All posts by MSS

Is Your Change Management Building a Building, or Planning a City?

In a previous article, we discussed the level of change management required for a company to achieve true transformation. Just as a reminder, the mutually inclusive elements include:

  • Employing an Enterprise Change Strategy
  • Developing Your Change Management Framework
  • Enhancing Your Change Leadership Capabilities
  • Growing Organizational Competency for Change

Thinking in terms of these key elements, we can see how organizations mature their change management competency from immature or nonexistent through institutionalizing change management, to making it a strategic advantage of the company.

This progression is not necessarily linear. Many companies start off quite capable of responsive change, but with growth become siloed and less agile. At some point, however, realize their position and begin the long road back to responsiveness.

Most companies we encounter in our DX practice are somewhere in between “Isolated Application” and instituting “Project Level”. And, the difference between “Project Level” and “Enterprise Level” change management is the difference between building a building and developing an entire city.

So, how can an organization move to “Enterprise Level’ maturity, and fast? Before we can answer that, there are other questions that need answers first:

What is the scale of the organization?
What is the level of expected disruption?
What is the leadership’s attitude toward change management
What investment are they prepared to make?
How independent are your advisors?
What tools and measures are in place?

Read the full article for answers to these questions

Mature Innovation

My family can tell you that I consider myself one of the great armchair innovators. Among the many things I believe I invented before they were actually invented is the Keurig coffee dispenser, Netflix (streaming AND original content), and the Amazing Race. The problem I always told myself was that I never had access to the resources required to put my ideas into the market. So when I secured a position managing innovation at a global mega-company, I was excited. Here, I would finally have the opportunity to launch my great ideas, become massively famous, and change the world. Boy, did I have a lot to learn.

What soon became clear was that managing innovation for a mega-organization is not about creating great ideas. Of course we had our chance to develop some ideas, but mostly our role was to capture the ideas of leadership, cut through the noise, politics, and disruptions, and push them forward.

Read the complete article here

9 Tenets for Achieving Change through ERP Implementation

Post ERP implementation blues are problematic for a number of reasons not the least of which is the decline of the collaborative and empowered culture that the implementation tends to create. A common cause for ERP sub-optimization is that most companies do not plan sufficiently to sustain the culture required to achieve the full benefits if the system. While leaders often consider the need for ongoing technology development and maintenance, it is just as important that they plan for cultural sustainability.

Generally, leaders will make a false assumption that an ERP implementation will be plug-and- play, that performance will come naturally, and that the culture will adapt as a result of the technology. But the research is clear. Having a great company culture is no longer optional for companies who want to compete.

Click through to read the full article 9 Tenets for Achieving Change through ERP Implementation

Your Digital Future Begins Now

The digital future for your company is right now. In all industries and businesses, we are reaching the point when systems are no longer tools just to automate processes and drive efficiencies – they are also a core component to achieve business strategy and integral to establishing customer relationships.

Unfortunately, far too many technology initiatives start with the development of a long list of requirements and selection of vendors. Or, executives are “sold” on the bells and whistles of a solution and the business’ underlying needs are lost in the excitement.

Conspicuously missing are some key steps that integrators and vendors may omit because they are not experts in these areas. And yet, they are the steps that go the furthest to ensure that you get your return on investment.

Link to the full article Your Digital Future Begins Now and learn what 3 key components your digital transformation might be missing.

Planning Your Transformation Journey

Two summers ago, my family and I went on a backpacking trip in the Olympic National Forest in Washington state.  The trip started as a potential idea, then we did a large amount of research to determine the most interesting trails to hike, and we mapped out a path.  We created a packing list and determined what backpacking and camping gear we already owned and what we needed to buy or rent.  We planned our route and the distance we would travel each day, so we could plan where we would stay.  As the trip grew closer, we had to change direction and find another location to hike, due to weather and a problem with bears becoming too comfortable around humans.  We had two objectives for our trip: have a great time as a family and hike two days along the Hoh River trail and then head back out for the remaining two days.  This ensured we were able to stop and camp at specific locations along the way.  Because we planned ahead it paid off and we had an awesome family vacation.

Planning, including planning for a business transformation, does not guarantee success. An example of failed transformation is the American automobile manufacturer.  They were unable to distinguish their brand during a highly competitive environment against foreign car companies who forced cost and fuel efficiency battles.  Their transformation methodology focused on cutting costs but resulted in brand confusion.

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10 Red Flags That Your Change Management Program is Poor

One of the greatest challenges of helping organizations with Change Management is that they often believe they are already doing it. After all, if you have a good leadership team that communicates with employees, they must be capable of leading change.

But when you dig down and ask the leaders what they are doing to ensure their organization is prepared for and executing change strategies, we often find clear indications either they do not truly grasp change management, they do not understand the risks, or that their program is not robust enough for to handle the change.

Learn what are the 10 red flags

#CyberAware for Small to Medium Sized Business: Cybersecurity is More Than Compliance

Cyber warfare is real, is here, and America is losing. Military personnel, law enforcement, and private security use bulletproof vests to protect themselves in hostile zones. These vests minimize injury and provide a means of security and safety of life. Additionally, they use intensive training, mindfulness, and combat skills to defend successfully against an enemy. This combination enables them to be effective in combat. Make no mistake, the Internet is a hostile zone and in a state of cyber warfare. Being compliant is simply the bulletproof vest, and needs a cybersecurity program to provide the training, visibility, and techniques to combat cyber threats.

Link to the full article here

The Case for Ambiguity – How to Set Your IT Project Up For Success

I really enjoy playing guessing games – you know, the types that you would do in a case interview, in business school, or with your nerdy, analytical friends (and yes, my friends and I would fall into this category). It’s fun to try and give your guesstimate on how many golf balls could fit into a 747 or how many cigarettes are smoked a day in Montana. Even though I enjoy it quite a bit, I couldn’t imagine having my job hanging in the balance based on the accuracy of a hypothetical exercise. However, that is exactly what happens to an overwhelming number of leaders on a regular basis with their technology projects.

A McKinsey-Oxford study found that large IT projects go over-budget 45% of the time, over-schedule 7% of the time, and under-deliver 56% of the time¹. This translates to an awful lot of Steering Committee meetings where a Project Sponsor is forced to have an uncomfortable conversation with company executives on why their project is not meeting the metrics that were promised. But why does this happen? Why do very capable individuals (who called in experienced implementation teams) consistently find themselves in the hot seat with their projects? In many cases, the projects were doomed from the beginning due to basing the foundation of the project off of hypothetical exercises and guesstimates. Let me show you what I mean…

Link to the full article to find out

The Nuclear Way: Submarine Leadership Challenges

How would you adjust to transferring from a self contained organization with a command and control leadership style to one with a distributed leadership style? How would you adapt? How would you prepare? And how would you be received?

This is exactly what happened to me when I reported to be the Chief Engineer onboard the USS Santa Fe, a fast-attack, nuclear submarine based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Read the full article here

Podcast: Navigating the Current of Decentralizing Leadership in a Nuclear Sub


Paul Colwell, a dynamic and collaborative leader in high stress and highly technical environments, meets with Podcast host David Lee. Discussed in this podcast is Colwell’s experience as a Naval Nuclear Submarine Officer and the contrasting styles of leadership he experienced from a centralized submarine to de-centralized one. Colwell examines his direct exposure with the Navy’s decision to elevate to a Responsive, adaptive leadership environment that encourages flexibility fit for unpredictable conditions.  This shift allowed Colwell to experience the interworkings of a truly Responsive organization in the high-risk environment of a Nuclear Submarine.

The book “Turn the Ship Around” by Captain David Marquet is discussed as well as Colwell’s personal experiences that relate to the book’s concepts. In “Turn the Ship Around” Captain David Marquet imagines a workplace where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity, a place where people are healthier and happier because they have more control over their work—a place where everyone is a leader. Colwell expands on his similar experience with the Responsive environment brought into the Naval Forces. (View for more.)



Download this podcast: Navigating the Current of Decentralizing Leadership in a Nuclear Sub