When we would license a song for ringtone distribution we’d email each other; “Anybody know this song? I was young, in-experienced, and wasn’t the model employee for the next couple of months while I figured out how to make sense of the change. Knowing what I know today, what words of wisdom would I have for Mike to help him deal with “2003 Jason”? After the shock wears off, Jason will probably be in denial for a while, then he’ll likely get angry or frustrated. After that, he’ll start to come around. The change I went through was quite simple compared to the disruption that can be caused by an Agile transformation at your average company. My title changed, and so did the inputs to my work but not many of my daily routines were affected until we started growing like crazy.
Now imagine everyone in a mid-size organization of 200 people all going through the same emotional phases I did with Mike’s help. Create Alignment: Start by creating a big visible room to manage the transformation program and create a ‘change canvas’ with the executives.
Maximize Communication: Use informal communication sessions called Lean Coffee to establish open and honest dialogue about the change.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do to manage the emotional response people have to change.
Jason LittleAuthor, Lean Change Management at LeanintuitI began my career as a web developer when Cold Fusion roamed the earth.
In 2008 I attended an experiential learning conference (AYE) about how people experience change and since then, I’ve been writing, and speaking, all over the world about helping organizations discover more effective practices for managing organizational change. Latest PostsSuccessful Agile Transformation through Community Building on April 15, 2016 Alternatives to Agile Scaling Frameworks on March 29, 2016Scaling Agile is a hot topic nowadays…well, most of the early adopters in Agile have already moved on from this but many organizations in the late majority are looking to scaling frameworks to help them be more Agile.
Removing the Mumbo-Jumbo from Change Management on March 21, 2016A couple of weeks ago Thomas Cagley interviewed me for his SPaMCAST podcast. And you’ve been suspecting that’s the case, but hey, there is a lot invested in this thing; which makes it hard to let go. The time has come for Business Transformation – a completely different model that has produced outcomes which were not possible inside the formula of change management. For the next 5 weeks we’ll share some of the unmistakable truths about change management that have caused you more than a little pain and frustration. For an approach that makes logical sense, the only problem is that it doesn’t actually do what we want it to do! Then why do organizations, big and small, old and new, corporate and government and not-for-profit, continue to go to a bankrupt approach? Put another way, at the organizational level, we cannot solve our problems with the same culture we used when we created them.” And it is that exact same culture which is about to implement the plan. Change management is designed to deal with the symptoms of culture, not the culture itself. A new org chart with new titles doesn’t produce new thinking.  It usually produces a temporary disruption to business as usual, some confusion, and something that will one day be considered “a flavor of the month”. If people want to affect dramatic change to the morale or culture of their company, something entirely different is needed. And what else is the culture of a company but the way common and accepted way that a particular group of people think, speak, listen and act.


Which is why your change management outcomes are going to look an awful lot like the outcomes you had before you even started.
I learned more about myself in one day then in 3 months of therapy, and have a solution to change.
Vik took us to the cutting edge of education and invited us to do the same in our classrooms.
Our methodology has you discover "what's in the water" of your culture so that you articulate your own cultural paradigm as a tangible asset that is immediately put to use. Our competitive framework is Change Management, Organizational Development, Leadership Development, and Strategic Planning, and we don't do any of those things in the way you've previously seen them done. Clients regularly say the tools are "simple, practical, and profound" and they find themselves immediately in action without additional time, money, or resources required. Our methodology allows you to uncover and master the real issues of communication, relationships, trust, and alignment that limit the effectiveness of those systems..
Our engagements range from one-on-one coaching, to group training, to longer term cultural transformation initiatives. We get you to the sourceThings will NEVER be the same once you discover the true source of your performance: the hidden and taken-for-granted mindset that leads to repetitive conversations, redundant cycles, and linear results.
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This company was the first to create a mobile content creation and delivery platform for wireless carriers in Canada.
Who can create it?” Ah, the good ‘ol days sitting in front of my Roland JX-8P banging out the theme to Rocky! There was no change management team handling the integration of the two companies, what got me through it was Mike, my new boss. He’ll start experimenting in order to figure out his place in the new world, and eventually the hubbub will die down. Give him time and over-communicate early on about why he’s been given these new responsibilities, and help him grow. When people are lost in a sea of emotions as a result of a disruptive change like an Agile transformation, there are counter-measures you can take that will help you make sense of what to do next. On flip chart paper, write down in non-buzzwordy language why this change happening, who is affected and what the benefits are. Motivation isn’t everything, sometimes people need to develop capability first, but look for what motivates different people.
You do not want to be dependent on your coach or consultants, encourage teams to learn from each other.
These are some of the ideas in Lean Change Management that can help you, as a change agent, help your stakeholders understand that planning alone isn’t enough to manage the complexity and disruption caused by an Agile transformation. Oddly enough, a few days later, I had an opportunity to try another experiment using storytelling.
In other words we will explore some things you already know and have lived regarding the failure of change management.
Blame the plan, the people, the consultant, the lack of resources, or the leadership when the change fails.


Whether I now sit to the left of you or the right of you has, on its own, rarely made any significant impact on the paradigm that got our organization in this pickle in the first place. And that thing is a transformative process that is designed to address the culture of a company. I do think it is fundamentally different from what much change management literature is saying.
Helped me see things that were profoundly impacting all areas of my life in a completely different way.
One of the co-founders handled the content licensing, and the other co-founder built and maintained the platform. He had the skills and experience to make this change work, and is still the best manager I’ve ever had.
Fortunately for me, Mike already knew all that, and to this day, is the best manager I’ve ever had.
New processes create extra work until the organization learns that these new processes should make some old processes obsolete. It’s a massive shift! Next, put up a “feedback” area next to these 3 statements, and let employees poke holes in each of them. Someone may be a natural fit for a Scrum Master role (assuming Scrum is one of the processes you’re implementing!). Innovation and collaboration doesn’t happen by chance; you as a change agent or manager need to enable it.
The bumps and bruises I collected along the way helped me realize that helping organizations adopt Agile practices was less about the practices, and all about change. This content comes from our over-fifteen years of experience in change implementation and is drawn from some of our past blogs, workshops and keynotes.
Leaders discover that their organization’s culture shapes and limits all of their well laid plans and they discover how to practically address their culture with real-time actions that produce immediately obvious benefits. I ended up managing the content catalog, and storefront, which included creating ringtones, and wallpaper that people could buy, and download onto their phones.
Not much changed over the next couple of weeks, but one day I came into work and found a box of business cards on my desk: “Jason Little, Director of Storefront Development”. This gets executives and the change team feedback and because it’s anonymous, it’ll actually be helpful!
The motivational nudge to my ego far outweighed the uncertainty of working with new management.
I’d probably explain how Jason is likely going to be a pain in the ass to work with while he pushes his way through a roller-coaster ride of feelings.



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