Sunday, 31 May 2015

5 Reasons Social Media Is Not Working for You

Everybody is on social media now. OK, that is a slight exaggeration. Only 2 billion of the planet’s 7.2 billion people have active social media accounts. What is even more incredible is that there are almost 1.7 billion active mobile social users now.
Strictly from a business opportunity standpoint, I would like to say, “wow!” How and where else can you reach almost a third of the earth’s population so easily, so cheaply and so personally? It is a marketer’s dream and, if you are doing it right, you should be using social media marketing to dominate your market.
So, why isn’t social media working for you? The following are five common reasons why I see most people, companies and brands fail at using social media to grow their businesses.
1. You have to “pay to play” on Facebook.
Facebook is still, by far, the largest social media site with 890 million active daily users and 1.35 billion users overall. In 2014, the network earned almost $12.5 billion in revenue almost exclusively from advertising on the site. Coinciding with this massive jump in revenue is the dramatic decrease in the percentage of traffic that reaches fans and followers organically (meaning free).
Facebook has publically admitted that it is systematically decreasing that “free traffic” percentage over time to 1 to 2 percent of all traffic. For you, the business owner, that means if you plan on using Facebook to sell your products and services to your fans, you will need an advertising budget. Even a small budget can create huge return on Facebook.
2. You are “push” marketing when you should be “pull” marketing.
Most business owners make the mistake of thinking that social media is just a quick and easy tool to blast market their products and services out to large numbers of prospects quickly. Then, they are stunned when nobody wants to buy them.
The problem is that it is too easy to click away, ban, or worse, report you as a spammer. To win on marketing with social media you have to attract or “pull” people towards you. People are attracted to you via your message and the content you share on social media.
3. You are not “useful.”
This tip goes hand in hand with the point above. One of the best ways to “pull” market on social media is to be useful to your community on a consistent basis without the expectation of selling them something immediately. I know that seems a little counter-intuitive, but let me explain how that works.
Let's say that you own a landscaping company. What if you wrote an ebook called 10 Ways to Make Your Yard Absolutely Beautiful and used Facebook advertising to target and give it away on social media to people in your city? You are not “pushing” your landscaping service. You are just being “useful." 
Guess what? Some of those people will get your ebook and want you to do the exact same things you told them to do in your ebook but pay you to do it. That is being useful, and that is pull marketing.
If you want more information on being useful in social media, you should read YOUtility by Jay Baer.
4. You are trying to be everywhere.
The top 10 social media sites have an estimated 2.2 billion unique monthly visitors. With that kind of traffic it is hard not to want to want to put your business right in the middle of all of that. However, being on just one site consistently takes a serious commitment of both time and energy.
Figure out which one or two sites you should be on (hint: they are the ones your ideal client is on) and then spend your time finding, creating and sharing great content and engaging with people in a consistent and meaningful way.
In short, in social media it is better to be really good on one site than bad on many.
5. You are not being authentic.
Social media is the easiest place to try and be something you are not. I hear stories and see it every single day. You want to be cool or hip or funny because you think that is what people want. Or worse yet, you want to be all business like.
You look for and share content based on what you think customers' interests are, not yours. You know that cute puppy videos get a lot of traffic so you start borrowing the neighbor’s dog and dressing him up in every kind of crazy costume just hoping that people will watch and share your videos and somehow that will make them want to buy your products and services.
Sorry, that does not work.
Newsflash: People will connect with you around what they care about way before they connect around your business or your product.
The reality is that people buy from people they know, like and trust and authenticity is a huge piece of building that trust. Spend a few minutes thinking about what your real interests are, both personally and professionally, and create five to eight categories around those interests. Then, simply make sure to be yourself and deliver high-quality content consistently around the things you are actually interested in. You will have more and better engagement with people and these people will become your friends, your community members and, eventually, your clients.
Authenticity is the game-changer in social media marketing. I believe it so strongly that I wrote a book on the subject, Will the Real You Please Stand Up – Show-up, Be Authentic and Prosper in Social Media.

How To Start Business Process Outsourcing

Saturday, 30 May 2015

What Maslow’s Hierarchy Won’t Tell You About Motivation


At some point in their careers, most leaders have either consciously — or, more likely, unwittingly — based (or justified) their approach to motivation on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s idea that people are motivated by satisfying lower-level needs such as food, water, shelter, and security, before they can move on to being motivated by higher-level needs such as self-actualization, is the most well-known motivation theory in the world. There is nothing wrong with helping people satisfy what Maslow characterized as lower-level needs. Improvements in workplace conditions and safety should be applauded as the right thing to do. Seeing that people have enough food and water to meet their biological needs is the humane thing to do. Getting people off the streets into healthy environments is the decent thing to do. But the truth is, individuals can experience higher-level motivation anytime and anywhere.
Despite the popularity of Maslow’s Hierarchy, there is not much recent data to support it. Contemporary science — specifically Dr. Edward Deci, hundreds ofSelf-Determination Theory researchers, and thousands of studies — instead points to three universal psychological needs. If you really want to advantage of this new science – rather than focusing on a pyramid of needs – you should focus on: autonomy, relatedness, and competence.
Autonomy is people’s need to perceive that they have choices, that what they are doing is of their own volition, and that they are the source of their own actions. The way leaders frame information and situations either promotes the likelihood that a person will perceive autonomy or undermines it. To promote autonomy:
  1. Frame goals and timelines as essential information to assure a person’s success, rather than as dictates or ways to hold people accountable.
  2. Refrain from incentivizing people through competitions and games. Few people have learned the skill of shifting the reason why they’re competing from an external one (winning a prize or gaining status) to a higher-quality one (an opportunity to fulfill a meaningful goal).
  3. Don’t apply pressure to perform. Sustained peak performance is a result of people acting because they choose to — not because they feel they have to.
Relatedness is people’s need to care about and be cared about by others, to feel connected to others without concerns about ulterior motives, and to feel that they are contributing to something greater than themselves. Leaders have a great opportunity to help people derive meaning from their work. To deepen relatedness:
  1. Validate the exploration of feelings in the workplace. Be willing to ask people how they feel about an assigned project or goal and listen to their response. All behavior may not be acceptable, but all feelings are worth exploring.
  2. Take time to facilitate the development of people’s values at work — then help them align those values with their goals. It is impossible to link work to values if individuals don’t know what their values are.
  3. Connect people’s work to a noble purpose.
Competence is people’s need to feel effective at meeting every-day challenges and opportunities, demonstrating skill over time, and feeling a sense of growth and flourishing. Leaders can rekindle people’s desire to grow and learn. To develop people’s competence:
  1. Make resources available for learning. What message does it send about values for learning and developing competence when training budgets are the first casualty of economic cutbacks?
  2. Set learning goals — not just the traditional results-oriented and outcome goals.
  3. At the end of each day, instead of asking, “What did you achieve today?” ask “What did you learn today? How did you grow today in ways that will help you and others tomorrow?”
Unlike Maslow’s needs, these three basic needs are not hierarchical or sequential. They are foundational to all human beings and our ability to flourish.
The exciting message to leaders is that when the three basic psychological needs are satisfied in the workplace, people experience the day-to-day high-quality motivation that fuels employee work passion — and all the inherent benefits that come from actively engaged individuals at work. To take advantage of the science requires shifting your leadership focus from, “What can I give people to motivate them?” to “How can I facilitate people’s satisfaction of autonomy, relatedness, and competence?”
Leaders have opportunities every day to integrate these motivational practices. For example, a leader I coach was about to launch a company-wide message to announce mandatory training on green solutions compliance. Ironically, his well-intentioned message dictated people’s actions — undermining people’s sense of autonomy and probably guaranteeing their defiance rather than compliance. His message didn’t provide a values-based rationale or ask individuals to consider how their own values might be aligned to the initiative. After reconsidering his approach, he created this message embedded with ways for people to experience autonomy, relatedness, and competence:
There are three ways you can share our commitment for implementing green solutions as an essential part of our Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.
  • Join others who are passionate about reducing their carbon footprint for a fun and interactive training session on November 15. (Relatedness)
  • Read the attached manifesto and take a quick quiz to see what you learned by November 18. (Competence)
  • Send us your story about what you are doing at work to be environmentally responsible by November 14. (Autonomy, competence, and relatedness)
You can choose any or all three options. (Autonomy) Let us know your preference(s) by email (Autonomy) by October 31 or stop by our table at the all-company Halloween party (Relatedness). If you choose to opt out of all three choices (Autonomy), please tell us what we can do to appeal more directly to your values around corporate social responsibility (Relatedness).

Don’t underestimate your people’s capacity — indeed, their longing — to experience high-quality motivation at work anytime and anywhere.

Is Your Company A Place Where Employees Grow And Thrive, Or Wither And Leave?

As Forrester's Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) proves, the key determiner of a company's success is customer satisfaction. We can also prove that there is a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and customer perception and opinion, which is more pronounced with those employees who have a greater impact on your customers. To improve customer satisfaction, these employees have to feel that they can succeed. If they can’t succeed, they will burn out, and burned out employees aren’t going to help your company win, serve and retain customers. Forrester believes that you as an I&O leader can play the decisive role in customer satisfaction, if you choose to. Here’s why:

When you shift focus toward customer value, you overcome IT gravity
As George Colony points out in his blog, I&O leaders are comfortable focusing on cost and security, and won’t stretch because they can’t escape the gravitational pull of traditional IT agenda items. But you don’t have to be one of them. You can change your priorities if you have good enough reasons, and our workforce enablement research will give them to you. Meeting your customers where they are is important, but meeting your people where they are is important, too, when their job is to deliver the products and services that satisfy your customers.

What you focus on gets bigger
Neuroscientists tell us that what we focus on gets bigger because our brains become more aware of the things that are most important to us. If we know our company wants us to focus on controlling costs or improving security, our minds will work on ways to do that, even when we’re not conscious of it. But a limitation most of us don’t realize is that our brains can only keep about seven things in our conscious awareness, so what we’re not focusing on slips away until it’s no longer a part of our thought processes…unless we find ways to keep it there, and that takes energy and effort.

I&O’s role is the most crucial one of all
The employees of your organization have the same cognitive limits as you do, but at the top of their list of seven things is getting their work done. Their job is to do their part to help win, serve and retain customers for the business, and the most productive of them already understand and accept that cost control and security are your top priorities. 30% are willing to equip themselves where they can, but there is only so much they can do because the technology resources inside the company they need are outside of their control.

You have more power to create change than you think
Chances are that many of the resources they need are within your control, so the change they need from you is to do as much as you can to facilitate their access to internal technology resources. If you’re like most I&O leaders, though, you sit in the middle of your organization, so feeling powerless sometimes goes with the territory. But you’re not powerless — you hold the keys to their potential, and the key to leading change is to find ways to keep workforce productivity at the front of your mind and in the minds of others who can help you.

But it means learning to see your workforce through a new lens
It will be hard because while most companies now have systems to track the sources of cost and security gaps in detail, they can’t track productivity effectively — let alone diagnose productivity inhibitors. If they track productivity at all, they’re likely to attribute poor performance to myriad things including inexperience, poor management, lack of discipline or poor communication skills — all of which may also be present, which takes attention away from any inadequacy in technology resources. Bringing awareness of technology management’s role in productivity means that I&O leaders like you must learn to see through new lenses.

Our highest purpose is to be your champions and allies in your quest
If financial models and threat research are the lenses for seeing costs and security-related factors, then neuroscience and organizational psychology are the lenses for seeing productivity and human-performance-related factors. My colleagues and I on the workforce enablement team here at Forrester believe that the highest purpose for I&O leaders is to create the conditions for employees to do their best work through technology resources. Accordingly, our highest purpose is to be your allies and champions, and we're here to help you with new tools and research incorporating neuroscience and organizational psychology to help you create change.

The first of these is now available as a survey instrument and companion document:

Use Forrester’s new survey to assess productivity and flow, and diagnose problems
Employees achieve peak performance at work when they attain a mental state called flow. When they can reach flow regularly, they provide superior customer service, work harder, and stay with their employers longer. Building on years of psychological research, this tool helps you objectively evaluate which employees are achieving flow, and analyze which factors are promoting or inhibiting flow in your organization. With a better understanding of what’s promoting or inhibiting flow, you can have the basis you need for creating change where it will have the greatest benefits for productivity and, in turn, business outcomes.

Friday, 29 May 2015

The four views of success – you need to get all of them right to be successful!

Success is the goal we all strive to reach!But, what is success?
Is it on time, in budget delivery? Is it being able to tick off all the items on a requirements list? Is it that the systems actually function? Is it ease of use? Is it a high score from a customer focus group? Is it lower cost?
And the “Is it?” list goes on and on.
The answer, at least when it comes to BPM projects is anything but simple. Why? Because BPM solutions are not about simply building a new application, or about improving some application, or even combining a few steps to streamline some work. BPM is a collaborative undertaking. As such it involves people from the business, IT, partners, and manufacturing production - and the customers. That really does complicate things – including the concept of success. Who do you please and what does that take?
The fact is that if you ask the different groups involved in a business transformation, business improvement, or continuous improvement project, you will get some overlap but you will also get very different answers. It all depends on their point of view, what they believe they need, and how the activities affect them.
So success isn’t simply providing a solution that delivers all the tech requirements on the list.
The reality is that success must be viewed from four perspectives – some of you may even add more. But, the recognition that BPM requires much more than the delivery of an application that ticks off all the requirements, is critical. The four perspectives are:
  1. Technical view – does the solution deliver all the requirements on the specs list?
  2. Business user view – how well does the solution improve the business?
  3. Interface view – do all the business and technical parts of the solution work well together?
  4. Customer view – is the solution easy to use and provide good functionality?

The technical view
The technical view is related to the delivery of application and manufacturing production changes that support the specific needs of the requestor as defined in the business requirements and then translated in the technical requirements. These requirements form a list of capabilities that need to be provided. A comparison of these capabilities against the current ones for the business area gives the delta and points to the improvement.
However, in most cases this list of capabilities does not specify how the requirements must be fulfilled. The design of these changes is thus often the responsibility of the technical staff.
In many companies these requirements are identified by an IT analyst asking the business user or production manager what they need or how the support they are currently getting should change.
The general requirements (i.e. must meet these compliance requirements) and specific change requirements(i.e. the new design must deliver X, Y, Z KPIs) are used as the foundation in creating the new business operation designs – when filtered through the constraints on the design options (usually technical IT and/or manufacturing, or timing constraints). These new business designs must meet the business requirements; leveraging operational streamlining and IT support change. This defines the new or changed business capabilities and how the operation will deliver them The delta between the old and new business models gives a list of business changes – requirements for the creation of a new process or workflow (along with IT and other needed support).
This is the foundation for the definition of changes to IT support. The IT applications analyst then translates these business requirements into tech requirements describing how one or more application systems should be changed. These are the technical specs. When done right, these tech specs align to the business change specs and thus the new business model. These tech specs describe changes to application functionality, data capture and use, etc. – very different from business change specs. The project’s programmers follow this list of capabilities to build new applications or modify ones in use today.
Together these business and tech requirements define the changes that will drive the creation of a solution – changes to the business, production operation, and supporting applications. The combined list of the business, production, and tech requirements produces a check list against which the new solution can be measured – it must accommodate all of the requirements, and deliver the desired KPIs and other defined improvements. When all the items on this check list are tested and certified, the solution is complete from a technical standpoint. This makes the solution a technical success.
The business user view
However, delivering all of the changes from either the business or the technical specs does not guarantee that the solution will actually improve the business operation. Any requirement can be delivered through a wide range of changes. Some of these changes will be beneficial, but others may actually hurt the efficiency of the workflow. When this happens, the solution is a technical success but a business failure.
If the company has adopted Enterprise Process Management, the business view will start at the end-to-end process level and include a cross organization, cross functional perspective on change. Here change is made to process and filters down to the different business operations in the process. These changes are made to improve the entire process and care needs to be taken to look at these changes at both the process and individual business unit levels.
If the company is focused at the business unit level and views the operation from an organization perspective, the view will focus on a given business unit and how it operates. Here, the goal is to improve the activity in the business unit – not in the overall process.
In making these changes at either the process or the business unit level, it should be remembered that work can be performed in any number of ways – all of which may make sense, but only some of which deliver effective and efficient work and workflow. Business managers will most often look at any change in terms of making the operation faster, cheaper and better – less waste, less error, more streamlined, less expensive, more scalable, etc. If the change does not deliver actual, measurable work improvement it will not be a success. If the change requires the introduction of manual work (white space activity) to get around system deficiencies or holes in the activity flow, it will not be a success. And, if the change increases variability in outcome, additional error correction work, etc. it will also not be a success.
Any business improvement related change solution will thus be viewed in terms of helping the way the business works. Any solution that delivers capabilities in a way that fails to improve the way the work is actually performed or that makes the operation more difficult will be considered a failure – even if it clearly delivers every requirement on the spec list.
However, unless success has been defined clearly, in measurable terms, determining if a solution is a business success will be a matter of opinion and opinions may vary widely. Having success determined by opinion should be avoided if at all possible. Also, it is difficult to produce a solution that really helps move the business operation to an optimal state if the business managers and staff are only marginally involved. So, it is important to formally define what it will take to have the solution declared a business success before the start of work – in the project setup activity. It is also critically important to have the necessary level of commitment and involvement at all needed management levels. This will require a well thought out needs analysis at a detailed level and justification for the time and resources that will be needed.
The interface view
Any solution today that affects more than a single application system or a very narrow slice of the business operation will require either new application systems or changes to current applications. Both of these options will likely require new application system connections or modifications to existing connections. These connections are through software interface programs. The interfaces can be extremely complex and represent the greatest potential for catastrophic level failure. The reason is that in addition to adding to the complexity, data transforms as it moves and can be expected to change as it hits each application it flows through. Any failure to move the data correctly, reformatting it as it moves to numerous places will cause either the move to fail or corrupted data to be added to target applications and their databases.
This new activity flow and the accompanying transformation of data must be understood and modified as needed to deliver accurate data to wherever it needs to go. If this fails, the ripple of the problem may impact data integrity and cause serious damage. Care in identifying, defining and building or modifying interfaces is thus critical to the success of any solution. Testing here is critical to success.
As with all of the perspectives of success, this view is important. However, in the other views the solution can limp along while it is being improved. The failure of an interface is different.  There is no limping along if an interface fails. Failure in this view requires solution shut down and data backout for anything that may have gotten through. For that reason, ensuring success in this view cannot be optional – even a partial success is a failure.
The customer view
In the end, everything comes down to the customer experience in dealing with your company. If the experience is positive the bond grows stronger and the customers will return in the future. If the experience is uncomfortable, confusing, slow or cumbersome, the customers will leave and find a site at a competitor that may be easier to use. A customer’s impression of the interaction is thus important and must be considered in identifying project and solution quality and benefit.
Keep in mind that many companies will have more than a single kind of customer. This means that personas must be defined and interactions viewed from the perspectives of each persona. Focusing on a single persona is potentially a problem as it may produce solutions that impair usability for other types of users.
In addition, the advances in social mobility computing have set high expectations that are growing daily. The buying public is now computer savvy and the new generation is more than computer literate – they are power users who have much higher expectations than those in companies who use outdated technology every day. But, that too is changing with advances in business process management tool suites and in both mobility technology and “social apps” that are beginning to go far beyond the capabilities that Captain Kirk had available on the Starship Enterprise.
Because of these and similar technologies that are easily available to everyone, expectations from the customers in interacting with your company are constantly increasing. The result is that companies must now live with the changes they started in the “self-service” movement.  But, can they? Time will tell who can really architect the IT portfolio and infrastructure and move the archaic technology platforms in many companies into the modern age of rapid change. However, the reality is that most companies struggle to keep up with or support the rapid pace of mobility device and app evolution. This makes the focus on customer viewpoints critical.
The fact is that it is easy today for a change in the operation to result in a ripple that negatively affects the customers.  Both solution and customer experience testing must thus produce a collaborative interaction that helps the project team understand the customer viewpoint and what will provide the “Wow” factor - in the customer’s opinion. Only with an iterative approach based on these customer reviews can success be achieved in this view.
Real success is not simple any longer
If the definition of success for any of the project participants is “it depends” or “I’ll know it when I see it”, the project is doomed. This is not a silly concern. I run into it fairly frequently. Why, because people have a need but cannot really define it or how it will change their operations. They simply know they have a problem, a need to improve, or a need to accommodate a new compliance requirement. So, it is up to the project manager and team to work with the business area managers and people to define the change and then to define how success will be measured, what a successful outcome will look like and collaboratively get all who are affected to reach consensus.  Without this, the team is shooting with a blindfold on in the solution’s definition and construction.
As if this cultural issue was not enough, success today must consider the capabilities and constraints of the IT environment and the way it has evolved in the past. Applications today are mostly a maze of changes to changes that were never well documented. This is really true of all applications. Often an IT environment may have hundreds of databases and a great many unsynchronized data element definitions and formats. This requires both the construction of unique interfaces (ways of moving data between applications) and the transformation of the data as it moves between applications. Given the maze of application interfaces that exists in most companies, this is an area of change that causes a lot of risk and cost. If not well done, data corruption in multiple databases could cause some serious damage.
Without question, the IT side of any solution is extremely complex and difficult. But, even when that part is done flawlessly, the solution only gains relevancy from its impact on the business operation and through that, the customers – nothing else matters. To get to the changes that thus give any solution relevancy, it is critical that the business and the customers be viewed as active participants in the project and their perspectives be considered as the driving force in any solution. Solution success thus clearly requires successful outcomes from the perspectives of the customers, the business, the creation of capabilities that meet requirements and interfaces that function well while causing no harm to other applications.
As always, I hope this column made you think about your projects and change in your company. Please send any comments or questions – I always like to hear from my readers. Dan Morris daniel.morris@wendan-consulting .com .  I would also like to thank Rod Moyer who is indispensable in debating ideas and the opinions in my columns.
Also, be sure to check out Jim Sinur’s blog at . I think you will find it interesting.

The art of innovation | Guy Kawasaki | TEDxBerkeley

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Social Media Can Play a Role in Business Process Management

Today, organizations need to be able to execute at the pace of global volatility. Those that can adapt to trends, preferences and issues ahead of their competitors can create a defensible advantage. But you may not be able to do that unless you can get real-time market data and rapidly align your organization to the new priorities and practices. Too often, old, legacy processes prevent companies from having that agility.
Fortunately, social media offers us a chance to improve the communications supporting process improvement. Leading organizations are already using the power of social media to shape their business process management (BPM) agendas. Although the use of social media in BPM may still be in its infancy, its potential for increasing the agility of business processes — allowing for change in the early stages of product development, for example — is immense. Social media in BPM can accomplish this in three ways: First, by collecting customer feedback and using it to adjust processes; second, by disseminating knowledge and increasing acceptance of new processes; and third, by helping identify which processes really contribute to competitive differentiation.
Social tools can make the “process of process management” much more nimble, by delivering information to process participants about improvements needed for operational processes. If, for example, there is a quality issue in goods received, immediate online communication between customer and supplier in response to a blog or other online post can enable a discussion about how best to address the problem and improve the process.
Social media can also be an excellent tool for bridging the gap between external networking and internal integration. Organizations’ IT departments can use social media to communicate with the engineering department as it works on new products, often creating a tighter feedback loop than previously existed. Similarly, the R&D department of a life sciences company could collaborate with academic research institutions using a joint community page to share research findings and ideas.
Transparency has long been an ingredient of the success of process-driven organizations. Social media can make transparency easier, gathering and disseminating the feedback that improves existing processes and creates new ones.
Blogs and other online communities can support transparency by memorializing informal discussions that may be highly pertinent to a process, but might not normally be captured. While such forums would ideally be free and open, companies that excel in process management can post and visit forums to identify problems and address process issues with a higher degree of certainty.
In the effort to build up the process organization, companies can use community-building software or blogs to solicit input from stakeholders to gather information that can be used to improve internal- or external-facing processes. As such, this use of digital channels can become part of the process of process management. One example: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ran a social media campaign that identified passengers who were friends with KLM on social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. Those friends were surprised at the airport with a small, personalized gift based on information obtained from their social media use. This use of social media helped the airline improve its customer relations process for the social media friends with measurable online results.
Our research, published in Value-Driven Business Process Management, indicates that fewer than 20 percent of processes truly differentiate a company in the eyes of its customers. Social BPM can identify and validate those processes that really make a difference, such as the airline’s social media campaign which contributed to the experience of select customers. Those that don’t contribute to differentiation are candidates for standardization and automation. The ultimate results for organizations embracing social BPM can be greater agility and an enhanced ability to deal with volatility, leaving competitors struggling to evolve.

How Have Kotter’s Eight Steps for Change Changed?

Next year will mark the twentieth anniversary of John Kotter’s guide to change management Leading Change, which introduced his 8-Step Process for Leading Change within an organization. The book was very influential, but since then the pace of change in the business world has sped up greatly. How do those eight steps look today? Kotter updated the process, after extensive research, in his 2014 bookAccelerate. The points below illustrate four key revisions he made to his steps for change to make them work in today’s environment.
Leading Change: 8-Step Process (1996)
  • Respond to or affect episodic change in rigid, finite, and sequential (step by step) ways
  • Drive change with a small, powerful core group
  • Function within a traditional hierarchy
  • Focus on doing one new thing very well in a linear fashion over time
Accelerate: 8-Step Process (2014)
  • Run the steps concurrently and continuously
  • Form a large volunteer army from up, down and across the organization to serve as the change engine
  • Function in a network flexibly and agilely outside of, but in conjunction with, a traditional hierarchy
  • Operate as if strategy is a dynamic force by constantly seeking opportunities, identifying initiatives to capitalize on them, and completing them quickly and efficiently
Engaging your volunteer army
What I find particularly compelling is the concept of the volunteer army (the “new” Step 4) because it embodies size, speed, complexity and power in service of change. It is very difficult for an organization to harness these four elements in combination. When it does, large numbers of employees rally under an opportunity, take action and transform their company. For example:
  • In a renowned consumer products company, 2,000 volunteers signed up in six weeks with the purpose of transforming their global supply chain
  • In order to adjust to large shifts in both the competitor landscape and buyers’ buying behaviors, more than 9,000 employees across a national auto re-seller’s 70 locations volunteered to help increase sales
  • When two companies merged to form the largest publishing company in history, their two sales forces, formerly arch competitors, came together in a volunteer army to defeat the enemy of most mergers: failed integration of people and systems
  • A division of a global defense and aerospace giant set out to raise a volunteer army of 350 to seed a growth culture, but the broad appeal of the opportunity attracted 2,300 in only six weeks.
Celebrating the “small” stuff
The generation of short-term wins (Step 6) also remains vital to any large-scale change: wins are the molecules of results. Their influence ranges from cultural to financial. For instance, a broad communication about an achievement is an injection of the positive that activates an optimistic desire in the workforce to do more. Celebrated wins from cost-reduction or revenue-generating efforts openly link specific thinking and behaviors to the bottom and top lines.
What we’ve seen is a doubling down on efforts to define what a win is based on the company’s culture and on their transformation’s objectives. Increased rigor and discipline in collecting, tracking and evaluating wins in significant volume pays off. The prize is any unassailable correlation between a win – or body of like wins – and a business result. The bonus can be bigger than the win itself. Some wins, when detailed and celebrated, can go viral and expand their impact by creating copycats.
The carefully coordinated volunteer armies named above collected wins to document their transformations in real time:
  • The consumer products company amassed 1,300 wins in 24 months and returned 900 percent on what they invested in the effort.
  • The strategic initiatives undertaken by the auto re-seller’s volunteer army generated 2,000 wins that contributed to a $40-million increase in sales in a 10-month period.
  • Nearly 60 percent of the publishing company’s merged sales force signed up to take part in 21 strategic initiatives designed to unify the function. They achieved their goal of cultural integration in only 12 months.
Comparing today’s business environment to 20 years ago, it strikes me that wins – and an intentional approach to producing them – have only increased in importance as the fuel of large-scale sustainable change. The energy they produce can overpower the effects of speed, distraction, and dilution that conspire against change efforts. They can help break down change-blocking silos. So, too, the complexity of globalization, which increasingly feels like a high-speed game of 3-D chess.
How have you helped your organization adjust to the increasing rate of change? What methods are working? And how do you know?