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“Personal Change Management” (PCM) Programs

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment

“Personal Change Management” (PCM) programs were developed by The Leadership Alliance Inc. [TLAINC] because, in our experience, successful implementation of organizational change is always significantly dependent on non-rational “people-factors” that are present in the organizations workforce at all levels; however, these “people-factors” are ignored in virtually every change initiative.

These people-factors include personal perceptions, attitudes and feelings that exist below the surface of formal organizational contact, and they are disregarded because organizations largely operate under a cultural cloak of rationality, ignoring or deeply underestimating non-rational realities such as emotion. The result is tragic — workforce energy that could be applied productively becomes a destructive force that undercuts the anticipated change-related performance enhancement. Remember, the people that will resist the change are the very people relied on to implement the change!

Organizations that are serious about successfully implementing change must strike an adequate balance between promoting rationality/technical efficiency and exploring non-rational factors if the anticipated benefits are to be captured. They certainly cannot afford to do otherwise if the planned change is highly disruptive and/or expensive. So how might this be accomplished?

Although an organization may attempt to ensure a successful change initiative by collaboratively developing an exciting vision statement, and satisfying employees’ various basic physiological needs, really significant leverage for successful  change lies in upgrading each individual’s understanding of their own unique personal and inter-personal “people-factors”, and by surfacing them, help the individual deal with them appropriately. To address these needs, TLAINC developed the Personal Change Management (PCM) approach – performance-based programs that facilitate personal identification, understanding, clarification, and resolution of significant non-rational people-factors that may impact the success or failure of a given change initiative, independent of the type of change envisaged.

The PCM approach is based on the notion that to ensure a successful change effort, each individual in the organization must have their own evolving PCM “kitbag”; one that they personally continuously fill and refresh with knowledge about the organizational change envisaged, what it means to them, and how to bring it about at their local level or how to address barriers to implementation. Furthermore, all employees, including managers, must populate their PCM kitbags with understanding and skills related to people-factors. This is achieved using programs that assist managers and staff change local peer-peer and senior-subordinate interactions to enhance authenticity, create emotional openness, and ease the process of “letting go” of the past and making sense of the new context.

The Roger Gaunt Action Learning process is an ideal vehicle to achieve these ends when exploited as part of an intensive workshop and coaching program involving small groups. This style of action learning was pioneered by Roger to help participants deal with their change-related concerns, without delving into any deep-seated emotional issues that are better treated via 1:1 health-professional interventions. This model is favored over the more familiar “project model”, advocated by Professor Reg Revans, because it encourages individuals to define and work with their own areas of interest and emotional concerns, thus building increased capacity for ownership, insight and effective implementation of identified solutions.

Each small group is called a PCM Group (PCMG). In TLAINC’s program PCMG members undergo a process that is enriched with counseling and group-work skills that draw on psycho-dynamic, Gestalt, and client-centric theory. Group members act as collective “counselor” to each “presenter” of an issue, enabling exploration and clarification of her/his situation, plus identification of options, solutions, or “next steps”; at a follow-up meeting the presenter reports to the group her/his progress regarding subsequent “action” taken.

TLAINC supplies highly skilled facilitation for PCMGs to ensure participants develop the discipline to work openly with the group process, and to set aside their own agendas when addressing the concerns of others. The facilitator trains the PCMG in the Gaunt Action Learning techniques, models the skills, and provides a “holding environment” for the group within which challenging and thinking can happen without threat. The aim is to enable a PCMG to become self-facilitating and responsible for its own development.

To explore PCM programs and PCMGs in more detail please contact me at pasmith@tlainc.com – and NO we won’t follow up with you afterward unless agreed with you!

Successfully Developing Triple Bottom Line Sustainability: #3

November 2, 2010 1 comment

This is the third of six contiguous Blogs dealing with TBL Sustainability to be published over the next few weeks. All these Blogs are being co-developed with my colleague and TLA Associate Tia Carr Williams. In this third Blog further cultural implications of Sustainable Advantage (SA) are explored.

“It is not who is influential that counts but who acts as a catalyst for conversation” – Keith O’Brien

Sustainable Advantage (SA) has been discussed in Blogs #1 & 2 of this series dealing with TBL Sustainability. It is clear that change is fundamental to SA, and change is a constant continuum – a flowing circadian dynamic that yearns to be harnessed. The ability to purpose the momentum of change is colored by an organization’s prior experience of change. When starting to contemplate SA as an organizational change opportunity, and how it might be managed, it is useful initially to spend time reviewing and learning from previous change-related experience, and re-assessing the organization’s culture and design.

Change takes root best in a culture of innovation that incorporates an inclusive collaborative mindset, and that embraces change as an organic evolutionary process of co-production. As emphasized in Blog #1 of this series, a decentralized organization has distinct market advantages over a wholly centralized organization. In particular, the sense of incorporation from many perspectives in a decentralized organization creates a balance and an harmonious relationship with change, rarely the case in current or previous models of ‘change management’.

How well or badly churn has been integrated into the daily work flow is also an indicator of sustainability potential. Churn is typically viewed as deleterious from an organizational harmony viewpoint, but for a decentralized organization focusing on SA, churn is integral to its change momentum, and new and existing incumbents can champion innovation from a place of congruence, comprehensively cognizant of choices and challenges.

An organization seeking SA must cultivate a culture enfranchising sustainable principles and innovation at its foundation. There must be a synergistic co-operative culture that fosters thinking on how everything can be improved. Management must seek a balance between financial viability and strategies to gain and maintain market uniqueness through environmentally sustainable practices, including product and process innovation, as well as the development of sustainable supply chain management. There must be a motivational visionary strategy allied with a deep human context structure, and workforce integration systems of high efficiency, capability and efficacy. Costs must be reduced, and there must be task agility for optimal productivity. Leadership is at the heart of a healthy organization, but it must beat with the ring of authenticity – people will follow where their heart is engaged.

This kind of strong organizational culture confers a fundamental and unique advantage. If building and sustaining an innovation culture focused on commitment to the organization’s goals remains central to all activities, the potential for sustainable success is increased immeasurably. To promote creativity the organization’s leaders must pull the culture into being by giving the right incentives to key people, encouraging them to think creatively, and with every achievement, giving them the confidence to think ‘out of the box”. This can only be accomplished where the environment supports such activities. ‘Soft spaces’ within the formality of the corporate environment nurture such engagement to great effect; it is no surprise that the factors that most strongly predict rapid change, adaptation, and innovation introduction, are related to collegial, participative and open organizational systems, and cultures that permit joint problem solving without boundary interference. These are the kinds of decentralized organizations where individuals have the freedom to take risks and develop new ideas, be creative, and challenge existing organizational norms.

In the upcoming fourth Blog of this series, the implications a Triple Bottom Line approach to SA will be explored.