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Approaches to Organizational Change

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Mary Poppendieck gave her usual well-researched and convincing tour-de-force presenation at LSSC10 on several approaches to organizational change with a talk titled “What’s wrong with targets?”

The purpose of the whole talk is to trash Management by Objectives. See my related blog noting the damaging effects: SMART goals may not be that smart. As an alternative, Mary shares 4 effective models for organizational change.

I have heard a lot recently about the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. It uses the metaphor of the Rider and the Elephant. I like it a lot since it lines up well with my NLP tools and understanding of the unconscious mind. Anyway the change model is very clear:

  1. Direct the rider – provide clear direction and objectives.
  2. Motivate the Elephant – appeal to emotions to provide energy for change.
  3. Shape the path – create a supportive environment that will keep things on track.



Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results by Mike Rother is a second approach for driving change. Check out the above description in the mind map. It reminds me of the A3 technique that I have been using for the last year with great success. I’ll blog on my experiments later.

Strategy and Deming’s systems analysis + PDCA + People were the two final models to round out organizational change approaches that involve people rather than measure them. Caveat: SMART is OK for projects; not people.

Related posts:

  1. Fearless Change – Patterns for introducing new ideas I first read Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas...
  2. SMART goals may not be that smart I just blogged about Daniel Pink’s case around intrinsic and...
  3. Daniel Pink on Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation Newsflash! Incentives and rewards are harmful to tasks that involve...
  4. Deliberate Practice – a key to Craftsmanship At Agile 2009, Mary Poppendieck presented on “Deliberate Practice” –...

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