Episode #18

Take a Serious Look! How Well Are Your Transformational Changes Being Led?

with Dr. Linda Ackerman Anderson

Leaders and their consultants often take for granted that they know how to lead all their major change projects. However, transformational changes have different requirements of both leaders and consultants to be led successfully to achieve sustained results.

This episode reviews many of the predictable and costly challenges transformational projects struggle with and poses some of the most important requirements—tried and true—to lead them successfully. Much of these strategies require a paradigm shift in leaders and consultants to be able to see what they may be missing to achieve greater success. Listen in to take a serious look at what’s needed and possible…and to expand your brand and expertise in successfully leading change! 

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Video of Episode


05:02 – 06:13
Welcome to Ask Dr. Change.

07:22 – 10:15
I’m Dr. Linda Ackerman Anderson.

10:15 – 23:19
I’m happy to have you join me today to explore how to seriously up level your leadership and consulting to transformational changes all through conscious change leadership.

23:21 – 24:16

24:16 – 32:01
Today’s episode is about taking a serious look at just how well you’re leading your transformational changes.

32:03 – 52:23
This is an opportunity to step back, to really ponder, to inquire, to reflect how well are things going, both in the development of good solutions to your changes as well as the process, the governance, the leadership, all of the dynamics required for successful transformational change.

53:01 – 01:06:06
It’s an opportunity for you to really be candid, to see what’s working for you and what may not be or what may be missing from your change efforts and your strategies for leading them effectively.

01:06:08 – 01:24:00
I would ask you how satisfied are you with the process of change from beginning to end? How satisfied are you with the experience of dealing with the complexity of transformational change, and how satisfied are you with the results you’re producing?

01:24:02 – 01:25:15
Are they being adopted?

01:25:15 – 01:27:11
Are they being sustained?

01:27:11 – 01:30:16
Are you actually achieving business benefits?

01:30:18 – 01:34:14
I’m going to take you through a series of critical discussions today

01:34:19 – 01:40:03
about factors that are necessary to lead transformational change successfully.

01:40:05 – 01:54:15
There’s a lot to cover today because transformation is complex and the process really does require some very unique, I will say, paradigm shifting approaches that we’ll talk about today.

01:54:17 – 02:14:12
So I ask you to listen carefully, reflect and be candid with yourself and your change colleagues and leaders, and perhaps determine some follow up actions so that you can actually take advantage of the paradigm shifts and the strategies and approaches that I discussed today.

02:14:14 – 02:33:02
Now, having gone over this with hundreds of leaders, change leaders, project managers, consultants, I want to mention that some of what I cover today may just surface some resistance on your part or some frustration or perhaps some defensiveness.

02:33:04 – 02:36:00
If that comes up for you, reflect on.

02:36:00 – 02:46:02
Okay, that’s my reaction because that’s a moment to truly step back, be objective, and inquire about why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. And it may require doing something different.

02:49:18 – 02:54:10
All of that is positive steps in the right direction.

02:54:12 – 03:01:20
So first, I want to talk about what issues you may be seeing and experiencing now in your transformational changes. There are a lot of them.

03:03:06 – 03:05:08
I’ll go over some of the critical ones.

03:05:08 – 03:06:15
You may have others.

03:06:15 – 03:16:12
In addition, perhaps you’re experiencing poor change, leadership alignment to the outcomes or the process of the change effort.

03:16:14 – 03:22:03
Now, typically at the very beginning of transformations, leaders will say, Yes, we’re going to do this.

03:22:03 – 03:24:19
Good idea, this is what we want to accomplish.

03:24:19 – 03:26:09
You get the head nod.

03:26:09 – 03:29:16
What I often refer to as the empty head nod.

03:29:18 – 03:37:18
The bobble head, because when reality actually starts unfolding, oftentimes alignment will drift.

03:37:20 – 03:48:14
And so it’s important to understand real early generating true commitment in alignment among your leaders, both for the outcome you’re attempting to achieve.

03:48:14 – 03:57:09
That’s the easier one as well as the process, the journey that they’ve got to go on in order to produce those outcomes.

03:57:11 – 04:02:00
it’s possible that maybe you’re having unclear change leadership roles.

04:02:00 – 04:12:20
People don’t quite know who’s doing what, about the content, about the process, about the human dynamics, Maybe decision authorities are unclear.

04:12:22 – 04:20:13
Maybe who’s got the D is unclear, who has approval or veto power, who gets to make certain decisions.

04:20:15 – 04:25:19
All of that can be a blockage to the success of your transformations.

04:25:21 – 04:36:23
Now, very frequently in a traditional project management orientation, scope, schedule budget is determined early in the project, however, and transformational change.

04:37:01 – 04:43:00
I always ask what data is scope, schedule, budget based on?

04:43:02 – 04:53:06
Actually, we don’t know enough at the very beginning, and if it’s generated at early and then locked in, it’s based on assumptions, not data.

04:53:08 – 05:07:13
And so understanding the need to make good guesses around scope, schedule, budget, but not to lock in because that does not serve the realities of the emergent nature of transformational change.

05:07:15 – 05:17:00
It’s also possible that your team members are experiencing competition because of unclear roles or who’s got the door, who’s got more expertise or not.

05:17:01 – 05:19:17
Maybe there’s competition about how to proceed.

05:19:17 – 05:25:14
Maybe they have different approaches that they want to see take place or ways of making decisions.

05:25:15 – 05:30:15
And if you have external consultants coming in that can enhance the competition

05:30:18 – 05:33:18
with your internal project team members, There’s also

05:33:20 – 05:38:01
the issue of a lack of understa finding among your stakeholder community.

05:38:01 – 05:51:05
You may have communicated to them, which typically is a top down communication asking for questions, but they don’t really get it or they don’t understand what’s going to be asked of them and the impact.

05:51:05 – 05:54:17
There may be lots of resistance that gets generated.

05:54:19 – 06:11:04
Change management comes in typically to help deal with the resistance, but usually it comes in too late to be able to prevent or reduce or mitigate the resistance that shows up when stakeholders are not involved early in the process.

06:11:06 – 06:17:06
So change management may not be positioned in a timely way to help support your transformations.

06:17:11 – 06:23:08
Maybe there’s a lack of clarity or conflict over developing the best content solution.

06:23:10 – 06:31:16
If we haven’t determined real design requirements for a solution, politics come into play, egos come into play.

06:31:18 – 06:36:16
And so the solution determination may often be convoluted.

06:36:21 – 06:41:16
Now, a big one here is that culture is not attended to.

06:41:18 – 06:45:00
In many cases, it’s an afterthought.

06:45:01 – 06:51:12
So what does the culture need to look like to achieve and sustain your aspired future state?

06:51:14 – 07:01:17
I’ve been asked many, many times to come into some major complex change efforts that are not going well either by change management, FOBs or project management folks.

07:01:17 – 07:04:04
They’re having problems and challenges.

07:04:04 – 07:08:08
And so I do an assessment of what’s working and what’s not working.

07:08:10 – 07:18:23
And when it comes to culture, the worst I’ve seen is a tool, a checklist that says, is culture affected by this change, yes or no?

07:19:03 – 07:21:05
And that’s the extent of it.

07:21:05 – 07:27:04
Now, how in the world do you address culture change, which is a core driver of transformation?

07:27:07 – 07:30:07
If all you have is a yes or a no?

07:30:08 – 07:44:03
And so culture needs to be attended to from the beginning and made tangible so we can actually look at what needs to change at all levels in all subcultures throughout the transformation.

07:44:05 – 07:50:02
One of the other issues that we see is leaders not walking the talk of what they’re asking of the organization.

07:50:02 – 07:55:14
They may say one thing and do another, and stakeholders see it immediately.

07:55:14 – 07:58:19
The credibility of the transformation is reduced.

07:58:21 – 08:09:03
And so it’s a part of the leadership alignment piece of getting leaders to realize they need to do what they’re asking of the organization as well.

08:09:05 –  08:27:16
Lastly, I’ll mention the use, which is very frequently needed of external consultants coming in, frequently descend franchising the internal experts conflicting with the internal experts, or just avoiding them or not using them at all.

08:27:18 – 08:34:21
And so the use in the set up of external consultants needs very careful attention and transformation.

08:35:02 – 08:41:04
all of this and again, you may have additional issues that you’re dealing with, transformation is fraught with them.

08:41:06 – 09:07:11
When I’d like to say is it requires us to back way up because what’s needed to address to prevent or mitigate these challenges is the development of competence, change, leadership capability and the creation of a transformational change strategy that guides the process, that guides the project’s outcomes before we actually begin.

09:07:13 – 09:11:19
And so backing up, what do we really need to understand here?

09:11:21 – 09:20:22
Well, first up, how well do your leaders truly understand the unique requirements of leading transformational change?

09:21:00 – 09:28:18
And for that matter, how about your project managers, change managers, internal consultants, or external consultants?

09:28:20 – 09:43:05
If everybody’s using tried and true proven change management or project management, know that these approaches add value, but they’re not adequate for transformational change.

09:43:07 – 09:47:13
Transformational change is not like your typical project.

09:47:15 – 09:50:23
Both of those approaches project management and change management.

09:50:23 – 09:55:14
They’re important slices of the pie, but they’re not the pie.

09:55:16 – 10:04:19
And so because transformational projects are not typical, they can’t be laid on a predetermined timeline.

10:04:21 – 10:09:05
They require strategy not just tactical plans.

10:09:07 – 10:12:05
Transformational change is emergent.

10:12:05 – 10:19:08
It shows up over time in both the design of the solution as well as the process.

10:19:08 – 10:25:04
It’s a paradigm shift to realize we can’t get it all clear before we march forward.

10:25:06 – 10:32:07
That’s a paradigm shift for most leaders who are comfortable when they’re in control of a project plan.

10:32:07 – 10:33:10
Reduce variance.

10:33:10 – 10:37:22
Don’t change the plan that doesn’t work for transformational change.

10:38:00 – 10:52:05
Transformational change is driven equally by what’s required for a good content solution, as well as dealing with the human dynamics of culture, mindset and behavior.

10:52:07 – 10:55:07
That too, is a paradigm shift for leaders.

10:55:11 – 11:09:02
And so how do we give equal priority to addressing the human dimension of culture, mindset and behavior, relationships, communications, as well as getting the right content solution.

11:09:04 – 11:14:20
That content solution will trigger changes in culture, mindset and behavior.

11:14:20 – 11:24:23
Or if you don’t attend to culture, mindset and behavior, the lack of attention there will hold back your ability to successfully achieve your new outcomes.

11:25:01 – 11:47:06
Now, another major shift in thinking about leading transformation is that it requires a process roadmap from the very beginning, all the way through the achievement of sustained business benefits, where project management typically comes in at analyze change, management comes in at dealing with resistance, perhaps some sponsorship.

11:47:07 – 11:55:02
Again, we need an approach that starts long before that to get transformed or change is set up for success.

11:55:02 – 12:04:04
From the very beginning, that’s changed strategy, work, change, strategy for how we’re going to actually go about achieving results.

12:04:06 – 12:15:05
This, too, is a paradigm shift, especially since so many change approaches compete with one another and they don’t integrate because transformational changes is emergent.

12:15:05 – 12:18:22
New information is needed over time.

12:18:23 – 12:20:07
Where does it come from?

12:20:07 – 12:23:14
It could come from any level of the organization.

12:23:16 – 12:39:11
If leaders are not interested or not open to hearing feedback, input or challenges from the organization Ocean that’s being affected by the transformation, they won’t be able to do the rapid course correction that transformation requires.

12:39:13 – 12:50:06
So new information drives the need for course correction and those insights and that information might come from anywhere in the organization.

12:50:08 – 12:53:00
Again, paradigm shifting.

12:53:00 – 13:02:23
So rapid course correction has to be built in as a formal, official encouraged mechanism them to support the success of the transformation.

13:02:23 – 13:10:12
also we mentioned earlier about scope, schedule, budget being determined and locked in at the beginning are in transformation.

13:10:18 – 13:26:05
It needs to be adjusted as new information arises and that requires again, a mindset shift for leaders who are comfortable with a locked in scope, a locked in schedule and a locked in budget doesn’t work in transformation.

13:26:05 – 13:28:00
It cannot be locked in.

13:28:00 – 13:42:15
It’s emergent transformation also requires really clear change leadership roles and staffing your team, not just with content experts, which we typically do, but also cultural expertise.

13:42:17 – 13:54:12
Those with human dynamics, expertise, change, communicate patience, not just corporate communications and especially process planning, intelligence.

13:54:14 – 14:02:06
And so we can shape the integration of the human dynamics with the content solution implementation.

14:02:07 – 14:04:23
This, too, is a paradigm shift.

14:04:23 – 14:08:06
Now, transformation requires a lot of its sponsors.

14:08:08 – 14:17:13
They need to become models of the new culture, models of the new norms, champions of how the organization needs to be different.

14:17:15 – 14:29:04
We need to be able to look to our sponsors, too, who have sustained visibility throughout the transformation to know that we’re on the right track and it’s believable.

14:29:06 – 14:33:19
One other piece I’ll mention is that external consultants will likely be needed.

14:33:19 – 14:39:13
A lot of major enterprise level transformation to use external expertise.

14:39:15 – 14:47:10
So we need to seriously consider, however, how external experts are working with your internal experts.

14:47:12 – 15:01:00
You don’t want to lose internal experts experience or their organizational knowledge that helps tailor and adapt the solutions that your external consultants may be bringing in.

15:01:03 – 15:09:19
That requires a shift in relationship and obligation of your external consultants to work with your internal experts.

15:09:21 – 15:33:20
So I want to mention to you that there’s a huge requirement to be successful in enterprise transformation, and that is that your leaders, your senior leaders, not just the sponsors, but the senior leaders, need to understand that their way of leading needs to be transformed, as well as transforming the organization.

15:34:02 – 15:42:12
And so leaders really are a major part, a major strategy in effectively leading transformational change.

15:42:13 – 15:53:06
How well do they see themselves as collective sponsors, spokespeople, champions, models of what they’re asking of the organization?

15:53:07 – 16:26:17
They really need to understand the power of being aligned with and modeling what they need the organization to do differently For an enterprise level transformation to be sustained and achieved, leaders need to be at the forefront of that transformation, which means investing in their own development so that they will be able to act and believe and speak in the ways that their new state requires of them, their new transformed reality.

16:26:19 – 16:35:15
And so it’s important to think through in your strategy, how do we get to the leaders to help support them in their development?

16:35:17 – 16:37:02
It may take training.

16:37:02 – 16:44:15
It may take an experiential process to help them fully see and embody how they need to be different.

16:44:17 – 16:53:09
Now, the challenge is most project managers or change managers are not set up to do this work with senior leaders.

16:53:11 – 17:05:07
And yet it’s a powerful step

one in a transformational change strategy getting the leaders not just aligned

17:01:21 – 17:05:07
but capable of leading in the new way.

17:05:09 – 17:07:01
This is vulnerable work.

17:07:01 – 17:11:20
It’s powerful work, and it may be handled internally.

17:11:22 – 17:14:17
you may need external experts to do it.

17:14:17 – 17:18:18
It can’t be handled with discussion at an executive meeting

17:18:18 – 17:23:19
with a PowerPoint listing from here to there, from here to there

17:24:00 – 17:28:00
that doesn’t accomplish the depth of work that’s typically required

17:28:02 – 17:33:21
to alter leaders mindset behavior, ways of speaking, ways of relating.

17:33:23 – 17:39:17
And it has to be a key part of your transformational process.

17:39:19 – 17:42:23
So for us, it being first, we have an approach

17:42:23 – 17:46:20
that we call leadership breakthrough walking the talk of change.

17:46:22 – 17:48:16
It’s a whole process.

17:48:16 – 17:53:14
It starts with an interview, a three and a half day in-person session

17:53:14 – 17:57:02
with executives really looking at how they’re leading

17:57:02 – 18:02
and how it fits with a future state they want to create

18:07 – 18:04:17
and how they’re individually operating, followed by a follow up day.

18:04:17 – 18:10:08
And in the best of cases, a whole series of follow up interventions that we call

18:10:08 – 18:15:14
mastery sessions, so that the changes that they’re going through in the experience

18:15:16 – 18:20:05
actually last deepen and sustain over time.

18:20:06 – 18:21:13
That’s our approach.

18:21:13 – 18:25:14
So what might be your approach for getting to senior leaders?

18:25:16 – 18:27:11
Not only leaders need

18:27:11 – 18:31:07
this kind of development, but project managers and change managers.

18:31:07 – 18:34:15
Project team members need to understand

18:34:15 – 18:39:00
how they need to model and build the new requirements

18:39:00 – 18:42:17
of the future into how they’re leading the transformation.

18:42:23 – 18:49:02
So it’s being achieved while it’s actually being implemented.

18:49:04 – 18:51:00
So I’ve covered a lot here.

18:51:00 – 18:55:18
It’s important for you to reflect on what’s current Lee going on

18:55:20 – 18:59:08
and how does that match up with the demands

18:59:10 – 19:03:01
of leading transformational change successfully?

19:03:03 – 19:05:14
I promise you always a pro tip.

19:05:14 – 19:08:14
So my pro tip has directly related to

19:08:14 – 19:12:21
this is get yourself fully versed in the unique

19:12:21 – 19:16:23
dynamics of leading transformation from a leadership perspective,

19:16:23 – 19:20:16
a consulting perspective, a process perspective.

19:20:18 – 19:24:08
This is important for you to truly understand what’s required

19:24:13 – 19:26:10
so you could see it.

19:26:10 – 19:29:17
If you don’t understand it, you’ll never see it,

19:29:19 – 19:32:23
and maybe it’ll raise its ugly head to get your attention.

19:33:05 – 19:38:07
But let’s see if we could preempt to that and mitigated by truly understanding

19:38:10 – 19:43:00
transformation and how to create transformational change strategies

19:43:02 – 19:46:19
that then can inform project management and change management

19:47:00 – 19:49:19
to deliver sustained benefits.

19:49:19 – 19:54:09
Getting yourself fully confident in this will raise your own knowledge

19:54:09 – 19:59:01
level, your own confidence level to be able to surface.

19:59:01 – 20:02:14
Questions issues assess current reality

20:02:15 – 20:05:15
of the change projects you’re currently working on.

20:05:16 – 20:09:04
Set up yourself for success and also be able

20:09:04 – 20:13:03
to set up your projects for success and idea lead.

20:13:03 – 20:16:09
This particular approach will help get

20:16:09 – 20:19:19
you recognized as a key contributor

20:19:19 – 20:24:04
to the success of Change Strategy is for transformational change.

20:24:09 – 20:28:16
You want to be looked to by senior leaders to say, I want your input.

20:28:16 – 20:33:20
I want your perspective on how to get this changed set up for success.

20:33:22 – 20:36:05
Now, my personal reflection for you

20:36:05 – 20:39:18
is, do you have the courage to take on this work?

20:39:19 – 20:54:13
Transformation is not for the faint of heart, yet there’s so much in our world, our organizations, our communities, our societies where transformation is just crying out to be handled effectively.

20:54:15 – 21:01:13
Our organizations, our society, need this expertise now more than ever.

21:01:15 – 21:06:08
And so what can you do to move yourself in this direction?

21:06:14 – 21:10:19
Maybe it’s small steps, maybe it’s jumping into the deep end.

21:10:21 – 21:15:12
Think about getting yourself developed to engage in this level of work.

21:15:14 – 21:18:13
It’s tough work, it’s satisfying work.

21:18:13 – 21:21:11
It’s absolutely essential work.

21:21:11 – 21:39:08
So I hope that you’ll pursue recognizing how your transformational changes are currently going and what you pursue really can do to help improve them, strengthen them to achieve the sustained benefits that they require of us to be successful in life.

21:39:14 – 21:42:07
Thanks for your time today.

21:42:18 – 21:46:20
Today’s subject is one of the key topics that we feature in our leading

21:46:20 – 21:49:20
transformational change online program.

21:49:20 – 22:14
If you’d like to learn more about leading transformation social change, go to beingfirst.com/LTC

22:16 – 22:03:08
Thanks for spending some time with me today.

22:03:08 – 22:06:08
I hope you gain some valuable insights for your work.

22:06:14 – 22:12:08
Please send me your questions and challenges by going to askdrchange.com


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