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Wake up call: The ULTIMATE Leading Change cheat sheet doesn't exist

This wasn't a planned post.

I simply wanted to write a quick reply to this post that passed my feed on LinkedIn. That quick reply became too long for LinkedIn...

What urged me to write a response were the title and content of the below image Justin Mecham created and used in the post.

A consultant that is a specialist in all of these models will cost you at least € 1500 a day. Assuming an 18 month change program, with about 200 working days a year (300 for 18 months), leading this change will cost at least € 450.000 – Just for the consultant!

Silliness aside. It’s nice to see somebody (a consultant) knows their models, though to throw them all in an ‘infographic’ and call that “the ULTIMATE Leading Change Cheat Sheet”???? Makes me wonder if this person actually has any experience with leading change...

The title suggests that these models will always work in all contexts (companies)… I’ve been in change for too long… with all respect for th author, but this is BS.

Let me give a few examples of why, based on my 20+ years of involvement with and leading change experience, there’s so much wrong with this “12-step leading change cheat sheet”…

Let’s see:

  • As soon as you start with 1. people form their vision on what the change is. Big chance that when you (finally) get to 4. your vision is different.

  • That immediately impacts negatively on 5. and 6., which may explain why you have to do 7. before starting execution.

  • You can’t “choose” a leadership style – simply because the likeliness that the chosen style is suitable to ‘lead’ all individuals you’ll have to work with is close to 0.

  • DISC is nice for understanding yourself, where you stand, what YOU prefer, it is NOT a model that gives you a choice on how to lead others.

  • The first 7 steps take how much time? By the time you are ready to start with 8. It is likely that something in your ‘system’ has already changed vs. the diagnosis done in 1. and the plan defined in 2.

  • Curiously 9. comes after 8.

  • The question with 10. is ‘when?’. Once you failed to execute a 6-12-18 month execution plan? Oh, and Kotter is not a model for change adaptation… Rather an 8-step process to deal with what takes 12 steps in this …infographic…?

  • Ensuring quality AFTER having executed ‘the plan’ is richly late in the process... Quality must be built in from the start…

This cheat sheet may be 'ultimate' if you choose to do change AT people, it's terrible wrong if you want to do change WITH people.

What may change if you do change WITH people?

  • Define why the change is needed (do 4. first)

  • Co-create with the people impacted by the change the specifics on 1., 2., 9. and 11.

  • You then have directly taken care of point 5. and 6., so 7. is less likely to occur/needed – especially before starting execution.

  • Accept the fact that things change. You can use Lean Change’s BIG/NEXT/NOW and the Lean Change Engine to 8., 10. and 12. – Get to action fast to learn how ‘the system’ (your organization) reacts to the change and adapt the plan (not the vision).

  • Use leading indicators to track if the change is progressing towards the vision.

  • Be flexible, introspect and adapt how you view and stand in the change as well as the methods and practices you use.

These points do not form an 'alternative ultimate leading change cheat sheet'. They are practices and experienced ways of learning and working with people through change.

There are more tips about how Lean Change can be useful for leading change, which I wrote about earlier here.

If you experience (leading) change challenges, and do not have a few 100.000 Euros laying around, get in touch and we'll chat about how we can help you in a 'no-nonsense' way.

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