Posts Tagged ‘change management’

Nonprofit decisions: Complexity made clear with matrix mapping

According to a recent Nonprofit Finance Fund’s State of the Sector survey, “Forty-two percent of organizations reported that they do not currently have the right mix of financial resources to thrive over the next three years.”

This level of economic uncertainty requires the kind of adaptive leadership and system-wide reckoning that feels like a daunting task until now. Authors Steve Zimmerman and Jeanne Bell have introduced a proven method for change management called matrix mapping. The matrix map cultivates sound decision-making that embraces the entire organization’s capacity rather than one program or person.

Zimmerman and Bell have accumulated a deep understanding of how the matrix map tool is working for nonprofits thanks to five years in the field with their first book, Nonprofit Sustainability. Today, The Sustainability Mindset builds on the candid self-reflection and bold decision making created by the first title.

Introduction to the matrix map

Simply put, the matrix map allows organizations to view both their impact and profitability at the same time. Often, during a strategic planning meeting, organizations will look at the success of their programs in one conversation and then their budget in another. The map gives them a combined look so they can make better decisions. For example, if one program shows high impact but low income, the organization can turn to other sources of income that can cover the expenses. To see a sample of the map, click here.

Zimmerman’s favorite example of the matrix map in action

We asked Steve Zimmerman to tell us about one of his favorite case stories where the matrix mapping process brought to light the critical observation of impact and profitability simultaneously.

CausePlanet: Would you tell us about your favorite case study that implements the matrix map?

Zimmerman: One of my favorite uses of the matrix map is to help organizations make decisions that have been put off for too long. An example of this comes from a 100-year-old social service agency that had offered mental health counseling for their constituents among several other programs including financial literacy, job training and a day care program.

Over the years, the counseling program had fallen on hard times, but because it was the founding program of the agency, they kept re-tooling it and bringing in new supervisors to improve the program. When the matrix map was completed, it showed counseling, financial literacy and job training operating at financial deficits. However, counseling also was considered a low-impact program.

Deeper analysis showed that while the program was important for the organization’s impact, there was a lot of competition for quality counselors and the organization couldn’t match competitors’ salaries. This led to poor outcomes. What is more, the job training program showed very high impact but was relatively small because the organization didn’t have enough resources to grow the program.

The organization used the matrix map to engage in a robust discussion about the future of counseling and decided to close the program. Because it was still an important component of the organization’s overall impact, it partnered with another agency in the city to deliver those services to constituents. It then invested the money that had been utilized to subsidize counseling to expand the job training program. This included partnering with local corporations for job placement on a fee-for-service basis.

The opportunity cost of decision-making

This example demonstrates using the matrix map to highlight the opportunity cost of decisions. The leadership often thinks in terms of “Should we offer Program A or not?” when the correct question is, “Should we invest in Program A or Program B?” By investing in the high impact program, the organization was able to increase its impact and financial viability. It would not have had the resources or capacity to do so unless it focused its program offerings. By presenting the map in this way, even those leaders who strongly supported the counseling program came around to see the organization and its constituents were better off as a result of this decision.

If you’ve historically looked at your budget and your programs in isolation of one another, Zimmerman and Bell would argue that this kind of decision-making will only lead to poor sustainability for your nonprofit. Get a copy of The Sustainability Mindset and turn complexity into clarity.

See also:

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability

The Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide

Building Nonprofit Capacity: A Guide to Managing Change Through Organizational Lifecycles

Image credits: julianreese.com, vbpm.org, wallbasehq.com

 

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A “people lens” is your answer to budget relief

Volunteerism has returned to its former prominence in the nonprofit sector, except the dynamics have changed, according to the coauthors of The Abundant Not-for-Profit.

Colleen Kelly and Lynda Gerty say our traditional assessment of volunteers’ capacity to add value no longer applies. They’ve coined the term “knowledge philanthropists” to define a new breed of volunteers. These are people who bring a vast set of skills and with those skills come higher expectations of the nonprofit.

What has also changed is the abundant nonprofit’s approach to talent management. If properly recruited, trained and managed under the abundance philosophy, skilled volunteers demonstrate an incredible return on investment. Nonprofits have much more to gain by looking at all positions within their operations as potential volunteer placements (what they call a “people lens”) versus always turning to budget machinations to fulfill the mission.

What does the abundant nonprofit approach look like? Abundant nonprofits:

dispel common myths about volunteers’ potential to contribute meaningfully.

begin with the CEO and board to embrace the abundance philosophy.

focus on human capital to deliver their missions.

transform the way they do business by applying a “people lens” to their leadership.

train salaried employees to lead and communicate with knowledge philanthropists in varying roles such as planners, advisors and facilitators.

enlist and support knowledge philanthropists with training, policies, expectations and key performance indicators.

lead salaried and volunteer talent alongside one another as one collective team.

Characteristics of leaders and organizations pursuing the abundance model

Organizations benefiting from this abundance leadership method are characterized by sound management practices, adaptive capacity and effective communications. Equally important, their leaders are confident people who exhibit an entrepreneurial spirit and are good delegators. We asked the authors Kelly and Gerty to describe organizations that may be poised for adopting this approach:

CausePlanet: In addition to the characteristics of CEOs and board members described in the book, what traits do organizations that are ready to successfully embrace this model all share (e.g., level of maturity, financial stability, size, tradition of innovation)?

Kelly and Gerty: As you’ve stated, the characteristics of the CEO remain a critical element. Those characteristics significantly affect the vision and culture of the organization and largely determine whether or not transformation can happen. An orientation toward abundance, learning, excellence and innovation is tremendously important. Beyond that, there are very few hard and fast rules. We’ve sometimes seen executive transitions catalyze the adoption of this model, as new CEOs are often interested in new approaches and motivated to do things differently. In some ways, small organizations that are going through a growth phase have an advantage, as they are often nimble and able to make change happen relatively quickly. It also can be easier in organizations with a certain cachet, as many talented individuals want to be associated with those organizations. However, we’ve seen many exceptions to those trends and look forward to seeing abundant not-for-profits spring up in all sub-sectors, stages and sizes.

The abundance rationale

The authors emphasize that instead of nonprofits looking through a budgetary lens, which highlights the need to raise more money, they need to look through a people lens, which encourages them to evaluate their talent needs in order to complete their missions. After a history of professionalizing the nonprofit sector, in which paid employees performed strategic tasks and volunteers completed repetitive tasks with their hands, a new day is dawning. The altruistic volunteer, who gave without expecting any return, is waning. Volunteers now expect meaningful experiences that use their skills.

Nonprofits, succumbing to budgetary concerns, have traditionally hired fewer people or people who are less qualified without considering other options. Many salaried nonprofit employees are overworked and underpaid as a result. The authors encourage nonprofits to discard this paradigm and move toward a completely new culture, one that listens to what volunteers want and what organizations need and matches them for a win-win situation. The authors dub this new type of volunteer a knowledge philanthropist because s/he brings knowledge in addition to hands.

The people lens method

An organization with a people lens first tries to develop a strong, well-functioning organization to draw talent. In order to create this strength, an organization needs to begin with the why (vision and mission), move to the what (three to five goals) and then focus on the how (define the time and skills already given by salaried employees and the talents needed and integrate volunteers across all functions in an organizational chart). Subsequently, an abundant nonprofit can create a culture that equalizes salaried and volunteer employees, a plan that includes knowledge philanthropists, a governance model that sees talent as a strategic imperative, processes to hire and develop knowledge philanthropists who will work under salaried managers, and leadership that supports this system.

The authors define a people lens culture in the following manner:

In a people lens culture, it is difficult to discern who is paid with money and who is paid with meaning. This fully integrated talent team challenges the traditional notion that some roles are for salaried employees and other roles are for volunteers. In a people lens culture, salaried employees no longer determine which roles are ‘okay’ for volunteers. Volunteer roles are fully integrated into each level, function and activity of the organization.

Join us next week when we’ll talk about why this management approach is a win-win as well as introduce a case study that dramatically impacted a health services organization.

See also:

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

The Six Secrets of Change

Image credits: dramafever.com, hwproductions.com, commons-wikimedia.org, philanthropy.com

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Five staff responses to change you can’t afford to overlook

As a nonprofit leader, chances are at some point you’ve been involved in either instituting or supporting change in your organization. The question is, if the need for change is so obvious to you, why isn’t the rest of the organization jumping up and down with excitement?

Over the years, The Management Centre has carried out a significant body of research on, and change work with, a wide range of nonprofit organizations. And we’ve found that there are five core reactions to change that we call the 5 Cs. To be an effective change manager, you need to understand these five reactions in your colleagues so you can anticipate them and adopt appropriate strategies to deal with them.

The 5 Cs: Responses to change and how to handle them

We tend to sell organizational benefits when planning change. But not everyone judges the impact of things through organizational perspectives. To be successful, it’s essential to reflect on how individuals in the organization will react or respond to your change announcement. Be prepared, and plan an approach for each of the 5 Cs:

Champions

Champions – perhaps 5 to 10 percent of the total – are those who are prepared to stick their necks out, run with an idea and own what happens. After announcing the change you propose, these are the people who’ll crowd around you smiling and shaking your hand.

Tempting as it is to embrace their enthusiasm, you need to treat champions cautiously. The advantage of their unstinting support for the change is balanced by some serious disadvantages. For one thing, champions generally champion everything – even painting the office in stripes. Their enthusiasm could give you a false impression of how everyone else is feeling. And champions won’t question you closely on the merits of your proposal. You need some challenge to ensure your idea has rigor.

Give champions something practical to do which absorbs their energy. Be careful about using them as advocates; they’re likely to be treated with skepticism by others.

Chasers

Chasers – 15 to 20 percent of the total – don’t immediately respond positively to your proposal for change. At the end of a briefing, they look around to see who’s signed up. They want to discuss your idea with others before forming a judgment, and will generally look to a key opinion maker or “trigger” person for guidance.

The great advantage of chasers is they give you a more accurate view of how your proposal is going down. When they join, you’re making progress and, once committed, they’ll stay. And the disadvantages? Well, you’ll have to convince the right trigger person to convince the chasers. And that trigger person may well be someone who has social rather than organizational power in your organization. So, you can’t tell them to back your idea. And still, chasers won’t come on board immediately – they may have their own very specific concerns; for example, if you’re going to restructure, what will be the impact on their team?

Identify the trigger person at different levels in your organization and brief them in advance, so that they encourage the chasers to sign up to your project.

Converts

At 30 to 40 percent of the total, converts are the biggest single group in your change audience. They listen in silence to the proposed change and don’t ask questions. But don’t confuse their silence with negativity. Converts want solid evidence in favor of the change in order to come on board. They’ll also need reassurance about what impact the changes will have on them. Their passivity means you often have to ask questions on their behalf and then answer your own question – FAQs. They want the answer, but they’re not happy to ask the question.

Converts have two advantages: First, bringing them on board tips a sizable majority of people into the “mostly positive” camp and ensures your change proposal will be adopted. Second, although they can be slow to adopt a change, they are equally slow to let it go. Once they’re convinced, you have momentum.

The main disadvantage with converts is that they may take so long to come round that your initiative loses momentum.

Think about and try to address converts’ concerns before launching a change process. That way you’ll be able to bring them on board more quickly. Try producing a list of FAQs in advance – it shows you’re thinking about the individual as well as the organization.

Challengers

Challengers – 15 to 20 percent of the total – ask difficult questions initially and then … continue to do so. Their approach is to confront and be awkward, because they have a strong stake in the outcome.

It’s a personality trait not a personal attack, so don’t treat it as an attack. Because challenging is a personality trait, it’s unlikely you can convince challengers that the change will be a good thing. What’s more important is that others will be watching how well you handle the challenger’s interventions.

Despite appearances, there are advantages to challengers: Their questions force you to be rigorous in your thinking. And, because they ask the questions others merely think, addressing their issues may enable you indirectly to reassure others.

The disadvantages are twofold: Challengers can carry on asking difficult questions beyond usefulness. They may also ask questions on areas not up for discussion.

Handle challengers’ queries fairly, however irritated you feel; others are watching. Be firm with them about what’s “off the agenda”; provide ground rules and stick to them.

Changephobics

Changephobics – 5 to 10 percent of the total – will not ever be convinced. They can slow down or even derail change. They cause dissent and are essentially immovable. Changephobics are tough. However, if you’re seen dealing with them honestly and fairly, you’ll gain brownie points from others for being evenhanded. And, however hard it is, keep in mind changephobics don’t oppose because they’re bad people, but because they feel you’re destroying something they hold dear.

Changephobic disadvantages are legion – doing their best to stop your initiative, providing unstinting opposition, significantly lowering morale.

The harsh reality is that you have to get rid of changephobics as quickly and effectively as you can, whether it’s to another department or out of the organization.

When you lead your change process, you will need to consider how you might deal with the 5 Cs. Think about all the different stakeholders in your organization – staff, volunteer, boards and even users. Which of the 5Cs would they fit into? What can you get the champions to do so they feel positive, but stay out of your way? Who do you need to convince to get the chasers on board? What questions do you need to answer for the converts? Who are the challengers? What flaws might they spot? Who are the changephobics? How can you get them to leave or help them go?

As we all know, implementing change is no walk in the park. Preparing for the individual responses to change will certainly help you leap ahead of some of the inevitable stress – if not all of it.

See also:

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster Moving World

Buy-In: Saving Your Good Ideas from Getting Shot Down

A Sense of Urgency (How to Overcome Complacency In Your Organization)

The Six Secrets of Change

Image credits: hypnosisdownloads.com, globalfit.com, goal.blogs.nytimes.com, innerself.com, tippingpoint.com

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Lost your responsiveness to change? Apply some World Cup logic.

If you’re watching any World Cup soccer this year, you know the Netherlands recently won a match against Costa Rica in overtime thanks to “super sub” Tim Krul on the Netherlands’ team. Krul specializes in defending the goal against penalty kicks and was put in specifically for this reason at the end of the game shoot-out.  As a result, Krul blocked a crucial kick.

Change management guru and bestselling author, John Kotter, would have liked this match because Tim Krul personifies his latest strategy to help organizations adapt quickly to change. In Kotter’s new model, which I explain below, “the network” is put into play rather than repeatedly relying on upper management, those with the most seniority (the starting goalie) or hierarchy to seize opportunities or accommodate changes.

But first, why is adapting to change so important? We are experiencing exponentially growing change—change for which we are not prepared unless we adopt new ways of anticipating and responding to our fast-paced environment. Kotter’s book, Accelerate, “is about how to handle strategic challenges fast enough, with agility and creativity, to take advantage of windows of opportunity which open and shut more quickly today.”

Kotter shows you how people in leading innovative organizations are maintaining their competitive edge, managing turmoil, and coping with unanticipated challenges while executing short-term objectives, all without exhausting the staff in the process.

So what’s behind Kotter’s curtain this time?

A dual operating system. It sounds excessive but, in reality, it’s not. Kotter argues this framework doesn’t require you to eliminate your current hierarchy but, rather, augment it with a more nimble companion that enables you to respond quickly and adeptly to the rapidly changing landscape around you.

The result is the best of both worlds—a reliable structure for core operations and its flexible equal that is responsive to urgency and innovation.

What does a dual operating system look like?

The actual features of a dual operating system are your traditional hierarchy on one side and “a network” on the other. The dual structure is dynamic: Initiatives coalesce and disband as needed. Since a management hierarchy is well-known in the nonprofit sector, Kotter focuses on how the network side works. It is similar to a start-up in that all people are working together toward a goal and with urgency. Kotter explains the network in this way: “Populated with a diagonal slice of employees from all across the organization and up and down its ranks, the network liberates information from silos and hierarchical layers and enables it to flow with far greater freedom and at accelerated speed.”

Who can best leverage this kind of dual system?

Kotter’s dual system helps mid-sized to large organizations get back to their early, nimble roots. Virtually all organizations begin with a network-like structure where founders are at the center and others operate at different nodes working on various initiatives. Individuals work quickly, responding to and seeking opportunity. Over time the organization evolves with the installation of managerial processes. This more mature organization is reliable and well-designed to produce results. However, one limit of this system is that it keeps going back to the same people to move key initiatives forward. In today’s demanding environment, this solution isn’t sustainable. That’s why the network is ideal for organizations that have traditional hierarchies and still want the benefits of a network-like structure. Similarly in World Cup matches, teams don’t go to the same players every time; they put in different specialists depending on what the situation demands.

If you think this is a glorified task force, Kotter answers why it’s not.

Question: We already use something like this sort of structure in the form of interdepartmental task forces, “tiger teams,” “self-managed work teams,” or the like. This is basically the same, right?

Kotter: These kinds of teams and task forces have some characteristics in common with a dual operating system, but overall the two are very different. Interdepartmental task forces and the like are controlled by, and work within, a single-system hierarchy. They are meant to supplement the 20th century organizational form to help it develop and execute new strategic and other initiatives in today’s environment.

The people who do the work on these teams are appointed (although sometimes the word “volunteer” is used, the reality is more like “volun-told”). Often they are directed by a project or program manager who is also appointed. Such teams rarely involve more than a few dozen people. They almost always go away after a set period of time. They usually use the standard management processes: creating plans and measurements, defining accountability, setting timelines, reporting progress on all plans and milestones regularly to those higher up in the hierarchy.

Under the right circumstances, these vehicles can be very useful. But in terms of the sheer energy and alignment needed to help you stay ahead of fierce competition in a turbulent world, there is no comparison between them and a dual system.

If you find yourself in a larger nonprofit that’s lost its ability to adapt or respond quickly to change, consider looking at Kotter’s book Accelerate. He not only explains how to build the framework without taxing the staff, but he also presents eight “Accelerators” that keep the network producing for you. Experiment with John Kotter’s dual operating system; you’ll have a fit and responsive team supporting your hierarchy in the field and playing as super subs when the competition gets tough. You don’t have to depend on the same people every time to get a variety of projects or initiatives done. Instead you can assemble a network that wins the match for you.

Read more:

A Sense of Urgency

Buy-In: Saving Your Good Ideas from Getting Shot Down

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Are your nonprofit decisions age-appropriate?

If you’ve ever cared for a child, you may have found yourself asking if something is age-appropriate. These days it feels like that question surfaces more often with how sophisticated caregiving has become. You no longer have your child join a club; your child has 25 different clubs for which s/he “can apply.” Your child simply can’t join the local team; your child has a dozen leagues with varying levels of competitiveness for which s/he can “try out.” You’re getting the idea and we haven’t even discussed entertainment, hobbies, summer camps, curriculum and schools yet. The list goes on and on. It’s just plain complicated sometimes.

Thankfully, I found the prospect of evaluating the maturity of nonprofits much easier thanks to John Brothers and Anne Sherman’s new book, Building Nonprofit Capacity: A Guide to Managing Change Through Organizational Lifecycles.

The decisions you make in all aspects of nonprofit management, including governance, planning, fundraising and marketing, are impacted by the maturity of your organization. Brothers and Sherman say the purpose of their book is to help nonprofits become stronger in their decision-making by using the organizational lifecycle continuum as a form of change management. The authors make a case for deliberately engaging in change management through understanding each phase of a nonprofit’s cycle so you can efficiently weather transitions.

One of the three models they refer to throughout the book is by Susan Kenny Stevens and builds upon the 1970s article written by Larry Greiner in the Harvard Business Review. Stevens wrote about lifecycles in the 1990s and then published a book on the topic in 2001, Nonprofit Lifecycles: Stage-Based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity.

The cycles include:

1)   Idea: “There is no organization, only an idea to form one.”

2)   Start-Up: “An organization that is in the beginning phase of operation.”

3)   Adolescent (or Growth): “An organization whose services are established in the marketplace but whose operations are not yet stabilized.”

4)   Mature: “An organization that is well established and operating smoothly.”

5)   Decline: “An organization that is operating smoothly but is beginning to lose market share.”

6)   Turnaround: “An organization that is losing money, is short of cash, and is in a state of crisis.”

7)   Terminal: “An organization that no longer has a reason to exist.”

 

In our CausePlanet interview, I asked the authors about the book’s relevance for new and seasoned nonprofits alike as well as about the value in revisiting certain stages.

CausePlanet: Will you revisit why this book is essential for start-ups, declining organizations and everyone in between?

Brothers

Brothers and Sherman: In this book, we tried to provide a framework that would offer something for any nonprofit, regardless of where it is in its lifecycle. The nonprofit sector in the U.S. is remarkably diverse, and of course there is no one-size-fits-all. However, there is a set of characteristics that applies to most, if not all, nonprofits: mission, vision, values and the imperative to maximize impact. Our goal in this book was to visit some of those core features at different lifecycle stages.

 

CausePlanet: Under what circumstances is it appropriate for seasoned organizations to go back to the basics (where mission, vision, values, etc. are formed)?

 

Sherman

Brothers and Sherman: One of the points we tried to make is that no organization should ever lose sight of the basics—mission, vision, values, program strategy. Just like it’s good to get your teeth cleaned or your car tuned up on a regular basis, nonprofit leaders are well-served by reviewing and assessing the core elements of their strategy. That said, sometimes a more intensive review or “step back” is warranted. Whenever there is reason to believe program effectiveness is at risk or there is a growing sense they are far removed from the comfort zone of their missions, a real look in the mirror is important. It’s often when that organization is assessing where it is that we find whether there will be positive forward momentum or it has not really confronted the image in the mirror and a decline begins.

Learn more about John Brothers at www.quidooconsulting.com, where he is the principal of his consulting firm, or Anne Sherman www.growthphilanthropy.org where she is the vice president of nonprofit strategy.

If you enjoyed this excerpt of our Page to Practice™ summary, find out more about our summary library and store or purchase the book.

Based on Stevens’ stages above, ask yourself in what phase your nonprofit exists and if you need to revisit the “start-up” phase.

CausePlanet members: Don’t forget to register for our live author interview with Tom Wolff on Thurs, August 22 to learn more about high-performance collaborations.

See other books about change management:

Buy-In: Saving Your Good Ideas From Getting Shot Down

Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change

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Naysayers, roadblocks, and ways forward: Building consensus around your fundraising plan

This was originally posted at FrontRangeSource.com.

Last week, Ann and I attended a great session of our Consultant Leadership Forum at the Denver Foundation. It’s a group of about 30 consultants – from a variety of backgrounds – who serve the nonprofit sector in our area.

We gather once every couple of months and our conversation generally centers around a particular book or article.  The sessions are curated by CausePlanet (and if you haven’t checked out their great site, it’s chock FULL of wonderful resources).

Last week we talked about the book Buy-In: Saving Your Good Ideas From Getting Shot Down by John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead.  It’s all about how you present your ideas and work them through to consensus.

Sound like something that fundraisers need to think about?  We’d say YES!

The best fundraising programs are constantly reinventing. While we always want to use best practice and learn from testing, we also need to look for new ways to engage and deepen our relationships with our donors.

But very rarely in a nonprofit organization are you able to implement fundraising ideas without generating consensus around them.  And as fundraisers if we don’t generate buy-in for our ideas, who gets the blame when they don’t work? We do.

And rightly so. Because if done properly, fundraising speaks volumes about the ethos, character, and potential of the organization.  A bad fundraising strategy can boomerang back to the whole organization and give it a black eye.  It needs to be properly vetted.

But generating buy-in for fundraising ideas doesn’t come easy.  To begin with, people are often skeptical at best, hostile at worst, about fundraising.  Add to that a few misconceptions and a dose of  “that’s too much work” and you’ve got yourself a big fat zero – the status quo.

In our practice, we work hard to build consensus around fundraising ideas.  We try to get as many people as possible to put ideas on the table.  And then we use our experience to craft a vision and strategy that is then taken back to various constituencies and we ask them to improve it, punch holes in it, make it better.

What we emerge with is a better, stronger, fundraising plan that everyone feels they own.

Along the way, we find that there are plenty of “naysayers” as the authors Kotter and Whitehead call them and they are the folks who can derail buy-in (generally unknowingly) through four strategies:

1.  Idea killer: This is when irrelevant facts are introduced that muddy the conversation enough so that people are bewildered and move away from the idea.

Roadblock: We see this most often when people who have been in an organization for a long time bring up something similar to the new idea that was tried before.  They can throw all kinds of information into the process about something that no one remembers and so can’t refute.

Way forward: If this happens, we try to “park” the past and encourage the group to go back to real data to draw lessons from what really happened.

2.  Death by delay: This is when people balk at new ideas because they seem like too much work.  It’s the “we have too much on our plate already” line of thinking.

Roadblock: This is a typical one in fundraising and nonprofit work.  We’ve all heard this, right?

Way forward: The way we deal with this tactic is to give people a magic wand: “What would it take for this to happen?”  “Let’s pretend we had all the resources and time in the world. How do rate that idea now?”

3.  Fear mongering: This is when something emotional is brought up in the conversation that stops movement and raises anxiety.   It’s basically pushing hot buttons.

Roadblock: We see this a lot in the form of “this other organization sent me something like this and I hated it” or “This won’t work, I never answer the telephone and no one else does either.”

Way forward: We actually do an exercise where we ask people to stand up and repeat after us, “We are not the donor”.  We encourage decision-making based on facts, numbers, and our own unique donor audience, not on how we feel about fundraising personally.

4.  Ridicule and character assassination: This is when someone plants doubting seeds about the person whose idea it is. “No one else does this” or “you don’t know that” are two variations on this theme.

Roadblock: This doesn’t seem to happen that often directly in our experience, but insidious comments (that you aren’t quite sure how to take) are common and ideas are much more readily accepted if it’s someone who is at the top of the organization than further down the ladder.

Way forward: This is why it’s so important to gather all different points of view.  The best ideas come from the front lines and the front desk.  The top doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas, so we make sure everyone is heard.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In our Consultant Leadership Forum session, we discussed the idea of actually putting these four roadblock behaviors up for discussion before we even begin any sort of process. Maybe if we started by naming them, we’d all be more conscious. So few of us are even aware that we are doing these things.

In fact, I KNOW that I have been guilty of a few myself!  How about you? Have you had any experiences with fundraising naysayers?  How did you work around it to build consensus?

See also:

Ideas we discussed during the session: CLF.PeerIdeasBuildingBuyIn.July18.2013

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Lead change, make it stick and get in on the big opportunity

Thirty years of research by leadership have proven that 70% of all major change efforts in organizations fail. Why do they fail? Because organizations often do not take the holistic approach required to see the change through.

However, by following “The 8 Step Process for Leading Change,” organizations can avoid failure and become adept at change. By improving their ability to change, organizations can increase their chances of success, both today and in the future. Without this ability to adapt continuously, organizations cannot thrive.

My years of research have proven that following “The 8-Step Process for Leading Change” will help your organization succeed.

 

Step 1: Establishing a Sense of Urgency

  • Examine market and competitive realities
  • Identify and discuss crises, potential crises or major opportunities

Step 2: Creating the Guiding Coalition

  • Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort
  • Encourage the group to work as a team

Step 3: Developing a Change Vision

  • Create a vision to help direct the change effort
  • Develop strategies for achieving that vision

Step 4: Communicating the Vision for Buy-in

  • Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies
  • Teach new behaviors by the example of the Guiding Coalition

Step 5: Empowering Broad-based Action

  • Remove obstacles to change
  • Change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision
  • Encourage the risk-taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions

Step 6: Generating Short-term Wins

  • Plan for visible performance improvements
  • Create those improvements
  • Recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements

Step 7: Never Letting Up

  • Use increased credibility to change systems, structures and policies that don’t fit the vision
  • Hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision
  • Reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents

Step 8: Incorporating Changes into the Culture

  • Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success
  • Develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession

One of the most common questions I hear in working with business leaders is, “Now that we’ve embarked on this transformation, how do I make sure these changes stick?” The answer is simple: keep at it. Cultural shifts happen in organizations when new behaviors are displayed, over and over again, to achieve results. Those new behaviors soon become the norm, and sustainable change begins to take hold.

In an interview with Kotter International Senior VP, Mike Evans, I discuss what it takes to make change stick. Here is a transcript of that interview.

Mike Evans:  John, the final step of the 8-Step Process for Leading Change is embedding the change into the culture into the organization. How do you make it stick?

John Kotter:  Well, you get it into the culture. That’s how you make it stick. But the way that happens is you get people to behave in a new way. You make sure it’s a smart new way so you get better results. You make sure that those results maintain themselves over time, not two months, which means people have got to continue to do it in the new way. What happens, I’m not sure why, ask the social anthropologist, but when people behave in a new way, it gets good results and it sustains itself for a while, it just kind of sinks into the DNA of the group, into the culture. Once it’s in there, that’s the anchor that helps things stick.

Mike Evans:  Here’s something that just shot into my thinking process: here is the example of Southwest with Herb Kelleher, the leadership team that built a culture that produced phenomenal business results, a great place to work, devoted, committed employees.

John Kotter:  Astonishing story.

Mike Evans:  Herb leaves, the leadership team leaves, and yet the culture remains the same.

John Kotter:  They drove enough of that totally changed, different way of running an airline, not just into behavior that was being driven by a single personality or behavior that went on for a year, got great yearly performance, the analysts were happy and let it slip away. Because they got it into the culture and the method again is get the people to behave in a way, get enough success, hold onto it enough and it automatically just kind of takes care of itself. It sounds too simple but human groups actually, that’s the way they behave.

Mike Evans:  I just recently had the experience with a client and the CEO asked the question, how will we know when this is in the culture? The response I provided to him was that you’ll know when you can leave and you know that your presence is no longer necessary to sustain that.

John Kotter:  Not a bad answer.

See also:

Leading Change

Buy-In: Saving Your Good Ideas from Getting Shot Down

A Sense of Urgency

www.kotterinternational.com

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We’ve been successful so why change?

How many times have you heard this phrase in the title or something similar to it? In this month’s Page to Practice book summary about Buy-In: Saving Your Good Ideas From Getting Shot Down by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead, we asked Kotter “If naysayers typically deploy four different attack tendencies such as death by delay or fear mongering, is it ever necessary to prepare for someone displaying multiple attack strategies or do people generally stick to one?” Here’s what Kotter had to say:

Kotter: Yes, it’s absolutely necessary to prepare for someone deploying multiple attack strategies. Naysayers most often do employ more than one tactic at the same time, as I mentioned before. The best way you can prepare for this is by becoming thoroughly familiar with the four basic strategies and the 24 generic questions and their responses, which will enable you to effectively address even the more complex combinations.

Take, for example, the attack, “We’ve never done it that way before.” I think this attack is a combination of numbers 1 (We’ve been successful, so why change?), 12 (If this is such a great idea, why hasn’t it been done already) and 20 (It won’t work here, because we’re so different). A smart response incorporates tactics that will diffuse all three. First, do not treat the people raising this attack as moronic for not seeing the need for change. Acknowledge their concern, but remind them that life evolves and to continue to succeed, we need to be open to adapting.

Second, remind your audience that someone has to try a new idea out for the first time, and if we are the innovative organization we claim to be, why shouldn’t it be us? Third, remind them that while your organization is unique, it’s not different from others that are seeking to change for the better. And incorporate a simple, specific example that your audience can relate to. More often than not you’ll face an attack like this – one that combines elements from several different attacks – so it’s important to understand how to respond most effectively.

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