Leading Successful Transformation

This is part of my reflections from the OpsInsight Forum in Boston.

Over the two day period at the OpsInsight Forum, there were a few presenters that touched on leading transformation efforts across organizations.  Mike Evans, Kotter International, had the unfortunate draw of presenting last on the second day.  I lot of people had left to catch flights because the last day was a Friday.  It’s too bad many people missed Mike speak.  He really hit home on some great points about leading a successful transformation.

The quote from Mike that stuck with me is, “Great leaders paint such a great picture of the future people will release from ‘have to’ and move to ‘want to’.”

I thought this sounded a lot like leading as though you have no authority which is a popular phrase at Toyota.  It means engage the people, don’t command and control them.  The quote from Mike sounds like it is hitting on that philosophy.

Typically, during a transformation they leadership spends about 75% of their time managing the business and only 25% of their time leading the change.  Kotter International says this is why some many transformations are not successful.  The leadership should be spending 75% of their time on leading the transformation and 25% of their time on managing.  This flip is important because if the organization is going to go through a transformation, it must be important and if it is that important then the focus should be there.

Mike outlined Kotter’s 8 Steps for Leading Change.

  1. Acting with Urgency
  2. Developing the Guiding Coalition
  3. Developing a Change Vision
  4. Communicating the Vision Buy-in
  5. Empowering Broad-based Action
  6. Generating Short-term Wins
  7. Don’t Let Up
  8. Make Change Stick

These steps sound very similar, if not the same, to what the lean community talks about when trying to create a lean transformation.  In the lean community we talk a lot about creating a burning platform which gets to “Acting with Urgency”.  When leading a lean transformation the lean community talks about envisioning an ideal state, then communicating it over and over so everyone buys-in and then get people engaged in creating that changes.  Sounds like steps 3, 4, and 5.  The short-term wins (step 6) is how we get the transformation started to show it will work and that we should continue with the transformation.

Mike’s presentation was about any transformation, but it was great to see how it aligned with what the lean community talks about during a lean transformation.

Posted on May 27, 2011, in Culture, Engagment, Leadership and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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