Thomas Bertels wrote:
" Then we changed the process, and immediately after doing the
presentation on our ideas our CEO expected results. The first two months
the delivery performance was lower than ever, so he becam upset and it was
hard to convince him that this is natural, that if he now would change
back to the old ways we did things we would screw all our efforts. He
waited for another two months and he was a real pain, but then the
performance rose up and he relaxed."
A common enough tale - but what fascinates me is the question of how
anybody could possibly BECOME a CEO who didn't know that whenever you
institute significant organisational change there is almost always an
initial fall off in performance. What on earth are their experiential
backgrounds and mental models?
I was recently involved in an Australian car component manufacturer which
changed its work systems to one of cross-functional teams. This plant
experienced THREE YEARS of declining performance after making the change.
In the fourth year it began to move up, by the sixth it had surpassed its
previous best, and by the 8th (this year) it had come to dominate the
domestic market in its field and had won an export award for breaking into
the Japanese market.
The CEO reported to us that 'in year three my golf scores were suffering a
bit, but I knew it was right so we had to stick with it.'
The important point is that this company made its big change when it was
still profitable and healthy. Most change episodes occur in crisis, and
managers are between a rock and a hard place - things are bad so they have
to change, but in the short term change will make things worse. So they
load their own lack of foresight onto their staffs as unreasonable
-- Phillip Capper WEB Research PO Box 2855 Wellington New Zealand firstname.lastname@example.org