Thoughts about a recent class on “Leading Change”

Last Thursday and Friday my team* went to a class on "Leading Change".  We took the class because our team is responsible for continuing the culture change toward a more customer connected future for the improvement of developer satisfaction within the developer division and shifts like that don't happen overnight without someone driving the change.  Trust me.

What I found most beneficial was the time spent working as a group through the exercises using the tools we were given.  For example: We were given time to brainstorm all of the reasons why a change was necessary, two minutes to present these reasons to the class, and then feedback from the other groups that were attending the same class. I found the feedback from 3rd party teams to be refreshing.  After being cut off for running over my allotted two minutes on why a change was needed it was clear that people couldn't "feel the fire" and sense the need for change.  I scored a 2.5/5.  What is so clear in your own head can become hard to convey if not properly thought out and organized.  After some re-work I think a convincing case could probably range in the 30 to 60 second mark. 

We also found that, for such a large change, we really needed to slice it into more manageable sections or else the enlightened vision, list of stakeholders, etc become to large and convoluted to make much progress. I'm personally excited that we'll be meeting again this week for three hours to refine the plan for change that we started in class.  I'll blog some of what we come up with. I know there is no perfect formula for change, but I think we all valued the time spent thinking about the problems in such a concentrated fashion. 

* "My team" is now called the "Community Connection Team" that is part of the "Developer Division Engineering Excellence Team".

Comments (6)
  1. GARRY says:

    Change it self -associated with computers- is a daunting task. Leading that change takes a lot of understanding of human personality. Putting the right tech on the right task without overwelming an individual with thier slice of the pie the pie to make. Our dream is to be able to work on making the light speed computer a reality. utilizing 3-5 v chip tech and emerging left hand materials. While most of the EXCELLENT tech I know are spread out across the country, we have still made substaintial progress on a shoestring budget.The reason for tecnological advancment-not including moors law- is self explanatory and at times very exciting and also at times very heavy and slow moving. While I’m no Albert Einstein, I believe all knowledge an the beginning of all great change begins with leadership of change.

  2. If the statements are shorter,the "readability" will be much better.

  3. josh ledgard says:

    Agreed, but you also have to make sure the spirit is maintained.

  4. Time limit is important. In a class I took a while back, they mentioned the cliche "10 second impression."

    I think this deffinitely applies to "change" and the need for max impact on an audience. People are inundated with so much data every minute, that in order for an idea to stick and be effective, the presentation needs to be concise and direct.

    Take a motto for instance… Dairy Queen, everyone who has watched 5 minutes of TV in their life knows the jingle; "Dairy Queen – We treat you right!"

    So as a consumer I am told 3 big things… its a dairy product that is the main invite, its a treat (having the word treat in there implies mulitiple meanings even on a subconcious level), and I’ll be treated "right". Whatever "right" means to the consumer its probably pleasurable and satisfying. So we infer that Dairy Queen in turn, will be pleasurable and satisfying.

    Basically, Dairy Queen’s one fragment of a sentence is direct and concise.

    changing your group’s name to "community connection" is a good idea, it’s like stating a motto upfront… "we’re trying to connect with our community here." Plus its done way under your 2 minute mark.

    "feeling the fire" can be as simple and complicated is just reaching out and wrangling your audience’s attention long enough to get your "motto" out. When I’m short on time and big on projects, the spirit is best maintained in light, even humorous jabs, direct, confident and concise. That’s the key to audience retention…. according the the experts writing the "10 second" impression books. πŸ™‚

    Good luck!

  5. josh ledgard says:

    Wow, great comments Jennifer! More stuff to keep in mind.

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