On April 21, 2016, Sue hosted Nick Tasler, CEO of Decision Pulse, a global management-consulting firm, and an internationally acclaimed author of three books including his latest #1 best-seller, Domino: The Simplest Way to Inspire Change. Nick revealed his surprisingly simple framework to align teams around change and achieve new goals quicker than ever before.
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
- When managers try to make a change the natural approach is to talk about the new things they are going to do but they don’t get rid of the 10 old priorities. Team members are all on board and understand why the change is happening but they just went from 10 priorities to 20 priorities. This is “change by addition”. With “change by addition” people become unsure about what they should prioritize and everybody gets spread thin.
- There is confusion between collaboration and consensus. Collaboration is a good thing but collaboration should not be used as an excuse for abdication. In the very well intentioned goal of being a collaborative team nobody can move forward until every single person has signed off. You need to change your mindset. What exactly is the point of a decision? What exactly does collaboration mean and what does it not mean?
- An “Aha! moment” for many leaders is “I really do have the authority to make the decision!” Most leaders try to be inclusive and collaborative because that is what we say good leaders should do. It is up to the leader to make the decision when there is no natural alignment among team members. Under the guise of not being a micromanager, leaders don’t make a decision and that is just as problematic as being too authoritarian.
- ADAPT is a useful “change by decision” framework. Anticipate – You have to notice the change before you can do anything about it. Decide – The latin root of decide is “to kill” or “to cut”. To decide is to know what to kill. Align – The easy way to operationalize the decision is to come up with a 90-day sprint and a 90-day waitlist and ask your teams to do the same thing. What are the three things you are going to sprint on and three things you are going to hold off doing for 90 days? Alignment is really about aligning waitlists. Permit – It is important for people to know that they will not be punished for not working on the things on the waitlist. Test – Whatever the decision, it is only a hypothesis. The whole point of test is to let people know that when a new direction is announced, it is possible that it might not work. Testing is a reminder that this is a hypothesis until the reality proves differently.
- We always hear about old lumbering organizations who are too short-sighted and get disrupted. Within a disrupter or a startup, the goal is often to be visionary. Disrupters risk getting too far ahead of the industry and too far ahead of what customers want. This farsightedness is hyperopia. It is the opposite of myopia.
Host a session or a day-long strategic planning workshop called a “Decision Day”. The whole point of the day isn’t to come up with a plan or a list of priorities. The point is to arrive at a decision of what the team is going to do and what they are not going to do. The name Decision Day changes the mindset of participants to prime them for the purpose of the day.
What we found most interesting:
Leaders often go right into communication mode when they make a major decision. The equivalent analogy to driving is turning on the hazards and getting everyone’s attention but nobody in the organization knows what’s going on.
A blinker is different. It signals a change and a specific direction. The thing that gets everyone’s attention is taking something away and not adding something new. The questions is – what do you take away? It has to be something that is important and will get people’s attention.
To learn more about Nick’s research, listen to the WiseTalk recording.