Some Clarification on (SMART)x Game Changers

Yesterday I posted an article about the (SMART)x Games Changers seminars James L. Salmon is presenting in 2013. Some of you were overwhelmed by James' list of acronyms. He realized he overwhelmed most of you so he posted a quick definition of the (CM)x. CM = Change Management. the ()x part is the multiple parallel meanings CM has in the realm of Change Management. Here's the image he uses to explain this.

As you can see there are a number of other applications of the letters C and M which applies to Change Management.

NoSilos.com supports this thinking and is a sponsor of the Game Changers seminars James will be presenting.


Collaborative Construction Sponsors (SMART)x Game Changers in 2013

Our sister blog site hosted and written by James L. Salmon is upping the ante again. The efforts from our work at Strings, Connections and Links as well as the new site www.NoSilos.com are working together to support James' launch of the (SMART)x Game Changer series in 2013. This is going to be an interesting series of presentations and engaging conversations about how you can be involved in promoting permanent change in your organization, the projects you deliver and the evolution of services provided by the AEC industry.


How will I get my Twinkie Fix Now?. Part 6 - Chaos and Failure

Hostess officially announced they are shutting their doors. There is a crisis looming in the software world. How will the coders we feed pizza, Twinkies, Coke and energy drinks survive? They will now have an unbalanced diet. What's a software Project Manager to do?. For that matter, what will we do while watching football, baseball, or have for that afternoon pick-me-up? I'm going to miss my Twinkie, Ding-Dong, and Ho-Ho's. I really do love frozen Ding-Dongs in the summer. Chocolate, cold and tasty, what's not to like? But it's true the Hostess company is calling it quits after roughly one hundred years of existence.

The recent changes in culinary tastes have been the final nails in a coffin housing a continental baking giant of our culture. All because they failed to meet the market demand. They failed largely, because they failed incrementally, in small ways, hardly noticeable to those in the company, much like the frog being boiled alive in a warm pot of water. It feels so good, until it's too late.

I have attached a link to the AP article by J. M. Hirsch, one of their food editors and I suggest you take a few minutes to be cajoled and entertained while being informed. But the issue here really isn't that I won't be able to get the gut-busting calorie-charged Twinkie, it's that a perfectly good company will go out of existence, throwing 18,500 folks out of jobs, all because, a few knuckle-headed owners, managers and labor leaders were blissful frogs in a warm pot of change. I'm not here to lay blame and any single set of feet, all have some responsibility to bear in this debacle.

Chaos in markets is a bear. It is messy, confusing, hard to think about and even can make your head hurt. But that is no excuse for those in the wheelhouse of Ownership to to quit thinking and just give in. This isn't something that just happened. Hostess brands have been steadily declining over the past five years, but looking at the brand and products released in the past few years, does nothing to inspire confidence. No real change in Hostess or Wonder white bread for the past 20 years. No image makeover to bring the hearty full grain goodness to Hostess brands, anywhere. The image of a highly processed food products company, never responding to the changing perceptions of new mothers and fathers concerned about gluten intake, high fructose corn products and industrial dyes being ingested by their little darlings.

Why no change? I'm not sure. I haven't been invited to look at the insides of Hostess, but by outward appearance they were stuck on digging a hole with a "Stupid Stick" as a friend of mine so eloquently puts it. They just kept on digging, without knowing why or when it was time to stop. They knew how to dig, it was comfortable, it had worked in the past, why not now? They hadn't noticed that the stuff they were digging in had changed from easy loam to hard rock. They continued to use shovels when they needed air hammers or a little blasting powder.

So if you find yourself digging and it seems you are working much harder than before, maybe it's time to put down the " Stupid Stick" you have in your hand, crawl out of your comfortable hole and look around. You might find you are digging in the wrong hole. You might find you will need new tools to dig your new hole. (That is if your business is digging holes.) The important thing is to interrupt what you are doing and look around, look hard and long and see if there is something you need to change, then leave the old behind and embrace the new and move ahead.

Do it together. No single person can survive in this mad, mad, mad world we live in today. One final reminder, 'Collaboration is the Glue of Success."

This is a continuing series of articles on the current change and chaos our business work world is experiencing. How we can navigate the treacherous waters and succeed when we are observant, open minded and innovative.


Chaos & Change - Part 5 -HR. Part of the problem...

I admit it. I have a permanent negative bias for HR departments. They should be part of the solution, but they aren't. They are controlling where they need to be open. They are obstructionists where they should be enabling. They are restrictive where they should be expansive.

This post is one of a continuing series on the factors I see contributing to the debilitating chaos and waste in our working lives, no matter if in the private, public or non-profit worlds. Waste is a terrible thing to endure. If our organizations are to be effective in the 21st century, pervasive change needs to occur. For the start of the series see "Part 1-Chaos and Failure are Brothers" and continue through the series. I think you will find something which hits home for you and your organization. At that point it is up to you to start affecting the change needed in your world-take responsibility, move ahead.

In a recent blog post by Mike Cook entitled, "Is SHRM Fiddling While HR Goes Down in Flames?" he asks some really good questions about the current mindset of HR departments.
"In the course of my work I have many occasions to address local gatherings of HR professionals and am confounded by the lack of urgency I see towards the development of what seems to me the number one issue facing organizations, significantly improved capabilities in the acquisition, development and retention of the necessary talent for the business they are a part of."
I agree wholeheartedly with Mike. What is going on with HR in general? Have they been asleep in their little cocoons for the last 5 years? Have they even seen the transformations taking place in their companies which reward exploration, innovation and multidisciplinary involvement? Apparently not. While their house is burning, they continue to fiddle the tunes of the 1990's and have seemingly missed the 21st century transformations since 2006.

The chaos they contribute to an organization adds to the "Stupid Index" (my interpretation) of their companies they are supposed to be serving. Instead of contributing, they are distracting and compartmentalizing the efforts of their constituents they are called to serve. If I sound like I'm on a ran, I guess I am. I loathe the continued waste on the scale HR groups usually contribute to a company, when they could be a strategic contributor, rather than a tactical obstacle. Apparently those who know this subject much better than I and have recently reported their findings which supports the real life experiences I've had with HR groups. Both the Boston Consulting group and McKinsey are respected companies who measure their findings and support their positions with hard research.

When they find little or no change in HR departments over the past five years in meeting the changing market conditions of the organizations they supposedly serve, it supports the continuing mountain of evidence building that today's organizations are in dire need to shed old and ineffective action and thinking and replace it with more agile and responsive organizations. Permanent Change Management is needed, now.

My thanks to Mike for writing such a revealing and on point post. Hopefully, some CEOs and HR directors will awaken to the burning timbers around them, get the fire out and rebuild a new house which is really a responsive representative of their constituent stakeholders.

This is a continuing series of articles as a Connection about Chaos and Change Management in the workplace. Other ideas here include Lean, Agile and Management 2.0 management theory as applied to complex or wicked problems. 


The Changing Culture in IT

Recently The Gartner Group published a study reviewing the changes in perception of IT groups in companies. Apparently, IT groups and specifically CIO's are beginning to catch on that they aren't there to run a trouble ticket service and keep the protection walls up, but should be business enablers.

Gartner identified four possible new futures for enterprise IT organizations.

1. IT as a Global Service Provider
This future looks more like IT is a company within a company. Run with it's own charter delivering IT services and business process management as a centralized effort. No longer does this IT organization run itself as a cost center, but takes on a marketing perspective and seeks out new clients to 'buy' their services which deliver real value throughout the entire organization. This organization realizes it is competing with outsourcing activities to remain relevant to the company it serves.
2. IT as the Engine Room
Another future looks like IT as an enabler of assets which it is constantly growing within. Again this organization is proactive in seeking out new opportunities to deliver value to the business both at the department and enterprise levels. This future looks at finding ways to deliver as much or more for less while responding to ever changing business needs.
3. IT “is” the Business
This future is an extension of the host business where information and knowledge is the real business. In this case the business is an example of what the business is. It's taking the delivery of what you sell and apply it directly to your own business. Focus on information flow which spawns innovation throughout a value chain instead of supporting the typical services found in most companies.
4. Everyone’s IT
Now we get to the new radical paradigm. And this one is a real shift in thinking. "Loose the dogs of data," is the mantra of this IT organization. Enable everyone in the company to use information and technology. Take a very proactive and investigative attitude about how information and technology creates advantage for the company. More importantly Data is the focus, technology is only an enabler. This is a bit of anarchy since now the IT is diffused throughout the entire organization and not centralized as an activity. New champions will arise to take leadership roles which formerly were seen the exclusive realm of the IT gurus. Only the more mature organizations will likely see the advantages of this collaborative, open and horizontal deployment of IT so most likely it will be the model of newer companies or collectives.

According to John Mahoney, vice president and analyst at Gartner, this new breed of CIO will set the stage for these futures, defining their new roles and identifying the charter of their new organizations. To ensure adoption these CIOs will need to involve the rest of the senior team and IT stakeholders for this kind of change will set a new direction for the entire company.

I have my suspicions that if this forth option were looked at as a possible model for other senior responsibilities, real interdisciplinary activity would take hold and then those companies adopting this new model will find themselves outpacing all others in their market segments. Certainly, this is a model of hybrid thinking and looking at solving complex problems the new millennium companies will need to address.