Leading Perpetual Change: Flawless Execution and Change Management

Written by:
Afterburner Team

Change Management in a World of Constant Change

Today, the rate of change is overwhelming. An endless line of scholars and business leaders have lamented the turbulent age we live in and a few, like John Kotter, have given us a powerful theoretical structure of change management for leading organizations. But, somewhere in the past decade or so, a line was crossed. That hazy, imperceptibly vague line separated a past world that changed in fits and starts from the world we live in now: a world of constant, relentless and disruptive change.

The prescription for the detailed implementation for Kotter’s theoretical outline is the Flawless Execution® methodology. Theories are great. They provide a mental model to interpret our world. But, they rarely provide detailed, process-oriented guidance – the specific details that people need to take action on a daily basis.

In Kotter book “Accelerate”, he proposes that organizations adopt a dual system; a “left” side that maintains the effectiveness of hierarchy and specialized function, and another “right” side of networked individuals perpetually focused on change and adaptation. The value of Flawless Execution is that the iterative ‘loop’ or process that it prescribes enables agility and adaptability for Kotter’s “right” side while simultaneously enabling continuous process improvement on the hierarchical “left”.

Continuous Process Improvement Strategies to Implement

Building a positive vision around opportunities that exist are more effective in energizing people than focusing on the negative burning platform of ‘change or die’. But opportunities are often difficult to identify. So, Flawless Execution utilizes nominal group aggregation techniques (brainstorming observations at the individual level followed by group discussion and assimilation) around a disciplined process to build Situational Awareness. To achieve continuous process improvement, especially during times of change leadership, you must implement the following strategies:

  • Develop a self-similar process that iterates at the highest strategic levels almost exactly as it does at the day-to-day operational and task-oriented levels of the organization.
  • Collaborate as a leadership team to develop situational awareness, create vision, and then communicate that vision in the form of leader’s intent. The concept of leader’s intent is critical to empowering others to act on the vision.
  • Form a powerful guiding coalition that builds situational awareness and engages in the planning process in a collaborative way that includes not just the leaders of the organization, but specialists and representatives from middle management and front-line leadership.
  • Create a vision of the future. Flawless Execution calls its notion of vision a High Definition Destination℠ (HDD). Creation of an HDD requires a collaborative team to describe leader’s intent in a minimum of 5 key areas with the option to select from several dozen more specific aspects of each of the key areas to provide the high definition needed.

Put a Process Improvement Plan in Place

Flawless Execution constructs strategy as intent, and continually tests its validity through iterative cycles. If the strategy fails, it is changed or altered. The iterative Flawless Execution Cycle consolidates team, organizational, and even process improvement plans by addressing root causes. By identifying root causes, the team can pivot and iterate in order to battle complexity with simplicity. The Flawless Execution methodology becomes the functional mental model for leading change and improving every day.

 

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