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Reengineering Leadership
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Lean Manufacturing, Basics, Principles, Techniques

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Prepare to Change: Culture, History, and Resistance

The next set of three in this phase deals with the culture, history, and resistance aspects of the model. All projects exist within an enterprise's culture (sometimes more than one culture) and share the collective enterprise history of success or failure with similar projects. The cul­ture and history combined with fundamental target concerns and fears create a climate of resistance. Unlike facing the Borg in a Star Trek episode, resistance is not futile. Resistance (both active and passive) can drain the life out of a project. Resistance will keep the project from reaching the highest level of development. It prevents true ownership. However, resistance is normal. It is a reaction to change. Resistance is part of our "hard-wired response." It needs to be managed.

Plan the Change: The Three Systems

During this phase, three critical change systems are used to help the project implementation: the communication system, the learning sys­tem, and the rewards and reinforcement system. The systems are de­signed and applied to the project to provide safety nets for the targets and reduce risk. Let's review each system.

The communication system is not designed around the traditional communication activities found in an organization. It has a different focus. It is intended to create an effective information flow and safe feedback loop within the project structure. This will include executive sponsors, the steering committee, project management, project team members, and the enterprise as a whole. The communication system delivers the messages about the change at the right time during the implementation and after. It normally consists of three major compo­nents, the life cycle communications plan, the implementation plan, and the post-implementation plan. The role of the sponsor and the spon­sor messages is well defined for each aspect of the communications system.

The learning system defines the path that will be followed to pro­vide all involved with the necessary skills, knowledge, and behaviors needed to be successful within the delta and those that will be needed for active participation within the enterprise when the organization is in the desired state. The learning system is a long-term development plan for individuals and the organization. It answers immediate ques­tions about what is needed to complete the change and also what will be needed to maintain and extend the desired state. The learning sys­tem also set up a learning environment that will allow individuals a safe place to grow and change from their experiences.

The rewards and reinforcement system describes the plan that will ensure that the individuals in the organization are provided with the appropriate rewards based upon the tasks ahead, the new skills and knowledge they will employ, and the career risk they are taking to reach the desired state. An ongoing plan should be in place to deliver the appropriate reinforcements based upon team and individual perfor­mance against known milestones. The rewards and reinforcements are not necessarily monetary, nor are they all pizza or t-shirts. A balance should be reached.


Leadership may be considered as the intersection of three aspects: the leader, the follower, and the situation. Using the managed change model,the leader is the sponsor. As we said above, there are two forms of sponsorship: authorizing and reinforcing. The positional relationship identifies the type of sponsorship. The followers are all the individuals involved in the change: the change agents and targets. The situation is the change process itself. Although the role of leader in this construct is directed by the organization, the strength of the leader will be im­pacted by the trust given by the follower and the state of the change. Ford's learning approach using a multifaceted and highly interactive curriculum provides the learning opportunities for the targets. The use of "teachable points of view "provides the leadership with an engaging approach to change.

Noel Tichy describes the teachable point of view as "a written ex­planation of what a person knows and believes about what it takes to succeed in his or her own business as well as in business generally." Creating the teachable points of view is an intensive and time-consum­ing process. Once completed the leader teaches the next level. The next level teaches the next level until the management cascade under­stands as one. This is a powerful method to present the business case concerning the change.


Noel Tichy comments that there are three main reasons the teach­able point of view works so well in change situations.

1.        The act of creating and testing a teachable point of view makes
people better leaders.

2.        The cascading learning provides a powerful multiplier effect.

3.        It expedites the leader's capability to develop people.

To Be Continued


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