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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Realizing there is space for change

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Interesting question (especially the first one) and one that all consultants and internal improvement leaders wrestle with (or should be wrestling with). In my experience, any type of personal behavior change starts with awareness that the current behavior may not be the most effective choice to yield whatever result is desired. Getting clear on the target condition is key. Then identify the gap and root causes for it. Then experiment with potential countermeasures. You know the drill.

In my experience, many “traditional managers” don’t realize that alternative forms of management exist. So I typically begin in a more fact-based, cognitive space: “here are the behaviors that tend to accelerate the Lean journey and result in the type of business performance improvement your organization seeks” and then move into a more emotional (and change-producing) space by inviting managers to reflect and notice the gaps that may exist between their current mindsets and behaviors and the more successful ones that support Lean transformation.

Now here’s where it gets tricky. In my experience, it’s tough to make substantive behavioral change without frequent and skilled coaching from someone who’s able to “call out” the old behavior, and help the manager see the repetitive patterns that he/she is trying to replace. This takes time. I have found that many businesses aren’t willing to pay for skilled coaching over the time period that is needed to truly create new patterns of manager behavior.

So where does it leave us? This is the six-million dollar question.

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