Tag Archives: work climate

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The Change Field: Separating the wheat from the chaff

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Working in the field of adaptive change means that one has to consistently assimilate new information and adjust strategies accordingly. To some the very idea that concepts and approaches are fluid because of our hyper-evolving business landscape is terrifying. But for me, it’s business as usual and I love the challenge.

Avoid Snake Oil Salesmen

I work with clients who are committed to real change. They want to make their organisations profitable, now and into the future. It’s something a lot of organisations say they want in theory, but are scared off by the work involved. So obviously the market has responded with numerous off-the-shelf change solutions that are easy to implement but can actually cause significant long term harm to the organisation they purport to help.

People want to achieve big results for as little effort as they can. It’s human nature.  But this has resulted in simple solutions that may seem like the real thing – but only in the way fast food smells better than it tastes.

The bottom line is there are no shortcuts to making successful organisational change at the deepest level. And anyone who claims otherwise is either lying to their clients or to themselves. Change is work and it requires commitment. You can always lose a few pounds to fit into a bathing suit for a week in the sun. But it takes real lifestyle changes for those pounds to stay off once you get back to your real life.

Those few pounds may give you the illusion of fitness, but it’s not real. I understand the allure of easy solutions to managers on a budget who want to be aligned with the change brand and can shed a bit of weight in time for their next quarterly update.

Some don’t really want real change in the first place and even the failure of a look-a-like change program provides the temporary illusion of effort.  They tried – a good optic for them – and that it failed – an out that allows them to avoid actual change.

This is where Lloyd Parry comes in. Our organisational change doesn’t come in a box. There aren’t a series of specific steps to follow to bring change to your organisation. Real change is like a bespoke suit. We institute change in organisations by using Climetrics to assess work culture and then crafting a change process based on what we find.

To learn how Lloyd Parry can bring real change to your organisation, please be in touch.


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Talking about Adaptive Design in New York

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On February 23rd, I’ll be in New York City engaging in one of my favourite professional activities: speaking with and to my colleagues in the change management world. It’s always interesting to hear the divergent, and sometimes conflicting, viewpoints around management theory and implementation.

The Business Agility 2017 conference on February 23 – 24 will be an opportunity for me to speak about radical organisational change, specifically shifting the culture of a company from an industrial one towards an Adaptive Design.

This is a fundamental but crucial shift, bridging adaptive teamwork in organisations with a management model that is built to support it. That this results in greater profitability is a given, but it also allows an organisation to respond quickly to rapid changes in the marketplace and to smaller, more nimble competitors.

My involvement is with the Agile Organisational Design part of the day. I will speak to workplace design, and job design as it relates to decision making.

I intend to explore how organisational design can inhibit or promote self-organising teams, collaboration, transparency and devolved decision making.

Accepted organisational constraints on decision making will be critically reviewed with a specific focus on evolving role definitions and how shifts of authority can impact organizations. .

By analysing those issues, I intend to explore how organisations can create the proper structures and people development strategies for an agile business.

Increasingly organizations are moving past supporting adaptable teams within a command and control environment to changing the very culture of their leadership structures.

How this will be received is going to be very interesting. But it is only through the free exchange of ideas and the rigorous intellectual vetting that goes with it that one can truly take something theoretical and make it truly implementable.

If you would like to talk with me before or at Business Agility 2017 or have me speak at your conference, please contact me.


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Wanting to change is the first step to surviving and thriving

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Although working with organisations on change programs is never less than invigorating and challenging, there are some that stand out for me.

Specifically, organisations with very big problems and no obvious solutions. These are generally the clients most consultants would rather avoid. They see them a just too much work.

Change Same Keys Showing Decision And Improvement

But when an organisation finds itself in this kind of situation, I’m eager to get involved. They are more likely to not only listen to what I have to say, but follow through with the implementation plan.

Organisations don’t get to this point over night. It’s typically an environment where underinvestment in people, processes and technologies have brought them to a critical turning point.

Processes and technology are usually at the core of such problems but not investing in people is also a crucial factor. Companies are not inherently adaptable so they tend not to modernize technology solutions or their workforce until they absolutely have to.

However we are experiencing business change at a rate that we’ve never seen before. And in order to survive companies have to be more nimble and adaptable than their competitors every day.

The scope of the average employee’s role is far bigger than ever before.  So unless an organisation keeps its workforce engaged with constant learning, improved skillsets, new ideas from the outside, decline is inevitable.

I understand if that sounds a bit dire but truthfully if I work with an organisation open to change, that can be inspiring. Because wanting to learn how to build adaptability in their organisational culture is the sign of a business that wants to survive and thrive.

To find out how Lloyd Parry can transform your organisation into one built to last, please get in touch.


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Stopping an Adaptable change program a dangerous proposition

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Putting an Adaptability program in place in an organisation is a bit like a farmer planting seeds and tending to the fields over the summer in anticipation of a great fall harvest. There’s a starting point and an end point. But a lot of things have to happen in between.

And if halfway through the growing season the farmer suddenly decides they don’t want to grow the crop they planted and pull it all up, all the preparations are wasted with nothing to harvest in the autumn.

Of course no farmer in his right mind would rip up his field halfway through the growing season. But unfortunately when it comes to change programs, organisations are notorious for plowing under programs before they’ve had a chance to bear fruit.

I recall working with an organisation during a change transformation when seven out of eight senior managers were dismissed from the company.

That in itself shouldn’t necessarily spell the end of a change process – but it usually does.

It generally comes down to egos. The men and women brought in to take over instinctively presume that projects championed by their predecessors are part of the reason they they were let go. As such, the first order of business is to take things in the opposite direction.

To be fair, new hires are almost always expected to make changes. Unfortunately, in the haste to make an impact, they often set forth on a campaign of destruction to distance themselves from the previous regime.

It’s the modern equivalent of defacing the statues of the last pharaoh – and just about as thoughtful.

But halting an Adaptable transformation during implementation can be disastrous on two fronts.

Adaptability programs are about growing people and if a new management regime halts a program midway through, the achievements that have occurred simply wither on the vine.

It also breaks the social contract  organisations make with the employees during the change. That unwritten contract stipulates that management will look after staff and invest in their future in exchange for the employees investing their careers with management. And if that contract isn’t kept the employees will leave.

Some of them have almost no choice. Because once change agents in an organisation find themselves back in a command and control environment without a change agenda, they leave.

To learn how Lloyd Parry International can transform your organisation into an adaptive culture using our Adaptive Business Framework please get in touch.


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How the blame game ruins adaptive cultures in command and control environments

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Working with adaptive teams embedded within command and control organizations, I’ve noticed an unfortunate and entirely unnecessary phenomenon.

Adaptive groups rail against their management betters while those very managers eye their adaptive teams with a wary eye.

It’s a brutal cycle that breeds mistrust and anger at all levels and poisons any change effort championed from above. So I often find myself in the position of telling the adaptive teams to stop blaming the managers. Why? Because managers are just as trapped in the command and control culture as they are.

It’s simply a matter of perspective.

It’s not a shock that an adaptive team inside a mass production organization would see the world very differently from a manager that doesn’t understand where they are coming from.

Regardless, what is needed to get over the inherent mistrust is a blame-free approach from all parties.  Adaptive teams shouldn’t blame managers and management should allow the teams to experiment and learn.

When I point this out to adaptive teams, a figurative light bulb goes off as they recognize in themselves a small bit of hypocrisy. They blame management for criticizing them while being almost reflexively anti-management.  

By blaming managers who are stuck in the same system, these teams are simply perpetuating the negative and reinforcing unhelpful attitudes. And the only real way to get beyond it to recognize the bias and work to eliminate it.  

To continue to rely on the middleware / muddleware which connects both cultures is no solution. It just gets in the way of the organization’s mission and disrupts the overall work climate.

Since adaptive teams are generally those driving innovation within an organization, changing the management structure to that of adaptivity is usually the logical solution

To learn how Lloyd Parry International can transform your organisation into an adaptive culture using our Adaptive Business Framework please get in touch.


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Organisational transformation: handle with care

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sparryquote

I’ve seen user warnings on all manner of chemical products from floor cleaner to hair spray. And for good reason. You have to ensure the products are used the way they were meant to be if they are to work properly. If not, people can get hurt, or property can be damaged.

img_7373Wouldn’t it be great if the same cautions were given when it comes to implementing management methods?

There are countless off-the-shelf management programs organisations put in place – but with no clear direction. The problem may be with the methods themselves. But just as often the problems come from people not implementing the way they are supposed to.

I’ve walked into organisations that have invited us in to talk organisational transformation and the suspicion among staff is almost palpable. I understand why and appreciate the caution. They’ve likely been through a ‘change’ before, which fit their organisation like an off-the-rack suit –  complete with amateurish alterations.

When Lloyd Parry works with an organisation on an adaptive transformation, we assess the work climate before we do anything else. Why the work climate? Because, put simply, the quality of a work climate is a predictor of an organisation’s long-term profitability.

The work climate reveals the thinking, feelings and perceptions of staff, managers and leaders. Taking all that in, we then work to determine the change route map, an informed choice of the methods we will use with the organisation. Most importantly, we ensure all staff and managers are fully informed as to how to use the methods and approaches we teach to good effect.

We don’t have a warning label on our change transformations because we don’t offer our services in a kit with instructions. We oversee every aspect of our work in making a workplace adaptable.

And that’s what sets us apart.

To find out how we can transform your organisation, please get in touch with us.


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Adaptability is the new core competency

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It used to be that management skills were passed along from superiors, well aware of how an organization worked based on established institutional knowledge. The formula was simple:  Take past management strategies, tweak and adjust for current realities and then manage. It’s an approach that was packaged, taught and executed with ease.

But we all know that approach just doesn’t work anymore.  The past doesn’t matter as much as it once did. And for very good reason. Traditional management strategies are based on a very different business and organizational reality.

It wasn’t that long ago that the pace of change was such that any response to shifts in the marketplace was executed with a slow, thoughtful, and considered approach. Contrast that to the sense of urgency that comes with improved data monitoring that shows customer satisfaction ebbing and flowing in real time.

Improvements in technology will only continue to accelerate. And if an organization tries to go forward by embracing the strategies of its past, then it is setting itself up for a slow decline to obscurity.

Today’s successful companies don’t view adaptability as a ‘nice to have’ business strategy. For them it is an essential element to business success and longevity.

An organization must recognize, respond and adapt to challenges on an ongoing basis, if they are to succeed and thrive.

That noted, adaptability isn’t just something that can be overlaid on an organization. The organization must learn to make adaptability its core competency, woven into the work culture in a meaningful way. It must be the instinctive first reaction when faced with external challenges.

Lloyd Parry have worked with many types of organizations on transforming their work cultures into adaptability marvels.

Please get in touch to talk about having me speak to your organization or conference about adaptability as a core competency.


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The change agent’s dilemma: should I stay or should I go?

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When working with an organisation on an Adaptive transformation, one of the most important decisions has to do with who is going to be the change agent.

Change agents are chosen out of the ranks of an organisation by those involved in Adaptive training. Once chosen, this role will have a very long-lasting impact, not only on the organisation, but also their career.

I’ve seen this first-hand whenever I return to organisations I’ve worked with and speak to the designated change agents.  And what I’ve discovered is the role often becomes career defining.

What happens is they become so inspired by the ideas and strategies they develop with Adaptive that it changes the way they approach work. It changes their perspective in a way that influences everything they do.

For many it’s turning point in their career. If they are supported and stay in the organisation, they become leaders. If they aren’t, they find themselves unable to remain and move on to another role where their talents are respected. As Adaptive “true-believers” they seek out organisations and roles that dovetail with their new skill set. And because of these skills, they are highly sought after.

A common worry among some of the change agents I’ve known is how to deal with their company if management doesn’t want to change. If that seems odd, consider that talk of change is cheap. It’s easy to love the optics of change until the process starts impacting day to day operations in a very real way.

For those with concerns about not being supported, I tell them “Look, your job is to make your manager successful. Your job is to give your manager choices they currently don’t have. Your job is to help your manager make an informed choice. That’s what we’re training you to do.”

And if the manager decides to ignore their advice?

I tell them, “If you’ve given them an informed choice and they choose not to do something, then it is time for you to exercise your choice on whether to stay or move on.”

For those that choose to leave, the organisation they are leaving often has more problems than just losing talent. By not supporting change management effectively sets the organization on a course for decline. So one way or another, the exit becomes an inevitable outcome.

To talk with LloydParry about the power of transformational Adaptive change, please get in touch.


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Stopping a Lean change program is a dangerous proposition

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Putting a Lean change program in place in an organisation is a bit like a farmer planting seeds and tending to the fields over the summer in anticipation of a great fall harvest. There’s a starting point and an end point. But in between a lot of things have to happen.

And if halfway through the growing season the farmer suddenly decides they don’t want to grow the crop they planted and pull it all up, all the preparations are wasted and there will be nothing to harvest in the autumn.

Of course no farmer in his right mind would rip up his field halfway through the growing season. But unfortunately when it comes to change programs, organisations are notorious for plowing under programs before they’ve had a chance to bare fruit.

I recall working with an organisation during a Lean change transformation when seven out of eight senior managers were dismissed from the company.

That in itself shouldn’t necessarily spell the end of a change process but it usually does.

It generally comes down to egos. The men and women brought in to take over instinctively presumed that the projects championed by their predecessors was part of the reason they they were let go. And so the first order of business was to take things in the opposite direction. To be fair new hires are almost always expected to make changes.  Unfortunately in the haste to make an impact, they often set forth on a campaign of destruction to distance themselves from the previous regime.

It’s the modern equivalent of defacing the statues of the last pharaoh – and just about as thoughtful.

But halting a Lean transformation during implementation can be disastrous on two fronts.

Lean programs are about growing people and if a new management regime halts a program midway through, the achievements that have occurred simply wither on the vine.

It also breaks the social contract  organisations make with the employees during the change. That unwritten contract stipulates that management will look after staff and invest in their future in exchange for the employees investing their careers with management. And if that contract isn’t kept the employees will leave.

Some of them have almost no choice. Because once change agents in an organisation find themselves back in a command and control environment without a change agenda, they leave.

To talk to Lloyd Parry about change for your organisation, please get in touch.


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The wow about the WOW! Awards

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Working with Lean over the years, I’ve grown to take special delight in seeing how customer engagement changes, develops and then becomes essential in the growth of an organisation.

Given that, we at Lloyd Parry are happy to have our own Rupert Coles as a judge at this year’s WOW! Awards.

WOW! Is an independent award organisation that rewards great customer service solely through customer compliments. That’s it. No supervisor input.

Whether you’re part of the Lean universe or not, the WOW! Awards are an event every business can look to for examples of how improve the customer contact experience.

The awards are a celebration of the best in customer service and experience  – something that a lot of businesses have lost site of in the age of random cost-cutting and automation.

As an organisation, WOW! created a set of tools to easily facilitate the flow of information from customer to business and then to the employee responsible for the positive customer experience.

I see WOW! and similar organisations as crucial to Lean in that they provide a useful mechanism to not only smooth the feedback process but turn it into positive employee feedback and rewards.

And by championing the finalists for these awards they provide a status in great customer service delivery usually reserved for management success.

The Gala Awards will be held on November 28.

To learn more about the WOW! Organisation and Gala, please click here.

If you’re interested in learning about how LloydParry can put your company into the upper tier of customer-focussed business success, please get in touch.


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