Category Archives:

change with confidence

How a Second Pair of Hands is Helping Me Become Smarter with My Time

Delegation has never come easy to me. It’s definitely not a strength. The first time I had access to an assistant, I didn’t know how to help this person help me. 

My justifications for this poor time management cover the range of productivity misconceptions: it would take more time to explain what I want than to do it myself, I do this task really fast, I can do it the best, etc.

Starting a consulting business didn’t make delegation any easier. Often, there was only me to delegate things to and completing tasks myself gave me the satisfaction of keeping expenses low. I had no problem calling in experts to do work that I couldn’t do myself, but the small tasks remained areas of opportunity. My accountant offering to file my quarterly tax payments. I responded “No thanks, I like to do it.” Another productivity mistake.

I became interested in a virtual assistant when Michael Hyatt shared the benefits of and tips on using this service.  He made a compelling and pragmatic case, but I didn’t take action.


Last week, I was reading a blog post by Steve Scott about his Kindle book launch. He shared that Fancy Hands, a virtual assistant subscription service, had completed his research for a small fee. I clicked on the link and became intrigued by this service.

Fancy Hands offers most types of tasks including setting up appointments and conference calls on your calendar, booking services, admin tasks such as editing emails, making calls on your behalf, research, etc.

I decided to start with the basic 5 tasks per month for $25 package to test how much I would use the service. The set up process took minutes on their easy to navigate website. It was great to see a 50 percent discount for the first month adjustment to my invoice too. Every step of the process made me happier. 

This year, I haven’t had a lot of time to market Change with Confidence or my consulting business. This seemed like a perfect area to get help with. I wanted to send copies of my book to professors to see if there was interest in including it on their course reading lists or to have me as a guest lecturer. I have had excellent experiences with a few profs, but have not had time to expand my connections. 

My first Fancy Hands request was to compile a list of profs who teach organization development or change management courses in the US and Canada. In time, I will create another task for the rest of the world.

Once I hit send, a banner appeared saying “relax while we take care of that for you.” I thought, this is also a de-stressing service. 

I can’t wait to review the results of my request. My guess is that once I get used to the service I will think of many other tasks that are better completed by Fancy Hands.  Delegation is easier than I thought. Phil

3 Types of Change Leader: Engaged; Staged; and Disengaged

It’s no surprise that leaders play an important role in the success of change initiatives. In fact, they play the most important role. Most research cite lack of visible and active executive sponsorship as the primary source of change failure. 

I have observed that leaders approach their change sponsor roles in three ways: engaged; staged; and disengaged.


Engaged leader are active participants in defining their roles. They:
– View change initiatives as business projects critical to current and future success
–  Are engaged in planning and briefing meetings
– Ask questions to gain clarity on their role and test the quality of thinking and rigour behind transition plans
– Get excited by the roles they will play
– Edit their communication
– Say things like “we have to get this right” and “what do you need from me”?

Staged leaders are attentive participants in defining their roles. They:
– View change initiatives as necessary, but not always a priority
– Are good listeners in briefing meetings
– Ask questions to gain clarity on tasks
– Accepts the roles they are given
– Review their communication and make minor adjustments
– Say things like, “just tell me what to do and I will do it” 

Disengaged leaders are passive participants in defining their roles. They: 
– View change initiatives as necessary, but not priorities
– Are efficient in briefing meetings
– Ask questions to understand commitments and may negotiate lesser roles than the one proposed
– Are resigned of the roles they will play
– Say things like, “other commitments may change my availability” and “we also have a business to run”

When I first meet executives, I watch for clues on what type of change leader they want to be. It is an early indication of how successful the change will be. Engaged leaders usually do well because their skills are fully leveraged and high level of commitment is known by all. They are invested and will do what it takes to ensure success.

Staged leaders are often successful too. As long as they stick to the script and their behaviours reinforce key messages, they usually do well.  If not, trust in them evaporates and employees retaliate by not supporting the change.

Disengaged leaders rarely lead change well. Their focus is on other things and people know it. Since people’s actions follow those of their leader, they also focus on other things. Project teams have difficulty gaining momentum and execution suffers. Eventually the project fails to deliver benefits or it is shelved.

A change manager’s role is to build the skill, behaviour and confidence of leaders so they are at their best during times of change. One way to do so is by shaping how they perceive their sponsor role. Increasing their level of engagement is a good start.

Phil

3 Types of Change Leader: Engaged; Staged; and Disengaged

It’s no surprise that leaders play an important role in the success of change initiatives. In fact, they play the most important role. Most research cite lack of visible and active executive sponsorship as the primary source of change failure. 

I have observed that leaders approach their change sponsor roles in three ways: engaged; staged; and disengaged.


Engaged leader are active participants in defining their roles. They:
– View change initiatives as business projects critical to current and future success
–  Are engaged in planning and briefing meetings
– Ask questions to gain clarity on their role and test the quality of thinking and rigour behind transition plans
– Get excited by the roles they will play
– Edit their communication
– Say things like “we have to get this right” and “what do you need from me”?

Staged leaders are attentive participants in defining their roles. They:
– View change initiatives as necessary, but not always a priority
– Are good listeners in briefing meetings
– Ask questions to gain clarity on tasks
– Accepts the roles they are given
– Review their communication and make minor adjustments
– Say things like, “just tell me what to do and I will do it” 

Disengaged leaders are passive participants in defining their roles. They: 
– View change initiatives as necessary, but not priorities
– Are efficient in briefing meetings
– Ask questions to understand commitments and may negotiate lesser roles than the one proposed
– Are resigned of the roles they will play
– Say things like, “other commitments may change my availability” and “we also have a business to run”

When I first meet executives, I watch for clues on what type of change leader they want to be. It is an early indication of how successful the change will be. Engaged leaders usually do well because their skills are fully leveraged and high level of commitment is known by all. They are invested and will do what it takes to ensure success.

Staged leaders are often successful too. As long as they stick to the script and their behaviours reinforce key messages, they usually do well.  If not, trust in them evaporates and employees retaliate by not supporting the change.

Disengaged leaders rarely lead change well. Their focus is on other things and people know it. Since people’s actions follow those of their leader, they also focus on other things. Project teams have difficulty gaining momentum and execution suffers. Eventually the project fails to deliver benefits or it is shelved.

A change manager’s role is to build the skill, behaviour and confidence of leaders so they are at their best during times of change. One way to do so is by shaping how they perceive their sponsor role. Increasing their level of engagement is a good start.

Phil

If You Have Something to Say, Make Sure You Can Be Heard

One of the best parts of participating in a charity run is the cheering on of others just before the finish line. 

For runners, it’s a ‘so close yet so far’ experience. They can see the finish line, but it is still far away. Exhausted they draw upon every ounce of strength they can muster to achieve their goal. Thirty seconds is a long time when each one feels like an eternity.

This is when runners need the most support. Motivational phases like “you can do it” or “you are almost there” can help someone push through their pain to do their best.

Reactions from runners are varied. Some run past, oblivious to the well-wishes, others look at you but say nothing and others smile and say thanks. My favourite response is when someone speeds up, giving it their all. 

Last Sunday, I saw an athletic man who was running with a backpack on. I said, “Your finish is going to be great.” He looked at me, smiled and blasted off to the finish line like an Olympian. Great stuff!

Midway through my cheers, I noticed a teenager behind me and to my side. He had joined in on the cheering.  His encouragements were more specific and better than mine. He said thinks like “start kicking your feet now” and “200 hundred metres to go.” Encouragement is like a compliment: the more specific the better.

Unfortunately, his calls were barely audible. I could hear him but the runners, many wearing headphones, couldn’t. Also, he was standing about six feet away from the path, out of the line of site of runners. He wasn’t noticed and his great encouragements didn’t have the impact he intended.

I asked him if he wanted to come closer to the runners, but he said no. 

This happens so often in business, especially in organizations going through a lot of change. People are doing great work to support the change but it is not noticed. Sometimes the reason is cultural, where standing out, even if you have the right answer, is discouraged. Other times, people avoid being the focus of attention.  Either way, their work doesn’t have the impact that was intended.

Part of good change management is to catch people doing good things that are aligned with the direction the the organization has chosen. It is the change leader’s role to identify, recognize and reward these efforts so they positively impact the organization and advance the change.

You can be sure that I will be saying “start kicking your feet now” and “200 hundred metres to go” at my next race. Phil

Approach a Computer Set Up Like a Change Project

My New Computer

This week, I set up my new computer. I had been using my son’s old computer after he had upgraded to a “gaming” model four years ago. 

My rationale for an upgrade was productivity. Internet pages weren’t loading quickly and documents were, saving slowly; it was time to invest in speed.

I am not tech savvy, but usually I can get things to work. I took a “just get it done” approach to setting up my new toy.

Set Up Wasn’t This Easy

First, I transferred files from my old computer. No problem. Then I started loading software programs. Some weren’t compatible with my Windows upgrade. Also, setting up one of my printers was a hassle. The driver wasn’t even listed in the set up menu. 

My challenges continued. When I thought I was up and running, I was slowed down by what seemed like endless adjustments to factory default settings. Nothing looked the same as before. For example, while writing this post, I found that I was missing my cropping function for pictures. Where did it go and how do I get it back? 

As my productivity continued to dip I found myself longing for the good ole days when I was using my old computer. That’s when I realized I was struggling with change, just like the people I help lead and manage change at work. 

What would I say to myself to get out of the ‘valley of despair’ of change? I would:

  • Remind myself of why the change needed to happen and the cost of using my old computer
  • Keep the main benefit of the change front and centre: increased productivity
  • Set realistic expectations for the transition period  – I am not a technician, so it will take me longer to diagnose and fix problems, and some will not be solved
  • Create a sequenced plan and realistic timeline to complete the project
  • Enlist people with the skills I don’t have – computer technical skills would have been good
  • Celebrate small wins: I eventually transferred my Outlook data across versions of Office – high five!

I have a few more programs to load and settings to change before completing my transition to stress-free computing. I will have successfully transitioned to a faster computer. I will also have learned many tips for my next upgrade. My last piece of self-advice is to take a few minutes to write them down.

Phil

How Infographics Can Help You Communicate Change

By Customer Magnetism

Often, organizational changes fail because leaders don’t explain why the change is needed and how it will benefit the organization and its people. 

Without rationale that makes sense and an emotional connection to the benefits, people keep doing what they have always done and the initiative fails or only achieves marginal benefits. 

Not all attempts at explaining the “why” behind a change are effective. Long emails, articles and presentations are difficult to absorb and often ignored, leaving people uninspired to change how they work. 

Infographics provide an effective way to motivate and engage people around the need for changeAn infographic is a visual representations of information that is quickly consumed, easily understood and engaging.  All important criteria for effective change communication.

I was introduced to infographics by a friend who was creating them to support a large technology upgrade. They were clear, easy to understand and memorable. 

Here are some statistics that support the power of these graphic tools:

  • 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual
  • 65 percent of the population are visual learners
  • 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than text
  • Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text
  • Infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles
  • People are 3 times more likely to share an infographic than a document


There are many examples of infographics on the internet to give you ideas on how to design your own. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Start with your purpose – what is the message?
  • Consider the point of view of your audience – what images are meaningful to them?
  • Select an attention grabbing title
  • Focus on one theme
  • Use ‘real’ data – Relatable, Exciting, Attracting and Legit
  • Reveal the data at several levels of detail, from broad overview to the fine structure
  • Encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data
  • Use colour to instill different moods and emotional connections
  • Provide references to the data presented

Click here for 5 free infographic templates from Hub Spot

Creating infographics is becoming easier thanks to predesigned templates. Hub Spot has created five templates that can be downloaded for free.

Communication is an essential part of any change initiative. Sharing why the change is needed is an important step to creating committed and engaged individuals who have the power to make it successful. Infographics is an excellent way to do so.

Phil

Sources: 

http://piktochart.com/not-just-another-infographic-8-steps/
http://www.customermagnetism.com/infographics/what-is-an-infographic/
http://unbounce.com/content-marketing/why-do-infographics-make-great-marketing-tools/
http://www.business2community.com/infographics/5-top-tips-creating-infographics-0828627#!7mUZc

5 Tips on Voluntary Mergers from the Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA)

During undergrad, I took a few film theory and criticism courses to balance out my business curriculum. In my Introduction to Film Course, the professor said that once you study film you will never look at one the same way because you know how it was made. This is true of any profession; you see things differently because of your knowledge and experience. 

This insight comes into play when I am reading business articles. I can’t help underline the actions that enable or hinder change. For example, I read an article in The Globe and Mail this week about the merger of the three major accounting bodies – Chartered Accountants (CAs), Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) and Certified General Accountants (CGAs) – into a unified Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPAs) association.

The merger makes sense. Traditional differences among these designations and the work that is done by its members are less pronounced than in the past and the benefits of a single accounting body – a larger organization and stronger voice on accounting practices, better career opportunities and cost savings, etc. – are many.

Conversely, there have been concerns from some members including the loss of current designations, terms of membership and having a minority say on how the new organization will be run (CAs represent 46 percent of the combined 185,000 membership). 

In 2012, after a year of negotiations, the national CGA organization withdrew from talks, but rejoined them last year after provincial GCA organizations started their separate negotiations to join the other groups. This week, final approvals were completed.

Here are the actions I underlined that helped enable the merger:

  • Creating a future identity that is different, better and more compelling – An ad campaign was created and launched to build awareness of the new CPA designation and create a “strong and positive impression of the organization.
  • Differentiating a past failed merger – In 2004, the CA and CMA organizations attempted to merge. Differences between the past and current merger have been clearly stated to avoid the “we tried this before and failed” objection.
    • Retaining what members value from their current organizations – Existing members will use the new CPA designation followed by their current designation (e.g., CPA, CA). In 10 years, members will have the option to drop their current designation.
    • Securing and communicating a quick win – A new educational process has been created incorporating the best features of the three current systems, demonstrating benefit from the merger and demonstrating contributions from the separate bodies.
    • Acknowledging that there is still a lot of work to be done – Expectations are being managed that there will be a long transition process and not everything is defined. This avoids the “You said we were one organization, but what about this difference” objection.


    “The professionals are turning pro” is the new CPA organization’s tag line. How they manage change is one way they are living it.

    Phil

    The art of seeing things for the first time

     When I was seven, my family moved to a house on a ravine. The valley presented endless opportunities to explore the forests and fields that surrounded the slow and winding Humber River; Nature was our backyard.

    Now, we live five minutes away from similar surroundings. The creek and trees look the same. Even the smells are the same.

    Sam and Charlie




    When our boys were small, we would go on hikes along the riverbed, seeing how far we could go before we were stopped by the terrain. This would be where we would have a snack break and discuss the interesting things we had seen and challenges we had overcome. Everything was important.

    Charlie

    Charlie, now almost 16, recently has taken a renewed interest in exploring the river. This week, he asked if I wanted to join him on his trek to see how far he could go. 

    I jumped at the chance to spend time with him and retrace the steps we had laid many years ago. 

    What surprised me was Charlie’s fascination with everything – fossils, rock paths across the water, plastic bottles, even a steep rock face that he felt needed to be climbed. Everything was still important.

    I noticed Charlie was approaching the hike differently than me. He was experiencing things as if he was seeing them for the first time, present in the moment, taking things in and adapting his course based on what he saw. I was focused on finding the easiest path.

    Before long, I found myself taking on Charlie’s behaviours. I too broadened my line of sight. I was present, active and engrossed in the moment. It felt great to be alive.

    If Charlie hadn’t been with me, I wouldn’t have walked across the riverbed, swung on tree branches, got entangled in thorn bushes or climbed steep cliffs. I would have had an easy walk along the shortest route to my destination. 

    How many times in our lives do we process a task instead of experiencing it? Completion is the goal and taking the easiest approach is the best way to achieve it. What do we miss along the way and how does that affect our outcomes?

    I am meeting a new client on Monday. My line of sight will be broadened by everything they see and where they are going. Everything will be important.

    Phil

    Remembrance of Things Past: Good or Bad?

    While grocery shopping this week, I saw something that reminded me of my past: fiddleheads, the coiled tips of new ferns that are only sold in the spring.

    As a kid, I used to go “fiddleheading” with my family, led by Uncle Carl who traded a bottle of whiskey for access to a farmer’s riverside land. New ferns thrived there and we would harvest them by the bucketful

    I remember my mom and Aunt Betty cleaning large green garbage bags full of these vegetables. They would freeze meal-sized portions that would feed us for the year. 

    Helping to clean them was a time consuming, dreaded chore. Funny how I didn’t think of this part of fiddleheading when I placed some in my cart. Don’t you find that most memories aren’t specific; they are just good or bad.

    I bought the fiddleheads although I knew that my family doesn’t like them. I tried to indoctrinate them years ago with no success – “They are gross”. Perhaps having them was more important than eating them. 

    Many people facing change act in the same way. They reach for symbols of the past that remind them of the ‘good ole days’, when things were simpler, predictable and ‘good’ (at least how they remember them).

    Some leaders are wary of these sentiments assuming that people want to return to the past. I see things differently; I believe they want to pay homage to their past and hope for a future that will give them the same feelings. 

    The best way to support people through change is to honour their treasured past and build a bridge from it to the future. For example, the values or capabilities that were alive in the past can be enlisted to build a better future. 

    Not honouring the past can either leave people stuck in their remembrances or fearful of the organization’s future – both lead to poor adoption of new ways of thinking and working.

    I only bought 11 fiddleheads this week ‒ not enough for a meal. Was I really intending to eat them or was buying them the point? 

    I won’t be buying more fiddleheads until maybe next year. A nod to a memory that is important to me is enough.

    Phil

    Remembrance of Things Past: Good or Bad?

    While grocery shopping this week, I saw something that reminded me of my past: fiddleheads, the coiled tips of new ferns that are only sold in the spring.

    As a kid, I used to go “fiddleheading” with my family, led by Uncle Carl who traded a bottle of whiskey for access to a farmer’s riverside land. New ferns thrived there and we would harvest them by the bucketful

    I remember my mom and Aunt Betty cleaning large green garbage bags full of these vegetables. They would freeze meal-sized portions that would feed us for the year. 

    Helping to clean them was a time consuming, dreaded chore. Funny how I didn’t think of this part of fiddleheading when I placed some in my cart. Don’t you find that most memories aren’t specific; they are just good or bad.

    I bought the fiddleheads although I knew that my family doesn’t like them. I tried to indoctrinate them years ago with no success – “They are gross”. Perhaps having them was more important than eating them. 

    Many people facing change act in the same way. They reach for symbols of the past that remind them of the ‘good ole days’, when things were simpler, predictable and ‘good’ (at least how they remember them).

    Some leaders are wary of these sentiments assuming that people want to return to the past. I see things differently; I believe they want to pay homage to their past and hope for a future that will give them the same feelings. 

    The best way to support people through change is to honour their treasured past and build a bridge from it to the future. For example, the values or capabilities that were alive in the past can be enlisted to build a better future. 

    Not honouring the past can either leave people stuck in their remembrances or fearful of the organization’s future – both lead to poor adoption of new ways of thinking and working.

    I only bought 11 fiddleheads this week ‒ not enough for a meal. Was I really intending to eat them or was buying them the point? 

    I won’t be buying more fiddleheads until maybe next year. A nod to a memory that is important to me is enough.

    Phil

    Page 3 of 13« First...234...Last »

    Take Action

    Ask us a question about your change

      Your Name (required)

      Your Email (required)

      Subject

      Your Question


      Get the newsletter
      Change With Confidence
      Please type your name and email address and click on "Send". We will add you to our newsletter distribution list. Thank you.




      Get Change with Confidence
      Change With Confidence

      Get Change on the Run
      Change With Confidence