More than half of all marriages end in divorce. 90% of all startups fail. Eight out of ten businesses won't make it past their tenth anniversary. If you work inside a large organization, you know well the enterprise stat that mirrors those depressing figures: only 20% of change initiatives accomplish their stated goals. Whatever transformation you're working on or toward, like the newlyweds next door or your pal with a killer app idea, you're far more likely to fail than succeed.
There are countless reasons for this. Think back to the initiatives you’ve seen fail, the ones that evaporated after a few weeks or months, forgotten as quickly as they emerged. Or consider the ones that have suffered a worse fate: those that succeeded just enough to get an idea circulating, but never produced results, and thus tainted the good idea they were seeking to promote — and triggering the requisite five-year waiting period before anyone could suggest the idea again. Chances are good that the reasons for the failure were numerous, and you could point to a dozen miscues, missteps, miscalculations. If you’re successful, you got most everything right: leadership alignment, grassroots support, the balance of incremental and revolutionary movement, process and structure support, incentives and behavior prompts. If you failed, you got an incalculable combination of any of those factors wrong.
So how do you get it right?
Spark > Shape > Scale > Sustain
Your first move is one you might not expect: a dedicated period of time in which we trigger employees’ sense of agency and self-determination. This opening series of actions corrects a common error: change initiatives are frequently experienced by employees as something happening to them. By the time you’ve run the Spark movement, change is something they want to make happen. We’ll help you avoid enforcing change, and craft early experiences that inspire it.
These Shape adjustments are tied closely to the Spark activities; we’ll monitor the engagement and responses to the triggers and build a feedback loop that recycles your team's discoveries, interests, and needs into the very structures they rely on. This process is seen a very human expression: the Spark activities also identify your change agents, peer leaders that are named as Advocates when you begin the Shape adjustments. Grass-roots leaders chosen for their engagement, talent, and ability to influence horizontally, these Advocates are early adopters of the small changes Shape introduces, and first movers within their teams.
Whether you’re leading change across a 70,000-employee global company or within a 30-person unit, the responses to and uses of the Shape changes will vary across individuals and teams. As we monitored Spark to inform Shape, we’ll monitor Shape to build shared practices and construct shared goals that emerge organically from within the application of the Shape. Think of Scale as the Kinetic Energy Recovery System of your team: all the energy created by Spark and Shape is captured and repurposed in emerging Standards of behavior, process, and output — the real change you were hoping for is now a part of the team’s functional and relational activities. We’ll compile the best practices and use cases for the structure, name and measure relevant process improvement, provide needed resources, modify organizational design, and layer in appropriate incentives. The Scale domain is where the steady march of your change initiative advances to a sprint. Where it moves from small adjustments to scalable institutional reality.
The experiences described above are supported by a disciplined and methodical capturing of information. We’ll help you learn how your employees feel about the change effort during every element, and use those learnings to inform each subsequent step, adjusting and iterating as we go. By the time we reach the Sustain movement, we will have learned not only how your employees are adopting new behaviors and how they’re integrating new approaches; we’ll also have discovered much about your team’s health, hopes, and needs. To sustain the change we’ve successfully launched and integrated, we’ll identify weak spots, name threats, and spotlight barriers to complete transformation. Then we’ll precisely deploy resources and recommend tactics to keep momentum, avoid commitment decline, and advance the change effort to permanence.
There are literally hundreds of ways we can make a change initiative come to life for you. One that will actually work. One that's customized for your specific strategy using a full suite of creative approaches and tools to get the job done.
Interested? Let's start a conversation.