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You don't need a Change Framework

Sometimes people ask me why I like Lean Change Management so much. My answer is simple: to me it is a reflection of what we ‘naturally’ do in our everyday life.


No need to learn about complex frameworks, heavy reports, big plans or any of the other fancy stuff the popular frameworks seem to overwhelm you with.


Just become more conscious about how we deal with little everyday-life changes in our personal environment and project that on our business environment. Not learning complicated tools and reports, but having conversations, use some common sense and capture ‘at-home’ practices in a business environment.


Over half a year ago I was interviewed by Lean Change Management’s Sarika Kharbanda where we talked about this believe of mine.


The message I used when reposting this on LinkedIn was:


"Ever thought you're applying the core of Lean Change Management when choosing what to prepare for dinner?"


To which a contact of mine commented:


"Hey Patrick, I like this thought. Definitely interesting. Can you share more?"


So here we go, a long overdue post...


Lean Change Management and the Engine


First, what is Lean Change Management (LCM) and what is the “engine”?

Can’t presume everybody knows, thus it’s only fair to give a brief explanation before telling my story.


Lean Change Management


Let’s start by saying that LCM is not another linear change management methodology. It is a modern, more adaptive perspective on change. At Lean Change we distinguish a Philosophy:


What would happen if we flipped our thinking away from traditional change management ideas designed when the Iomega Zip drive ruled the world, and towards humanistic, and modern approaches?

Change your perspective, change the change



And an Approach:


Constantly seeking to balance the ART, You [the Change Agent] and Your Stance, and Science, Big Ideas and Tools & Practices, of change.


The approach contains, for now, over 50 elements that can help us move change forward in (almost) any context.



The engine of lean change management


In practice when we use LCM, everything we do gears around an ‘engine’. A cycle of activities, driven by feedback, that allows us to continuously adapt our change work to the context in which we are implementing the change.

This picture of the engine of LCM is important for the rest of the story:

  • We collect insights

  • We define options based on those insights

  • We prioritize options so that we can validate our assumptions through running experiments

  • We have conversations about the outcomes and learnings of our experiments which enhances what we know about the change and its progress (new insights).

The Lean Change engine in our daily life


FINALLY! My word processor tells me it took me about 430 words, and a few pictures, to get started with my story.


During the interview I mentioned at the start of this post, Sarika asked me what LCM means to me. My reply was that it is a replication of what we do in daily life.


Here’s the example I gave her.


I have two kids and a very hard working wife. As a consequence, preparing dinner for the family often becomes one of my tasks. I know that preparing dinner may not be comparable with an organizational change, but stick with me for a bit.


When I need to prepare dinner, it goes something like this…


INSIGHTS

  • What did we eat over the last couple of days?

  • What could fit into that to ensure some variety?

  • How much time do I have to make a proper meal?

  • What do we have in the fridge and freezer?

  • What’s missing that I might need?


Recognize this? Some people do this on a weekly basis, they make a weekly breakfast/lunch/dinner menu and then figure out what they might need. The frequency doesn’t really matter. The point is that we use what we know, what we can quickly ‘discover’, and the ‘feedback’ of what we ate over the past days.


Though we likely won’t write this down on a Big Visible Wall, we always start with collecting Insights. Consciously or not…


Let’s continue.

OPTIONS

  • What plate can we make with what we have?

  • What plate would my family like to eat today?

  • Eat out (my treat), have something delivered?

  • If I cook, where can I buy the missing items?

  • Price/Quality/Available time to go and buy?


I’m not telling you that I sit down to write down all options I can generate asking these (or similar) questions and place them on a prioritization canvas when I need to prepare dinner. However, these things pass through my head, and help me (unconsciously) to form a decision.


EXPERIMENTS


There are two things you need to know about me that are relevant for this story. One, I love little experiments, especially in the kitchen. Two, I’m a Dutch guy living in Spain. So, my sense of spices and other food customs are different than in a ‘regular’ Spanish household.


These things matter, because in the end my family sometimes eats plates they would never be able to have tasted before…


On such days, the experimentation sub-cycle goes something like this:


Preparation

  • I decided what to make, though have no clue yet how to do it

  • Of course, my hypothesis is that the family will like it, because I put a lot of effort in!

  • I find a recipe on Internet and start preparation

Introduction

  • Serving the meal at the appropriate time

  • “What the h*** is this?”, “I’m sure I’m not going to like this!” (My kids responding to the plate’s appearance)

  • Stick and whip – “START EATING!!” (That would be me asking nicely to my kids to start eating…)

Review

  • We were right dad, we don’t like this

  • It wasn’t as bad as it looked

  • Actually, we kind of liked it, but no need to repeat often…

  • WOW, this is GOOOOOD

In the end, the process of making the meal. The effort it took, how healthy it was and the final feedback from the family, are learnings. They are insights to remember for a next time, a next evening, a next dinner.


It doesn’t stop here


This was just one example I talked about in the interview. I see the engine of LCM everywhere in daily life, in personal and professional setting. Give it some thought…

Personal

  • What clothes to buy?

  • Moving to a new house (ok, you probably won’t experiment often if you are buying)

  • What to do in the weekend?

  • Etc…

Professional

  • What tools to use (for collaboration, task management, video conferencing…)?

  • Changing jobs…

  • What’s next for me in my personal development

  • What scaling framework for Agile to use…. Ok, forget I said that…

  • Etc…

Wrapping up


The intent of this post was to respond to a request I received on LinkedIn, and was way overdue to be written.


Remember, a next time you’re looking for a “change method” (or framework), you’re already using a philosophy, an approach to change in many things you do daily.


Why not become a bit more conscious about it and take a look at Lean Change Management’s engine and elements to insert into or replace your current practice.



For what do you use the Lean Change Engine in your daily life?

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