There is lots of talk around about changing the world, replacing traditional management with "new and improved" management, creating a new paradigm for managing organizations. Much if not most comes from theorist or one-trick pony advisors.
Here's a concept that was reverse engineered from observed successes.Positive Deviance, is the basis of Helotropic Abundance. HA is the reverse engineered observed success factor for Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site's (a great market word for one of the worlds most contaminated nuclear weapons plants). This case study and other materials is described in Making the Impossible Possible: Leading Extraordinary Performance: The Rocky Flats Story. This book should be the starting point for anyone wanting to understand how to make changes in the organizaition. But most importantly this book should be read to anchor the untested and unverified theories of how to make change. This book is a narrative of how change was made, the reasons for why that change was successful, and how those reasons might be applicable to other domains. It is not a theory book, nor an ancedotal experience book, but a book about how 10's of 1,000's of people changed their organization.
- Collaboration - how people and prcess collobrate for the mutual benefit of the organizaition, project, program, or shared outcome.
- Creativity - where ideas for success come from, both internal and external.
- Control - how to avoid undirected effort, poorly directed effort and assure mutual accountability is in place for the shared outcome, even in the presence of individual motivations.
- Competition - how to motivate success through mutual accountability of the shared outcome, while maintaining positive outcomes.
All 4 are needed for success. All four are in conflict - as all good process improvement processes are. These conflicts MUST exist. Without conflict there can be not push away from the status quo. Without this push there will be no change. There will be talk of change, but no change. The only outcome will be the echo of the original idea fading off into oblivion.
Conflict is first needed to keep in check the unsubstantiated claims of those proffering the solution. Conflict is next needed to balance the complex and conflciting needs of any organization. No organization is going to change without conflict. Managing the conflict is a waste of time. Using the conflict - in the framework of Heliotropic Abundance - is the key to success. It's managing in the presence of conflict.
To collaborate we must establish relationships, acquire human capital, and installation a collaboration process between these elements. Collaboration means developing this talent, building strong relationships, and fostering trust between all parties based on:
- Human capital and social relationships
Create a vision, innovative and symbolic leadership, by articulating and reinforcing the vision of what can be in contrast to what has occurred in the past. This is done by:
- Forging a clear and shared vision of the future in words that describe capabibilities of the organization not just technical and operational requirements.
- Installing symbolic leadership in support of the changing mission through actions of the leaders.
- Discovering innovative and creative ideas for the work processes based on both leadership and follow-ship.
- Instilling a new sense of meaning and importance to the work activities through the other 3 aspects of Positive Deviance.
Control is needed to establish stability, discipline, and process outcomes. Control must be grounded in virtuousness and extended beyond just doing well, but developing the mechanisms for producing extraordinary results. This take place through:
- Goal clarity through precise definitions of what done looks like in units of measure measingful to the decision makers.
- Agreements between producers and suppliers of information, services, and products through a shared definition of measures of effectiveness and measures of performance.
- Planning and objective measures with accountability of the shared outcomes.
- Stable support and funding for all work efforts with risk adjusted schedules, budgets, and techncial performance measures.
Competition means installing incentives and rigorous performance standards, through aggressive actions, external constituents, market forces, performance measures, and obtaining measurable results using:
- External stakeholders, such as customers, governance and oversight, suppliers and consumers
- Managing internal relationships for all interactinf elements of the organization.
- Taking bold actions to brerak the cycle of failure or under-performance
- Incentives for measurable progress, not just measuring progress or incentives. Both incentives and the measures of progress are needed.
This all comes together in
All work here is summarized from Making the Impossible Possible: Leading Extraordinary Performance: The Rocky Flats Story, the seminal work describing how to put Positive Deviance to work.
Some more reading
- Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin, and Monique Sternin, The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems, Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010.
- William Seidman and Michael McCauley, Harvesting the experts' “secret sauce” to close the performance gap, Performance Improvement Journal, Jan. 2003, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 32–39.
- A. Gawande, Better, A Surgeon's Notes on Performance, New York: Henry Holt, 2007.
- B. E. White, Complex Adaptive Systems, IEEE International Systems Conference, Montreal, Canada, Apr. 2008.
- R. Stevens, Engineering Mega-Systems: The Challenge of Systems Engineering in the Information Age, Boca Raton, Fla.: Auerbach/Taylor & Francis, (2011), pp. 118–120.