The Death of Change – Part 1

who_killed_changeToday on The Bigg Success Show, we were happy to visit with John Britt. John is a partner with Mountjoy and Bressler, LLP where he helps organizations introduce change successfully. He is also one of the authors – along with Ken Blanchard, Judd Hoekstra and Pat Zigarni – of a great new book called Who Killed Change? Let’s get to the conversation …

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georgeThere’s nothing I like more than a good murder mystery. Now you may be wondering what that has to do with Bigg Success.

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marylynnThe book, Who Killed Change, is written as a murder mystery. John, could you do a quick set up for our audience?

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john brittWho Killed Change is a business parable murder mystery where Change gets murdered at ACME Organization. The detective – or you might say the Change Agent – spends the book interviewing the suspects. His lifelong work has been detecting Change murders. The thirteen major suspects are predictable – Vision, Urgency, Sponsorship, Budget, Communication, Culture – along with some minor suspects. At the end of the book, the detective gets all of the suspects together and announces who killed this specific Change.

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georgeOne of the things I love about this book, John, is the descriptions of the suspects themselves. For example, Ernest Urgency was late for the meeting with the detective.

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marylynn
I also loved that Victoria Vision had rose-colored glasses.

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john brittAs we wrote the book it changed somewhat. We actually had her alternating between rose-colored and Coke-bottle thick glasses. Sometimes that happens with Vision. Sometimes the person who has the vision for change has rose-colored glasses and doesn’t see the hard work that accompanies it. And then some people don’t see the vision at all. A healthy balance between those two, or maybe LASIK surgery, is the answer to that.

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marylynnAnother suspect is Pecs. He was on the Change Management Team. I thought it was funny – he had a bigg torso and bigg biceps, but then he had pencil legs so he couldn’t carry Change through.

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george
I picture that one character on Popeye. Was it Brutus?

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john brittIt’s a really good visual representation that happens in organizations sometimes. You have some of the key folks behind closed doors for three months getting ready for a change. They’re all built up; they’ve been working out so to speak. They’re all pumped up about it, but they really don’t work on the legs they need to carry the change out to the stakeholders. We describe stakeholders in the book in a non-traditional way. Most people think of stakeholders as people who have invested in something monetarily. We describe the stakeholders as the employees or those people we’re asking to make the change or that will be affected by the change. Organizations can do a better job of working on the legs so that we can carry that out to them and not just keep it in the corporate gym.

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georgeJohn, I have trouble changing my mind! So this was a really good book for me. We don’t want to give away the ending, but one of the things you did a really great job of explaining in the book is that change is circular. Would that be a good description? It’s very integrated. You have to get all the pieces altogether at once.

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john brittCircular is a good word. I might add that change is not a simple process. It’s not discreet. And it’s not linear. It’s really complex and dynamic. There are a number of key elements – or in our book, suspects –
that really have to work together in tandem to do things well and work together as a team to be able to make change effective. It’s interesting that up to seventy percent of organizational changes fail. Organizations put energy, resources, money, time and their hearts in these changes to only be successful thirty percent of the time. That’s okay if you’re playing baseball for the New York Yankees, but not in organizational life.

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georgeWe have a lot of small business owners in our audience. We think that small businesses are more nimble; maybe they can change more quickly. At the same time, when you look at all the hats that have to be worn – all the roles that have to be played – in order to make change work, you can see that it might be more difficult.

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john brittAbsolutely. Change is difficult for us as individuals. It gets more complex the more complex – the bigger – an organization is. But even for a business owner that has ten, twenty or fifty employees, working with and through people to ask them to abandon their habits and things that have been successful for them in the past, is a hard hat to wear no matter what size the organization is.

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Thank you so much for sharing some of your time with us today. Please join us next time when we continue our conversation with John. He’ll share the #1 reason change fails and how to prevent it. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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