White Noise

A friend and former colleague providing me with a critique of my website design prior to its launch in May, made the, perhaps obvious, point that it is hard to be heard above the din that is the internet and social media. The trickle of visitors to my website and this blog confirms that. Investing in a GoogleAd campaign does not have to be expensive and has increased website traffic by 1000% in the first week. Can I expect this to result in new business leads or am I waiting for the statistical equivalent of a meteor strike extinction event? How should I put this in perspective? Is it worth the effort?

Communication is at the heart of any Change Management effort. It is frequently mentioned that telling it 7 or 9 times is necessary before a message is heard and internalised by any given audience. Hence those moments of truth we have learned to react to. Nevertheless, line managers often prefer a solitary, simple e-mail or (rather than “and”) a 10 minute agenda item at the staff town hall meeting. Perhaps they are hoping the change will just go unnoticed.

Telling it 7+ times implies that Change communications must use a range of channels and repeat messages even when some of the audience is already claiming complete familiarity with what is coming. Some of the channels may not provide instant payback but are still worth considering especially if, like a website, they can become a “go to” place for information and near real-time updates. The potential reach of the internet (or your company intranet) is impossible to beat.

So although my trickle of visitors has yet to make a splash, I will continue to invest time and a little money to promote the wider effort of growing my business.

Change is good. If you are listening.

Gold Fever

Great Britain is in the grip of the gold fever that is Rio 2016; the perfect antidote to Brexit in building a national sense of self-confidence in our ability to go it alone and punch above our weight. The often noted ability of Team GB to perform while sitting down (usually on expensive pieces of equipment or cosseted animals) is being demonstrated again. Money helps.

Sport is, of course, a good model for Change Management. Continuous improvement is achieved by preparation, action and review cycles repeated many times. Analysis of technique, strengths and weaknesses and those of competitors is used to fine tune performance. Measurement is used to identify improvement opportunities. Training is designed to deliver peak performance when it matters. Team commitment to common goals and willingness to fail are both critical success factors.

Fortunately, business improvement does not require the physical genes without which sporting success might be limited; rather the capacity and willingness to learn, take measured risks, outperform the competition and win. The same dedication and attention to detail that wins a gold medal at Rio 2016, is often negatively labelled as workaholism and micro-management when it is observed in the corporate world. Perhaps we should re-think that while still striving for work life balance and perspective.

Olympians think change is good. It seems to work.

Yorkshire Grit

A highlight of my week was a visit to York; my first as it happens. Learning more about the history of the city on one of those ubiquitous, red, hop-on hop-off buses, I was struck by the waves of change that York has experienced over the last millennium. In the context of the recent Brexit decision, the changes are in a different league. York has been home to Vikings, Romans, Saxons and Normans. The city has been a military stronghold, agricultural trading hub, centre of chocolate production and railways. Today it remains a seat of learning (something always stays the same), has a thriving service sector and, judging by the plethora of restaurants, appears rather affluent and content with itself.

Yorkshire Grit, the strength of character and tenacity, for which the people of the county are known, is then, perhaps, a result of successful change management over the  centuries.

The Change Manager should understand the history of the organisation he/she is working with. Here there will be clues as to the appetite for, acceptance of and adaptability to change. There may be cultural triggers and lessons learned that can be integrated into the Change Plan.

Back to York; perhaps my angry reaction to Brexit featured earlier and already tempered after a mere 6 weeks, will be made to seem rather extravagant; the changes it brings meriting just a footnote in the history of the city.

Change is good in the long run.

Dog Days

The Dog Days of summer are with us. Near silence has replaced the sound of nearby playground schoolchildren that normally drifts through my office window. The gym is populated only by empty nesters deferring their vacations until September. The weather is typical of English summers; mostly cloudy, breezy and intermittently wet. England are taking on Pakistan in the 3rd five day test match of the cricket season.

Dog Days are good for Change Managers. Time to consider what communication and leadership opportunities should be taken when a rejuvenated workforce returns, disruptive upcoming change temporarily put to back of mind. Time to reinforce the case for change and paint a positive picture of the future. The back to work messages are extra powerful when delivered before the fog of “too much to do” descends.

For the same reasons, September in the Northern Hemisphere is a good month for beginnings; be it mobilising a project team, implementing a critical component of a change programme or introducing a new organisation structure.

So time to put the final touches to the Back to Work Plan.

Change is good.