In today’s episode, Paul Gibbons, an expert in change management, talks about how you can implement change leadership in the engineering organization you work for today or the engineering project you’re currently leading.
Here are some key points:
Reasons and expertise do not by themselves add up to a successful change. Paul gives the example of their risk recommendations and cancer research.
Two factors why change doesn’t occur even when there is a known need for change: stakeholders and behavioral change.
What people like and what people feel comfortable with is not sufficient to getting a change to happen.
Resistance is strengthened by the provision of facts.
Choice architecture method – give people the liberty to choose what they want to do but steer their behavior in a way that is beneficial to them or to the organization (make it easy for people to choose the correct behavior). Paul shares the example of people in the cafeteria and 401K.
A fantastic change leader would:
- Automatically be sharing the vision
- Providing a big picture context of the change that makes sense to people
- Resolving internal conflicts between departments or individuals
- Supporting people through the difficulty of the change transition by helping them build skills or the emotional side of the change
- Understand the sources of the resistance to change
- Bring their piece of the organization along with the big picture
Change management can be replaced by change capable leaders who are great at getting their organization aligned with the change.
- Think carefully how you define the problem (fixing symptoms rather than dealing with root causes)
- Be honest of your capability to get change to happen particularly the human side of change
- Think of how you build change agility
- Think early about stakeholders (think who’s going to be involved and get them involved early on)
Guidelines for the way we think about change:
- Involve people early to make them feel they are part of the solution
- Think about how the change looks from their point of view (empathy)
Frequently, the small risks are where the biggest effects are.
- Zero risk bias – Pretending that a small risk is a zero risk
- Sampling risk bias – Draw inferences from small samples
- Confirmation bias – We want to believe that we’re right and try to look for evidence that it is working
More details on these in the episode…
In the Take Action Today segment of the show, we give you some tips on how you can handle change management.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
About our guest Paul Gibbons
Paul has helped develop methodologies in change management, innovation, and corporate transformation; running board-level leadership development programs; and, leading the change management side of a $1 billion change program. He has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Guardian, and the Times. In 2008, CEO Magazine named him one of two “CEO Super Coaches.” He recently published a short workbook on personal change, Reboot Your Life: A 12-day Program for Ending Stress, Realizing Your Goals, and Being More Productive.
Book mentioned in this session include:
|The Science of Successful Organizational Change
Reboot Your Life
The Black Swan
| The Fifth Discipline
||Thinking, Fast and Slow
Resources and links mentioned in this session include:
Paul Gibbon’s Website
PMI August 2015 Webinar (available to PMI members): Cognitive Biases and Failed Strategies: How errors in the way we think affect our ability to deliver project results
This episode is brought to you by PPI, the leader of FE, PE, or SE exam preparations. Use promo code COACH for 20% discount at PPI2Pass.com/coach.
What actions should you take to become a change capable engineering leader?
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on how you been involved or witness to successful change leadership.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
Christian Knutson, PE, PMP
Engineering Management Institute