April 2017


On a personal level we face abrupt transitions on a regular and recurring basis.  Some are new, others are expected and others a routine.  Our reaction and grace by which we adapt to these changes reflect some of our core capabilities to transition.  Researching the topic there was very little information about transitions that involved abrupt events.  It is for this lack of information that I share with you some of my personal observations and impressions.

As stated previously there are three (3) forms of change that require abrupt transitioning.  These include,

  • New events – those that would be considered as abruptly changing the course of daily life.  IE. new found wealth or an unexpected bill.
  • Expected events – recognized occurrences that take place as a normal course of life or the result of an event where can outcome is possible (probability not withstanding).  IE. birth, marriage, college, death.
  • Routine events – things that occur regularly and while expected have a frequency greater than once in a shortened time frame.  IE. driving to work, buying groceries, fundamental hygiene activities.

Each is influence by the change and also things that are happening surrounding the event.  To illustrate this point take any of the “routine events” and how would these respond to road work, impending significant storms or lack of water service.  I think you would agree that although we address regular change we can be thrown for a loop when it comes to abrupt adaption.  Some people will be totally beset by the confrontation, while others simply call upon alternatives to adjusted rapidly, hardly missing a heartbeat in the process.

When it comes to “expected events” the ability to adapt is driven by the persons attitude toward preparation.  I’m sure that most of you know people that walk through life going from one event to another who deal with the change when it takes place.  Others are living today but planning ahead, to which I submit as being my route of choice.  Not in defense of my position but if I had to deal with an impending future occurrence I would rather have more time to adequately prepare then to wait (whether in a mode of procrastination or denial).

The final form are the new and totally “unexpected event”.  While somewhat like a routine event that is challenged the unexpected is totally and completely new.  As presented by the two examples, new found wealth is more difficult to address than the unexpected bill to which a nest egg would be a plausible resolution to this transitional condition.  New found wealth, as we have heard from stories of people winning the lottery, that waste and exploitation are quite commonplace.   When people think about change and the need for transitioning the ‘unexpected’ are the most risky.

How is YOUR Transitioning Abilities?

Most people would say they do a good job.  In fact most businesses believe that they are quite resilient to change even though they may have suffered through less than stellar transitional performances.  Why is this?

The reason lies in the type of change and our experience in transitioning under these circumstances.

IMPRESSION             REALITY         WHY?

Routine Event                               Good                         Fair              General Inflexibility

Unexpected Event                        Fair                          Good             Common Plan/Project Type

Expected Event                         Excellent                     Fair               Only if Immediate

What tempers these conclusions a bit are people and their personalities relative to change and the transitional response they would chose (or not).  Those that procrastinate will wait until the event, expected/unexpected/routine, and deal with them as the occur.  Even then there could possibly be a lag in attention and its this that drives decision makes up a wall when trying to deal with the management of ever changing business conditions.  There are people who are in perpetual planning mode, anticipating what has occurred, organizing what has and always ready to flip the switch when new events occur.  Unfortunately they too are not without sins, the sin of over preparation.  You might ask, why is this bad?   It really about waste and inefficiency to the extent of over planning, over control that often distorts our vision about value based outcome management.

So What Is the Happy Balance?

The happy balance is having a means where change is treated as a condition.  Those things that are routine should therefor have routine responses to both normal and abnormal conditions.  Routine events are wonderful candidates for the application of learning machine/artificial intelligence model.  While the majority are handled in a normal fashion the abnormal events are used to refine the normal paradigm rule set to address these variations.   The same can also be applied to normal events in so far as operating from a rule based on normal abnormalities in the course of a normal event taking place.

Where we are more apt to apply a more planned and project based approach is for the unexpected events.   If a person (or a company) has routine unexpected events then the approach becomes driven by a higher skill set of people.

Understanding the types of change and our personal (possibly societal in the case of a business) is key to measuring transitional abilities.  If we are in a situation where change, in any of the three categories. is confronting we need to understand that transitioning is going to be clumsy even through it was totally avoidable.  Secondly, if we view change unrealistically as a given and normal event but have done nothing to condition a prudent reaction then we can expect less than desirable outcomes.  Lastly, if were are confused we are most likely ahead of the optimistic because at least we will attempt a more purposeful outcome based response.  Although not totally certain there remains a higher chance of this taking place.

To answer the question about the true meaning of transitioning one must first of all understand the basic principal of Newton’s Third Law.  Newton’s Third Law, the namesake of 3rdLAW, is for every action there is an equal and opposing reaction.  It is pretty easy to understand the cause and effect scenario but in doing so one needs to consider that there are other not so visible things taking place that rob perpetuation from taking place.

Transitioning is the manifestation of Newton’s Third Law as it relates to the not so visible elements that robs both the plan (the cause) and the effect (outcome/goal) from taking place efficiently.  If we revisit our past we see that even the best laid plans with the strongest conviction will often face opposition.  While it mostly involves the human factor it can also manifest itself in fruitless attempts to realign and right the course that is coming out of no where.

The Effect of Change Types on Transitioning

Changes come in all sorts of forms.  These include,

  • Incremental Changes
  • Disruptive Changes
  • Technological Advancements
  • Mandate Change by…
    • Society
    • Consumer/Customer
    • Regulatory
    • Managerial Directive
  • Discovery/Innovation (a large part from analytics insight and research)
  • Transformational and
  • Conditional (occurring as a result of manifesting adjustments in corporate structure and focus).

Understand that these types often occur has hybrid combinations and therefore one should not look upon these in terms of nice tidy unique bundles of change.

The REAL Business Proposition

Its all about speed, accuracy and delivery.  Depriving a business of any one of these will result in more cost and the erosion of confidence, whether the employees or customers. The problem with change is that we ‘unexpect the expected’ to the extent that we deny the reality that its customary.  As a result our reaction mistakes become centered on believing that we can make arbitrary decisions and that all problems can be solved with a plan.  Our inane confidence drives our command and control behavior to shout for action and expect all facets to fall step wise into lines of compliance.  Is this taking place in your organization and is it resulting in success?

The discover of the importance of transitioning occurred when looking back upon literally hundreds of projects.  The success and the not so successful, including dismal failures was not the result of a lack in conviction, planning, championing, supporting commitment or goal definition, it all started with a lack of a having a means to address change.  I chose not to say framework because transitioning is not about following a prescribed laundry list of steps.  Rather transitioning is about formation of a climate to transition change in an efficient and effective fashion.

How?

What causes an organization to stumble about transitioning from the here and now to a new found goal.  To answer this question we need to understand that the ‘human’ is still much in control with success or failure.  Even though artificial intelligence and preemptive analytics are in on the horizon the human element will remain essential for many years to come.  Even learning machine technology will still require the skillful mind of a human to set forth a road-map of actions and reactions in order to seed the endeavor.

Change faces obstacles,

  • Complacency
  • Lack of power even though everyone has a span of power that often goes unused
  • Lack of vision
  • Failing to communicate the vision
  • Letting obstacles get in the way
  • Failing to create short-term wins
  • Declaring victory too soon or making victory appear to a win when in fact it is a loss
  • Ignoring organizational culture

At the root of all of these obstacles is ‘transitioning’.  Adopting a belief that you can life and drop change into an organization is reckless.  You are far more apt to gain success through cult organic change as was the case with the use of mobile technology.  So what was the difference between this and say the adoption of a new CEO?   The key difference is active involvement, ownership and personal desire.  I contend that mandates framed as such have already set the transitional change path on the road to self destruction.

Conclusion

In the upcoming weeks and months we will delve deeper into the various elements of transitioning.  Here are a few examples of topics to be covered.

  • Addressing Disruptive Change Transitioning
  • Conditioning C-Level/Leadership Change of Guard
  • Stimulating Innovation Through Transitional Adjustments
  • Creating a Cultural Transitional Mindset

Let us know if there are topics which you would like to see covered in upcoming posts.

#transitioning #transitionalsciences #change #transitionmanagement

During a recent conversation with a dear friend and respected intellectual we discussed the concept of #Transitional Sciences.  As with most there was a bit of confusion as to how this was different with change and the management thereof.  After a considerable amount of dialog it became clear that we need to start with the basics in order for people to consider the relative importance and depth of the topic.

Step 1 – Why Change?

Change costs money, time and introduces the potential for the risk/reward condition.  Therefore it is imperative that we examine closely, move cautiously and act appropriately.  As in the past we live in a world of change and as a result we sometimes will act based on compulsion and not based upon rational foundations.  The glitz and glamour aside will change meet with value generation or simple serve to keep us in boot step pace with our competition?  These decisions are all a part of the change/act decision.  The very same situation will hold true as it relates to the adoption of a transitional framework.

Step 2 – Why?

The deployment of change is driven by expediency.  As a result we frequently see a “life and drop approach” whereby whatever is about to be implemented is simply put into application.  Relying on hope isn’t the best policy because it sometimes works and other times it doesn’t.  More challenging and daunting change receives the benefit of a plan and the assignment of champions.  Although a bit more organized in terms of things that need to be done they are constantly challenged by culture, tradition and adoption into a much larger established organizational model.  The upshot is unfortunately less then stellar outcomes, unlikely to be a total failure but leaving a lingering bitter taste on this and future projects.

So why adoption a transitional framework model?  First and foremost it is new and unique.  These attributes are not in and of themselves reason except for the fact that it represents a void that needs to be considered worthy of filling.  Secondly transition deals with both the validation of the approach as well as the actual dynamics of operational, psychological and value dynamics.  These elements are relate back to supporting of justifications and to leverage efforts toward success rather than simply replying upon the plan.  A suitable example is if we look at the Agile Manifesto used in the software engineering community.  One of the tenants is “working software over following a plan”, in the transitional science world we prescribe to “achieved value over following a plan”.

Step 3 – When?

Has the risk or the occurrence of less than satisfactory results occurred in which answers are sought.  It is likely that you have attempted planning improvements, champions and even pilot exercises.  These are all good and highly suggested.  However, these help with overall improvements in transitioning changes but they don’t solve the absence of moving operational behavior from present to future state.  While doing a major project for a leading computer manufacture we were faced with a very similar situation, the audience of implementors was doubtful of results any different that what had been experienced previously.  On one hand I wished they had faith, but why should they?  Repeated attempts with a slightly different twist, to which allot was based on solid traditional engineering principals, had failed.  So why was it that they could expect anything different?  What was different was a focus on the effect and not on the methods.  With one simple real life application in which the effect bore evidence of capability what was met with reluctance was now endorsed and became an epidemic of change.


Step 4 – How?

Revelation isn’t always understood, even less adopted or implemented.  In concept the reason why this occurs is the result of coming out of no where and the lack of contextual examples that might be illustrated.  The concept of transitional sciences is revolutionary to the technological and business world.  While it can be applied to almost any element of change one must better understand change itself.  Change comes in many forms;

  • Voluntary Adoption
  • Surprise Introduction
  • Disruptive Circumstance and
  • Evolution.

Each of these will discussed in separate and specifically focused writings, for now consider that change occurs.

Unfortunate change has been encapsulating everything without consideration for whether its the right wrapper to produce success.  In credit, planning is immensely helpful and has saved untold amounts of catastrophic outcomes.  At the same time plans by they very nature are rigid, inflexible, burdensome, not always comprehensive and seem to be subject to a lack of adherence.  It is uncertain whether adherence is the result of the plan, the people or even changing circumstances but even then it still remains a major contributor to value goal attainment.   The concept of a transitional framework envelopes planning by address the question of adaption, adherence, conversion (in both real and intellectual contexts), “Plan B Gates” and Preparation.  Preparation looks beyond the goal to the next horizon.  One such example of next horizon perspective is the close examination of information technology (IT) solutions and scoring their present and future states in order to prepare for goal driven changes.

Clearity

To illustrate this point lets think about change in your personal life.  There are some changes that are routine and can be dealt with because of experience and repetitive exposure.  However there are some that at first became disruptive that evolved into routine.  There were other changes that were much further reaching such as the purchase of a home or the maturity of a family.  Some of you may have already experience some of these changes, did they turn out okay or did you have to feel your way forward placing trust on elements that were not within you reach of control?  For purposes of this point specifically lets look at the adoption of a cell phone.  Easy to acquire and start using, right?  How deep did you dig into the features and functions of that phone and how long did it take you achieve at least 50% utilization more than superficially?  If you didn’t reach 50% utilization and it took longer than 21 months (average cell phone life) then you paid for excesses.  Was it  your intention to purchase solely on price, ignoring features, or was it unintentional?  A Transitional process would look at the participants, their abilities, interests, goals, aptitudes and the state of technology and drive a program to produce value based outcomes.  Bear in mind that this is simply an example and unlikely that you would do this for a cell phone unless you were driving implementation for thousands or it would be used for a value generating solutions by Mpesa (Kenyan money transfer/bill pay solution).  Upcoming writings will introduce the Transitional Process Framework and how it can be applied to business and IT related change.

Conclusion

#Transitional Process Sciences are about achieving success by consideration and attention to the impact of change without loosing sight on the goals and the means by which change is implemented.  It is purposely intended to be lean (in process), readily adopted by people (not processes), and achieve results without negative time impact.  Stay tuned for more from #3rdLAW.

Each and every day we face change.  Our autonomic response isn’t always logical, planned or successful.  Even when facing success outcomes one has to understand where its the result of fate or the result of experience.  In more pragmatic endeavors we cannot rely on these two elements completely and need to adopt a framework that guides these efforts.

Daily Life

In 2010 I made the decision to move to Asia.  My decision was driven by circumstances and opportunity.  Relying on my many years of work in the region, and supported by solid pragmatic skills I venture forward.   Was I confident… YES, was I committed and determined… YES, was I confident to address the unforseen… YES but did I really understand the full extent of the endeavor and all of the things would come my way?  I can honestly that I was to confident to see the barriers even after decades of living life.  This situation is akin to many projects and transitions facing business whether it be the disruption created by technologies or the advent of new leadership in the company.  The transition is seldom without issues and excesses that could have been avoided.  So why didn’t we avoid these repetitions?

Part of our challenge is to avoid looking at the end point (goal/objective) and then reverse engineering a plan to fit the commitment of scope-schedule-cost, also known as the triple constraint.  Instead we need to better understand and craft a consistent means of achieving sound transitioning.  Yes, we still need to have goals/objectives.  Yes, we still need to understand the triple constraint.  But we also need to have a means by which transitioning will occur in a lean, consistent, risk reduced fashion.

Next…Next

As with many things in life it moves on whether we like it or not.  We can hold onto the car with both hands or we can grasp the steering wheel to guide it to its objective with major concern for a calamity.   I have also had a fond love and adopted the principal of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “for every action there is an opposing and equal reaction” (thus the formation of 3rdLAW).  The concept of Transitional Sciences is that for every transition it will create equal and opposing reactions in so far as achieving success points.  Out of concern of making the topic too complex let it suffice to say that these embarkations of transitioning produce outcomes that can have equal consequences.  There is no such thing as too small to address this concern since a wasted moment involves time-costs-diversion of focus-lost/gain in confidence.  I was recently challenge by a colleague as to the mere term “transitional sciences” and in response I chose to break it down into pieces.  “Transition” the means of movement from our present to our next state. “Science” a body of facts or truths supported by research and experience.  Thus it seems quite appropriate and proper to state that “Transitional Sciences” is properly titled.  Furthermore, while it involves change it commands the need for the sound management thus the concept of “Transitional” control.

While We Spin

We can’t stop the world from spinning nor should we even suggest that it should as we might fall off this planet.  The same can hold true as it relates to inhibiting advancement of technologies.  I’m sure that there are others who feel a bit like I do that overnight we have experts in a emerging topic that previously were sitting in some other area of expertise.  We see data scientists, big data managers, cloud professionals, artificial intelligent gurus (have you heard of LISP or ADA?), and so on.  Maybe its from an acquired educational foundation, as we see with statisticians owning analytics or artificial intelligence (AI) by those who had some experience with preemptive logic.  However with all due respect a point of reference does not make you an expert simply because you need to understand the broad context of cause-and-effect.

So why am I (and my team) qualified in the area of Transitional Sciences?  When I asked this question the response that I got was less than reassuring.  Upon closer examination I discovered that it wasn’t the topic but the question, so I re-framed it.  “What kinds of work engagements have you had that encountered challenges?” was my next question.  I got a loads of examples and upon closer examination two elements were revealed.  The first was that they all involved change, and nearly all of them had some sort of project plan to guide change.  So what went wrong?   It was then we discovered, in somewhat of a bolt of revelation,  was that the plans failed to address the transition from where we are to where we want to reach.  Further it overlooked the impact of interim events, the human factor and was too heavily oriented towards tasks.  It was that moment we realized that transitioning wasn’t being considered.

Our next step was to investigate whether others had been involved in transitioning.  A simple search revealed that it was really non-existent treatment in the worlds of business, technology, innovation, startups and even management disciplines?  We were particularly concerned not for simply this void but the plaguing question of why, had the issue already been addressed or had we stumbled upon the holy grail of needs?  Deeper examination showed that it wasn’t something overlooked, but it became buried in deeper programmatic processes of plans and goals.  In other words instead of removing the paint of past behavior the direction followed was one of a skim coat over the top of what had been taking place.

The final step was to question was to whether this approach was ok.  We relied heavily on an examination of the change in project management during the last four decades.  The range involved ad hoc process, craftsman paradigm, simplistic waterfall, permutations of waterfall to present day agility and all of its variations.  Resounding the evidence showed two things.

  • the transitioning from each and every project management paradigm was a significant problem (created allot of consulting opportunities to help with… “transitioning”, and
  • secondly that project management has shift from ‘the plan’ to ‘the means by which an outcome can be achieved’.

Therefore we have come to realize that to save time and money we have to be equipped to transition efficiently.  Whether you are the customer receiving new technology solutions, a company producing product, a company changing leadership or business direction transitioning plays an essential role.

Our Transition

Looking forward is exciting but it can also be, for some, with trepidation.  The key in transitioning new discoveries is market conversion or the ability to transition tradition thinking into productive gains.  Often this relates to importance of saving time and money while doing so with minimal disruption and risk.  Our confidence resides in the reality that these aspects are in fact ‘transitional’ and to prove the model to be sound we must be successful in doing what we are promoting (hope that makes sense… so read it slow again and maybe you will understand).

Transitioning is not only exciting for me, it is also essential in dealing with a successfully producing forward moving outcomes.  The transitional framework has to be lean, efficient, effective and can be understood without exhaustive workshops, skill development and customization.  Much of this will be illustrated by some upcoming papers, projects and presentations that will be taking place over the next several months.

If you have any interest in or got ideas and suggestions please forward them to me at TECTL@hotmail.com