotions was disconnection. I had the creativity scars that many of us have; the ones that come from not being able to draw a still life in middle school and being told that I better stick with writing and reading.
Today, I'm reconnected with my creativity and it's transforming every part of my life. Creativity brings me joy, helps me stay more grateful, calms me down, and inspires me. It helps me keep my perfectionism in check and has become a powerful way to connect with my family.
In The Gifts of Imperfection, I summarize what I learned from the world of Wholehearted living and loving:
1. “I’m not very creative” doesn’t work. There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.
2. The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.
3. If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing—it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.
I'm so grateful for what I've learned and for all of you who are creating and sharing your work with the world.
Dr. Brené Brown is a researcher, writer, and a unique speaker whose reputation is built on her ability to explore vulnerable topics with tremendous honesty, warmth, and humor. She is a leading expert on Authenticity, Vulnerability and Courage; and the author of The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who We Think We Should Be and Embracing Who We Are.
You can read more articles by Brené in her blog, Ordinary Courage.
My hour-long show, The Gifts of Imperfection, has started airing this month. Below is a list of upcoming cities and dates. Please check your local public television station for exact air times.
Most of the PBS stations have websites that list the dates and times for their pledge programming. We are still adding cities to the list, so if you don't see your local PBS station, I would check their programming schedule or call the station.
If you enjoyed The Gifts of Imperfection or I Thought It Was Just Me or the TEDx talks I think you'll love the show. I cover my research on perfectionism, shame resilience for women and men, authenticity, and wholeheartedness.
This is my first real TV experience and it was pretty scary. I did it for two reasons: I'm passionate about my work and I'm passionate about public television. It's the first time it's airing nationally so many stations are "testing it." Some of the times might require setting your DVR! I'll be live in the studio for the 3/7 airing in Houston, and the 3/22 airing in Seattle!
I've learned that Wholehearted Living is a collection of choices. For our family, one of those choices is PBS. We were proud members before this program and we will continue to support public television. I'm so grateful to be able to turn on Sesame Street or Dinosaur Train and know that Charlie is having fun and learning. Steve and I love NOVA, Masterpiece Theater, and the news programs. Of course, our favorite is Austin City Limits!
I hope you enjoy the show and I invite you to call in and pledge your support for public television! The pledge packages include some items that are exclusive to PBS, including a DVD on shame resilience and downloads for the books.
If you check with your local station and they're airing the program but they're not on the list, let me know! The station list isn't in any particular order!
KLRU Austin, TX 3/19 and 3/20
WTTW Chicago, IL 3/11
KUHT Houston, TX 3/7 - 3/17
WTVS Detroit, MI 3/8
WUSF Tampa, FL 3/14
KAET Phoenix, AZ 3/10, 3/16, 3/22, 3/26, 3/29
KCTS Seattle, WA 3/10, 3/22, 3/26, 3/29 (I'll be live in the studio on 3/22)
KBTC and KCKA Tacoma, WA 3/8 and 3/10
KTCA/KTCI Twin Cities TV 3/9, 3/15
WMVT/WMVS Rocky Mountain PBS, Denver, CO 3/10
WMFE Orlando, FL 3/11
KOCE Los Angeles, CA 3/8
KVIE Sacramento, CA 3/7 and 3/8
WTIU Bloomington, IN 3/13
KCPT Kansas City, KS 3/12 and 3/13
MPTV Milwaukee, WI 3/12
WGVU/WGVC Grand Rapids, MI 3/12 and 3/12
WITF Harrisburg, PA 3/19 and 3/20
KENW Portales, NM 3/13
KETS Little Rock, AR 3/13 and 3/15
WPTD Dayton, OH 3/16
WGCU Fort Meyers, FL 3/12
WCMU Mt. Pleasant, MI 3/11 and 3/18
KPTS Wichita, KS 3/12, 3/14, 3/20
WPT Wisconsin Public Televsion 3/12, 3/13, 3/19, 3/20
KUAT/KUAS Tuscon, AZ 3/7, 3/13
KOZK Springfield, MO 3/16
KHET Honolulu, HI 3/12
WILL Ubrana, IL 3/11
KCOS El Paso, TX 3/10
WTVP Peoria, IL 3/8, 3/9
KUSM Bozeman, MT 3/12
KEET Eureka, CA 3/7
Brené Brown is a professor and vulnerability researcher at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, focusing her studies on a broad range of topics including shame, courage, compassion, stress management, and authenticity. Brené's work has been featured on NPR, PBS, Oprah and Friends Radio Network and she has given two TEDx talks on her vulnerability research.
Desi Williamson has mastered the art of empowering people. After surviving the mean streets of St. Louis, a successful career in sales and marketing, and a Hall-of-Fame career in professional speaking, Williamson had a serious fall and suffered a broken neck in two places. Along the path from paralysis to recovery, he discovered new perspectives on life. His life's work is dedicated to showing people how they can do more than survive turbulent times - he shows them how to succeed despite their adversities.
In this 5 minute interview with Pat Evans on Minneapolis-St. Paul's news channel Kare-11, Desi describes how to master change in your own life. Learn the 6 empowering questions you should ask yourself and how to conquer the fear that often accompanies change.
Desi Williamson is a motivational speaker and the author of Where There's a Will, There's a Way - Succeeding in the Face of Turbulent Times.
Nido Qubein came to the United States as a teenager with no knowledge of English, no contacts and only $50 in his pocket. Today he is a prominent business leader and President of High Point University, as well as a leading speaker on change, leadership, and communication.
In this short video clip, Nido talks about how we must allow change in our lives to fulfill success. His uses his own experience as a metaphor to encourage you to accept the importance of change.
"We don't want to change until the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of changing." For most of us, change is very difficult, but Nido discusses how improvement in your life comes as a result of change.
Times are tough, but not here!
Iran has tough times. Iraq and Afghanistan have had tough times. People who have to walk through land mines to get to their destinations are having tough times. Many parts of Africa have tough times. People who live in fear of murder, rape, oppression, disease, catastrophe all have tough times. Millions of people even today have never used a telephone, a kitchen appliance, a modern bathroom, or even seen a television. For those people a drought isn't a reason to limit watering your lawn or washing your car. It is a death threat! Access to a doctor is unheard of and most illnesses are fatal. Times are tough for them.
Times are tough, but not now!
The events of September 11, 2001 were horrific and tragic. At that time, things were tough, really tough. During the great depression millions of people were forced from their homes, unable to afford to raise their own children, willing to do anything to survive. Times were tough during the depression. During the Revolutionary War and the Civil War people were forced to fight without proper clothing, adequate arms, sufficient food, decent transportation or lodging, and they had to fight friends and family members on occasion. Times were tough. In World War II food was rationed, hosiery was recycled, home gardens were the main source of produce; gasoline, cloth, virtually everything was limited so as to support the war efforts. For a few years into the war we didn't even know if we could win. Everyone was drafted for some form of war support. People were losing sons and daughters in every city in the country and news was slow and unreliable. Times were tough. In the prison camps of WWII hundreds of thousands of people were imprisoned, starved, forced to do slave labor and killed for amusement. Times were worse than tough.
Times are tough, but not for you and me!
Families are cramming into cargo holds of ships, hiding in the back of trucks, crawling under barbed wire fences, sleeping in ditches and running from killers just to get into the United States in hope of a better life. Times are tough for them, but they are willing to risk it. In many parts of the world, people are battling AIDS, Cancer, and countless other diseases without the help of medicine or physicians. They often lose limbs and eyesight, yet they somehow go on doing life's daily chores. Their children die in childbirth and hope is unknown to them, yet somehow they endure. Times are tough, for them. Drugs are controlling the emotions, thoughts and bodies of many people every day. They started using as an amusement or an escape and ended up enslaved and tormented. Times are tough for them.
Hatred and fear dominate much of the world at any given time. They always have. But there is abundant good taking place as well.
Millions of people are receiving the best healthcare in history and most of them don't pay for all of it themselves. Insurance companies have made excellent healthcare accessible to the average person, not just the privileged few. More "miracle" drugs and treatments for life's medical challenges exist than ever before. They are expensive by some measures but consider the alternative. We can fly anywhere on earth usually within one day. We fly in comfort with air conditioning, padded seats and even personal meal service. Though hundreds of thousands of planes are airborne at any given time, air travel remains the safest of all forms of mass transportation. We have automobiles to go where and when we wish. We all agree to the same rules of the road and it is safe to drive almost everywhere in America. We live in luxurious homes, take opulent vacations (a vacation or holiday is unheard of in many societies), wear fine clothes, use reliable appliances, and dine out often. We find time and money to sit in huge theaters and watch amazing movies while eating and drinking what we wish. Spoiled? Yes, I'd say we are.
What are your big complaints these days?
Slow email? Website was down all morning? Mail was late today?
Business is off? Orders are well below where they were last year?
Had to wait in line at the airport and take off your shoes for security?
Stuck in traffic and missed an appointment?
Economic news (that you learned of from your personal newspaper or TV or cell phone on the same day that it occurred) is not what you had hoped for?
Your investments aren't appreciating for now? ("Investments!???" What a luxury!).
The housekeeper forgot to vacuum the guest bedroom?
Your new running shoes are wearing a blister on your toe?
You had to wait four hours for the telephone company to install DSL service?
A power outage caused you to lose the computer files you were working on?
Your kids are being picked on at school?
Your neighbor's dogs just won't stop barking every time you go outside?
The credit card company made an error on your bill again?
You had to park two blocks away from the store where you get your choice of fresh vegetables?
The clerk gave you a latte instead of a mocha frappucino?
They ran out of bran muffins and you had to eat a blueberry muffin instead?
The restaurant lost your reservation and you had to eat in the bar area?
The contractor hasn't finished installing your new cabinets yet?
Your mate just won't stop leaving the house in a mess?
Your friend left you off the invitation list for their party?
You had to get up before sunrise to drive your partner to the airport?
The DVD you rented had a glitch and you missed the last half of the movie?
What are we whining about?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let's keep things in perspective folks. Times are tough but not for us, not here and not now. Besides when times do get tough we find out that we are tougher. And think of all the energy and strength we have saved while living this life of luxury. We have reserves we have never tapped.
Thank you God for our abundant blessings. Please keep us grateful. Make us ever mindful of the needs of others and the huge opportunities we have for doing good in the world. Let us not only count our blessings, but also share them often.
Times are good! Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Now you'll have to excuse me there is much work to be done.
Jim Cathcart is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, author of Relationship Selling and dozens of other books, audio, and video training systems. He speaks on Intelligent Motivation, Relationship Selling, and Self-Leadership.
I have delineated ten phases in "the technology integration of man" - four before this moment, and six to come. Step back and think about the time we live in now as being in the middle of a 100 year continuum. We can go back 50 years and review how technology has blossomed for us, then look forward 50 years to what it will become. It is helpful to view our time in this way because it will make you conscious that we are on a fantastic journey of integrating technology into our lives, and early enough with it still that we do not really understand the impact. Not only is the fact we are becoming more dependent on technology interesting, but also what it is and will do to us as human beings.
In the beginning, we had basic calculating machines. These were mechanical and had no electrical parts. A person could press a series of buttons and then pull down a handle to get an answer to some mathematical question. These actually came to being around the turn of the century, and were the only devices that could be classified as information technology because they were the first devices that could create a piece of knowledge for us mechanically. (Well, that is if you set aside the abacus.) The only impact these had on our lives was to speed up the ability to do simple math. Yet, they also created a fork in the road because for the first time, we could assemble a machine that calculated something on our behalf so that our minds did not have to go through the process of calculating. The impact on our lives was minimal because these devices really helped with small tasks on a small scale. It is important to understand that this first phase lasted for decades, and was only replaced with the advent of mainframes.
The second phase is signified by the growth and development of mainframes. We now moved out of the realm of a mechanical device that could calculate to an electronic device. This was a huge change in the scale of calculation that could be done because now, for the first time, a machine was able to crunch numbers and data at a speed and level of accuracy that was not really possible by a team of humans. Sure, we could do the math, but it would take too long to get it done, and any weak link in the chain of humans would cause a major deficiency.
They were called "thinking machines" at times because to humans in that day, the machines actually offloaded the task of calculating on a huge scale and this made the machines appear to be able to think. Of course they only processed data that was fed to them in strict means of holes in punch cards or the like. The impact of mainframes was very different than the mechanical calculators before them. Mainframes were used in World War II with great impact. They invented secret codes, broke secret codes, processed huge amounts of military data, and allowed man to find answers inside of data that had been locked away heretofore. This time, technology became indispensable to man, and for the first time, proved itself to be able to change world events. Once again, this phase lasted for decades before the next phase came to be.
The next two stages will bring us up to the current times. The reason it is important to understand what is happening with humanity and the integration of technology into our lives is because we are finding this integration/dependence on tech is constantly altering our quality of life, how we work, and even the social strata of society. It is critical that we don't get "lost in the forest for the trees." I have given lots of thought as to these stages and what they will mean for us and the picture it creates is intriguing.
Phase three was the advent of personal computers. For the first time in history, we moved the power of a computer into the hands of the individual, and away from the IT department. A couple of interesting things to note are that this stage came approx. 40 years after the mainframe era, and that it put the power and creative field of software development into the hands of hobbyists. This meant that the time between stages was starting to shrink, and that there would now be millions of people that could apply their innovative ideas into code that could be sold on the market directly to users. In other words, the economy was augmented with a new product set that would allow Microsoft, Lotus, Adobe, and many others to become multi-billion dollar companies. For those of us that lived through this time, it was a fantastic adventure of getting more and more powerful computers annually, and participating in the burdening software market where the person next door might write an application and hand it to you on a 5 ¼ floppy for $10. This era exploded and grew at a substantial rate for about 15 years, which brought us the next stage.
Phase four was the power of the Internet, or the Web to be more specific. The Internet as a technology had been around for a while, but not until the World Wide Web was created by putting a graphical front end and hyper-linking into the mix, did it really take off as a tool the masses grabbed a hold of. Now for the first time, humanity had a collective way to post and store data that could be accessed by anyone else in the world. We now had an underlying communication infrastructure that was electronic and extremely low cost. The Web started with people creating a single page, then they added sub pages, then e-commerce, then an explosion of applications that helped us find things on the Web, communicate in a myriad of ways over this network, and collaborate. Again, an interesting dynamic was that this stage came in half the time as the previous stage, and our adoption rate of this new technology was incredible. For the first time in humanity, we are connected to one another in an unfiltered way where any one person can "talk" to more than a billion people for free. And we the people get to decide what is valuable by reading it and voting it up or down if we choose. Talk about a democracy!
So how have these four stages changed us? To list all of the ways would take many pages so in order to just think the big thoughts, let's just pull out a few basics. This integration of technology into our lives so far has dramatically improved our quality of life by bringing us information to our fingertips that we never had. It allows us to entertain ourselves, heal ourselves, and work in completely new ways that are more flexible than any time in the past. It has begun a huge change in the economy and who can do what work from where. The types of jobs people hold are moving quickly from manufacturing to knowledge based or technology development. Along with this list of positives, we have the negative. Kids who are addicted to technology and lose touch with reality for awhile. Unfiltered access to information for young people who are seeing and being exposed to things earlier than is wise, and the enabling of adults who struggle with a myriad of moral problems. Without our recognizing the transitions, we are all moving quickly through foundational changes in how society operates.
Step back for a just a second and think about the fact that from 1940 to the present time, we invented mainframes, then reduced that power to PC's, then created the Web to connect and leverage the collective thinking of anyone that has access. This was a mere 70 years, and the trend is toward faster adoption and creation of new stages. Although interesting in a historical way, the more interesting thing will be what the next 70 years will provide.
Now we are getting into the most interesting part of how we will become more, and more, integrated with technology. As we sit here today, we are somewhere between stage four and five on the Klososky vision of things and stage four was the Internet. We are still feeling the effects, and reaping the rewards of this major step forward. The intriguing thing for me with my futurist hat on is that it is pretty clear what the next stages will be, because we already have prototypes being built of the systems that define the next large leaps we will take with integration.
Phase five will be known as the era of intelligent software systems. We have been talking about artificial intelligence, expert systems, and knowledge based systems for years, and have been building the early versions in this class of tools. There really is no magic here, it is simply a matter of taking rules that humans use to make decisions and coding those rules into a platform that can ingest data, and apply the rules. We already have expert systems that help us make loan decisions at banks, medical decisions at hospitals, and do claim adjudication in insurance companies. Each year, we improve these systems by encoding more rules, with more variations, and create more trust that the computer can make decisions as well as a human given the same set of data. Like most big leaps forward, there is a slow run up before the major change. The Internet was like that as well in that we had it for years before the Web component was added to and it took off with the masses. Such will be the same pattern with all of the big stages that are coming. The technology will exist for years before it "suddenly" takes off and has major impacts on our lives.
So let's spin forward what intelligent software will begin to do for us, and to us. As expert systems become more and more sophisticated, they will begin to encompass more rules than any one human could handle. This will create situations where the expert system is literally smarter than a human - or at least can make decisions that will prove to be better on a more frequent basis. An example would be that a healthcare system will be able to diagnose more accurately than any one doctor. This is only surprise to you today if you do not understand how crude some of our diagnostic tools are, and how often doctors are just guessing. Or how about a car insurance rating system that can much more accurately judge what your payment should be by processing 100 factors about your life instead of the 5 or 6 that humans use today. As these systems get better and better, they will become more and more valuable and companies will covet the asset that will be their expert system. These pieces of artificial intelligence will one day be the most valuable asset on the balance sheet.
Then they will become self learning. They will begin to monitor the results of their predictions and decisions and will self-modify their rules based on outcomes. This will quickly allow them to get more and more accurate, and be ever changing with new trends, data, or variables. Will they ever become conscious? No, this is not Matrix territory, these are just highly intelligent pieces of code that know one specific thing very well, and can learn from mistakes. And these will be embedded in devices all around us. We will come to depend on them. We will do what they say without thinking because they will have proven to be dependable. We will eat what they tell us to eat, and drive like they tell us to drive, and handle business decisions the way they tell us to. Except for those rare moments when we think we know better. This is already happening isn't it. I use a GPS to take the route it tells me and I almost never try my own turns. I go where it says to, when it says to. Turn now please...
Scott Klososky speaks on technology trends, innovation, and leadership. He's a former CEO of three technology startups, as well as a successful entrepreneur.