Thursday, January 28, 2021

Seeing is Believing – Colm Hyland, CJH Networks

There are three barriers inhibiting people from making changes to their behaviour: a failure to see, a failure to move and the failure to finish. Discuss...

To change to organisation - first change the individual

I was reading the Black and Gregersen book: ‘To Change the Organization, First Change the Individual’. The author suggests that there are three barriers to change;

  1. Failure to See
  2. Failure to Move
  3. Failure to Finish

A while ago, I witnessed the meeting of minds of two different management styles and a great outcome for the organisation.

The boss is a Visionary and an Entrepreneur who normally sees further than most of us and has no problem following up quickly and effectively. He is surrounded by good people who are there to ensure the opportunity completes properly: he openly recognises that as someone who likes to start projects, he is not the best at finishing them.

The manager is one of the best operations people I have ever met: a great believer in data and processes, making him an effective foil for the his boss, the Entrepreneur. The operations manager prepared beautifully for the meeting, itemising the risks and rewards of the plan under review. However, he included a personal appeal to the boss to address flaws in th eplan: a real risk that could have had serious consequences.

When an energetic Entrepreneur is told that his plan does not have the full backing of the management team he can do a number of things: explode, threaten to sack everybody or listen. In this case, the boss listened.

This sounds a bit religious but, once he heard what was being said, the scales were lifted and the boss saw he light. The failure to see had blinded him to a number of things: how serious and competent his managers were and the existence of several flaws in his plan. He had not seen because of his enthusiasm to move and of course, be the hero. The single mindedness and drive that Entrepreneurs have can blinker them from the facts.

The boss needs to be given great credit, in that he overcame his failure to see and asked for help the next day. The Black and Gregersen book recounts the sad tale of individuals who cannot see and do not have managers who can, or feel able to, confront them. This inertia can halt change, meaning good companies may regress rather than progress. Since the boss has opened his eyes to the facts, things have progressed at speed the operations manager has been promoted, the plan has been changed, not destroyed. Amazingly several long, standing issues have been addressed and finished.

There is new energy in the management team and an affirmation that facts permit critical thinking and create better decision making.