Don't fall victim to "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - Be the change

Have you ever imagined how our ancestors built Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids without the tools and technology that are available to us today? Now imagine today’s world without the internet, smart phones and technology. What do you see? I see that there have been generations before us and there will be generations after us which will develop ways to survive, excel, and perish. One thing that is constant is change. Most of the organizations today acknowledge that change is good and have discussed it in great detail; however, but fall short in realizing the change.

Change is an absolute truth. No one can agree with this more than organizations in today’s cut-throat competition, where constant change is the norm for their survival. Organizations which are slow to respond to change or resist change are on the verge of being obsolete. They need to change for various reasons such as external competition, market pressure, performance issues, changing workplace demographics, globalization etc. Organizations which invest in proactively responding to change are more likely to not only survive or but also emerge as leaders, creating new markets which never existed before. When organizations are successful, they become complacent and continue to do what worked, but in doing so you keep getting what you were getting; where is the growth in that? The main reason for organizations to resist change is in their mindset; change is perceived as negative or with skepticism. How many times have we heard the phrase “if it ain't broke, don't fix it.” Many organizations have fallen victim to this mindset and have become extinct.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

Introduction -- 5 min.

Understanding change  -- 5 min

People, Process and Technology - 5 min

The 5 R's  -- 5 min

Systems thinking  -- 5 min

A Federal Agency Case Study - Successfully driving change -- 10 min.

Wrap Up/Questions -- 10 min.

Learning Outcome

In this session we will discuss why organizations fail to realize change and how can they leverage on using people, process and technology as a collective change agents as opposed to viewing them separately for realizing change. We will delve into how to build the systems thinking view of the complete organization in relation to its environment.

We will also share lesson learned in successfully driving change in a federal agency with Agile & DevOps initiatives.

Target Audience

Any IT and Business personnel who embrace change

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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  • Wayne Lott
    By Wayne Lott  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Very interesting topic, especially since allowing change and being able to respond to it quickly is what I see as one of the greatest advantages of Agile.  Change should be smart and accepted by most in an organization in order for it to be successful.  Change is also learning - being able to adapt quickly to a new market, software change,  crisis, etc.  There are new skills needed by leaders within an organization to encourage, promote and reward change, even if the change is not successful.  Have you thought about how Organizations and managers need to lead to encourage and promote change?

    • Rupesh Kumar
      By Rupesh Kumar  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Wayne,

      Thank you for your feedback!

      Here is an excerpt of my comment made earlier which will help answer your question on "how organizations and managers need to lead to encourage and promote change".

      Organization or software don't change unless the people who are part of it drive change. Based on my experience here are few tips on understanding what is needed for change and I intend to share at the conference presentation if selected.

      1. Have a clear vision of change and use S.M.A.R.T goals and clear communication strategy to be able to answer "what is it in for me?" questions.
      2. Most common ingredient in failed change efforts is that the people championing the change are resistant to accepting change based on others contrary views. 
      3. Also, Organization is primarily made of people and you will always find some who proactively respond to change, some who react to change, some who resist change and as a champion of change, the key is to respect everyone's point of view and understand their reasons which will help in onboarding them to the change journey.

      Hope it helps.

  • Michael Apekey
    By Michael Apekey  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    This is interesting and I think one question we can ask is; why do companies introduce change in the first place? To meet regulatory requirements or process improvement. Rupesh, what happens if the leadership of the organization is pushing the change hard enough?

    • Rupesh Kumar
      By Rupesh Kumar  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Mike,

      Thank you for your interest. 

      Companies introduce change to be relevant in the competitive world. The key to a successful change is for the leadership to understand that there is a fine line between pushing change vs. driving change within an organization.

      Based on my experience one of the effective strategy to drive change within organization is to make the people feel empowered in planning and execution of strategic vision. Uncertainty or surprise can lead to failure of change or worse if forced upon by the leadership team it tends to snap back like a rubber band.

      Care should be taken by the leaders to hone-in on being system thinkers to recognize that the performance of the organization is not the sum of its parts but the product of the interaction of those parts and also understanding that today's organization is part of a bigger ecosystem and any failure can lead to ripple effects within and outside the organization.

       

       

       

  • Bob P. George
    By Bob P. George  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    I do agree to the perspective presented here by the author. But change for the sake of change can be very harmful also. There are numerous examples of software which went from popular to downright deplorable due to the unnecessary changes made to it. This might be the prime reason why "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality caught on. There is also the reluctance of many end users to accept change, which leads to a lot of negativity and bad publicity after some change has been incorporated. Thus I guess that change is necessary but sudden or radical change is not very advisable.

    • Rupesh Kumar
      By Rupesh Kumar  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for your feedback. I completely agree with your viewpoint that sudden, radical and unnecessary changes are not advisable nor recommended.

      There is a continuum between "doing things differently (incremental change) to "doing different things (radical change) and this journey cannot happen without taking the first step. Now, one might argue why is this journey even important? The reason being that change is the universal law and that's the only constant. Even the nature provides such a great lesson on change that "It’s not the strongest species that survive, or the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change."

      Organization or software don't change unless the people who are part of it drive change. Based on my experience here are few tips on understanding what is needed for change and I intend to share at the conference presentation if selected.

      1. Have a clear vision of change and use S.M.A.R.T goals and clear communication strategy to be able to answer "what is it in for me?" questions.
      2. Most common ingredient in failed change efforts is that the people championing the change are resistant to accepting change based on others contrary views. 
      3. Also, Organization is primarily made of people and you will always find some who proactively respond to change, some who react to change, some who resist change and as a champion of change, the key is to respect everyone's point of view and understand their reasons which will help in onboarding them to the change journey.

       

       

  • Kevin Hillock
    By Kevin Hillock  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Sounds interesting. How would you handle employees reluctantly to push forward with innovative ideas when management has a perceived or factual history of attitudes that retard original thought?  Whom do you educate first? How do you go about educating upper management when an individual is claiming "expert knowledge" in an area and is resistant to change when the managers have no understanding in the area of concern? Whom do the managers believe, the new guy or the established guy? Perceived ownership of an idea or process can make for a extremely defensive minded individual especially if they feel they are losing a grasp on new technology.

    • Rupesh Kumar
      By Rupesh Kumar  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your question!.

      Have we all not experience this in our life were someone come up with an innovative way of doing things but it gets shot down by the upper management on a pretext that it is too risky or "thats not the way we do things around here".

      Mahatma Gandhi once said "Be the change you want to see in the world" but we have also heard that "a known devil is better than an unknown angel" so how do we bridge this gap. The effective strategy as you rightly articulated is "Education" which needs to happen at all levels. I will discuss some of the proven techniques which can adopted to bridge this gap.

      Thanks

      Rupesh Kumar


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