Luigi Sille on sharequality answered the June 2019 ASQ Roundtable Topic asks: “How can an individual become a successful Change Leader?” I’m a big fan of both blog carnivals and change management so here goes my answer, which is pretty similar to Luigi’s, and I would guess many other’s – just with my own spin.
A few things immediately come to mind.
Change management (and this is another great example of really meaning people change management) should be a competency on the ladder for any quality professional. It certainly needs to be a core area for anyone in a quality leadership position.
There are a lot of competency models out there for change management. Instead of pointing to just one, let’s try to find what they actually have in common. To do so it is important to set out the critical activities of change management:
Program management is commonly defined as “a group of projects that contribute to a common, higher order objective.” The projects in a program are related, and the intent of achieving benefits would not be realized if the projects were managed independently.
Program management includes the practices and processes of strategic alignment, benefits management, stakeholder management, governance, and lifecycle management. Program governance creates the control framework for delivering the programs’ change objectives and making benefit delivery visible to the organization’s control.
There are different styles of program management and what I am focusing on here is what is sometimes called “heartbeat”, which aims to achieve evolutionary improvement of existing systems and processes or organizational change. This program type creates value by reconciling contradicting views and demands for change from various organization actors in order to enhance existing systems and practices while sustaining operations.
Heartbeat program management is all about awareness of the contexts of the program and requires knowledge of strategy, competition, trends in the industry, and differences in management practices between the business units of the company. A good heartbeat program manager is highly concerned about their program’s long-term effects and implications for the company’s business.
Programs exist to create value by improving the management
of projects and to create benefits through better organization of projects. The
fundamental goals of program management are:
Efficiency and effectiveness: Aspects of management that a proficient project manager should address and benefit from coordination.
Business focus goal: The external alignment of projects with the requirements, goals, drivers and culture of the wider organization. These goals are associated with defining an appropriate direction for the constituent projects within a program as well as for the program as a whole.
Efficiency and effectiveness goals
Assist in identification and definition of project inter-dependencies and thereby reduce the incidence of work backlogs, rework and delays
Improved dependency management
Reduce the amount of re-engineering required due to inadequate management of the interfaces between projects
More effective resource utilization
Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the allocation of shared resources Assist in providing justification for specialist resources that deliver an overall improvement to program delivery and/or business operations
Provide a means to identify and improve upon transferable lessons. Facilitate organizational learning
Greater senior management ‘visibility’
Enable senior management to better monitor, direct and control the implementation process
Business focus goals
More coherent communication
Improve communication of overall goals and direction both internally and externally to the program Target management attention clearly on the realization of benefits that are defined and understood at the outset and achieved through the lifetime of the program and beyond Assist in keeping personal agendas in check
Improved project definition
Ensure that project definition is more systematic and objective, thereby reducing the prevalence of projects with a high risk of failure or obsolescence Enable the unbundling of activities in a strategic project-set into specific projects Enable the bundling of related projects together to create a greater leverage or achieve economies of scale
Better alignment with business drivers,
goals and strategy
Improves the linkage between the strategic direction of organizations and the management activities required to achieve these strategic objectives Provide an enabling framework for the realization of strategic change and the ongoing alignment of strategy and projects in response to a changing business environment (via project addition/culling, etc.)
The Attributes of a Good Heartbeat Program Manager are the
Attributes to a Good Quality Leader
As quality leaders we are often ambassadors to ensure that
the quality program is progressing despite the conflicting requirements of the
various stakeholders. We need to actively influence quality-related decisions
of all stakeholders, including people holding superior positions. Having a
well-developed personal network within the organization is particularly
It is critical to always be communicating about the quality
program in a visionary way, to be seen as passionate ambassadors. Playing this
role requires constant attention to differing expectations of the stakeholders
and various ways to influence stakeholders for the benefit of the quality
system. To always be striving to build quality, to advance quality.
As advocates for Quality, it is a core competency to be able to stand up and defend, or argue for, the quality program and team members. This ability to challenge others, including their superiors, in a productive way is a critical ability.
A key focus of the quality program should be on engagement with a conscious and sustained drive to secure buy-in from key stakeholders (including senior management) and win over the hearts and minds of those responsible for execution to make changes feel less painful and inflicted. As quality leaders our aim should always be to engender a climate of comprehension, inclusion and trust, and to draw upon expertise globally to create fit for purpose processes and systems
Effective quality leaders need to be “heavyweight”
Core Competencies of the Heartbeat Manager
A note on program life
Many standard approaches perceive programs to have a finite life. This is constraining given that the strategies themselves, especially as applied to quality, have long lifetimes. I believe that program management has as much to learn from quality management, and there is a lot of value in seeing an indefinite time horizon as beneficial.
Future of work thought leadership….People First, Digital Second
Digital second is an interesting keynote theme (2 out of 4) and I appreciate the discussion on equitable futures and moving companies away from autocracy. Not sure anyone who speaks at large corporations is really all that committed to the concept. And I didn’t feel much more than lip service to the concept in this keynote.
Stressing reverse mentoring is good, something that all of us need to be building the tools to do better. Building it into technology integration is good.
Basic sum-up is that Change Leadership Traits are:
Relational vs transactional
Focus on ‘people’ first
Highly adaptable to people
In short, any talk that thinks having a clip from “In Good Company” is a good idea for teaching agile thinking is problematic.
“Storytelling: The Forgotten Change Management Tool ” by Keith Houser
Storytelling is one of the critical jobs of a quality professional, and this was a great presentation. Another flip session with pre-work that a lot of folks didn’t do.
This was marked basic. And unlike a lot of stuff marked intermediate this felt like truly a best practice, pushing the envelope in many ways. Sure I apply these principles, but the discipline here is impressive.
Leading Teams: Conflict for Innovation and Change” by Carolann Wolfgang, Marilyn Monda and Lukas Cap.
The Human Development and Leadership Division is one of those divisions that I don’t get. Not because I disagree with the content, it’s just I don’t get what makes it different from the Quality Management or Team Excellence Divisions. This presentation by three of the member leaders didn’t make that any easier.
This workshop was an attempt to blend a few concepts, such as powerful questions, human explorers and curiosity types together and build a tool kit for team excellence. As such it wore its source material on it’s sleeves and skipped a few spots. A few specific observations:
The powerful questions are good
Why does this [point] matter to you?
What outcome would make it a success for you?
Is the way you think about the conflict useful, realistic or accurate?
What events or choices led to this conflict?
What other courses of action can you think of?
What if this obstacle was removed?
What is behind that thought, resistance or idea?
What are the priorities right now, in this conflict?
Using the Five Dimensions of Curiosity is very interesting. I think it can benefit from more thought on problems and how different curiosities lend themselves to different types of problems.
“System Transformation – Your role as a Lean Leader” by Erin Christiaens and Jaret Moch.
Super high level review of lean transformations and lean leadership. I find these workshops valuable to check-in against and hear what people are saying. Plus the rest of the 3 pm workshops didn’t engage me.
Focused almost exclusively on lean leadership standard work. Gave a few nice templates, and I do like workshops that give templates.
It is fascinating to hear people on different levels of the lean journey, or frankly any quality culture transformation. It is one of my favorite parts of attending conferences.
Afternoon Keynote – Tricia Wang
Praising statistical analysis at a quality conference is a good crowd pleaser. Way to bond with the audience.
Many of us have had, or given, a talk about how we can learn from children in how to communicate, whether it is being thoughtful in our relationships or learning to adapt and be resilient, or some other point.
What we are really talking about how communicating empathetically is essential, including to building a quality culture and it is a key part of change management. People need to feel respected and have a sense of self-worth in order to be motivated, confident, innovative, and committed to their work and to appropriately engage in quality culture.
I am not going to pretend to be an expert on empathy. I think it is fair to say that is still (always) one of my key development areas. That said, I think a core skill of any quality leader is that of giving feedback.
need to feel respected and have a sense of self-worth in order to be motivated,
confident, innovative, and committed to their work.
provide good feedback focus on doing the following:
Focus on facts.
Respect and support others. Even when people aren’t performing their best, they need to feel your support and to know that they’re valued.
Clarify motives. Don’t jump to conclusions. Keep others’ self-esteem in mind, and you’ll be more likely to ask, “What can you tell me about this error?” instead of, “Don’t you care about quality?”
someone has done a good job, succeeded at a task, or made a contribution, you
want to enhance that person’s self-esteem. Some ways to do that are to:
Acknowledge good thinking and ideas. Demonstrations of appreciation encourage people to think and contribute, and they support innovation and intellectual risk taking.
Recognize accomplishments. People need to hear specifically what they’ve done to contribute to the team’s or organization’s success. This encourages them to sustain or exceed expectations.
Express and show confidence. Voicing your trust and then calling on people to show what they can do boosts their confidence and their feelings of self-worth.
Be specific and sincere. When you describe in detail what people do well and why it’s effective, they know exactly what you’re recognizing.
can deflate people’s confidence faster than telling them they’re responsible
for something, and then doing it yourself. Conversely, when you provide support
without removing responsibility, you build people’s sense of ownership of the
task or assignment as well as the confidence that they can accomplish it. When
you use this Key Principle, remember to:
Help others think and do. Provide your support in two ways: Help others think of ideas, alternatives, and solutions, then support them so that they can execute the plan.
Be realistic about what you can do and keep your commitments. Remember that you don’t have to do it all, but be sure to do whatever you agree to.
Resist the temptation to take over—keep responsibility where it belongs.
quality individuals tend to be action oriented and task driven, so keeping
responsibility where it belongs can take resolve, even courage. You might have
to overcome the protests of a team member who is reluctant to stretch into new
areas or even brave objections from a key manager about your decision to
support others rather than take over.
Feedback Conversation Structure
In the OPEN
step you ensure that the discussion has a clear purpose and that everyone understands
the importance of accomplishing it.
Always state purpose and importance clearly in the discussion opening.
If you initiate the discussion, explain what you would like to accomplish and why.
If someone else is leading the discussion, ask questions if necessary to pinpoint the purpose and importance.
Cite how accomplishing the purpose would benefit others in the discussion.
Ask if there are any related topics to discuss.
There are two
types of information to seek and share in this step: facts and figures and
issues and concerns. Both are essential to building a complete picture of the
Facts and figures are the basic data and background information that people need to understand the situation and make informed decisions.
Exploring issues and concerns provides insight into potential barriers to achieving your purpose. It also helps reveal people’s feelings about the situation, which is valid, important information to gather.
developing ideas, it’s important to ask questions and include others in the
process. Most likely, you’ll have ideas about what to do, and you should share
them. However, you should put equal emphasis on seeking others’ ideas.
Involving people in thinking about alternative approaches can:
Spark their creative energy.
Result in more and better ideas than you alone could generate.
Build commitment to turning ideas into action.
It’s important that you and the people involved agree on a plan for
following through on the ideas that were developed and for supporting those who
will take action. During this step:
what will be done, who will do it, and by when.
on any follow-up actions needed to track progress in carrying out the plan.
sure to agree on needed resources or support.
This is the final chance to make sure that everyone is clear on
agreements and next steps and committed to following through. Closing
discussions involves a summary of actions and agreements as well as a check on
the person’s or team’s commitment to carrying them out.