6 April 2017

Part 2: Why we start with Who

Ok, so let’s start. Last time we introduced you to the the theme of scarcity vs. abundance. A theme that we are personally very fond of. Let’s see if you’ll be as amazed as we are when looking at the world through the perspective of abundance. Let’s start with you, let’s start with “who”.

When we look at improvement of business, we step into enforcing change most of the time. After all, something is wrong. Isn’t it? There’s an interesting Dutch saying that catches this situation beautifully:
“Anders is niet altijd beter, beter is wel altijd anders”. “A change is not always an improvement, but an improvement always incurs change”.

The thing about change, is that it has an external trigger. The need for change is scarcity and not abundance. Changing things is something we do in the mechanical view of the world. When the bicycle does not run fast enough, we simply add lubricant. People though, are more receptive to development than to change. Because, simply said, improvement or development is something we all want. Development is abundance. Change is something the other party wants. If you keep enforcing change, in the end the only effect you get is resistance or avoidance. Fight or flight.

When we help organizations, at first many of the questions are considering “what” we are going to achieve and “how” we are going to do that. And of course this is very logical and sensible to ask. Because who would sign up for a change program that doesn’t add any tangible value? A good facilitator doesn’t actually enforce any tangible change but only triggers your organization to get to their own sense of value. This way the organization can improve itselve to the point that it doesn’t need any external triggers. By nature we would like to start from the outside, we start with “what” and “how”, and if we get lucky, we might get to the why.
Hmm…let’s see…

You go to the gym now and then? In order to get fit? Would you like your trainer to tangibly add value by actually lifting the weight for you? Or would you like him to enforce a training scheme upon you, even though it turns out not to work for you? Or do you actually only want support to be motivated for your own training schedule, and get feedback so you know your own achievements and area’s of improvement?

Interesting isn’t it? In the gym it’s easy to see that it starts with who, because it starts with you. But in business we seem to struggle with that.

Let’s try and translate the analogy back to business: What we like, is not to be forced to change. We know that we want to improve our strength or lose weight in some area’s. We don’t want to enforce processes in order to get to that improvement. We simply want to adopt a scheme that is helpful for the area where we want to improve. Of course training schemes are helpful. For example Agile and Lean are interesting training scheme’s to support improvement. But they are not a goal as such. When we improve on our own strength, due to our own effort, we’re proud of our achievements. We’ve improved our business, and earned value by ourselves.

So actually the main question is not what needs to change, but what whe want to keep. Our next Post will be about:
Focus on your strength ! See you again soon…… Max Vermeer is international Business Coach at www.OpenBook.Works