Mar 28, 2010

Personal competency model

Just came across this 'managerial'  personal competency model, published in some manner by the UK Govt., way back in 1997. The contents resonate with my thoughts on what makes one a succesful change implementor. Hence reproducing the whole table . One can use the table to evaluate skills and gaps and identify improvement actions.

Mar 27, 2010

The Change Monster : A mental model for org change

Every 'change agent' should have a perspective of the various 'theoritcal' frameworks that has been proposed around organizational change. A realisation of the diversity of the approaches and their conclusions will help a change agent frame his or her response to a situation. I intent to provide short notes on the various approaches in this and some subsequent postings.
One of the 'interesting' frames of references I have seen is that proposed by Jeanie Daniel Duck in the book 'the Change Monster'.( 2001,Randon House).

The Change Curve , as illustrated above, provides a map of the territory of change according to the author.The change curve suggests that every organization going through will change will go through the phases of stagnation( till it is pushed either externally or internally) and should then ideally go through the phases of preparation,implementation,determination and then fruition. 

Assuming that most of get to do things after someone has identified the need for change :-); here is a short list of does and don't in the various phases according to the author


  • Gain alignment

    • Use anxiety effectively

    • It is not important that leaders like each other,but they need to be able to work together effectively

    • Group change requires individual change ; a behavioural contract is required from every individual

    • Alignment is not the same as commitment and commitment is not the same as getting energized

      • A ready-willing and able assessment tells us when we are prepared
Some of the recommendations for implementation include the need to build leadership strength, the need for informal communications etc

Which other framework do you use ?

Mar 20, 2010

Process Vs Functional Organization

Organization structure is one of the key levers available to a leader wanting to make improvements in the organization.A key trend that we see today is the move to 'process based ' or even more a matrix organizations. In the case of matrix organizations also , process tend to be one of the axes.

I do a lot of work in IT function improvement.Many clients are today implementing ITIL as an approach to bring visibility and improvement on the support side of IT. When implementing ITIL, a key struggle has been deciding the balance between the existing functional roles ( say a help desk manager) and the 'newly' introduced process roles (say a incident manager).

In the book,'Designing organizations' ;Jay R Galbraith (2002 Jossey Bass) talks about the type of lateral processes based on management time and difficulty. He talks about various levels : Voluntary and informal group, e- coordination,formal group (ranging from simple to multidimensional and hierarchical),integrator (full time by roles or departments) and finally a matrix organization.

Organizations wanting to implement ITIL are also faced with similar choices. As shown in figure above, they need to make a choice on the level of authority for the newly introduced roles. From a simple  reporting (Weather station) sort of roles (which would then be allotted on a part time basis to an existing functional role) organizations mature and evolve to provide more authority and control to process functions. There exists no perfect answer to where the balance of power resides !

What does all your experience suggest?

Mar 13, 2010

Influencing : a key change agent skill

Another critical skill that every change agent should attempt to develop is the skill to influence. On most occasions change agents will have to work through project team members over whom they have no formal authority.

Allen R. Cogen & David L. Bradford in their book "Influence without Authority" (2005, John Wiley) proposes an 'Influence Model' .The influence model aims to provide direction on influencing others

According to the authors the influence model- a careful diagnosis of the other's interests,assessment of what resources you possess,and attention to the relationship-enables one to address 'difficult situations'

The key elements of the model ( see figure) are
  • Assume all-the other person or group-are potential allies
  • Clarify your goals and priorities
  • Diagnose the ally's world-organizational forces likely to shape goals,concerns and needs
  • Identify relevant currencies(what is valued): the ally's and yours
  • Deal with relationships
  • Determine your trading approach: make exchanges
Are there best practices when it comes to influencing? How can a change agent be more effective?

Mar 6, 2010

Competencies to enable change: Judgement

As I introspected on qualities that make up an effective change agent, I recognized 'Judgement' as one of the critical ones .Judgement is typically identified as a leadership quality. But given the similarity of the nature of issues ( though may be smaller in scope) that a leader and a change agent has to resolve 'Judgement' becomes critical to a change agent .

Judgement (Neol M.Tichy and Warren G. Bennis 'Judgement' ;2007 Penguin)  is defined as a contextually informed decision-making process encompossing three domains: people, strategy and crisis.

Like a leader,a change agent, entrusted with the responsibility to deliver an improvement in his/her organization must take decisions in the face of ambiguity,uncertainity and conflicting demands.Here is a short list of approaches that can lead to 'good judgement' If you are responsible to drive change through your organization, then, some of these are as much applicable to you

During the sense/identify phase
  • Be able to identify the environment early
  • Mobilize to act
  • Be energized about the future
During the frame/name phase
  • Be able to cut through the complexity and get to the essence
  • Clearly set parameters of a problem
  • Provides context and language
During the mobilize/align phase
  • Identify key stakeholders
  • Engages and energizes stakeholders around framing
  • Taps best ideas from anywhere
During the call phase
  • Exercises yes/no judgement
  • Clearly explains judgement
As the execution phase
  • Leader stays in the game
  • Supports those making it happen
  • Sets clear milestones
  • Gets feedback
  • Makes adjustments
  • The feedback is continuos