Just how immature are you?

Developing ‘Change Management Maturity’ is hard.

Probably because when you try to develop maturity of one competency in an organisation, you have to have a go at all of them together.

I had the opportunity to discuss this with the Canberra Community of Practice of  Change Managers, in Australia last week.  I have attached the presentation, which also contains the collective wisdom and experience of those who attended, with content gathered during the session.

CoP August 2015 – Change Management Maturity v2

CoP August 2015 – Change Management Maturity Notes

You will find the slideshare here: 

We also had an opportunity to pull apart a couple of change management frameworks, and discuss how we would develop a maturity development roadmap for an organisation – hopefully there is some learning outcomes in there that will help those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so, and some offerings from the ‘brains trust’ about some of the pot holes to avoid as they go along.

Using Yesterday’s Thinking, or OCM3.0

How do we not only get our thinking and engagement happening inwards, but more importantly, outwards?

Change practitioners are GREAT at discussing change management with other change managers – but what we, and our profession, suffer from (in my opinion) is the inability to discuss our professional practice with people who AREN’T change practitioners – including those whom we would seek contracts or ongoing work from. The initial challenge lies in just helping them understand how we want to help them achieve their goal, beyond some more ‘broadcast communication’ artefacts. Hell’s Bells, we still have problems defining what it is we do (in a consistent way that is universally understood) to those who would seek our services and support – and are not helped by our complementary disciplines of Project Management and ICT Architecture who describe us as either ‘communicators’ or ‘change control’ respectively. We are are more accurately described as multidisciplinary behavioural scientists, ‘experience’ engineers and architects – again, something that we find hard to agree on; the ‘alchemy’ and ‘Druidism’ continues to perpetuate itself, and we remain considered as ‘magicians’ and ‘quacks’ rather than deeply scientific practitioners.

Even the development of a body of knowledge for change management is almost counter-intuitive, if that body of knowledge focuses on process and documentation – where these are the refuge (and sadly, where the cash-cow) of the change-assassin, or change-by-documentation, snake oil salesperson.

Are we a victim of our own self-fulling prophesy as high-functioning documentarians and project-artifact-creators, or do we seek a higher altruism in the realm of ‘community management‘ (online or interpersonal) to participate and facilitate the rise of ‘strategic customer service’ as the new science and discipline of change management?

Is the co-creation and collaborative working with stakeholders helping to understand and remove blockers to something that is desired, of which models, tools and approaches are a small part, and in my experience, using yesterday’s thinking to solve today’s problems, rather than using tomorrow’s thinking to solve tomorrow’s problems?

My suggestion is: ‘social first’! In the age of many-to-one (or Web3.0), broadcast techniques, publishing and content management, and rehashed old tools, blind-sided by Intellectual Property rights cant be the solution, otherwise, we would be out of a job, because ‘the problem’ would already be ‘solved’.  So, lets look at why it isnt solved (and lets face it, every report or survey lately shows how many projects or changes fail because of blah, blah, blah…).

Skin in the game? You will often hear that permanent staff feel that contractors or consultants have lower care-factor – I have commented about this very thing before. You will find that those who want to get repeat work have very high care factor, and LOTS of skin in the game – you are only remembered for the last thing to did – so you better make sure it was good!

Getting Jacked in

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Or: How to be part of the future, when living in the technological past:

So, welcome to the 20th century. Dont I mean, the 21st century? Nooo… I currently live outside of the city limits. This poses some problems, most of which revolve around ‘patience’.

Patience to wait for tradespeople

Patience to wait for news

Patience to wait for visitors

Patience to wait for technology.

Its a virtue. I’m told.

At times like these, my mind considers a 12-step program, but then, I don’t have the patience for more than 3 or 4 steps. Got anything shorter?

When and how did I become an instant gratification monster? As a Milenial I shouldnt have this driving need; I should be happy with Betacord, Cassette tapes, ‘life before the interwebs‘, landline phones, travelling to the corner store for some bread and milk, and stopping for a chat with the woman in the pet store, who asks after my dogs (which she names in order of age), and enjoying a coffee, sitting on the porch watching my horses feed.

So, why the guilt? Why do I feel somehow ‘less’ without something smart or ‘i” in the palm of my hand or lap? Why do I nurse technology to see just how far from the house I can walk before the wifi starts to fade – why am I considering getting a more powerful wifi modem? Do I really intend to watch TED Lectures from the stables, and hook up wireless, wifi, infra-red cameras (which I will barely check) on the boundary fences and select paddocks? I live in the country – why am I so suspicious of my neighbours with the attack-dogs (one with only three legs)?

Is this particular post, an ironic, oxymoronic attempt to seek absolution for my technical guilt, when I thought that I had put all that ‘confessional farce‘ behind me years ago?

I wonder, in today’s age, why it takes:
*more than 15 hours of telephone complaints (resolved by 1 online complaint to the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman)
*10 hours of telephone technical support
*repeatedly refusing offers of mobile connectivity (there IS no mobile reception here, why do you keep offering it to me when you KNOW your own provider doesn’t provide reception here?!?)

to feed the obsession that I feel I *should* have to get reconnected, when I have a sublime coffee in my hand, and an Australian Shepherd who keeps bringing me a ball to throw?

Shouldn’t I remember life back in the dark ages (or am I thinking of the FUTURE Digital Dark Age?) when there was no personal or professional digital identify – or at least, there will be no discernible distinction between a personal and digital identity, in a Technology Singularity, post-human world? Does this still make me human, or am I transitioning to a higher state?

Instead, I seek to get my family ‘hooked’ – I am so concerned with perpetuating the ‘digital virus‘ at home and at work: I ‘drop round’ to make sure my mother’s wifi works at optimal speed, ensuring the laptop and iDevice that I got her has constant connection; that everything is ‘virus free’ (who would want to plant a data virus on my mother’s ‘Smurfs’ app usage?); I make sure that my FaceTime and Skype connections to my father are working; I video chat with my niece on her birthday; I facebook my cousin while she is in the waiting room, while her son is in surgery in a hospital.

I wonder if I should be feeling some sort of guilt about secondary and tertiary bullying to ensure that my 90-year old grandparents become hooked; and that we can all participate in digital e-Health (lightyears before the government) so that my grandfather can videochat with any of his 8 children, 47 grandchildren and exponentially increasing great-grandchildren and 5th generation offspring with his third generation iDevice tablet and 5th generation smart phone, if he or my grandmother become unwell? It seems that we trust our private family technology network before we trust the phone to call an ambulance!

And yet, we still insist on printing documents at work.

In thinking about this, making the choice to quit my last job when my boss didn’t trust the technology that he had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in ensuring existed to facilitate virtual connectivity and productivity, because he wanted me to remain geographically located with him, instead of with my stakeholders, doesn’t seem like such a bad decision. Except when I am interrupted checking my email, on the way to getting milk and bread by the pet store owner, asking after my dogs.

However, this seems to be a common bullying tactic by dinosaurs to remain surrounded by their food, in their lair – the resistance to allow employees to actually use the technology that they spend 15 hours per day designing, planning, installing, training and patting each other on the back for achieving would seem significant. Have *I* failed in implementing the change management plan which gives my former boss the comfort to evolve, or did we reach the limit of his genetic, professional predisposition to transition into the universe he chose to create (over spending time with his family)? Was I really seeking to ‘un-plug’ myself, create a digital sabotage event and identity schism between my actual and digital personalities; to create a scenario where I would not be able to reconcile with my digital self in a healthy multiple-personality disenfranchise, breaking the cycle of personal violence between my actual and digital self; seeking some solitude, a good coffee and a pat for the dog?

What would you miss? Asking my grandmother of 92 years, of all today’s ‘mod-cons‘ (many of which I could not possibly do without), which does she think she could not bear to part with? Every time, she says, without hesitation and a wry smile: ‘Running water’.

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