Showing posts with label Change Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Change Management. Show all posts

June 2, 2021

What Children Learn

Excellent poem by Dorothy Nolte:

What children experience at home is what they learn to become. 

Sure people can change their thinking and actions.

But any negative voices of the past may still echo in theirs heads. 

That is until people tell them "hush, be quiet!"

And they replace old voices and experiences with new thinking about themselves and what they are capable of positively doing with their lives and in their relationships with others. 

We all need to know what we value about ourselves and our lives and then make sure that we do those things. 

So at the end of days, we can answer for our lives in an affirmative way! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Etsy)


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January 21, 2021

Going In Circles


One administration comes and another goes. 

The new executive orders and legislations reverse the old ones. 

- Keystone Pipeline

- Travel Ban from potential Terrorist Countries

- Paris Climate Accord

- Membership in World Health Organization

- Deregulation 

- Taxes

As a country, we are (borderline) bipolar!

And like a pendulum, we swing back and forth getting nowhere and driving the rest of the world crazy.

Can't we actually move forward without the perennial one step forward, one step back nauseating dance we keep doing. 

Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are moving forward and they are not waiting for us to figure out what we actually want and get our national act together to move decisively and definitively forward.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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July 10, 2020

Yesterday a Dog, Today a Cat!

Shabbat Shalom from Ms. Cat. 

It only takes a day to change from a dog to cat. 

Downs and ups of life. 

Shabbat is the up, thank G-d!  ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 27, 2020

The Nail That Stands Out

So everyone knows what happens to the nail that stands out...

It gets hammered down!

Deviation from the norm or the groupthink is met with a resounding klop on the head. 

You conform or you face the guillotine. 

Way too dystopian. 

Freedom, individuality, diversity, self-expressionthese are the engines of innovation and growth. 

If every nail gets hammered down, you have a society that implodes with inbreeders and Stone Age stale ideas. 

Tradition is one thing, a closed mind is something that is an extinction level event. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 19, 2020

Creative Clock With Cars

Thought this was a pretty cool clock. 

Instead of just giving you the time (here it is 20:52 or 8:52 pm), the numbers are made up of 3-7 little cars.

When a number changes, cars either drive on or off to form the new ones.

(The "whole" clock is greater than the sum of its cars, which are the "parts".)

And then some of the drivers actually get out of the car to schmooze or maybe clean their car. 

Very creative and it makes you think.

That's a good thing. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 18, 2019

Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we've got to cope with a different reality.

Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 

We can't do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 

There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 

When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:
Yes, we're getting older--what's the alternative?

Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 

We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.

And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it's like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:
You're not supposed to leave this world alive!

Putting these together: 

I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process--because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. ;-)
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July 25, 2019

Lasting Decisions

So it's a funny thing about decisions...

Decisions are supposed to represent the conclusion of a process involving the following steps:

- Research of the problem
- Decide on the scope
- Discover the requirements
- Determine viable alternatives
- Evaluate costs, benefits, and risks 
- Do some soul-searching
- And then resolve and commit on a way-ahead

While these steps are typically formalized in a work-setting, they may be done informally in our personal lives. 

But even after all this, we need to remain adaptive to changes in the environment that would cause us to reevaluate the decision and alter course. 
So a decision is a decision until we revisit the decision. 

The problem is that in some highly complex, unstable/turbulent environments, or ones where there are a lot of disagreements among stakeholders (such that there was perhaps not a consensus on the original decision to begin with) then "decisions" may be short-lived.

In this case, decisions may be half-baked, not even last until the ink is dried, and certainly not have a chance in hell to be executed on or seen through to determine whether they actually would've worked. 

In a way a decision that is so temporal is not even really a decision, but sticking your toe out to feel the temperature of the water, and any commitment of resources can and probably will be a complete throw-away.  

We've got to do the investment in the upfront work, really make a good data-driven (and inspired) decision, and give it an opportunity to blossom. 

Yes, we need to remain agile and change as we sincerely need to, but too much change and for the wrong reasons leads to going nowhere fast.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 14, 2019

Leading Change

I heard a great presentation on change management.

Some highlights I really liked:

- U.S. Army War College in developing high performance leaders seeks to develop competency to operate in an "VUCA" environment:

Volatile
Uncertain
Complex
Ambigious

- The key is NOT to get "emotionally/amygdala hijacked" where our "reptilian brain" in response to threats jumps to:

Fight, Flight, or Freeze

- Instead, we need to manage change methodically as "transitions" (which are personal and emotional) so that we understand that:

Every Ending is a New Beginning

(G-d does not close one door without opening a new one for us.)

-  When one thing in life comes to an end, this is where there is enormous potential for growth in:

The Reinvention of Ourselves

Release the emotions and be ready to move on!

- In short, it can be difficult to accept change unless we realize that:

Problems = Opportunities

And this is the critical place where we can try new things and learn and grow. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 24, 2019

Interfaith Movie Today

This afternoon, we attended the interfaith movie screening of “The Judge.

The movie is about a Palestinian woman who becomes “the first woman judge in a Shari’a ‘family law’ court.” 

Let's just say it wasn't easy for her to break into this male-dominated profession within institutionalized religion in the Middle East.  

Thinking in an interfaith way, I guess it's maybe not so dissimilar to women breaking into the profession of the Rabbinate. 

Another similarity between the religions was that there were many Islamic religious leaders that were very conservative and dead set against women in the Shari'a courts, while others stood up against the tide and inspired change--I think we have similar disagreements in Judaism between the ultra-orthodox who want to stick with the "old" historical ways of doing things, and the more liberal Jews that seek the freedom to alter those ways. 

During the movie, there were some interesting take-aways like under Shariah law, men are allowed up to 4 wives!  

Another funny line in the movie was when one of the men said that the men never make trouble for the women (i.e. it's all the women's fault). 

In the court cases filmed, there seemed to be a lot of cases of domestic violence and of divorce, and in one case in particular the wife was actually stabbed to death in the court house by her husband who she was trying to get a divorce from. 

Overall, it felt good to attend the event and try to be a part of the healing process between people. 

The event was sponsored by the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS) of Washington, D.C. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 17, 2019

You Can't See Yourself

So this donut-shaped art at the Outlets in Clarksburg is metallic and reflective. 

But what is really interesting to me is that when you stand in front of it (like I was literally doing here), you can't see yourself. 

It made me wonder how you can look at yourself and yet not see yourself. 

And I thought of this as being a bigger lesson in life. 

When we are looking at ourself and there is a big donut whole in the mirror of ourselves then we are left blind to what should be reflecting back at us.  

No matter how hard we try to see ourselves and what we are doing right and wrong, it's like a ghost out there--we are blind to it. 

To really see ourselves, our heart and mind have to be receptive to seeing the full picture. 

That means looking at ourselves as we really are, even when there seems to be a piece missing to the puzzle, and we have trouble being honest about what we see. 

To change, learn, grow--to become a better person, we need to look full on and be willing to see what we will see.  

You can't see yourself until you can.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 7, 2019

Birthing An IT System

Managing IT projects is no easy task.

You've got to get the requirements right. 

Technical issues need to be resolved. 

Dependencies have to be lined up. 

Integrations need to work. 

Design should be user-friendly and intuitive. 

Change management takes real leadership. 

And so much more. 

A lot needs to go right for the project to be a success. 

While of course, just one or two bad apples in the project equation can quickly make for a failure if not controlled for. 

But you can't let it...the show must go on, progress is waiting to be made, and the systems need to be delivered for the benefit of the organization. 

This is where real strength and determination by so many good people come in. 

Keep moving things forward--one step at a time--don't stop!!!---another step and another--heave ho, heave, ho--until one day soon a beautiful and efficient IT system is born. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 30, 2018

Life Is Like A Sailboat

Planning is a critical aspect of making progress toward your goals.

As they say;
If you fail to plan, plan to fail. 

However, planning is subject to life--and life happens!

One colleague of mine compared it to a sailboat, and our dialogue went something like this:

You set out on a course. But the wind and ocean current takes you here and there. Even as you try to steer the boat with the sails and rudder, sometimes you land on Gilligan's Island!


Hence, life is like a sailboat.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2018

Snowflakes Are Unique

Thought this was an interesting analogy. 

A colleague refers to some customers as snowflakes.

At first, I didn't get it. 

Then I understood. 

Every snowflake is unique. 

Based on how the ice crystals fall to the ground through different temperatures, moisture levels, and atmospheric pressures, the shape of every snowflake is different. 

Sometimes when it comes to project management, customers too think they are unique, different, and special.

They think that solutions that work industry- or enterprise-wide could never work for them and their wholly distinct ways of doing business. 

Hence, as I learned, the term snowflake. 

For those of us who have been around the project management block a few times, we know that while there are specific customer requirements, most of them are not all that unique. 

And when some customers simply don't want to do things differently than they've done it before, there can be greater resistance to change. 

Hence, the "We're special. We're different" reframe along with the standoffishness, doubting, circling the wagons, throwing up obstacles, or just refusing to fully participate. 

Obviously, it's a lot more difficult to modernize and transform through technology and business process re-engineering when your customers aren't on board. 

So it is critical to manage organizational change, address the questions, the fears, and elements that are truly unique, and bring the people along as true partners. 

Not every requirement is a snowflake and neither is every customer, but we have to manage the similarities and differences in every project and make sure it improves performance and meets the needs of the customer and the organization. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 6, 2018

All Aboard!

So when the train is pulling out it's a loud call by the conductor of:
"All Aboard that's going abroard."

With project management, it can be the same too. 

Once an organization has decided to move out on a project and make the investment of time, resources, and reputation:

- Either you get on the train and help feed the engine of progress

OR

- You get left behind.

- You get thrown off the train.

- You get run over by the train.

There really are no other alternatives. 

My advice is get with the program. 

The train is moving out.

The organization is going to deliver on its promise. 

Get the h*ll on!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 16, 2018

Breaking The Paradigm

So a colleague has this sticker (with a do not image) on their computer that says:

"But we've always done it that way."

They told me a funny story about the lady that made the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off.

One day, her daughter asked, "Why mom do you make the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off?"

The mother answers and says because "My mother always made it that way!"

So they went to her mother and ask the question and they get the same answer again.

Finally, they went to her great grandmother and ask, "Why do you always make the ham with the head and tail ends cut off?"

And the old lady takes a breath, pauses, and says, "Because, we didn't have a pan big enough to fit the whole ham!"

Just thought this was a great lesson on critical thinking and also on "asking why."

Change can be brought about by questioning underlying assumptions and historical ways of doing things and bringing an open mind and fresh light to it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 9, 2018

Fruitful Discussions

I liked this guidance from Dr. Britt Andreata on addressing conflict through managing difficult conversations

Here's how the typical bad scenario unfolds:

1. Problems begin with another person (e.g. annoying or unwanted behaviors).  

2. People start building their cases - listing the wrongs done to them, collecting corroborating evidence, and seeking validation from others.

3. There is a tipping point in terms of frequency or intensity of the problems that lead to a confrontation where accusations are made and blame is attributed. 

4. Then the aftermath in terms of a animosity, loss of trust, and a damaged relationship.

Here's a better way to deal:

1. Problems begin with another person.  

2. People spend some time reflecting on why the behavior is affecting you, getting clear on what you want to correct it, and trying to see from the other person's perspective. 

3. The tipping point is sooner in terms of the frequency and intensity of the problems--so you nip it in the bud earlier--and you have a conversation with the other person where you have reframed the other person from an adversary to a partner (e.g. you've questioned the facts, assumptions, conclusions along with your emotions, beliefs, and actions--and you've looked at alternative narratives to these) and you take responsibility for your part, share your experience and goals to improve things, invite their perceptions, and "co-create solutions."

4. Follow through with the other person to work together, implement the changes, and hold each other accountable to address the issues. 

The amazing thing about this approach to conflict management is that assuming the other person isn't truly bad, evil, or gunning for you is that we can look at things from constructive perspective where we own our part, and they own theirs, and together we work together to make things better for everyone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 2, 2018

Project Manager - The DIRECT(or)

So I learned this cool acronym for the roles of a project manager:

DIRECT

The project manager directs the project (similar to a director who is the project manager of a movie).

Here is how the project manager DIRECTs the project:

Define - Identify the opportunity or issue that the project will address including, the vision, scope, resources, and measures of success. (i.e. the "Charter").

Investigate - Explore options and pros/cons for each (i.e. an "Analysis of Alternatives").

Resolve - Solve and resolve (i.e. commit to) the course of action that will be pursued (i.e. "Project Plan").

Execute -Do the project and track/manage cost, schedule, scope, quality, risks, and actions items (i.e. "Scorecard").

Change - Identify process and technology techniology changes, test these, fix outstanding items, and make the cutover (i.e. "User Acceptance Testing," "Punch List," and "Go Live Plan").

Transition - Migrate people to the new solution, communicate the changes, overcome resistance, and conclude the project (i.e. "Communications Plan" and "Lessons Learned").

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 15, 2018

Change Everybody Loves To Hate

I thought this saying from a colleague was really astute.
"Everybody hates the status quo 
but nobody wants to change."

How's that for a conundrum. 

The question is are we more unhappy with the dysfunctional way things are or are we more afraid to make the necessary changes in our life?

I think that when the pain and dysfunction of the status quo are greater than the fear and inconvenience of changing, only then will people quite resisting and adapt to the new reality. 

Welcome to change!  ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 25, 2017

Falling On The Sword

Sometimes things happen that we don't agree with or like. 

We may even get blamed for them when we didn't do anything wrong. 

At times like these, there comes up inside of us a strong visceral feeling to speak up and out--to right the wrongs!

There are times when we can, but there are also times when it may be better to hold our tongue for another day. 

In the olden times, people that spoke out, often had their tongue cut right out in front of them--no questions asked.

These days, thank G-d, most people may not be that cruel, but still people get punished for speaking truth to power--when the power is tone deaf or possibly even behaving more as brutal dictators than as benevolent leaders. 

The problem for the average Joe is that there is no point in losing your tongue or even your head by acting rashly or imprudently.

Better to wait and plan for the right moment to be effective and stand with integrity for your ideals and what you know in your heart is right. 

Maybe even at times, we have to fall on our swords until we can make a strong and convincing case and change both hearts and minds to betterment. 

The point is not only to do what's right, but to make things right in the world around us.

Swords too often can come out swinging wildly, unless we carefully sharpen them and practice our lunges and cuts, and work to repair the wrongs in the world as soldiers of righteousness. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 16, 2017

It Takes A Village

I wanted to share some good tidbits about effective management, collaboration, and engagement that I heard this week at a Partnership for Public Service event.

It Takes A Village - No I don't mean the book by Hillary Clinton, but rather the idea that no one person is an island and no one can do everything themselves. Rather, we need the strengths and insights that others have to offer; we need teamwork; we need each other!

2-Way Communication - Traditionally, organizations communicate from the top-down or center to the periphery (depending how you look at it).  But that doesn't build buy-in and ownership. To do that, we need to have 2-way communication, people's active participation in the process, and genuine employee engagement.

Get Out Of The Way -  We (generally) don't need to tell people how to do their jobs, but rather develop the vision for what success looks like and then get out of the way of your managers and people. "Make managers manage and let managers manage" and similarly, I would say, hold people accountable but let people work and breath!

Things Change - While it's important to have consistency, momentum, and stay the course, you also need to be agile as the facts on the ground change.  "Disregard what's not working, and embrace what is." But you must stay open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

This is our world of work--our village--and either everyone helps and gets onboard the train or they risk getting run over by it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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