For every change initiative, it seems, there is a pivot point.
One thing is crucial for end state success. Without that one thing status quo just gets moved around to look different. Everyone dances around the pivot point afraid to touch it. Or everyone comes up with a long list of excuses not to insert a pivot point that is new or replaces something else in order to facilitate the change.
Some pivot points I have seen:
- Organization at a high enough level makes the decision to stop customization of technology.
- Front end pull software to erase the effects of email noise.
- Two executives, rather than just the owner, fully participate and are visible for the change.
- A low level leader stakeholder comes up with an idea that can fully facilitate the change.
- Executives switch responsibilities for a period of time to show connection (and be connected) to the change.
I see this list when made into subheadings illustrates some very important aspects of change management:
Customization (and its cousin creating in house) usually works in the moment and then comes back to haunt. Announcing zero customizations for the next change (upgrade, process change, etc.) is a pivot point. Because of that decision many things have to be different. If you cave and go with only one or two customizations you lose your pivot point.
In this case the pivot point not only allows the end state to move closer to possibility it also sets in motion review of business process which typically reveals dollar savings and overlap throughout the organization.
Without the pivot point of “out of the box” or aligned with initial change description the path becomes littered with individual road blocks (for those change forcers who seem to miss [or ignore] root causes this is called “resistance”).
Sometimes something needs to be inserted, added or put in as a replacement.
Email has created noise. People have a habit of deleting emails without really absorbing the content. A fantastic pivot point is the addition of screen saver notifications to stakeholders. If the process is tightly controlled and the landing spot for extra information is inviting this is a huge pivot point for both organizational communication and change initiatives (and both together).
Do a big giant communication project with email as the delivery tool and you will likely have miscommunication, confusion and a difficult path toward change.
This pivot point has the added possible effect of creating a reusable, sustainable communication flow (and even loop) that saves time, money and effort.
There are many change initiatives that just will not work without a partnership.
The collaboration and genuine participation (two owners effectively- and maybe literally if they share the budget pot) of two senior executives is a pivot point for many changes. Without the true involvement of that second leader the change moves in spurts and stops.
To get things to move for change it helps to have a catalyst.
When someone within the change comes up with an idea that is truly innovative and practically makes sense on the business side a pivot point exists. Take that idea, illustrate who came up with it and then bring in others at different levels to work on the implementation of that idea and you have change that is evolutionary.
Ignore one or two great ideas, especially if they are obvious pivot points, and you will find some stakeholders not at all enthused about your change.
This pivot point was the most interesting I have seen.
An organization wanted more collaboration. They wanted executives working together and they wanted that modeled for the rest of the organization. And they were all on board at the highest levels.
They realized they needed to understand each other to both make their change work and to get good at the same empathy for their stakeholders.
So they switched roles.
In pairs they exchanged some responsibilities connected to both the change and operational process. They LITERALLY had to stand in someone else’s shoes. (This is the plot of about a gazillion movies, but this was real).
Needles to say, since they stuck with this leadership pivot point, the change was very successful. It was the closest I have seen a change initiative get to the end state (because of course that morphs as you go along).
It is important to look and see if you have a pivot point in your change. Every change seems to have that one thing that if not done, added or eliminated will really not be successful. It could be customization, technology, collaboration, leadership, innovation or something cultural. Knowing it is a pivot point and using that leverage can be crucial for getting to the end state.