Rocking the boat without falling out

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Rocking the Boat without Falling Out Crea5ng Change in Organiza5ons Lois Kelly | Rebels at Work American Express NGen Webinar July 29, 2014

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  • Rocking the Boat without Falling Out Crea5ng Change in Organiza5ons

    Lois Kelly | Rebels at Work American Express NGen Webinar July 29, 2014

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    Can you create change without rocking the boat?

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    The gap between vision and current reality is a source of energy. If there were no gap, there would be no need for any ac5on to move towards the vision. We call this gap crea5ve tension. Peter Senge The Fi'h Discipline

    Solu5ons and innova5on come from crea5ve tension

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    But were socialized to be obedient to authority.

    Group think, likeability, not rocking the boat is rewarded.

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    Most run from disagreement and crea5ve tension...

    and cling to reasons not to change

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    Source: MP Bumsted Biocultural Science & Management

  • Poll What are your organiza5ons most common reasons

    not to change?

    qThe board/execs will never agree to it qNot enough resources/too expensive qWeve tried that before q Its too risky qAre any other organiza5ons like us doing it? qOther: _____________________________________


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    The lack of ac5on was a result of broad bureaucra5c problems and the failure of individual employees in several departments to address a safety problem. GM CEO Mary Barra

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  • Nearly half of execu5ve teams fail to receive nega5ve news that is material to performance in a 5mely manner because employees are afraid.

    The Corporate Execu5ve Board Open Door Policy, Closed-Lip Reality

  • 82% of employees have experienced some kind of penalty for speaking the truth.

    Source: Speaking Truth to Power study Dana Theus,

  • Causes: Execs fear: nega5ve feedback. Unstated beliefs. Employees are self-

    interested, untrustworthy Top management knows

    best Consensus = organiza5onal


    Source: Sounds of Silence, NYU Stern School of Management

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    And some5mes love blinds us.

  • Bad Rebels Good Rebels

    Complain Create

    Break rules Change rules

    Me-focused Mission-focused

    Problems Possibili5es

    Alienate Ahract

    Energy-sapping Energy-genera5ng

    Asser5ons Ques5ons

    Pessimist Op5mist

    Point fingers Pinpoint causes

    Worry that Wonder if

    Obsessed Reluctant

    Source: Rebels At Work

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    Foghound ebook Rebels at Work: Motivated to Make A Difference for more thoughts on activating change click here

    Greatest value rebels provide

    Call out problems others afraid toChallenge ineffective sacred cow practicesWilling to be the first to try new approachesSee new ways to solve problemsBring outside ideas into the organizationHave ideas to improve products/servicesDetect emerging issues earlyHave a good pulse on what customers want







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    What are the risks of NOT speaking up? If not you, who?

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    Rebel 101: Preparing for the unknowable

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    Understand the organiza5onal landscape

    What is most valued? How are decisions made? What are the business cycles? Who influences what and whom? Whats gemng talked about?

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    Engage supporters and collaborators Earn credibility and trust Find trusted advisors

    Think about sequencing

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    Make friends with BBBs

    Bureaucra5c Black Belts


    People who have mastered the organiza5ons rules and culture and know how to navigate the ins and

    outs to get things done and minimize risk OR preserve the status quo and stop change.

    Manage your outbox. Who are 3 BBBs you should have lunch with?

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    Thats interes5ng. Tell me more.

    Key in on whats at stake. Show how the idea relates to what people want.

    Paint a picture of what could be. Make the status quo unappealing.

    Show the idea can work. People support ideas they think can work.

    Be posi5ve and pithy. Keep it short!

    Frame your ideas, communicate value vs. how

    What do people in your organiza5on really want? Is it stated or unstated?

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    There can be no change without conflict.

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    Interpersonal Conflict

    Structural Conflict Conflict of Values

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    The Rebel Arc

    Knowing when to quit or retreat for a while

  • Keep going?

    Rate importance. Just ask. Is the energy waning? Is it performance objec5ve

    worthy? How much are your colleagues

    willing to help? Are you becoming not yourself?


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  • Poll What might most help you more effec5vely create change?

    qUsing conflict more produc5vely qBeher communica5ng ideas qBuilding rela5onships with BBBs qKnowing how to maneuver inside organiza5on qOvercoming my own fears qBecoming more known as credible, trustworthy q Finding more supporters qOther: _____________________________________


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    Resources, stories, newslecer, book release: Views and news: @RebelsAtWork, Facebook: Rebels at Work page

    Lois Kelly: [email protected]

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