Friday 27 May 2011

Forest or the Trees - What comes first?

I am definitely a "macro" to "micro" type guy. Before I can get into the details I need the big picture. Once a framework is created, then, and only then, can I fill in the blanks.

Over the past few weeks I have been wrestling with different book format ideas.  What is the layout that will be the most "relevant, practical and helpful?" I reviewed the top 30 change management tomes to see if they could provide any guidance. Most of them were structured like, well, books. The challenge with the standard prose-style narrative is that it makes sourcing specific information difficult, especially when you need it in a hurry - "What should I be thinking about and doing now!"

It has been helpful to think about my target consumer - he or she is faced with planning and/or implementing a significant change at his or her workplace. This either could be a leader of a team that is undergoing the change or someone assigned to a role on the change implementation team.  I have found that this person doesn't have a lot of time to skill-up for their role or even read (let alone digest) the latest book on how to make change work.
Thinking about past change initiatives, I realized that you need information most when you are faced with a question to answer or a decision to make.  Questions like "How do I ensure executive exposure for my initiative?" or "How do I get an influencer back on side?" need to be answered quickly. 
This week I decided to structure the book based on the key questions leaders need to answer about making a change. They will be organized linearly from set up, through implementation to post change. Often, change management is not linear, however, a general "start to finish" flow may help someone see how the questions tend to change in nature throughout an initiative.
So now that my book will be a question based format (the forest), I need to decide the content under each question (the trees).

Friday 20 May 2011

So, what does success look like?

Decide to write a book...check...tell all your family, friends and colleagues...check...start thinking about what the book will look like and list possible titles...check...dream about success...check...launch a blog about writing the book...check. Wait a minute, wouldn't it be a good idea to decide what I want to acheive before I start achieving it? Sounds good to me.

Defining goals and outcomes seem so much easier for things you have done before. There's a lot to be said for trial and error. After a few drafts, here are my aspirations as I see them today:

- create a resource that people find relevant, practical and helpful
- capture practical lessons learned that often decide success or failure
- appeal to all four learning styles - don't limit my style to what I like to read
- adopt a writing voice that is true to me - would someone who knows me say, "That's Phil"?
- be passionate and courageous



Wednesday 18 May 2011

Heading out

Welcome and thank you for following my quest to write a practical and easy-to-use 'playbook' for people implementing change in their workplace.

I remember the first time I was given a change role. I didn't have a clue about what I needed to do or how to do it. Everyone around me was in 'action mode' with little time to walk me through the key questions to be answered and decisions to be made. Survival quickly became my main objective.

After 21 years of making change work for individuals, teams and organizations, I still see people thrown into change roles who desperately need the support of someone who has been there before. My goal is to do so by identifying and decoding the key questions around making change. I appreciate you being there along the way.