Cultural Change Management

I spend a great deal of my time working with boards to improve process and communication. Hidden beneath the surface of this work is a relentless pursuit of cultural change. This is a complex process involving some thoughtful pieces tied to individualizing the work. Culture changes when individuals shift behaviour…

I especially like Lou Tice’s work related to the four facets: Awareness Understanding Commitment and Belief. The Pacific Institute has done a remarkable job of tying some of the pieces together to enable strategic cultural shift.

Take a look at the following    site     to get more information on their processes.

In addition there’s further work from Harvard Business Review that breaks current culture into eight types.

    8 Types

In Education circles across the country, I often see movement or shift occur through quicksand. It’s a slow laborious process frequently degraded because teams are mired in the why and the what and fail to move to action…. mostly, I think, because even with a step by step process they really don’t get the how. My IBM team sees the greatest gains when we help teams build the steps and then we facilitate the process. The business acumen connected to moving strategic planning forward effectively seems to be the missing secret sauce of success.

We see other teams that have great strengths in this area (leveraging process to create cultural shift), and why they use my team and me is because they don’t always have the cycles to do the work.  We offer current leading practice and template the effort to create efficacy in terms of the time used by separate groups.

I love this stuff. It’s the work I have always enjoyed the most and now I get to do it every day. If you’re interested in learning more, come back to this site at a later date. I’ll continue to post as I work.

The Path Process

I’ve been working with different groups of people on visioning and strategic planning. During this process, I leverage a tool from an organization dedicated to changing lives. They are the Inclusion Network and I’m certified in their processes. The one I use regularly for my work is called the PATH Process. I modify it to work with teams at the corporate level.

A good friend of mine, Phil Irwin, often acts as my graphic facilitator. Back in March of 2014 he took his first shot at working with me and Foothills School Division on building out a vision of preferred learning environments for all students.

Here’s the video of his creation while I was using my skills to evoke the necessary dialogue to develop the dialogue that Phil captures in a graphical format. It’s part 1 of a 4 part process and Phil and I have continued these efforts to make differences for diverse organizations like Frozen Solid and The Digital Human Library.


And the draft of the final version

 

What’s great about this process is that it inspires the creative part of each participants mind, encourages a positive, move forward approach and reveals thinking that sometimes remains hidden when conducting these types of exercises in large groups. The silent get voice and by the time we’re finished, we have people all pointing in the same direction.

Steps 2, 3 and 4 move from the thinking to the doing part of the work and help to organize, outline and structure the work to get to the goal.

I’m looking forward to working on 3 fairly large contracts related to this type of facilitation.

I’d love to hear your feedback.

 

 

Shifting Leadership

Lots is on my mind about leaders and leadership. I love the work I’m doing. Most of it focuses on building leadership skills and attitudes. Here’s the guts of an email I recently sent out:

“We get better fastest when we fail forward. I learned how to ski by skiing with the best skiers I could find. I grew up in Kamloops after a few years in Edmonton and was years behind my peers when it came to skiing well. I have bumps and bruises and injuries and broken glasses and scrapes to prove it… but, let’s go skiing now… you know what I mean. There’s better skiers out there… my buddy Dennis OB as an example – the dude is a Ninja on the mountain. And I ski with him when I can – always learning.

Leadership is a discipline and requires active participation. It’s not a destination that you get to with old habits of mind or past practices and suddenly you’re a master. This team – the one I’m addressing in this email – must be the most forgiving of each others’ mistakes while ensuring accountability regarding high performance. If you fail in the same spot over and over again, even after someone else has provided input on how to improve, that’s laziness. Don’t be lazy. It’s important to act like a leader.

  1. Leaders listen more than they speak
  2. Leaders take their struggles up the hierarchy – they don’t cross talk or take it into parking lot conversations
  3. Leaders have strong, structured, redundant processes – like purpose driven, agenda moderated meetings that have SHARED action items… EVERY TIME. Get to boring with your process and the work is fun.
  4. Leaders model preferred behaviour
  5. Leaders dress professionally
  6. Leaders embrace challenges
  7. Meetings have a chair and a recorder (see how that’s a weird one in this list?? It’s that important. Meetings without action items are a birthday party.)
  8. Leaders are dramatic in the positive and anticlimactic under stress. Live in the now.

I know plates are full. I will still be bold and ask you what you are doing to improve as a leader. Lift your head from the work and remember that your teams need your leadership first and your sweat equity second. Be a master of leadership”
—–
I wonder what you’re doing as a leader to improve your leadership?

Here’s my current reading list:

  1. You are a bad ass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life. (Jen Sincero)
  2. The Confidence Code: The science and art of Self Assurance: What Women Should Know ( and men too in my opinion – Katty Kay & Claire Shipman)
  3. 48 Laws of Power (Robert Green) – I’m not that kind of a leader, but, oh the lessons learned!

Dig in people – this crazy world needs powerful leaders. Kids out there, look past the millennial funk you’ve been placed in, because we’re going to need you.

Learning Leadership: Tools of the Trade

I provided a leadership session today on change management in educational settings to some exemplary members of Avon Maitland Board in Ontario. One of those members, Leigh Cassell, has become a very good friend of mine and her work on the Digital Human Library is, in fact, epic.

Digital Human Library - An online resource connecting experts to classrooms

Digital Human Library

The word “epic” is frequently abused in conversation or celebration of just about anything these days. If you look up “epic”, the meaning provided is “narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation.”  What Leigh has done brings people from around the world into connected classrooms to enrich learning experiences on multiple levels. I’ve never seen anything like it and she’s building something that is global in nature and is becoming legendary. That’s epic.

She’s part of a team of learning coaches working to transform practice. In terms of managing change, her request was for me to provide a broad overview of how to consider supporting change in educational environments. That’s my work these days, and I’ve had some extremely successful ventures. My research and experience led me to create the following as an outline for today’s session.

Session Overview - Change Management

Session Overview

There’s lots to this workshop – so much that I was concerned I had provided a Tsunami without a towel. Once I provided this broad overview, the next natural fit was an extended conversation between the participants. My intent was for them to look at change through multiple facets with a single focus. I’m pretty sure I was successful… the feedback was exemplary.

For my readers, two very big take away items… get and read two books: Influencer: (http://vitalsmarts.com) and Lencioni’s 5 Dysfunctions of a team.  You need these tools. Seriously… go get them.

The other tidbit I share is that participants in change go through 4 stages: Awareness, Understanding, Commitment and Belief. This isn’t new stuff. There are multiple versions in change management theory texts. What is important is that these stages are not static steps that organizations go through en masse. At any given time, impacted populations fill all of these stages simultaneously, and despite our efforts, all 4 stages will exist and need support at any given moment during the change process. Iteration has to be built into process if you have any hopes of success.

Ok – what I’ve shared is a view from the Stratosphere. There’s more to it at the ground level and a whole lot of it is best learned through experiential practise with facilitation. Of course, that’s where I come in… I have a team now and you should see the powerful work we’re doing across Canada.

If you’re involved in a project that requires cultural shifts at an organizational level in the K-12 Education Space, contact my team – we really can help you.

 

Leadership Theory

It’s a starting point and understanding leadership theory is just part of the journey. Take a look at the following information. Great leaders I have served demonstrate an understanding of all of it.

Connor McDavid and other comparisons

Okay, okay… So how on earth can I ever be compared to such an amazing hockey player? I must admit, it’s quite the compliment seeing as I never set foot on competitive ice with a hockey stick in hand.

I’m working for IBM Canada K-12 Education as a contractor. My efforts are focused on leadership coaching and transforming practise based on ITIL standards and good management processes. With luck, an Ontario School Board placed a request at the exact same time as I became available. Lo and behold, I’m getting to know Southern Ontario very, very well.

A year and a half ago I was fortunate to work with an amazing leader – Mr. Mark Liguori. What I learned from Mark transformed my practise and strengthened my skills on many levels. What he provided was the leash (or lack thereof) to let me make the changes that were necessary to change cultures. There’s a lot to that story… and I’ll share it in a future post. What I appreciate most about Mark is his innate understanding of capacity .

Currently, I’m working with a team in transition – using some processes built on experience and living through my own assessments as a Director of Information Technology or Learning Technologies, I’ve gained an understanding of how to move teams to greatness. It’s not anything new – that’s the crazy part. It’s taking information readily available (thanks for the nudge Dr. Simon Breakspear) and molding it into something that is a fit for me and my style. It’s taking the common threads that lead to greatness and weaving them together. I don’t own these threads… they are there for the taking. Amongst them are some critical ones:

  1. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team – Lencioni
  2. Influencer – VitalSmarts.com
  3. Crucial Conversations – Vitalsmarts.com and for the leaders of tech out there…
  4. ITIL Foundations

I’m a past member of the Alberta Technology Leaders in Education professional organization. In my circle of friends folks like Todd Kennedy, Michael Barr, and Ken Robitaille have shaped and supported my work. I gleaned and collected and employed their shared knowledge and strengths and further honed that with my experience in working with divisions across Alberta and now across Canada.

When a member of the team I’m working with right now suggested that I was the Connor McDavid of Technology Leadership, I had to grin a little bit… and at the same time share that compliment with all of the people that have contributed to what I’ve become. I’d be remiss if I left out Dr. Charmaine Brooks, Mrs. Denise Rose, Dr. Del Litke, Mrs. Janet Ramsey-Brown and Ms. Stacey Swanson. It’s with humility that I listened to those words – and already I know the difference I can make in a willing organization.

So, at the end of it all, I’m no Connor McDavid – but I know how Connor became what he is… or at least I think I do. He had some natural talent… but most of what he became was due to a lot of hard work and dedicated practise. He watched and learned from others and he was provided some excellent coaching. And the other thing that Connor does so well is leverage the strengths of the team that surrounds him.

Stevie Y., you’ll always be my favorite hockey player – and Connor, you’re awesome, but I laughed when Bill suggested you as a comparison… I said, what? Not Steve Yzerman?!

Take care of yourself first… that’s the only way you can be the best you can be for everyone else.

J