How to Minimize Uncertainty and Optimize Change Management With Jason Little

How to Manage Change, Transformation, and Innovation Through Lean Change Management

Does it ever feel like the marketplace is moving quickly outside your windows? Yet, the process you’re using inside those windows is moving slower than a turtle on a hot day. I know, I’ve been there — I totally get it. A lot of long-shooters feel this way. Sometimes, I feel like there’s this major disconnect between the change that we have to manage and how we manage it. It’s hard to truly innovate with a disconnect like that. So, Jason Little — author of Lean Change Management and the video series, Agile Transformation — came by Inside LaunchStreet to talk about how we can shake up our thinking and our processes to be more agile and innovate. We chat about how the key to lasting change isn’t about the processes you use — it’s actually about the people first — then, the processes. We also dig into why a set plan does not actually increase certainty and results — In fact, it decreases them. It’s not the plan; it’s the process of planning that minimizes uncertainty.

 

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Key Takeaways:

[2:16] You might be surprised to learn that Jason knows a former guitar player of the popular American heavy metal band, Megadeth.

[3:20] Agile is a powerful tool in helping manage change; It helps you understand your market, your context, and focus less on the process and tools, and more on individuals and interactions.

[4:29] Why some companies have stayed so antiquated with their change processes: Uncertainty.

[5:19] Is the need for certainty keeping us from managing change well? Jason says our brains are not wired for uncertainty which makes it difficult to implement change.

[6:25] How do you make change happen when you don’t feel uncertain? Jason believes changes within a company happens the same way a social change is made; It takes a community rallying together.

[7:44] Everyone needs to see the same problem that you see for change to happen. It’s not about buy-in; it’s about people seeing the same problem that you see.

[9:16] Why we can’t manage transformations the same way we manage an infrastructure project: Change doesn’t follow those schedules.

[10:42] Companies need someone to “shake things up” when pushing for change, transformation, and innovation — not someone authoritative and well-organized.

[12:28] What we should take away from Agile, what works about it, and what challenges we should be mindful of when trying to implement this type of process.

[15:03] Jason’s powerful experiences of helping implement Agile with an organization, bringing about incredible change. It’s all about de-risking and fixing the initial problem, then adding and fixing the secondary aesthetics after.

[16:46] Jason believes that testing out changes as you go, brutal transparency, and having a dialogue with customers is key to the success of implementing new changes.

[17:46] Does having transparency in the process help improve work ethics? Jason thinks so. When you can’t hide your work you become more raw and work more efficiently.

[19:45] How positive friction drives progress. You need someone who can challenge some of the ideas — acting as an anchor or counterbalance — to provide good, positive conflict.

[21:13] Jason shares a story about his first Agile coaching job.

[23:51] Organizations and situations that Agile is not right for. Jason says it’s all about risk vs. reward.

[25:49] “Manage change like a rockstar”; Jason’s take on how being a project manager can be fun, cool, and different. We don’t have to follow the same old step-by-step process.

[27:55] Jason’s “zumba method” shows how change happens in an organization. Through starting a conference with “spontaneous” dancing, he can figure out who is ready to drive change and who is resisting.

[29:47] People who show up to elective meetings are on the extreme ends — those who are extremely motivated to implement change, and the resisters who believe it will never work.

[30:22] How Agile helps a team or organization create a culture of innovation long-term. For Jason, it depends on how well the organization supports the people who are doing it. You don’t have to transform your whole organization. Let the people doing the work have a say in deciding how to do it.

[31:44] About Jason’s book Lean Change Management and how it can help organizations can shift.

[32:19] Where to connect with Jason and learn more: LeanChange.org.

[32:27] One piece of advice from Jason’s book that long shooters can take action on right now: “The people who write the plan don’t fight the plan.” Let the people who have to live with the consequences create the plan — then help them execute it.

[33:39] Tamara has one question for listeners: Who in your organization can be the one that can help you ignite and drive innovation? Go find that person and make them your champion. And if you’re not sure how to connect with them, Tamara has got you covered. Go to Innovation on Demand to get the video on the secrets to getting buy-in to your ideas.

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Mentioned in This Episode:

Lean Change Management: Innovative Practices For Managing Organizational Change, by Jason Little

Agile Transformation A Guide to Organizational Change

LeanChange.org