Thoughts on Words: Change
Thinking is shaped by the words we use. Management thinking is shaped by the words managers use and are used to. If we want us to evolve our mindset, we must stop to use words that carry a history of bad meaning with them. Let’s start to create a new language to talk about business that explicitly avoids mistakes made in the past.
Change: Fearless? Hard?
If we perceive our world with the expectation of stability, we frame attempts at innovation as change. If we perceive our world with the expectation of growth, we frame new possibilities as real options.
To embrace change, we need to overcome fear, and we perceive trying new things as hard. Yet this is just the result of our internal perception of the outside and our sense making of that perception—and we choose how to perceive the world. We create the frames for our sense making, thereby shaping and co-creating our world.
Real Options: Explore Betterness
Real options are a frame that facilitates a positive view of uncertainty. They act as bookmarks when we explore the potential of the present, they mark ideas which might lead us to a better future. Options are based on assumptions. We run safe-to-fail experiments to validate the assumptions and better know the value of our options, leading to validated learning.
Life is Uncertainty
Life is Growth. Stability is Death. As long as we live, we grow, we evolve, we explore our potential. The same holds true for organisations.
The two pillars of Lean are respect people and continuously improve.
If improvement feels like “making change” to us… How can it ever become continuous, and natural?
As long as we feel “changed” we don’t really own the improvement flow… And we’ll never truly transform into a Kaizen mindset.
Transformation always starts within ourselves. And it does naturally if we let it happen. Growth is sustainable by nature:)
So shouldn’t we just let go of the past so that our natural ability to grow and transform stops feeling like change?
A closing thought: Change Management and Real Options are both methods that could be labeled risk management. Change highlights the threats, Real Options the opportunities. You are free to choose.
This post is based on conversations with, thoughts and feedback from Umair Haque, Bob Marshall, Chris Matts, Stephen Parry, Pascal Pinck, Eric Ries, Siraj Sirajuddin, Dave Snowden, Andrea Tomasini, and many more… Thank you for your inspirations.
Siraj pointed out that thinking creates words… Which is true, just as my opening sentence. That discourse is a topic for other posts:-).