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Be sure to check our blog for the latest information designed to help you understanding Magill’s unique and strategic approach of helping clients achieve success. A coach and consultant, and often a mentor, Gavin Harding is recognized as a leader in managing change – and helping client’s improve producitivity and profitabilty. Learn how easy it is to engage Magill – and how you cannot afford to wait!
Best practice is the darling of business strategists and consultants. Google the phrase “best practice” and you will be presented with 109,000,000 results. Ask for a definition and the list narrows to a mere 69 million options. So there are lots of definitions, many opinions and little agreement on what best practice means. Let me add my voice to the conversation. I’ll make it short and direct.
Here are five reasons to say no to blindly implementing best practices:
- All businesses are not exactly alike. I don’t mean all businesses are special or all children are gifted, but they are different.
- What’s good for one is not necessarily good for all. Did I mention that each business has unique features … is different?
- Best practice is an excuse not to think about your business and its unique features. It is also an excuse not to listen to your employees. By the way, they are the ones with the real solutions to real problems. They know your business better than you do.
- Who decides what is best practice? Your competitors? Consultants? Government? I don’t think I need to explain this one.
- Best practices are easy to package, communicate and sell. They sound too good to be true …
They say confession is good for the soul. So here it is:
“My name is Gavin and in my life I am Doctor A. For a long time I was addicted to the quick fix, although I knew it was bad for me”
Funny, I thought that would feel better. We are all works in progress so let’s forgive ourselves and move on. This part of the process is a little painful but stick with it and I promise it will be worth it. Nobody said change would be easy.
So, we agree that it is important to understand the real problem, not just the surface. The next step is to write down the list of problems. Why?
Here is the cliché of the day: You can’t fight an enemy that you can’t see. Think about that for second … By writing down the problems, you can begin understand them better and take action to fix them, to begin to understand and manage change.
Before you make the list, here are a couple of guidelines. First, this is not a list of tasks – sign expense reports, put gas in the car, pick up the laundry etc. Try to think of bigger stuff – increase market share, lose weight, improve my health and so on. Second, think bullet points rather than paragraphs. Use one page, one side. And remember, this is not homework, more is not better.
Now look at each problem and think of the people that have an impact on it – either making it worse or better. Again, it is important to be brutally honest with yourself – none is going to check your homework on this. Change management at its core is a very personal thing.
Let’s pause here for a moment. This is not going to be a list of people to blame for the problem. These are the people that are in the problem with you. You can work against them and stay where you are, or find a way to understand them and improve the situation. Are you Doctor A or Doctor B?
I grew up watching Sesame Street so please forgive me … “Who are the people in your problem neighborhood”? You may find that some of them are part of more than one problem. Trust me, this is a good thing. And a final cliché to justify writing all this stuff down:
The faintest ink is better than the finest memory – writing it down means you don’t have to remember it. It frees your mind to think about other things. One of the best things about this approach is that it is scalable. In other words, you can chose to address just one problem or you may use it as the basis for change management in your organization or even as a tool for organizational development. So, pick a size that suits you, and the time you have available to commit to this process.
Congratulations. You made it.
Magill, Lean Change Management …
The paint is not yet dry. The carpeting was just installed. The wiring needs finished. In our metophorical world of construction, www.mimagill.com may still have some finishing touches to be made, but we are now launched!
Let’s be clear – I hereby promise that I will not try to motivate you to “choose your attitude and make it a great day”! Change management sometimes disguises itself as a motivational program or a project or a list of hopes and dreams. Real, sustainable change is not short term and is not sustainable if you approach it as a project or dream analysis. Let me show you how to approach any change problem in a practical way that increases the probability of success and helps build the processes that will make your change sustainable rather than something based on the management book of the month … more on that in a future post.
Right now, close your eyes and think about your problems, past or present. I would bet that the list includes money, career, kids, vacation, and so on. Am I right? Now close your eyes again and ask yourself what all of these problems have in common. Don’t hurry, I will wait …
There may be more than one right answer but the one I’m looking for is you. You are the common feature. All of these situations affect you. You are part of all of these problems. I am not saying you caused them, but they are part of you and you are part of them.
The problem affects you. Don’t forget that you also affect the problem. The power of positive thinking may make you feel better in the short term. However, it will not make the problem go away. Over the next few posts, I will show you a practical way to approach these problems, whether they are personal or professional or both.
Step One: What’s the problem?
At one time or another most of us have visited a doctor’s office. When we finally see a doctor, the conversation goes one of two ways:
“Hello patient, what is the problem? You think you have the flu? Here is a prescription. Next year, get the flu shot”
“Hello, what seems to be the problem”? “How are you feeling?” “How long has this been going on?” “Any other symptoms?” “Let me examine you”
Here’s the pop quiz. Which doctor would you prefer to visit?
If you said Doctor A, feel free to click out of this site … thanks for stopping but our approach to change management is not for you. So, most of us prefer Doctor B. Why? T
hey are trying to understand the real problem, to get to the root cause. In short, they are trying to fix the problem, permanently. They want to treat the real problem, not just the surface symptoms. The first step in any change management program is to understand the problem and your role in it.
In your life or work, are you Doctor A or B? Be honest with yourself. Don’t worry too much if you are not happy with whom you are right now – we all have the capacity for change.
Think about that and we’ll come back to it.
- Gavin Harding
Most businesses, including consulting firms, begin with a definition of what they do, then proceed to lecture on how they do it and finally, if there is any time to fill, they talk about why. Magill began with why.
Each of us at Magill has left successful careers in the corporate world to work with clients to help them change their organizations, their lives and themselves. Our extensive experience allows us to permanently fix problems and deliver sustainable change. This is the reason we formed our practice. It is the “why” at the heart of Magill.
The what is lean change management. Lean in this case means efficient change, using just the right amount of resources to permanently fix a problem and ensure that customers are satisfied first time, every time. Anything more than that is waste.
Unless your world is perfect and your business is exactly as you would like it to be, change is a part of your everyday life. This change can be positive or negative. It is usually risky and difficult. At Magill we use a range of practical tools to lessen this risk and improve your chances of success. Our services are scalable. That means you get precisely the support you need to address the problem. We do not deliver binders full of data or develop plans that can never be implemented. We are committed to making our support and solutions meaningful to each client.
Our practice is founded on trust, respect and a thoughtful approach to all aspects of organizational change. That is the how of Magill. I believe that there is a new direction in business, one focused on transparency, on long-term, sustainable results and most importantly, on collaboration.
Technology connects us all regardless of geography or time of day. This offers us a new platform to work together on some of the most difficult challenges we face. Magill is proud to be part of this new direction. There are many other organizations and individuals working throughout the world to make this the new business reality.
Simon Sinek has done some great work helping individuals and business think differently. He has some interesting videos on YouTube that offer practical advice to all of us who spend our lives thinking about how to improve ourselves, our communities and our businesses.
Here is a good example: