Make Change Easier

More and more organizations are looking to adopt Agile practices in order to transform their organization.   In my experience, people in organizations are overly focused on how to motivate people to “be more Agile”.

How can we get those pecky testers to “be more Agile?”  How can we can those control-freak PM’s to “be more Agile?”

If we boil away Agile and all the associated methods and tools, we’re left with wanting people to behave differently and many people focus on motivation being the key to behaviour change.  Plenty of people cite Dan Pink’s Drive (mastery, autonomy, purpose) as being the keys to motivation.   Motivation is important, however without ability to do things differently, change isn’t likely to happen.

This is why I’m a fan of the work of BJ Fogg.  He describes how motivation and ability intersect to create behaviour change and why it’s important to consider using different change triggers depending on which are you feel it’s best to focus on.

All the motivation in the world isn’t going to work if people don’t have the ability to do the new behaviour or use the new method or tool.  Training and practice are ways to build ability and looking at BJ Foggs’ change triggers can be a good way to figure out what methods, tools and training make the most sense.

I worked at an organization where we introduced  a Kudo Wall from Management 3.0.  Early on it was only the change team that were posting Kudo cards.  Directly across from the Kudo Wall was a table that had a sharpie and the Kudo cards.  Apparently turning around and picking up a card was too much work for some people.  Over a couple of months there was no change in people using the Kudo Wall.

One of BJ Foggs suggested triggers is facilitation, or, make change easier by facilitating it.  So I taped an envelop to the wall and put the cards and sharpie into the envelop.  Within a week other people outside the change team started using the Kudo Wall and within a few weeks the whole wall was populated.

To me, this shows people were motivated to put cards up and simply needed the barrier to doing the behaviour reduced.

Facilitating change in order to help with the adoption of new behaviours can be a powerful approach to transformation.  Building ability will lead to intrinsic motivation and it’ll take time, which is why I don’t believe transformation can be budget for and scheduled.  Time is the silver bullet.

How are you facilitating change in your transformation?