Thursday, November 13, 2008

The picture we see below is a metaphor of what happens in every organization.

Many of us are pushing and pulling a wagon that is rolling on Squared wheels with a cargo of round wheels. Simply, the current systems and procedures and the like DO work, but they don't work smoothly. And inside the wagon are a wide variety of ideas about what can be done to make improvements.
One paradox is that people are too busy to stop and step back and see what is obvious to other observers. These others often include customers and other departments. (Abhi & I are included in this others too!)
Now, imagine that the pushers and pullers are asked to join a health club (Real Time Learning - RTL from Satyam School of Leadership - SSL) where they get workout schedules, dietary information and the like and that, after a few weeks of this intervention and support, they are healthier and stronger.

Building personal resources is what most of us do within our organizations. We work to develop people so that they are more competent, effective and productive
Now, imagine these same people go back to the workplace more empowered now to push and pull the wagon, but now with round wheels - The solutions were there all the time!!!
Thanks to all of you to make this as a wonderful experience!!!
Now, let's reflect on this question - Are we still pushing the wagon with Squared Wheels?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Made to Stick

Currently I am reading this book titled, 'Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die' by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that "stick" and explain sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier, such as violating schemas, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating "curiosity gaps."

The authors credit six key principles: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. (The initial letters spell out "success"—well, almost.) They illustrate these principles with a host of stories, some familiar (Kennedy's stirring call to "land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth" within a decade) and others very funny (Nora Ephron's anecdote of how her high school journalism teacher used a simple, embarrassing trick to teach her how not to "bury the lead"). Throughout the book, sidebars show how bland messages can be made intriguing. Fun to read and solidly researched, this book deserves a wide readership.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (ISBN 978-1-4000-6428-1) is a book by brothers Chip and Dan Heath published by Random House in 2007. The book continues the idea of "stickiness" popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, seeking to explain what makes an idea or concept memorable or interesting. A similar style to Gladwell's is used, with a number of stories and case studies followed by principles. The stories range from urban legends, such as the "Kidney Heist" in the introduction; to business stories, as with the story of Southwest Airlines, "the low price airline"; to inspirational, personal stories such as that of Floyd Lee, a passionate mess hall manager. Each chapter includes a section entitled "Clinic", in which the principles of the chapter are applied to a specific case study or idea to demonstrate the principle's application.The book's outline follows the acronym "SUCCES" (with the last s omitted). Each letter refers to a characteristic that can help make an idea "sticky":

  • Simple — find the core of any idea
  • Unexpected — grab people's attention by surprising them
  • Concrete — make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
  • Credibility — give an idea believability
  • Emotion — help people see the importance of an idea
  • Stories — empower people to use an idea through narrative

Chip Heath is a professor of organizational behavior at Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Dan Heath, a former researcher at Harvard, is a consultant and developer of innovative textbooks. They also write a regular feature for Fast Company magazine

The more I talk about it, the more I am convinced about the three step change process. During one of my Real Time Learning (RTL) sessions, (this happened in-the-moment without much preparation) I came out with three 'A's for successful habit formation:
1. Awareness
2. Acknowledgement
3. Action

If we need to bring about change 'collectively', we need to follow this 3 step method. i.e. create as much Awareness around that subject (the pros and cons) - generate enough 'data' from the system and validate with group every now and then before proceeding to the next step.

The next step is acknowledgement. i.e. gain acknowledgement from the group that in order to move from 'Current' to 'Desired' state, what are the things that we should 'Start', 'Stop' and 'Continue' doing? Again a series of validations from the group helps (sometimes individual leaders may play an important role here).

The final step is taking 'Action'. This calls for commitment from the top leaders and everyone in the system to make that desired change happen.

Then the set of questions,
1. "What support you may need to make this change happen?"
2. "What risks you foresee in this journey?"

3. "What investments are you are prepared and willing to make to see this happen?"

4. "By when you would accomplish this change?"

5. "What are your measures for successful completion of this journey?"

Thus a new successful habit is formed. I started liking the sound of this logic.

The more I elaborated on this, the more I am convinced. Maybe I would have read this somewhere in a different form.