Change is ever present in an adaptive business. Adaptation is necessary to respond to external change and to innovate.
Adaptation can bring new or modified business models – strategy – of how the business sustainably delivers value. New business models bring new or modified systems and processes to implement the models. Adaptability requires continual learning to achieve and maintain mastery for the updated systems and processes. Culture may also need to adapt.
In short, we must focus on and work with the total business model:
The difficulty is achieving and accelerating adaptability without a lot of overhead. Overhead both adds cost and reduces adaptability and responsiveness.
There is a simple solution.
Change while doing work.
How to change work while doing work
First, change the work itself ... the systems and processes. Instead of lengthy, elaborate “change programs,” simplify by doing “just enough” preparation. Then test by actually executing the new method and adjusting as necessary. This also eliminates excessive forecasting about “possibilities” and accelerates making better results reality.
Make changes in small increments rather than a “big bang” if possible. This allows learning and improvement while implementing.
Second, change change … including the people aspects. Make change a part of normal work life and a fundamental skill. Modify mindsets to view change as “normal” and constant rather than “special” and infrequent … and painful.
You can make change more normal and useful by using the incremental test and adjust approach described above. Also teach simplified change approaches that everyone can understand and apply.
And, teach and implement the simplified approaches while modifying the work itself. In other words, teach how to adapt while adapting. Learn by doing. Just as with the systems and process modifications, do “just enough” people preparation. Do most of the teaching and learning while using the new improvement process to make work changes.
Third, lead by example. This is your most powerful change tool. Show how you are learning and adapting to all of the above. Be the first to learn and apply what you want others to do, then accelerate your mastery by teaching them. Your example will further accelerate change by showing – not just telling – that change is important.
Fourth, consider what to change. Conventional wisdom is to pick very low risk things for pilots. Picking relatively unimportant areas for pilots may reduce risk. However, this can also backfire and reduce adaptability by communicating that change is either unimportant or too risk to undertake. Consider picking a critical program or area to pilot and be personally involved.
You can achieve a 4x change acceleration factor by doing these in parallel:
- Make changes to the work while
- Changing how make changes while
- Providing a leadership example while
- “Putting your money where your mouth is” by changing something important.
Finally, know how to handle error. Change always involves risk of error. Becoming an adaptive organization – one with a adaptive mindset and capability – does not hinge on eliminating error. Success depends on what happens after the first error. Responding to error by assuming change is bad and reverting to old ways will wither adaptability. Learning from error and adapting accordingly will increase adaptability.
Leading by example is even more critical when errors happen. Prepare your response ahead of time and provide the example of how others should react. Prepare and hold others leaders accountable for providing the same positive, adaptable example. Adapting can only occur when blaming and inactivity are eliminated.
Accelerate by doing
Acceleration will not happen on its own. You have to input energy for acceleration in the world of physics. It is no different in business. However, the above tips will help you magnify the energy you input and accelerate to be where you want, not where you are now.
By Mike Russell
Anything holding you back? Need any help? Contact us to help you move toward 4X acceleration. We also have assessments that can help you determine where you are now and what you need to do to get to where you want to be. Contact Mike via email or phone +1.949.get.Mike (+1.949.438.6453)