It was funny to read a little blurb in the ASTD Training & Development magazine about an article to appear next month. The abstract said that 70% of change initiatives continue to fail (which is on par with how many strategy improvement initiatives are not really successful) and that the existing change models are all pretty good.
What is suggested is that The Missing Component is now Emotional Intelligence, and that thoughts and feelings that emerge from the understanding for the need to change are all that needs to be changed. “When emotional intelligence is applied to change, we can think of it as change intelligence.”
I won’t mention the author of this, since I am basically panning this solution — Emotional Intelligence is not an easy thing to grasp, much less implement since it has so much to do with personal growth and personality. We’ve been fooling with EI concepts for 20+ years, just like we’ve been proposing 7 Habits and all sorts of other silver bullets to solve the problems of organizational improvement.
I’m one who very strongly feels that we just need to forget about so many complicated models of how things work and how things need to have some new Training Solution proposed by a cadre of consultants who will retire on these efforts.
The DATA say that not much has improved on the basic issue of employee engagement. The DATA say that lots of things are supposedly important, like Innovation (rated important 98% of survey respondents in another ASTD article (Patty Gaul, April 2014) while also finding that only 33% of organizations currently focus their innovation on small improvements and change. That article predicts a BIG shift toward radical changes / innovation — 66% in the future. (Right… Remind me to look back in 10 years… )
People suggest that we do all kinds of expensive and complex kinds of training on emotional intelligence or on innovation and creative thinking skills but I STILL think that the basic organization works like this:
and that what are needed are really simply solutions. Here are my 10 steps for improving motivation and organizational performance results:
How do you implement change? Identify the Square Wheels and ask for some Round Wheel solutions. Do this in the context of moving from where we are now to where we want to go (in the near or far future). Celebrate small successes to generate continuous continuous improvement and allow people to work together in simple teams (with necessary resources of time and funding) to actually implement such changes and improvements.
The actual end result is also pretty simple to conceptualize:
I mean, this whole thing about involving and engaging people in workplace improvement is really the simple task of involving and engaging them in workplace improvement. Where is the rocket science in all this? Why do we keep adding so much complexity — other than for profit motives and self-aggrandizement — when the reality is really easy to accomplish.
The other key is also simple:
This concept is also simple: Everybody needs to feel like they have an ownership stake in the ideas and the outcomes, even the management team.
So. Keep it Simple. And Just DO it!
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Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
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