Sunday, August 01, 2004

"One and Done" won't get it won

"One and Done" won't get it won

Ran into an old friend last week who told me a troubling story. Seems that she had been working with a peer in her company to change a process in their service operation. The effort started with promise, then foundered. Her colleague became bored and disinterested...behaviors in the department then reverted to earlier, less functional levels.

Months later, her colleague acknowledged that he had not driven the implementation effort adequately at the start. He had assumed that a few conversations would ensure behavior change, without him following up. He realized that was wrong. And that's the good news.

The bad news is that he was adamant that any change effort should be done in one shot. He agreed the failure was due to his lack of follow through. Yet, he felt deeply that, had he followed through, it would have been fully implemented in one shot, and then would have stayed changed.

Ouch. Big ouch.

Change efforts are never one shot deals. They take continuous effort. This manager had a "batch" view of it once, it sticks. Human nature is not that way. Indeed, this is why continuous improvement is "continuous." It starts, it gets improved, it improves more.

How much better a "flow" view of change. Where one makes steady change and makes many small steps that stick. World-class companies find 2 such changes every month from every employee. Yes, 2 per month, per person. Not a typo.

I felt for my old friend. She tried hard, but could not bust through the inadequate view of change. I hope you have a better view. And document some changes this week.

I hope this is helpful.

Feel free to forward to a friend. Email me

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