I’ve been doing a good bit of reading (and thinking) about change. Recently musing include a review of the Heath Brother’s “Switch” and John Kotter’s “The heart of change.” The latter is where the now CEO of Nokia so graciously borrowed the term “burning platform”
So, what gets me thinking about these sorts of things? Well, I have found my self in a position of leading decent sized (100+) engineering organizations, and almost all of these groups have exhibited notable ranges of employee interest and commitment. Thankfully, in all cases, I could always find the folks who brought everything with them to work, every single day. What a blessing! Its great to have such committed folks. But there are also the other souls in the team, who seem to have fallen into some most unpleasant rut of going about their business and not propelling the Business’ (with a big B) interests. Thus, those wonderful characteristics like lethargy, and status quo prevail. That drives me absolutely crazy! if surrounded by competition and customers demanding more, anything less than a constant search for excellence is doomed to failure.
So, the thing to figure out is how to reach Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point. I’ve found a mix of ingredients, frequently starting with those impassioned team mates goes a world of distance. Positive enthusiasm is contagious (as can negative be), and an essential ingredient in the overall recipe. I’ve also become a huge fan of agile methodologies, more specifically SCRUM, which places tremendous emphasis on self-directed teams. In this case, those wonderful crazies who’ve become the untamed leaders get small groups riled up, and, VOILA!, there you have it, momentum!
I’ve seen this happen time and time again. I’ve become ever more convinved that the trick is to find these key folks, engage them in the overall conversation, and let them loose, never forgetting to talk to them, letting them know what they are doing is invaluable, and listening to them. These are your pied pipers…..