Manageing change

Star Salesman


Low Goals, Ceremonialism, Change Groups, and the Hawthorn Effect all depend on effective leadership.  The best change managers are Star Salespersons.  They add drama and pizzazz —they practice Management by Wandering Around (MBWA).  They Communicate by Wondering Around (CBWA)—in person, over the net, with posters, with t-shirts & other apparel, in white papers, in books and booklets.  They are the cheerleader.  But they also have to do their homework.  They understand Change and they are prepared for it.  They determine the knowledge required and develop programs to deliver it.  They understand the importance of attitude.  They never force change.  They don’t utter the words “Do it because I said so.”  They involve the people that will be affected by the change in the decision to change and in planning and managing the change.  They reward accomplishing new skills and they stay involved as needed to assure that those new skills become habit.  They are there from the beginning through the Valley of Despair (the bottom of the Change Curve) and the eventual climb to the targeted new level of performance or benefit.

A little advance planning, disseminating the right knowledge in the right form to the right people, ceremonialism, recognizing accomplishments, paying attention to it can pay big dividends in terms of achieving the desired benefit without costly disruption and frustration.

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Authority Triangle

When sales goals aren’t being achieved, when customers are complaining about the availability of support, when production is falling behind demand, the standard answers are always the same—add personnel.  The new resources are brought online and sales decline, customer service worsens, and production falls further behind.  What is going on?  It is the downward spike of the Change Curve and it can be explained by the Authority Triangle.  There are three kinds of decisions and actions that can be made by an individual on the job. 
  1. Do it
  2. Do it and then report it
  3. Recommend and ask before acting
The fully competent incumbent operates in category 1, Do it, 80% of the time.  15% of the time they act in category 2, but then report the action taken in time to reverse or modify the step taken.  Only 5% of the time do they delay action until authorized to act. 
For the new addition the authority triangle is reversed.  80% of the time the new addition is asking permission before acting.   That consumes productive resources and thus reduces the total output of the unit.
 
Over time the Authority Triangle is rotated and eventually the new edition begins to add to capacity rather than consume it.
 
One of the things managers have to be concerned with is the rate of that rotation.  If it is too slow, the new resource continues to be a burden rather than an asset.  If the rotation is too fast, the new addition subjects the organization to undue risk—acting before they have the competence to do so.
 
The Authority Triangle is an important concept in evaluating new additions to the organization.  Those turning the triangle too slowly or too quickly need to be weeded out, making room for the organization to try again to bring in a long-term productive member of the team.
 
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Relative Perception

The negative consequences of change, the downward spike, are relative to size or even the perception of the size of the change.  There are indications that the reaction to change is practically nil below a level of 10%.  For example a change in color, audio volume, or brightness of lights less than 10% will go virtually unnoticed, and thus there would be no reaction to it.

 
To illustrate Relative Perception consider a frequent example related to the purchase of a new car.  Let’s say you’re looking at a $40,000 car.  The salesperson suggests you upgrade the standard radio to their deluxe model.  The new price is $40,350 and the increase in the monthly payment is only pocket change.  It is an easy decision—a no-brainer.  You opt for the upgrade.

However what if you were just purchasing the radio with no car involved.  The price difference would look entirely different to you.  The standard radio model is $225.  The upgraded model is $575.  The relative change or difference in price appears large, and your reaction to that change would be quite different—the decision to upgrade would not be so inviting.