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Key Themes for Change Management – RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter – April 2012

There are many approaches to Change Management…

RiverRhee Consulting Associates have been busy writing publications and running courses in Change Management recently, so we thought it was time we shared some of our key themes for this topic with readers of this newsletter.  Before we do so, here’s a quick summary of what we’ve been doing and are planning to do around Change Management.

Lucy Loh and Elisabeth Goodman released the 5th and last in our series of blogs on Change Management, based on our article with Business Information Review1. Our most popular blog has been “Recognising reactions to change and responding to them” with its focus on the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross change curve.  And our last blog tying in Dilts Logical Levels of Change and Lean and Six Sigma is also proving popular.

Elisabeth ran a course with Shaida Dorabjee of SD Information Services for UKeIG exploring common themes in marketing and change management and helping delegates apply the associated principles and tools to their own case studies.  These common themes are the basis for this bi-monthly newsletter.

(Elisabeth also has a further course planned with Aslib in London on the 28th June – Change Management for Success.)

Key theme for Change Management number 1: Clarify the strategic context

Being clear about the strategic context for change will give weight to individual (hopefully related) initiatives and help those involved in driving the change have a better understanding of the climate in which they are working.

Identify the ‘burning platform’

The changes we are introducing may not always have the stark alternative choices faced by the Piper Alpha worker on a burning platform high above the North Sea, but thinking in these terms can be a useful prompt for Change Agents and Sponsors to seriously consider what really is the impetus for change.  It usually comes down to quality (for customers), cost (for the organisation), time or productivity (for those involved), safety or legal imperatives. A change couched in these terms will carry a much more powerful message than one that just sounds like ‘a good idea’.

Key theme for Change Management number 2: Analyse your stakeholders

Identifying your different stakeholder groups and carrying out a gap analysis on their current mindsets, how you want them to think, feel and behave differently, and how you might get them there is tricky but very effective.  Delegates on our courses often realize that they have some work to do in the form of 2-way dialogues with their stakeholders to gain this level of understanding.  There’s lots more to understanding and influencing stakeholders and Elisabeth’s summary of ‘Influencer’ and Lucy’s insights on Dilt’s Logical Levels of Change give more pointers on this.

Change is a personal journey

This is where studying the change curve, and realizing that each person will be at a different point, at a different time can prove so helpful.  Added to this is the realization that resistance is a ‘good thing’: it’s an indication that people are aware of the change and are engaging with it.  Again, the more we can initiate 2-way conversations with those affected by the change to hear and respond to their resistance in a positive way, the better.

Key theme for Change Management number 3: Implementation comes last!

People often begin with what communication approach to use, when starting by clarifying strategic drivers, and analyzing stakeholders are better guarantees of successful implementation.  Once the first two steps have been addressed, implementation requires a well-defined and carefully executed tactical plan.

Integrate your planning with the strategic context and the stakeholder analysis

Having done all the earlier analysis, a good implementation plan will relate any communication, training or support approaches used for the change, to individual stakeholder groups and the appropriate key messages to be delivered.  A good plan will also have measures for monitoring its effectiveness, and enabling corrective or new supportive actions as the plan progresses.

There’s obviously a lot more to Change Management, but hopefully this short-list will be a useful introduction or refresher, and it may prompt you to read more on Elisabeth Goodman’s blog site.

[Note – if you liked this summary you may also be interested in purchasing a copy of The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook – available from RiverRhee Publishing at £10.00 plus packaging and posting.]

We’ve also been busy in some of our other areas of expertise: Knowledge Management and Lean and Six Sigma…

Definite highlights have been the two taster sessions John Riddell and Elisabeth Goodman ran in Cambridge in March.

The first “An introduction to Lean and Six Sigma” with Cambridge Network’s Learning Collaboration (LC) has led to plans for delivering an in-house workshop for one of the delegates’ organisations, and an agreement to run an off-site introductory course through LC in Cambridge on 26th June.

Our second taster, “Smart Working or Engineered Serendipity?  Knowledge Management in practice”, was delivered at Granta Park through One Nucleus, as a closing event for Cambridge Awards Week. Footage from the workshop forms the basis of our new business video about RiverRhee Consulting!

John and Elisabeth also wrote up a Web Briefing on Lessons Learned for the APM (Association for Project Management).  We are now preparing for our Knowledge Management in Business Process Excellence workshop with IQPC on 25th April in London.

We are also beginning to work on our new book with Gower “Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Enhancing Research, Development and Manufacturing Performance”.  We’ll be getting in touch with people we know who might like to share case studies, perspectives and insights on this theme in return for a mention in the list of contributors.  If you would like to contribute, do let us know.

[1Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh. Organizational change: A critical challenge for team effectiveness. Business Information Review, 28(4) 242-250, December 2011.]

To find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house courses, and how we can help you to “enhance team effectiveness” see the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail us at info@riverrhee.com.

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Half a dozen reasons for considering the individuals within your team. RiverRhee Consulting – April 2011

We know of course that teams are made up of individuals, but do we properly consider the value that each can bring to the team, as well as the differences to respect in working with them?

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a tool that helps people understand and respond in a positive way to the differences between individuals.

RiverRhee Consulting already works with associates qualified and experienced in MBTI to complement its process improvement, knowledge management and change management approaches for enhancing team effectiveness.

Recently, RiverRhee Consulting Owner and Principal Consultant Elisabeth Goodman completed her own certification in the MBTI Step 1 instrument so that she could more fully appreciate and help her clients to make the most of the strengths of individuals within teams.

1. Individuals will engage in the formation of a new team at different rates and in different ways

Many of us are familiar with Tuckman’s model of team formation: forming, norming, storming, performing and a fifth stage: mourning (or re-forming as the old team comes to an end, or changes into something different).  We recognize that there is no set rate for these stages of formation, and that teams might sometimes ‘slip back’ into an earlier stage.

Different team members will not all be at the same stage at the same time and, being individuals, will have different needs and different responses with respect to the team leader and the other members!

Elisabeth Goodman will be delivering a course for “First Time Managers” in May with colleagues in Stronger Business Ltd that will be addressing this theme as part of developing individual, team and task based skills.

2. A team that collaborates successfully takes account of the needs and situation of its individual members

Some team members will value more opportunities to have full-team face-to-face interactions to build the team, whist others will prefer to receive information and ask questions on a 1:1 basis or through written communications.

Successful teams are either co-located enabling lots of whole team and 1:1 communication, or make skillful use of collaborative technology.  Agreed ways of working and some form of local facilitation complemented with occasional face-to-face meetings are critical success factors for effective collaboration between ‘far flung’ or dispersed teams.

One of RiverRhee Consulting’s case studies illustrates how we can help teams develop effective collaborative working.

3. Each individual will interpret and communicate information in different ways

Whilst some team members will value detailed descriptions of roles and responsibilities, objectives and plans, others will prefer to have more autonomy based on generally agreed goals.

Effective teams will therefore have a clear ‘charter’ and give team members an opportunity to contribute to and review this at the level of engagement that suits them best. The important thing is to ensure buy-in from all concerned and that they have sufficient commonly agreed information to be able to communicate it to others outside the team as needed.

Similarly, in the course of the team’s work, some will have a preference for examining problems at a greater level of detail, whilst others will prefer to take a more intuitive or ‘big picture’ approach.

We help team members to build a greater awareness and respect for these different individual needs and strengths through our workshops and 1:1 guidance, as in our recently recognized work with Porsolt, a CRO to the Pharmaceutical Industry based in France.

4. Individuals bring different strengths to problem resolution and decision making processes

Decision-making requires both logical thinking, and an appreciation of the impact of decisions on people and their values. Again, MBTI teaches us that whilst we’re all able to think logically and appreciate what people feel, one or the other of these ‘dichotomies’ will come most easily to us.

Elisabeth Goodman’s work with Pelican Coaching and Development has helped teams to graphically appreciate the strengths that individuals can bring to a team to ensure a good balance of both approaches to decision making.

5. Individuals will have the greatest insights and expertise on their (part of) the process

A key principle of Lean and Six Sigma implementation is to involve the individuals who do the work as they will have the best knowledge of the problems to be resolved and the possibilities for resolving them.  Involving them from the start will also be a strong guarantee of gaining their buy-in for change.

Tapping into, and developing this individual (tacit) knowledge can be a real asset for continuous improvement, as well a challenge.  John Riddell and Elisabeth Goodman ran a very positively received workshop on this topic at the recent Business Process Excellence for Pharmaceuticals, Biotech and Medical Devices, conference in London and will be sharing notes on this as part of a fuller conference write-up during April.

6. Each individual has the ability to act as an opinion leader for change

Elisabeth Goodman introduced the ‘change model’ in a recent workshop to help a University Library team centralize some of its workflows as a response to, and also a driver for organisational change.  The model is based on Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief, and is a vivid way to help professionals understand their own, their colleagues’ and their customers’ reactions to apparently less traumatic change, be it perceived as positive or negative.

How we respond to change individually, our own knowledge and credibility, and the networks that we each have with colleagues and customers will be strong factors in how each individual within a team influences change2.  These individual perspectives will be something that Elisabeth Goodman will also be including in the UKeIG course that she and Shaida Dorabjee will be running in May.

Notes and further reading

  1. RiverRhee Consulting enhances team effectiveness using process improvement, knowledge management and change management.  Follow the links to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, and about Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell
  2. Influencer – The Power to Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson et al, McGraw Hill, 2008
  3. Effectively influencing Stakeholders: powerful techniques for marketing AND change management (UKeIG) 18th May, London http://ow.ly/4i7QA
  4. Introduction to Type and Teams, by Elizabeth Hirsh, Katherine W. Hirsh, Sandra Krebs Hirsh. CPP, Inc. Mountain View, Califormia, 2003, 2nd Edition.
  5. Personality Type and Project Management – with reference to MBTI http://wp.me/pAUbH-3S
  6. Intuition revisited: how it could be important to a business environment (Part 1 of 3 blogs) http://wp.me/pAUbH-39
  7. How people (individuals) are integral to business process improvement In: Supply Chain Management in the Drug Industry: Delivering Patient Value for Pharmaceuticals and Biologics, by Hedley Rees, Wiley, 2011 pp. 372-376


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Ten Top Tips for Successful Lean and Six Sigma Implementation – RiverRhee Consulting – February 2011

RiverRhee Consulting1 has several conference engagements and workshops on Lean and Six Sigma coming up in the next weeks/months, together with some recent and forthcoming publications on this theme, so we thought it would be timely to share with you some of the top tips for implementing Lean and Six Sigma that we will be discussing.

1. Effective Lean and Six Sigma implementation is about behaviour as much as the tools

Elisabeth Goodman, Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, is part way through reading ‘Influencer’2: VitalSmart’s insightful overview about how to successfully implement change.  Like VitalSmart, we believe that changing behaviour is central to effective implementation of change.  For Lean and Six Sigma, a key behavioural change is people’s willingness to relentlessly address problems as they arise, rather than simply work around them.  This is one of the core competencies that RiverRhee Consulting has been coaching one of its clients on through a series of improvement projects. Once people have committed to changing their behaviour in this way, then the tools come into their own. Without this change in behaviour, training in Lean and Six Sigma tools is simply academic.

2. Integrate Lean and Six Sigma into organisational strategy and core methodologies

As delegates attending Elisabeth Goodman’s presentation at IQPC’s ‘Business Process Excellence in Pharmaceutical, Biotech and Medical Devices’3 conference will learn in April, Lean and Six Sigma implementation will be at its most effective when integrated into the organisation’s strategy and goals.  Without that, it will just be another initiative with an associated short-term life.  What’s more, if an organisation has a core methodology which is integral to its way of working, then integrating Lean and Six Sigma into that will also increase it’s chances of success.  This is a theme that Elisabeth Goodman, and RiverRhee Consulting Associate John Riddell will be exploring in a workshop with the APM (Association for Project Management) that is being scheduled for the spring.

3. Make sure all leaders and managers are engaged with, supporting and reinforcing Lean and Six Sigma

Although it can be tempting to start applying Lean and Six Sigma in a bottom-up approach, our experience is that it is well-worth the effort to engage middle and senior managers. Not only will their engagement facilitate the implementation of ideas and improvements, but, by modeling and reinforcing associated behaviours, they will cause an exponential adoption of similar behaviours by others.  Without the engagement of middle and senior management, adoption of Lean and Six Sigma will flounder and die.

4. Start with some Lean and Six Sigma champions to lead the way and show how it will work

In any organisation, there will be some people who are more eager to explore new ideas and ways of working than others.  Rather than spend a lot of time and energy at this stage trying to convince the skeptics, we’ve found it best to start with a handful of people who will help to lead the way in exploring how Lean and Six Sigma can bring benefits to their work.  Others will become curious about what their peers have been doing, and the word can then start to spread through the champions’ internal networks.

5. Start with some high profile and quick win Lean and Six Sigma projects

This point builds on the earlier ones.  Pick early projects that support the organisation’s strategies, are endorsed by middle and senior management, are led by champions, address something that people care passionately about and will bring some early tangible results.  Our 1-day UKeIG ‘Getting Better at Everything You Do’4 workshop for Library and Information Professionals, helps people to identify just these kinds of improvement opportunities.

6. Recognise that people will have different styles and preferences in their adoption of Lean and Six Sigma

Elisabeth Goodman is part-way through her MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) accreditation and it has confirmed our experience so far that people will take to the Lean and Six Sigma tools and approaches in different ways.  For example, some will enjoy the clearly structured step-by-step DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) approach, others will want to make more use of their intuition or of their creativity. Elisabeth has summarized many of her earlier blogs on this topic in the recently published “How people (individuals) are integral to business process improvement”5 See also her most recent blog on intuition and Lean Six Sigma6.

7. Recognise that organisations will have cultural differences in their adoption of Lean and Six Sigma

Each organisation has its own distinct culture and our experience is that cultures will differ between countries (we have experience in the US, UK and France in particular) and between different kinds of organisations (e.g. international vs. local, corporate vs. small or medium, private vs. public or government).  So we’ve found it important to try to put aside assumptions about how Lean and Six Sigma will be adopted and certainly to avoid using the ‘jargon’ unless this is what an organisation wants, and look for ways again to integrate with the language that the organisation uses.

8. Encourage your organisation to keep records and measures of impact and benefits of Lean and Six Sigma projects, and to prioritise them accordingly

Once people start realizing the power of Lean and Six Sigma, there can be a rapid proliferation of improvement projects.  We’ve found it important to work with middle and senior managers to prioritise these projects and assessing the potential strategic benefits of the projects can help with this.  We encourage participants to define measures (both tangible and intangible) to monitor the actual impact of their improvements, and also to keep a central record that again will help with the wider communication to the organisation.

9. Ensure that there is ongoing communication to engage the wider organisational community in Lean and Six Sigma

Our experience is that there can never be enough communication, and that this needs to be in as many different forms as possible to ensure that people a) receive the communication (see it, hear it etc.) and b) absorb it in a way that will lead them to either reflect or act upon it.  Small group, face-to-face communication with opportunities for discussion always seem to be more effective for example than mass e-mail communications. Our clients have also used local displays with updates on work in progress and visual summaries of forward plans or targets to be achieved as a way to help with engagement.

10. Create Communities of Practice and other knowledge sharing approaches to help sustain Lean and Six Sigma in your organisation

This last theme is one that we will be exploring in our pre-conference workshop for IQPC in April3, and also one that Elisabeth Goodman will be speaking about at IQPC’s SmartLabs7 conference in Berlin.  Knowledge Management techniques have a lot to offer Lean and Six Sigma practitioners to learn from each other’s experience, continuously improve their skills in applying the principles and tools and generally sustain the application of Lean and Six Sigma in their organisations.

If you have any views on this newsletter, do let us know.  And if you enjoyed it, feel free to pass it on to others, and/or sign-up to make sure you don’t miss future issues on https://riverrheeconsulting.wordpress.com


  1. RiverRhee Consulting enhances team effectiveness using process improvement, knowledge management and change management.  Follow the links to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting (http://www.riverrhee.com), and about Elisabeth Goodman (http://www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethgoodman) and John Riddell (http://uk.linkedin.com/in/johnriddell)
  2. Influencer – The Power to Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson et al, McGraw Hill, 2008
  3. Business Process Excellence for Pharmaceuticals, Biotech and Medical Devices, 6th-8th April, London (running workshop and presenting) http://www.bpe-pharma.com/
  4. ‘Getting Better at Everything you Do’ UKeIG course, Tues 28th June 2011, Birmingham, UK
  5. How people (individuals) are integral to business process improvement In: Supply Chain Management in the Drug Industry: Delivering Patient Value for Pharmaceuticals and Biologics, by Hedley Rees, Wiley, 2011 pp. 372-376
  6. Intuition revisited – implications for process improvement and Lean Six Sigma (Part 2 of 3 blogs)
  7. SmartLabs Exchange, Berlin 28 Feb – 2 March 2011 Creating the right Knowledge Ecosystem to drive Operational Excellence http://ow.ly/3VNVE
  8. Readers may also be interested in: Lean and Six Sigma in R&D and Service Delivery – opportunities and challenges; Employee engagement – some interesting data and perspectives for Lean and Six Sigma practitioners; and High performing organisations: interweaving process improvement, knowledge management and change management.

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