by Mark Samuel
In a recent meeting of global company executives, I was asked about the difference between traditional change management and a B STATE approach for getting breakthrough results. They wanted to know how we achieve such consistent business results and culture change success in only 6 months.
“How many days per month are you in the organization?” a senior VP asked.
“A B STATE approach doesn’t work that way,” I responded. “Our implementation system only takes 2 days to install and about a half-day per month at most to support the transformation.”
Stunned, he asked a follow-up question. “How many months does it take to assess the situation so that you know exactly where to focus the change effort?”
Now I was stunned. “The most time we’ve spent assessing an organization’s history is about three days. And many times, it’s less.”
The key to speed and sustainability is in where we focus our time.
Launching a B STATE Organization
Part 1: Creating a Compelling Picture of Success
Start by Changing the Game
The way to change fast and with less struggle is to create a New Future Reality and place your focus on that instead of the current situation that you want to improve. So how do you create a new future reality? Think about it for a minute. It’s never in moments of worry, stress, or being overly focused on the problems themselves that we receive new and creative solutions to those problems.
You’ve probably noticed that those answers come in quiet moments: getting distracted by a friendly phone call, taking a break, or even going to sleep. How often have you awoken, been inspired to, or even just quietly heard in an unsuspecting moment, an idea that solves the problem you were belaboring with your mind just a week, a day or even an hour earlier. The one thing I’ve noticed more times than not is that my best ideas don’t come from worry, stress, or struggle to find a solution. As Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
To make a significant change like so many businesses and individuals need or desire from time to time requires a different mindset, a new way to think about your situation and how you fit into that situation. This could refer to any aspect of your life, whether it’s business, relationships, health, or even your self-image. A true transformation involves a change of habits, attitude, and behaviors that put form to the new mindset. You have to create a new reality.
Once you create that new reality, your B STATE – breakthrough state, it completely changes the game and many of your previous challenges to moving forward are no longer issues!
Creating Your New Reality
There are four simple steps for creating your new B STATE reality. You can do each step by yourself or with others on your team.
STEP #1: Identify Your External Business Drivers
Sometimes we change because we want to! Most of the time we change because we are “called” to. The world is constantly evolving – technology, societal trends, global conditions and many other factors. As human beings and as companies, we have to change with it. Can you imagine still using a fax machine as your primary mode of communicating documents from one location to another? When was the last time you went into a phone booth and took out your coins to make a call?
Understanding your external drivers is a key influence for making a change. This includes new customer expectations, competitive trends, new technology, updated regulatory standards, economy shifts, and societal changes to name a few. While you cannot control external drivers, if you don’t respond to them, your market could easily decline and you could risk losing your business. Just ask Blackberry, Blockbuster, or Toys R Us to name a few.
What are the primary External Drivers impacting your business in the next 1 to 5 years?
STEP #2: How Are Others Responding?
Your entire industry is probably dealing with the same or similar External Drivers. How are your direct competitors and even indirect companies in your industry responding to those external drivers? You may even want to look for new companies entering your industry with new business models or approaches to their market that you can learn from.
You can even look at other industries impacted by the same External Drivers to learn how they are changing their businesses to become more responsive, more personalized for their customer, and even how they’re changing their organizational structure and approach. For instance, how many companies have been “forced” to change their mindset about “shipping” based on Amazon’s same-day to 2-day shipping models?
What can you learn from others inside and outside of your industry to upgrade your business model or change your approach to the market, internal processes, and functioning?
STEP #3: What Are Your Core Competencies and Passions and How Do You Need to Respond?
In step #1, I referred to “The Call” for making a change. This involves an “inner direction” based on your unique qualities. If you are an individual, you can consider these your “innate” qualities. Many companies have made changes by focusing on their core strengths and outsourcing all other functions to external suppliers. Another use of a core competency was demonstrated by Amazon. They took their effectiveness in shipping and pricing and entered the pharmaceutical industry. Who would ever have thought of Amazon becoming your local pharmacy? Yet, how many people love going to the pharmacy, standing in line, and waiting forever to get their prescriptions filled? None that I’ve ever met.
What are your core competencies or innate skills and how can you leverage them differently or more to gain an advantage for your business?
STEP #4: Engaging Your People to Build a New Reality
There are two parts to building a new reality. The first part involves the business ideas that will change or modify your existing model to keep up with the external drivers. Building this part of the new reality is a creative process, but not one without parameters. Because no one is so intelligent, so creative, or so successful that they contain the BEST ideas for change, it takes a “village” of others to build on each other’s creative input. Yet, it’s critical to provide a direction for this input to be most useful. This direction includes responding to external drivers and using core competencies instead of developing brand new skills that would be hard to develop or acquire.
The second part of the new reality involves the new mindset, new attitudes, and new way of functioning operationally to support the new business reality we are building. I call this new Habits of Collective Execution. How do we need to show up differently? What new competencies, new ways of collaborating across functional lines, and new approaches to leadership do we need to develop if we are to create that new reality and sustain it afterwards? So often, I witness organizations create an idea for a new business reality and then try to achieve it with their old habits of collective execution, their old culture – a method that almost always fails.
What are the potential areas for your new business reality and how will your organization need to function differently to achieve that new reality?
A Final Note
Creating a new reality isn’t necessarily difficult to formulate, but it does require space and quiet time to allow your creativity, inspiration, and intuition to come forward. You can’t rush it and you can’t easily innovate in the midst of handling day-to-day crises. It is best done on retreat where you can change settings, move around, and have ample time to brainstorm using lots of butcher paper on the walls or flip charts around the room.
Make it fun! Keep it light! Give yourself permission to explore the possibilities that you never thought of before to adapt your business to a new reality. You may even invite other creatives outside of your business to participate in order to get out-of-the-box thinking that’s new and different from those inside your organization.
Once you create a vision for your new B STATE reality, let that new reality pull you into manifesting your future rather than pushing yourself to achieve it.