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Change Management for Risk Professionals w/ Dr. James Leflar

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Change Management for Risk Professionals w/ Dr. James Leflar

Join me Dec 8/22 at 1pm EST!

Change Management can be a major factor in determining risk mitigation factors and projects & program management activities. I talk with Business Continuity, Change Management, and Risk Management expert, and “Change Management for Risk Professional” author, Dr. James Leflar.

In our talk we discuss:

1. Why Change Mgmt. should be important to Risk Professionals,

2. Defining a “change agent”,

3. The types of ‘change’ we should be aware of,

4. Change drivers,

5. Define Organization Resilience Management (ORM),

6. Personal change management, and why it’s important,

7. Change Management vs. Project Management,

8. Recommendations for dealing with change denial and resistance,

9. How risk can be a positive and negative, and

10. Communicating change.

James provides lots of insights on Change Management, and how if we don’t get it right, we run a great risk of having our projects / change initiatives failing…badly. Enjoy!

Book Cover.jpg

Is Your Well-intended Project Oversight Actually Obstructing Progress? By Maureen Metcalf

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Is Your Well-intended Project Oversight Actually Obstructing Progress? By Maureen Metcalf


This post was written by guest blogger, Kathleen Starkoff, founder, president and CEO of Orange Star Consulting in conjunction with a VoiceAmerica  interview that on aired on August 23: How Can You Successfully Implement Large Scale Change?

Most of us have had the occasion to be participants in, or witnesses to, complex mission-critical system-based projects like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) conversions, company mergers, or acquisitions. Personally, I have engaged in hundreds of complex projects, and what often strikes me is the profound impact that overseeing executives can sometimes have that inadvertently complicates the effort. Have you observed any of these common oversight practices and their unfortunate consequences?

• Single-dimension coaching is when one parameter, like the implementation date, formally or informally defines success. To be sure, the implementation date is often an important target established, presumably, with good reason. Further, on-time delivery represents a critical and challenging aspect of project management.

A simple and emphatic message like “deliver on time” is compelling. When such a focus is established, well-communicated, and emphasized, one can assume that this primary focus will be achieved. Unfortunately, the primary parameter’s success is often achieved at the cost of lesser parameters, like poor quality or missed functionality, the sting of which lives on long after the implementation date.

Leaders who coach from a balanced perspective—understanding and appreciating the inter-dependencies of dates, plans, scope, and resources—will encourage better holistic outcomes. Further, leaders who support a preemptive plan for talent, time, and/or financial contingencies for the inevitable unforeseen circumstance, at levels commensurate with the initiative’s complexity, channel the team’s energy solidly on execution.

• Overly optimistic coaching is an environment where analysis and reporting tends to be unduly positive because influential leaders, who define the culture, value optimism. In project delivery, like sales and many other business areas, optimism is an important and necessary cultural characteristic.

However, optimism can play an adverse role in decision making when the characteristic is dominant. Project management requires coordinated planning, analysis, and realistic progress reporting. When a team is overly-optimistic, and/or hesitant to report failure, the necessary and sensitive synchronization of data is compromised. When such data is then amalgamated across teams of similar optimistic culture, the compromise is magnified. The environment produces a proliferation of “on-target” project milestones reporting right up until the milestones are unexpectedly missed.

Leaders who engage from a curious (“Tell me what is happening.”) perspective versus leading from a goal focused (“We are on target, aren’t we?”) perspective, create a safe environment for the messenger to share the unbiased reality of the project. This open and trusted relationship can be replicated across project teams to create a virtuous cycle of fact-based data and information. It also encourages the preemptive identification and resolution of issues, minimizing big surprises and increasing the probability of success.

• System-centric project planning is when a project’s definition of success is the conversion or implementation of a system. That is, after months or years of IT and business engagement, a system goes “live” with a new system or version, which is, statistically speaking, far easier said than done.

But implementing a system without leveraging the opportunity that large scale system change represents is regrettable. It is a terrific people and process change opportunity, work that can be leveraged for real benefit. The work of engagement around design, training, and conversion with the business provides the perfect platform for identifying people and process opportunities and integrating the change into the solution. The benefit annuity is squandered, if the success hurdle is simply system related. Instead, system change can and should be used to drive ongoing business benefits of real dollar savings or customer service improvements. It does not make the system change effort any more difficult. Conversely, the addition of these benefits increases business ownership and engagement, providing an effective stimulus for the change.

Leaders who engage early in the project construct to define substantial complementary business outcomes measured in specific quantitative and/or qualitative ways will be able to creatively and sustainably address problems or opportunity areas. The business outcome focus will ensure the enthusiastic engagement of all parties through the project’s duration and a vibrant celebration for the resulting annuities brought to life by the system change.

I have witnessed these themes carried out in various forms many times. As real and material as the adverse impact on the mission-critical project or the business; in every case, the leader, while well-intentioned in his actions, caused sub-optimal project performance, delivery, and outcomes.

I have also witnessed these themes performed in the most positive sense. Leaders, who through their visible and vocal sponsorship, seemingly doubled the energy of the project team, enabling impossibly-tall hurdles to be jumped and ridiculously-aggressive deadlines to be met.

Chances are that you have witnessed a bad example, or two, of the above themes.  After reading the related comments and insights, I hope you are one of the leaders who is learning from the errors of others and you are leading in a way that avoids these errors, and better yet, sets the standard for what is possible! What are you doing to exemplify the positive representation of the themes and the exceptional results? What do you do to encourage others to avoid the pitfalls and learn from the lessons of others?

About the Author
Kathleen Starkoff, founder, president and CEO of Orange Star Consulting is a cyber security expert, a talented headline speaker and a senior, trusted advisor to CIOs across a wide range of industries, Fortune 500 companies and the National Science Foundation. Her ability to provide valuable counsel is a result of her 20 years of IT leadership experience in industry-leading organizations including CIO at The Ohio State University, CTO and Enterprise Risk Manager for Limited Brands, and CTO of Bank One Corporation.
Ms. Starkoff is a recognized “Leadership Fellow” and a featured cyber security speaker for the National Association of Corporate Directors. She is also Board Chair-elect and Chair of the Governance and Nominating Board Committee of Flying Horse Farms, part of Paul Newman’s SeriousFun Children’s Network, which provides transformative camp experiences for seriously ill children. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from Case Western Reserve University, and a bachelor’s of science degree, cum laude, in mathematics from Kent State University.

Success, will I achieve the success I want?

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Success, will I achieve the success I want?

Many of us wonder as we wander through our daily business routines: Am I going in the right direction? Am I doing the things that matter? Will I achieve the success I want? Is there a check list to follow? The answer to these questions: Know the five key factors or soft skills all successful leaders practice every day. What Are the to Follow? My guest on this episode of The Business Edge is Ed Gideon, a successful business owner and valued advisor to CEOs nationwide who helps us answer those questions in order to be fully committed to the path we need to seek. He says each of us seeks our own level of Success. To get there we face challenges in four areas that he will decode: Motivation, Attitude, Productivity, and Working Smarter. He is also the author of Breakthroughs for Success: Nineteen Examples of Success Achieved by Real People. Listen to this podcast and learn: The five skills you need to develop for the path to success; how this formula D x V x F > helps you as a leader deal with change; why you must listen to Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”; the important of knowing the difference between attitude and personality in leading others; why great ideas are like apples: You have to shake the tree and search for the best ones The key take away: If you want to make things happen in your company, especially getting a new initiative off the ground, know and build relationships with the informal influencers – those people who have credibility with the front line and will be responsible for the success or failure of that initiative. Catch up on The Business Edge with Marcia Zidle NOW HERE! 

The Business Edge

Friday at 12 Noon Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Business Channel



Preparing for What’s Next: Leveraging Your Company’s Life Cycle By Marcia Zidle

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Preparing for What’s Next: Leveraging Your Company’s Life Cycle By Marcia Zidle

Here’s one of those simple, but profound questions, entrepreneurs need to regularly ask: What am I focusing on now vs. what should I be focusing on NOW? After a successful launch, entrepreneurs have a choice. They can sit back and continue doing what they have done so far or they can recognize the need to prepare for what comes next. Too often entrepreneurs make the wrong choice to stay the course using the logic “why mess with success.”

Why You Should Mess With Success!

My guest on this episode of The Business Edge is Dr Mary Lippttt, author of Brilliant or Blunder: 6 Ways Leaders Navigate Uncertainty, Opportunity and Complexity. As an internationally recognized leader in strategic thinking and executing change, Mary tells why there’s good reason for entrepreneurs to refocus their priorities based on changing realities. And one of those realities is that 50% of new businesses fail. Therefore, successful entrepreneurs must change what they do and how they do to have sustainable growth.

Listen to this podcast and learn: Why knowing your company’s life cycle helps you focus on what’s important; the six result-driven mindsets and how they impact an entrepreneurs decision making; how to avoid leadership blind spots and distractions to make smarter strategic decisions; how to use specific mindsets to build an aligned and committed team that’s ready for change; when to use your gut and when not when dealing with uncertainty, opportunity or complexity.

The key takeaway: To prevent getting stuck with a single viewpoint, your leadership should encourage diversity of thought and openness to new perspectives. Therefore build a team that can tap into the six different mindsets especially in uncertain and complex situations. Don’t fall back on the tried and true.  Mess with Success!

How Big Change Happens by Maureen Metcalf

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HV Impact Resilience image

This post is provided by Metcalf & Associates and collaborator Jim Ritchie-Dunham  as a companion for the March 22 Voice America interview with Christoph Hinske focusing on How Big Change Happens in his keynote presentation to the World Green Building Council. Jim is president of the Institute for Strategic Clarity, a trustee of THORLO, and an adjunct faculty member at the EGADE Business School and at Harvard. In this post Jim talks about his  “theory of impact resilience.” While a theory of change focuses on how a change in an intervention will lead to a change in specific means, which will drive change in a specific social impact–in a linear model–a theory of impact resilience looks at the system of causes, effects, feedback, and stakeholders that lead some interventions to generate a much more resilient system that delivers much greater, sustained impact. This information is for leaders who have struggled to successfully implement complex change using linear models and want to better understand alternative approaches that will increase the probability to success for much needed and highly visible change projects.

More and more people are looking to large-scale social change processes to leverage their impact around very complex issues. From poverty, health, education, epidemics, and inequity to water, air, green building, and renewable energy. Scaling collective impact is everywhere. I have been looking at, and engaging with many of these efforts, for two decades now. In trying to figure out how to support large-scale change, many groups are trying to become evermore strategic. As a big proponent of strategic clarity, I encourage the strategic dialog, and I encourage pathways that will support a group in getting to greater clarity about what they can do together and what will work.

In their strategic development processes, many groups now focus on developing a “theory of change.” I agree that it is far easier to learn and refine a strategy when you have a theory of what you are going to do. And, I see some inherent difficulties in the way many groups currently frame their theory of change. Hopefully a brief picture will clarify what I see as the intention and a better answer.

To start with, I see that most social-change efforts grow up around an effort that initially worked. There was an intervention and there was an impact. While not quite sure how it worked, the impact is there. We created a kitchen, and more people were fed tonight. In this experience, there is typically an implicit theory of “it just works.” We do this, and we see the impact. Usually the distance in time and space between the intervention and the impact is very low or immediate. We can see it directly. I see this as the lower-left quadrant in the 2×2 matrix below, low clarity of causality with a linear direction of causality.

This success often leads to the desire to scale the work, to get much greater impact.  To scale up the intervention often requires investment of greater capital.  Investors of this greater capital usually want to see a greater understanding of how the intervention will lead to the means that will drive the impact.  Greater investment wants to lower the risk of not understanding.  They want to see a theory of “change,” a “comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context.”  As far as I can tell, from what I see in foundation, nonprofit, and network reports and in my own conversations, most of these theories of change provide linear descriptions of how an intervention will lead to some specific means of change in a specific context that will lead to the desired social impact.  A to B to C.  I see this as the lower-right quadrant in the 2×2 matrix above, high clarity of causality with a linear direction of causality.  While this greater clarity of causality makes it much easier for the intervention leaders and the funders to test whether the intervention leads to the expected means and impacts, this linear approach to complex social issues leaves out a critical reality–feedback.

If the decisions you make today affect the decisions you can make tomorrow, then there is feedback.  A to C to A.  If the decisions you make influence others who then influence you, there is feedback.  All complex social issues contain impacts of any intervention on other stakeholders and on resources that influence the ability to continue to intervene in the future.  They all have feedback.

As the complexity of an intervention increases, like trying to feed a whole city through a large network of kitchens, most efforts seem to try to continue what they were doing before with just a lot more resources.  They use the same logic, on a bigger scale.  Lots of intervention, mixed with lots of magic, leads to lots of impact; so goes the “theory of I think.”  I think that if we just …  I see this as the upper-left quadrant in the 2×2 matrix above, low clarity of causality with a feedback direction of causality.  While the situation might be much more complex, with many more stakeholders and resources involved, I think if we just do a lot more, we will get much more impact.  It rarely works, often because of the unseen feedback effects, which is why social impact investors have moved more and more towards wanting to see something that demonstrates a greater clarity of causality.  Right now the best-in-class practice seems to be the “theory of change” I mentioned earlier.

To complete the high-level overview a theory of change provides of preconditions, pathways, and interventions to achieve the desired impact, many groups develop a complementary logic model and evaluation plan. The logic model lays out a linear model of how the planned work with resource inputs and activities leads to the suggested outputs, outcomes, and eventual impact. A very clean and relatively simple way to explain how to implement the theory of change.The evaluation plan then provides measures to test the hypotheses for the different elements: the resource inputs; the activities; the outputs; the outcomes; and the impacts. The strategy process then pulls together the theory of change, the logic model, and the evaluation plan, in a crisp, linear mapping.

Now, if (1) the social issues we face require much greater investment, influencing a greater number of stakeholders, in contexts of much greater feedback, and (2) a linear strategy based on a theory of change, logic model, and evaluation plan falls short of dealing with the feedback complexity, what do I suggest?  A “theory of impact resilience.” While a theory of change focuses on how a change in an intervention will lead to a change in specific means, which will drive change in a specific social impact–in a linear model–a theory of impact resilience looks at the system of causes, effects, feedback, and stakeholders that lead some interventions to generate a much more resilient system that delivers much greater, sustained impact.  I see this as the upper-right quadrant in the 2×2 matrix above, high clarity of causality with a feedback direction of causality.

Over the past twenty years, with many colleagues around the globe, we have developed systems-based strategic approaches to engaging multiple stakeholders around complex social issues.  There is now a whole industry of such approaches.  It turns out that it is not hard to bring together many people who are passionate about any specific social issue, find out how they each contribute different elements of the solution, and how they can work together to change the behavior of the whole system.  In the past decade alone, people have applied this kind of approach successfully on six continents to hundreds of important, complex social issues. It only takes the will to do it, a little know-how and a few elapsed months of work. Not decades.

So, while I applaud the desire of social impact investors to dramatically increase the clarity of causality between an intervention and a social impact, it is time that we move beyond “keep it simple,” linear models of causality to incorporate multi-stakeholder, feedback models of causality. A theory of impact resilience, based on systems-based strategic approaches suggests how. It provides a systemic theory, it lays out the systemic logic of how the interventions lead to shifts in the system of stakeholder responses and subsequent systemic impacts, and it provides an impact resilience scorecard of the systemic measures that indicate how the interventions are leading to systemic shifts, to greater resilience, and to scaling of the impacts.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

You can tune in live every Tuesday at 11am PST to Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations

When Change Arrives Who Cheers and Who Jeers?

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When Change Arrives Who Cheers and Who Jeers?

time for change

If the need for change is so obvious to you why isn’t to the rest of the people? In other words, why is change so hard?

According to Change Management: The 5 C’s of Change Response.there are five core reactions people have to change – whether big or small, personal or professional, required or optional. To effectively advocate and implement change, effective leaders need to identify how each stakeholder will react to the change and then you can address their concerns and quickly get them on board the change train.

The 10-20-40-20-10 Rule
1. Champions
The first group is the champions – perhaps 10 percent of the total – who are those who are prepared to stick their necks out, run with an idea, and own what happens. After announcing the change, they’ll right up front wanting to move forward.

But don’t get over-confident. Their enthusiasm could give you a false impression of how everyone else feels. And champions won’t question you closely on the merits of your proposal. Also their zeal may be a turn off, rather than a turn-on, for some potential supporters.

Change Tactic:
Identify your champions and give them a specific task to channel their interest and support. Be careful not to give them free rein or they may go off on their tangent different than yours.

Who are your champions? How can you use their interest and support right now to start moving the change in the direction that you want?

2. Chasers
They are generally 20 percent of the total who may not immediately respond positively to your proposal for change. Rather, they look around to see who’s on board. They want to discuss your idea with others before forming a judgment. They’ll generally look to a key opinion maker or “trigger” person for guidance.

The great advantage of chasers is they give you a more accurate view of how your proposal is flying with others. When they join, you’re making progress. Once committed, they’ll stay. The potential difficulty is the key person they look to may not be totally on board the change.

Change Tactic:
Be aware of the key trigger person(s) or group(s) that people look to for guidance. Will they give a thumbs up or thumbs down? Make sure they are in the communication loop right from the start.

Who are the chasers and who will they looking to for the go ahead? How sure are you that these opinion makers are on board?

3. Converts
40 percent of the total, they are the biggest single group. They listen quietly to the proposed change and probably don’t ask questions. But don’t confuse their silence with negativity. Converts simply want solid evidence in favor of the change in order to sign up.

They’ll also need reassurance about what impact the changes will have on them.
Converts have two advantages. Bringing them on board influences the change dynamic for a sizable majority of people. Once they’re convinced, you have momentum. The main disadvantage is that they may take so long to come around that your initiative stalls or side-tracked.

Change Tactic:
Identify your converts and what might be their concerns even before launching the change process. That way you’ll be able to address them early on and not wait until you get indifference or resistance.

What concerns will they have and can you answer them convincingly? What will be a winner for them? And what would possibly be a loser for them?

4. Challengers
There are some really demanding people in the room. This 15-20 percent of the total will ask difficult questions initially and then … continue to do so. Their approach is to confront because they have a strong stake in the outcome.

However, if you can convince challengers that the change will be a good thing, it’s a certain guarantee of success. If you don’t win them over, they will continue to cause problems. The disadvantage is they can continue asking questions beyond usefulness and distract you form going forward.

Change Tactic:
Handle challengers’ queries fairly, however irritated you feel. Remember, others are watching. Be firm with them about what’s on and off the agenda. Provide ground rules and stick to them.

What questions are they bringing up that others could be thinking but not asking? How can you answer them to indirectly reassure others?

5. Changephobics:
The most problematic are the last 5-10 percent of the total who will not be convinced.. They cause dissent and are essentially immovable. Keep in mind that changephobics don’t oppose because they’re bad people, but because they feel you’re destroying something they hold dear.

If you’re seen dealing with them honestly and fairly, you’ll gain brownie points from others for being evenhanded. However, the disadvantages are legion: By doing their best to
oppose your initiative, they can slow down or even derail change.

Change Tactic:
The harsh reality is that you have to deal with changephobics as quickly and effectively as you can, whether it’s to another department or out of the organization.

How much of your time and energy do you want to expend to convince them? Should you
be focusing on the other 4C’s?

Smart Moves Tip:

Remember, people are being moved from their comfort zone to a new place. While some may zealously embrace the change, most get very uncomfortable when things start to feel or be different. Therefore, people must understand the reason for change; the process of change; and their role in change. If not, anxiety mounts, trust declines and rumors fly. The next thing you see is the change going off track and heading for a crash. It’s important to understand why change is so hard and how to make it easier.

Marcia Zidle – The Smart Moves Coach – guides companies to move from Now to Next to Success. She’s host of The Business Edge which delivers practical advice to help business leaders take the growing pains out of growth. Are you facing overwhelming demands on your time? Are costly mistakes eating into your profits? Are you facing increased expectations from customers and clients and the need to strike a better balance in your life? Now’s the time to stop spending your energy managing problems and start doing your real work: growing your business to the next level and beyond. Learn to create a growth agenda to get your business on the right track and keep it there. Rev up your growth engine with exceptional talent. Develop the right kind of leadership to move it forward fast. Start by tuning in to The Business Edge, airing live every Wednesday at 11 AM Pacific Time.

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