Give It Up. Reduce Control

Organizations today have to deal with the increasing speed of change and a demotivated and disengaged workforce. 

When we have engaged employees who are able to utilise all of their skills and capabilities fully, we have increased innovation and creativity. When employees are micromanaged, there are poor results and low engagement.

Leadership with a fundamental mindset shift addresses this problem. Leaders need to reduce control and distribute power. They need to give it up.

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"Unfreeze - Change - Refreeze": Change Management's Dirty Little Secret

“Unfreeze - change - refreeze”.

Change management professionals and practitioners need to question everything that has been based on this supposed foundation for change management.

The change management profession is relatively young and this may partially explain why it is still competing for its rightful position of prominence in many organisations and industries. Continuing to base our approaches to change management on a linear three-step model with a defined change start state and end state will lose the fight for that position. 

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“Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze”: Change Management’s Dirty Little Secret

It will come as a shock to many change management professionals that Kurt Lewin never said, “unfreeze – change – refreeze”.

Yes – you read that correctly. He never said it, wrote it or drew it.

The change model that we pull out of our toolbox professing it to be the cornerstone model for understanding change developed by psychologist Kurt Lewin back in the 1940s is poppycock.

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Karen FerrisComment
Permission to Change - More Than Just Capability

Most people inherently have the capability to identify, initiate, and drive change. 

When working in their area of responsibility, they can see ways in which to improve operations and respond to opportunities presented. 

We can provide the education, training, knowledge, tools, and resources needed to build the capability to lead and drive change across the organization. We can enable employees to self-manage, and we can educate them about the guidelines within which they can operate. The guidelines are the principles or guardrails that ensure employees are not hung out to dry when they are asked to drive change.

This capability often wilts and dies because it is not supported or nourished by ‘permission’. The capability needs food and water (sustenance and nourishment) that allows it to grow.

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Karen FerrisComment
Let’s Just Do That Post-it Note Thing

Once again we are subject to tunnel vision from leaders who should be in their position because they are supposed to know better.

They are blinded by the bright new shiny thing called ‘agile’ and their blinkered vision is a disaster waiting to happen.

Their failure to recognise that new ways of working (NWoW) and new ways of leading (NWoL) require New Ways of Thinking (NWoT) will ultimately lead to the demise of the organisation. 

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Evolution - Change is Constant

If organizations are going to remain relevant, they need to evolve from a time when change was episodic, sporadic or emergent and to a place where it is constant.

This is achieved through giving everyone in the organization the capability and permission to be self-organizing so that change is constant, evolving, and cumulative.

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Karen FerrisComment
Are You Invested? Time to Commission a Change

Of all industries facing explosive change throughout 2019, the financial industry has to be there at the top.

Following the well-publicised Royal Commission into the banking, superannuation and financial services industry, the industry is going to have to undergo fundamental change if it is to survive, let alone thrive, in 2020 and beyond.

Resilience is needed now more than ever.

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Karen FerrisComment
Let Go! Respected Leader

A true leader get’s out of the way and lets their people get on with their jobs.

A leader that surrenders control and has a high tolerance for risk is respected by their team(s).

This leader provides staff with autonomy – that is, the right to work how they like, where they like and when they like. Everyone is allowed to self-manage and make decisions without recourse to someone else.

Everyone is encouraged to innovate, experiment and take risks. In a world that requires organisations to respond rapidly to constant change, this is only sort of workforce that is going to enable the organisation to not only survive, but also thrive.

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Organisational Design - What's It All About?

At the end of last year, I asked subscribers of my blog, what they would like me to write about in 2019. 

One of the responses I received was from Frank Iannuzzelli. Frank asked:

“I’d love to know more about organisational design and how to execute this”.

My challenge with this question was the depth and breath of the potential answer! Therefore the intent of this blog is to describe what organisational design is (and isn’t) and a way in which to approach it.

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Let Go! Mistrusted Leader

The mistrusted leader does the opposite to the doubted leader.

When a leader ‘says’ to employees that they can self-manage, make decisions, innovate, experiment and create but I will not tolerate risk, they are sending mixed messages.

When a leader ‘says’ you are autonomous but I will not tolerate risk, they are sending inconsistent messages.

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Let Go! Doubted Leader

When a leader ‘says’ that they are risk tolerant and will encourage innovation, experimentation and creativity but have low or no surrender of control, employees get mixed messages.

Employees are constrained due to a leader maintaining control over what they can and can’t do. They have no freedom to make decisions as decision making is retained by the leader.

When people receive mixed messages they are emotional confused and conflicted. Conflict happens when we think a message is going one way – good – but turns out to be going another way – bad. 

Responses to mixed messages are commonly frustration and anger. Other reactions can include withdrawal and shutting down until there is clarity of message – which might never occur.

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Karen FerrisComment
Resistance to Change – It Can Be a Good Thing!

This is a response to the #ChangeBlogChallenge. This quarter's topic is 'Resistance'. I wrote this article 3 years ago for the service management community. I think there is still some merit in it although these days I prefer to focus on building #resilience rather than managing #resistance.

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Let Go! - Feared Leader

When leaders retain control and are intolerant of risk, their management style is that of command-and-control.

I should call them managers rather than leaders because managers manage tasks whilst leaders lead people. However for the purposes of this post, I will refer to ‘leaders’.

The attraction of being a feared leader is observant, compliant and obedient employees.

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Mary Poppins Returns - Lessons on Resilience

I have just spent the most magical 2 hours and 10 minutes watching the awesome “Mary Poppins Returns.” I am not going to spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it but highly recommend that you do. 

I was 3 years old again and the magic of Mary Poppins from 1964 was most beautifully honoured and revered 54 years later in the 2018 sequel. In Mary’s words it was “practically perfect in every way”.

Apart from my inner child, there was another voice talking to me whilst I watched mesmerised by every scene.

I could sadly hear myself saying “note book, note book” as I heard quotes that I just wanted to blog about as they related to resilience! 

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Karen Ferris Comments
Let Go!

In this series entitled ‘Let Go!’ I discuss how leaders need to get out of the way and let go of the control.

Organisations can only be responsive when they flatten the structure, remove the bureaucracy that slows them down and give employees autonomy. Decision-making is distributed, communication flows easily throughout the organisation. Employee innovation, creativity and experimentation are embraced. Employees can self-manage. They decide what to work on, how and when.

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Kill the Hierarchy! Leaders Coach

This post in the series “Kill the Hierarchy” I explore how a flatter organisational structure requires leaders to coach.

Flat organisations give management a great opportunity to develop their people and empower them to make decisions. Manager must become leaders and coach their teams into becoming leaders themselves.

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Kill the Hierarchy! Principles Management

In this post in the series “Kill the Hierarchy” I explore how a flatter organisational structure requires principles management or decision–making guardrails.

Guardrails on a road stop drivers ending up in dangerous areas and they are often placed in the most problematic areas where it is easy to do the wrong thing.

Just as guardrails help make drivers safe and keep them on the road, they can also do that for an organisation. 

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Agility - Five Things It Isn't - The Video

This week I joined some eminent colleagues the ITSM Crowd to discuss the Agility article that had gone crazy on LinkedIn.

At the time of writing the article had 3.736 views, 124 reshares, 563 likes and 61 comments. You can read it, along with the comments, here.

Watch The ITSM Crowed, hosted by Claire Agutter.

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