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Episode 37: Navigating Change Implementation

Dr. Mary Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Evolve Your Performance, a consultancy that aims to empower executives to deliver transformational change and maximize employee potential. With a doctorate in human and organizational learning and over two decades of experience, Mary developed the Transformation Reset Audit as a tool for clients navigating change implementation. In this episode of Change@Work, she and host Chris Thornton explore 14 common pitfalls that derail change initiatives, strategies for getting change back on course, and practical tips for measuring progress without surveys.


This transcript was automatically generated with artificial intelligence. It’s in the queue to go through a review with human eyes!

00;00;09;22 – 00;00;38;15
Hello and welcome back to Change@Work. I’m your host, Chris Thornton, senior principal here at Daggerwing Group. This week we’re talking to Doctor Mary Barnes, the founder and CEO of Evolve Your Performance. In this episode, I got to totally geek out with Mary in all things change and Transformation. You’ll hear us talk about everything from how to get change back on track once it’s gone off the rails and can’t go off the rails, and then how to measure change without endless surveys.

00;00;38;20 – 00;01;04;17
That’s one thing our clients always say to us is, I don’t want to have to send out another survey. Everybody feels over surveyed. So Doctor Mary gives us some some ways to work around that. But what really stood out to me was Mary’s undergraduate degree in adventure sports. I had no idea that was even a thing. But as I kept asking Mary questions about it, I uncovered more and more about who she is and really just how cool of a person she is.

00;01;04;19 – 00;01;30;03

Enjoy. Joining us today is Doctor Mary Barnes. Mary has a doctorate in human and organizational learning, and more than 20 years of leadership and experience across commercial, local and federal government organizations. Mary is also the founder and CEO of Evolve. Your Performance, a consultancy that aims to empower executives to maximize performance, deliver transformational change and unlock employee potential.

00;01;30;05 – 00;01;50;20
Mary, welcome. Thank you. That’s a mouthful. You’ve got a lot of impressive things to share. So in fact, it is wonderful. Well, we’re going to get into some of the things that, you know, in the different areas where you’re an expert. Let’s but let’s get to know you first. How do you enjoy spending your alone time? I saw this question and I thought about it a lot.

00;01;50;20 – 00;02;12;17
It varies so much. Okay. I do sprints and my wife just like I do and work. And so sometimes I get hyper focused on a goal or a task. And so all of my long time is devoted to whatever that is putting a necklace together, painting, whatever. and I also love spending time outdoors with the pups, especially near water.

00;02;12;18 – 00;02;31;29
And I love traveling. Even solo travel is a lot of fun. All right, let’s dig into the pups. We have to go on the pups. Tell us about the pups. I have two Carolina dogs. I don’t know Carolina dogs. Oh, Carolina dogs are native breed to the U.S., and they’re still born wild in the swamps of South Carolina.

00;02;32;01 – 00;02;57;10
And they look like just dogs. They’re like 5,060 pounds ginger brownie color. Their ears stick up, and they are super loyal pack animals. I rescued these two pups. They were already a bonded pair. Yeah, down in Folly Beach, South Carolina. And they’re the loves of my life. They’re pretty great. Can we hear their names? Farley is the girl.

00;02;57;11 – 00;03;19;25
Yes, probably. Beach and Jackson is the buoy for Jax and South Carolina. So both names in South Carolina are down. Let’s get into South Carolina now. What’s going on with South Carolina? Is that play an important role for you in your life? no, actually, it’s just that they were Carolina dogs. Great. So I just picked cities. I adopted them from Folly Beach, so, I thought folly was a good name.

00;03;19;26 – 00;03;42;14
She’s also kind of a train wreck. So folly works in that way, too. Yeah. You know, Jackson is my gentleman, so I thought that was a fitting name, but I just looked up cities in North and South Carolina to find suitable names. Those are great names. Thank you for that. Absolutely. All right, next question. Who or what never fails to make you laugh?

00;03;42;17 – 00;04;06;15
Really? Life itself. Yeah. You know, you can’t really being in change. I always realize that there’s always going to be chaos. There’s always going to be craziness. And if you can’t laugh at yourself and all the crazy things going on in your life when it’s really bad, I’ll even kind of ask myself, how would a sitcom writer, write this part of my life?

00;04;06;15 – 00;04;33;16
Because it’s always funniest when things are going haywire? No. Yeah. And not when they’re going well. So yeah. So really, I laugh at myself on a daily basis. All right. I like, like that. What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you? Well, I guess the thing that when people find out about it, they enjoy it is that my undergraduate degree is in adventure sports.

00;04;33;18 – 00;04;56;22
Wow. So I get school credit for scuba. I rock climbing, snowboarding, all kinds of whitewater canoeing, all kinds of fun stuff. And I could spend student loans on gear, which was pretty cool. So how did you figure that out? Because that’s that feels super smart to me. So I started school completely different, double majoring in marine biology and psychology.

00;04;56;24 – 00;05;17;06
And I had labs every afternoon, Monday through Thursday, plus morning classes. I took a semester off because I was burnt out even after just my freshman year, and I saw on like Maryland Public Television or something. This program about adventure sports. And I was like, I’m going to turn my vocation into a hobby, into my hobby, into vocation.

00;05;17;13 – 00;05;42;06
And I switched and I went up to Frostburg State University, in Western Maryland and got this adventure sports degree and still love marine biology, still scuba and things like that. But it’s no longer my vocation, just a hobby. Do you still love adventure sports? I still love adventure sports, but the adventuring has caught up with my joints.

00;05;42;06 – 00;06;09;24
So, you know, no cartilage left in the knee is. But, Yeah, that’ll slow you down. Especially the water stuff for sure. Well, where’s the, last water adventure that you went to? I, went diving. I have a little place, a little resort that I own up in Bali. And so I went. What? I just have to ask you one more question, and I keep uncovering things.

00;06;09;27 – 00;06;30;01
Okay. So you own a place in Bali? I do in Bali? Yes. And so you can do dive in there? Yes. We have a great house reef. So right off the shore, it’s right on the beach on the North Sea. So you just walk from the grass out into the ocean and and go scuba. It’s fabulous snorkeling. It’s pretty awesome.

00;06;30;03 – 00;06;56;09
Here I am going to ask you the actual questions, but I may throw an unexpected question. so today we’re going to cover two different topic areas how to get change back on track once it’s gone off the rails, because it can go off the rails for sure. And measuring change without endless surveys. And I have to tell you, there’s one thing that my clients say is as a constant is no more surveys, no more surveys, right?

00;06;56;09 – 00;07;24;16
So there’s got to be a different way. So let’s start with getting change back on track okay. What are some of the common reasons why you think organizational change initiatives might go off the track? Well, there’s lots of different reasons, but over the decades I’ve seen multiple organizations struggling. It happens a lot, even when they kind of are doing all the right things and when I really step back to look at and observe across all of my past clients, I started seeing several patterns.

00;07;24;18 – 00;07;51;12
First, it’s rarely just one thing that caused the chaos, but the chaos is always the clue to fixing it. So embracing the chaos and figuring out why is kind of the first step. The second thing I noticed is that top leadership is almost always part of the why, even if they’re not the complete reason. And then the second is even when they’re following the rules and doing everything they think they’re supposed to, it can still go off the rails.

00;07;51;13 – 00;08;15;01
Yep. and so those are kind of the three themes that I see. And when I get brought in, I go dig into those things and look at what might be causing the chaos and go from there, but always using chaos as a clue. I want to ask for specifics, but I also want to maintain client confidentiality. So let’s see if we can’t walk this one together.

00;08;15;03 – 00;08;34;07
What’s chaos where you want? Oh, I’ve never seen that one before because I think you and I probably see chaos. That is, we know it when we see it. And it’s like, yeah, I can probably do some quick root cause and figure out what’s going on, what’s some chaos that you weren’t quite sure what how it was presented or why it was present in that way.

00;08;34;10 – 00;08;58;22
It’s funny because everybody thinks every client thinks their problems are unique and that their perspective is unique. And what I find is that everybody is every organization is the same. They’re all complex systems. Yeah. And it’s just a matter of I kind of visualize an amoeba in my head. And when you poke one side of the amoeba to change it, other sides of the amoeba move.

00;08;58;24 – 00;09;24;20
The ones that have stymied me a little bit are the ones where there are a lot of complex reasons. So more than one root cause. Yeah, we’re just kind of everything’s running amuck. And so there’s so many things to fix. Figuring out which ones need to be fixed first, or what I call the big domino. that if you knock it down, some of the smaller dominoes will fall to figuring out what that big domino is is trickier.

00;09;24;22 – 00;09;47;17
I have not found any organization that doesn’t have some combination of the 14 issues that I’ve identified that are typical, and so those are kind of the I look at those 14 and just figure out which one is the most important. Where’s the big domino. Well let’s get into those 14 right. So they’re part of your transformation reset audit.

00;09;47;19 – 00;10;12;27
Tell us a little bit about those 14 elements. And and the audit itself. Yeah. So they all seem common sense when you just talk about them in a conversation with no stakes. Yeah. but they are really hard because the organization is that complex system to actually have implemented successfully in real life. I guess you’ll say, you know, and I don’t want to be boring by going into detail about all of them, but I’ll talk a little bit about them.

00;10;12;27 – 00;10;32;27
So the the trust is the first one. Trust kind of is the first piece that I look at. It’s the first thing that goes wrong. It’s the one that’s kind of an amplifier for all the other problems. The less trust there is in the organization, the more amplified any problem is in the organization. So that’s the first one that I look at.

00;10;33;02 – 00;10;52;23
Okay. an organization to resolve it spells out transformation because I’m keeps you like that in a member. Okay. Yeah. But, so resolve this. And that’s when the organizations resolve the leadership’s resolve their level of aid in terms of what they want to focus on. Tell me what you mean. Let’s dig into that a little bit more.

00;10;52;23 – 00;11;12;20
So I have to stick to one thing to focus in on the precious few. Is that what you mean? Yeah. So clear message about the intent. a history of follow through. Okay. They actually, you know, a lot of times when a new leader comes in, they like to change because they want to make their own stake in the ground.

00;11;12;23 – 00;11;32;15
so that can actually hinder resolve. If there’s a lot of churn up at the top of the organization, that then makes people say, well, if I just hold out long enough, the leader is going to change. And so I don’t want to have to change myself. Yeah. So the churn then creates more resistance and other things down at the bottom.

00;11;32;15 – 00;11;58;00
So that resolves historically, but also for the specific change we’re looking at is a component that I, that I take a look at. Thank you. All right. What’s our next one approach is the next one so defined approach that they use. All the players are known. They know their roles. They’re comfortable. It’s clear what implementation looks like. They’ve identified the risks and and contingencies.

00;11;58;00 – 00;12;17;03
Those kind of thing. So they just have a really clear approach. They have a feedback loop identified. You know, all the kind of parts of change management are there. Okay. And the next one is numbers metrics and measures. So they know what success looks like. And we’ll talk a little bit about that later. So I’ll skip over that one.

00;12;17;03 – 00;12;36;13
But that’s what does success look like. And stakeholder engagement is the next one. So they know who their stakeholders are, get a sense of what their interests are and what their perspectives are so they can wear the stakeholder hat as they’re designing interventions and things like that for the change. I want to get to the next one.

00;12;36;13 – 00;13;04;25
But can we just stop on stakeholder management? Absolutely. I’m thinking of one semi recent example where we were working with a client and saying, no, you’re engaging the CEO on this, right? And what questions do they have. And you’re CRO and we were assured yes, yes yes, absolutely. And we said do you need our help. Right. Like here we’ll make sure that we’re creating informed access and communications.

00;13;04;25 – 00;13;30;29
And nope, I got it under control. And what we found out was it was mentioned once the work was mentioned once with the end state mentioned in the same breath as the problem. So here’s problem and here’s a solution. and the CEO’s response was okay, as in, okay, like, okay, thanks for telling me. No further discussion on it.

00;13;31;02 – 00;14;11;25
And then when the leader went to implement, it was all pulled because of course it was because you don’t bring the CEO along. You oversees stakeholder management like ridiculous stakeholder management where you’re like, how did you not know to do this? Yeah, well, I’ve experienced what you just talked about so frequently that having a 30 minutes on the calendar with the head of the organization is a prerequisite for getting me involved, and I love because I just want to know from the horse’s mouth where they want to go, where they see the organization going, because I don’t want to be a broken record, but an organization is a system, and you can’t make a little

00;14;11;25 – 00;14;34;04
change down in the organization without the impact. And you can’t sell a one off organization change down in the organization if it doesn’t align back to where the CEO wants to go. So I no longer trust that they know what stakeholder engagement means, I love that, yeah. And what kind of managing that looks like. Right. It’s not arrogance to not trust.

00;14;34;04 – 00;14;56;26
It’s it’s a lesson learned. So most people don’t know how to do this effectively. Correct. Even executive sponsors. You know, I have met so many executive sponsors who don’t know what it means to be an effective executive sponsor. They just think, well, I’m an executive and I’m the one that has my name next to it on the spreadsheet.

00;14;56;27 – 00;15;18;04
Yeah, so that’s my role. But they don’t realize how much managing up and managing sideways and advocacy is required. And an effective executive sponsor, we could spend an hour on this one. I 100% sure we go to the next element. Sure, sure. The next one is easy. It’s funding. Do they have the money to actually do everything they need to do?

00;15;18;06 – 00;15;38;14
Yeah. so many times I, they want to piecemeal it out or they’re spending all the money on the actual change and not on the management of the change. And so they don’t want to put any again, we’ll go into this I think, a little bit with the scorecard. But change management is not a money making. It’s not a revenue producing function.

00;15;38;20 – 00;16;01;11
So by definition it has a -100% ROI. So you have to come up with other ways to show the value. Yeah. And and to get the funding. So have they done that already or is that something that I need to help them with this as one of the pieces there. Got it. oversight and support. Going back to those executive sponsors, do they have the good ones?

00;16;01;14 – 00;16;28;05
Do they know what they’re doing? Are they willing to remove roadblocks and advocate for the group? Is there a clear governance structure that kind of in resilience is the next one. And this is really more about kind of organizational culture. How has the organization dealt with change in the past? Are they more resilient culture? Do they move quickly or are they big and bureaucratic and, you know, really slow to to move the ship?

00;16;28;08 – 00;16;53;23
Is adaptability a core competency for the workforce? That kind of right. Right. Last one, I think and well, not spelling correctly. No, no. Keep going. And it’s for mission and vision. So let’s transform our mission and vision. Do they are those clear. Can everybody talk about them? Right. Alignments is a spell on longer? I thought we were just going to transform, but we’re going to transformation, right?

00;16;53;23 – 00;17;15;26
A, so strategic alignment. So that’s again what I talked about with the the change even down in the organization still has to be aligned to the top. you know, if you plan your alignment on the way down the front line is the one that actually implements. And so hopefully the results then align back up and you get what you say you want.

00;17;15;28 – 00;17;39;05
but this one is huge. Humongous. Yeah. Huge. There are so many, middle level managers, even senior leaders, who may not be the at the ELT level, but so many leaders that we work with who do not understand and are not accountable for the ripple effects their changes are going to make. They haven’t even thought about it.

00;17;39;08 – 00;18;06;16
What? Why would this affect you? As my org, I can do what I want so I know you’re part of this organism, right? You’re part of this organization and what you do will affect everybody else. Yeah. When I go into it’s a big thing that I focus on when I go in to talk about creating a change culture, with the senior leadership team, about having a more enterprise view of the organization.

00;18;06;18 – 00;18;33;24
Because going back to my amoeba thing, everybody, everybody is part of the same amoeba. I tend to fall back on, you know, examples that they might resonate with. So, you know, if an organization is thinking about using robotic processing or something like that for some of their lower level functions, that has an impact on human capital, it might have an impact on, you know, other aspects of that.

00;18;33;24 – 00;19;01;08
So there’s going to be an upskilling piece, because the people doing that low level function are now going to need to be upskilled to do a higher level function. If you’re not going to refer them, you’re going to see if there’s a risk that’s going to impact the culture across the organization, no matter where they sit. So there’s all of these pieces that any single decision that an organization leader makes in a silo are going to impact the whole organization.

00;19;01;08 – 00;19;25;04
So that enterprise view is so key for sure. Take us to the next element. All right. So we’ve got transparency and comms. It’s such a especially if there’s unions involved. It’s such an instinct for people to hold things close until the decision is made and everything is finalized and processed through the unions, but nothing ever stays close to the vest.

00;19;25;07 – 00;19;50;07
And what employees are making up in their head is always worse than the reality. So I’m a big advocate of it’s okay to say you’re not sure what it looks like, but to open up at least feedback loops. And these are the things we’re considering. These are the, you know, challenges we’re anticipating and kind of talking through and thinking through and getting feedback as part of the collaborative process of designing the change.

00;19;50;09 – 00;20;12;29
You know, I think about when I used to babysit, if I had the kids help me make their food, they were way more likely to eat it than if I just made something and presented it to them. And it’s the same, you know, adults are the same when it comes to the change in their workforce, especially if it creates a change in their own situation and it impacts them directly.

00;20;13;04 – 00;20;37;08
And so they feel like they were heard, in the process of designing it, they’re much less likely to resist. Absolutely. So that’s transparency. Insight is the I rational case for change. It’s there. People understand it, understand why they’re having to go through this doing this. Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. opposition is the oh so that’s the resistance piece.

00;20;37;11 – 00;21;03;00
It really does have. And, and a lot of the other elements impact that. But is there a system to capture slow moving or resistant parties? Is there a process to bring them on board and and help mitigate that risk? Is there a risk mitigation plan, those types of things. And then the last is knowledge. So I treat it a little bit because it’s okay in for knowledge.

00;21;03;02 – 00;21;32;00
But it’s that capacity to change. Do they have the skill sets they need. it does there need to be some learning intervention, upskilling journey or something like that to help the workforce be set up for success. Can we talk about this one, please? Sure. Yeah. Please. As is. Just like change people talking. All right. If change is a constant, and crows and ladder leaders.

00;21;32;00 – 00;22;12;17
And let’s not even just put it on them. CEOs know that change is a constant. The lack of change muscle in organizations, to me, is shocking. Why wouldn’t you double down on this? Well, and I’m I might get in myself into trouble a little bit here. Okay. I think we can delete it. But go. So one of the things that I think I’ve seen a lot of is that they try to upskill by getting people certified in something like pro say yes, yes, and pro AI is a decent framework.

00;22;12;18 – 00;22;38;00
It’s great, it’s fine. But if you don’t know how to get there from here, you still don’t know how to get there from here with the framework. agreed. And so not having change, folks. And it’s why I really try to make every change that I do collaborative because it builds the change capacity in the organization, just as a bonus, you know, just doesn’t side effect of the change work that I’m doing.

00;22;38;03 – 00;23;03;26
So bring me in as a change strategist. Let’s build a hybrid team between my folks and your folks. Let’s build the capacity. Let’s create a change agent network, and let’s build that capacity for change. Our guide them through it this first time, and then they’ll be able to guide kind of a train the trainer type of thing. It’s that culture of change versus I am certified in, you know, whatever or I know how to follow a process.

00;23;03;26 – 00;23;32;24
Therefore I’ll get the outcomes that we need, which is what I often experience when when I encounter people who are very well-intentioned. Right. Nobody’s everybody’s trying to do everything right. well let’s get everybody pro site certified. Great. But if they don’t know how to lead people. And they are unfamiliar with empathy as a concept to actually drive business results, that process becomes more of a tick the box.

00;23;32;26 – 00;24;12;06
I’m moving through stages as opposed to actually engaging people, engaging stakeholders. Right. Engaging the people that report to me to be able to all end up in a pretty good place at the end. Yeah, the process is great at gives the organization a common language. Yes. Talk about change. It’s like I said, a decent process, but there are so many gaps in the process because that organization is a system, and it’s really the ability to think about the organization as a system, think about it in terms of what are the behaviors that the organization needs to do.

00;24;12;06 – 00;24;34;02
What are the levers I can pull? None of that is covered in the process. I process and still needs to be thought through, even if you’re using the ad model. Yeah. As your methodology. Yeah. So when you’re working with clients and you use the audit tool, how does it end up helping you? How does end up helping them?

00;24;34;04 – 00;24;53;07
I use it in a few ways, actually. I’ve used it. If somebody brings me, it’s a slightly different if they bring me in, if they have the foresight to bring me in ahead of time. I call it phase zero planning, and I and I create a roadmap for them using the same kind of readiness as readiness assessment, for sure.

00;24;53;10 – 00;25;27;02
audit, when you’re talking about it from the transformation piece, I use it to figure out the big domino. It gives them a, report card of, hey, these are the 14 things everybody does wrong, like you’re not allowed to kind of here’s the order in which your 14 occur. I guess the best way for me to say that is to give you an example of a client really quickly, I had this trio of executives who kind of co-owned they were at the top of the organization.

00;25;27;02 – 00;25;48;29
They were co owning this change. It’s like the CEO. And then two of his folks. Yeah. And so the first thing I did when I came into the organization was I sat down with that trio and talked to them about it, about where they wanted to go, what they had done so far. This was a five year change, and they had been in chaos for a year before they called me in.

00;25;49;02 – 00;26;09;06
Oh, and so they now only had four years to do five years of change, and they just succeeded in making everybody more dug in but hadn’t made any progress. So that’s kind of where we were when I came in. And so it was, what have you done? What did why did you do those things? What were you hoping would happen kind of thing?

00;26;09;09 – 00;26;37;24
And then I started talking to the actual stakeholder groups. I always get amused. You asked about what made me laugh. This is one of the things that make me laugh about how disparate the reasonings executives say they did something, and the interpretation of that intent from the workforce. How disparate those two things are. Because especially when there’s low trust, everything is interpreted through a negative intent lens, of course.

00;26;37;24 – 00;27;18;15
So it gives me a really nice overview of everything that I’m going to have to tackle. all of the misinformation, all of the assumptions or, you know, everything that the stickiness that has come from, you know, a year of chaos. Yeah, it gives me a really good view of that. And then I kind of take everything back and I have my A Beautiful Mind moment where I just, like, use my whiteboard and kind of map everything out and come up like the patterns emerge for me, and it comes up with a roadmap of like, these are the things that we need to do.

00;27;18;16 – 00;27;41;24
Here’s the big domino. this is how we need to move forward. I need you to approve everything. Because once I get momentum, it’s going to be key to keep everything going and getting back on track. And so for this client, it took me three months just to get the workforce to believe that the leadership was serious and they cared about them.

00;27;42;01 – 00;28;03;02
And then it took another three months to get any kind of traction. But by the end of that six months, we were back on track for the change. Great. And as a side effect, both probably because it was really bad to start, but because it was collaborative, because we were seeing some success and we’re able to celebrate some wins by the end of that six months.

00;28;03;02 – 00;28;30;09
Employee engagement and voluntary attrition actually improved of course, during that next six month period because awesome. The leadership, their actual intent was now clear to the workforce and everybody was aligned and working together. So maybe that’s awesome. So that’s what the transformation audit is meant to do. Yeah. For those of us that are change practitioners, it’s inspiring to hear you talk about the different elements.

00;28;30;11 – 00;28;53;12
And I would think for those who aren’t change practitioners but are leaders in business, Mary’s just dropped a whole lot of wisdom on how to get yourself out of the hole you may have dug, right? Or how to make sure you don’t enter into that dark place to begin with. All right, Mary, let’s switch gears. Yes, let’s do a little change up.

00;28;53;12 – 00;29;12;22
We’re going to talk in just a second about measuring change. But first let’s have a new question for you and getting to know you. That’s the best thing you’ve had to eat recently. Actually it’s in my in my ninja slow cooker thing right now. I love tamales, but I didn’t make them this year for New Year’s and they take so much work.

00;29;12;22 – 00;29;33;14
I decided I was going to make deconstructed tamales. Oh, and so right now I have enchilada baked beans and fire roasted corn and tomatoes and all kinds of goodies. Yeah, and slow cooking and polenta. So like, it’s all in one. And I had some for dinner last night and it was delicious. So I’m looking forward to lunch after we’re done.

00;29;33;14 – 00;29;52;20
Well, it’s. Yeah, it’s lunches were lunch. It’s past lunch time as, as I’m looking at this. So yeah, I think you and I are both hungry. That sounds great. Let’s get into measuring change. So that’s the second part of our conversation today. I think that you’ve got three keys for measuring change. Can you tell us what those are.

00;29;52;22 – 00;30;22;02
Yeah. So the first piece is that we talked about we kind of foreshadowed this before is change management is not revenue producing. So there’s a negative ROI. So you have to find another way to justify those who make the financial spend decisions that change management is worth it. One of the CEOs that I was working with, he managed like, $64 billion spend at the time in his organization.

00;30;22;04 – 00;30;50;03
And we were working on a change that impacted all 4500 people in his organization. Okay. And I said, if regular change without change management or with basic change management, you looked at a 10% productivity drop, that’s $6.4 billion. If $1 million of change management spend could reduce that productivity drop by half. Yeah. Would it be worth it? Yeah.

00;30;50;05 – 00;31;21;12
And being able to talk in those terms basically in this case he gave me he’s like pick the team you want. I’ll pay their salaries. And yeah yeah. I’ll give you your million dollars. So it’s that it’s like you can either lose productivity, which does have a financial cost. It’s not a direct ROI. So no matter how many times I thought with, you know, CFOs to try to help me say I have an ROI, it’s always -100% ROI.

00;31;21;12 – 0;31;45;28
But I can justify through, you know, the scorecard and other metrics the costs will avoid or the price that we’ll create by doing the change management. And so the first key is it helps you get the money you need to fund the change management. The second one is just like performance management for the workforce. Knowing what success looks like on a regular basis.

00;31;45;28 – 00;32;14;23
So the workforce knows what they’re aiming for, knows the behaviors they’re supposed to be doing, knows what success looks like, knows how their day to day will change, post change. Yeah. the scorecards really helpful for that. We talked about a upskilling journey in terms of capacity. If you’re looking at it in terms of behaviors and the maturity model and the scorecard can help then inform upskilling journey framework so people can kind of have more self-efficacy.

00;32;14;23 – 00;32;51;24
See what the change. So the other piece is for the workforce letting them see this is how we’re going to define success. Right. And then the third is for the change team itself. How do we evaluate and adjust our interventions to make sure we stay on track. What is going to be our early canary in a coal mine type of metrics, so that if that’s not moving, we change what we’re doing so that we continue to hit our targets and help the workforce be successful.

00;32;51;26 – 00;33;18;17
So those are kind of why or how or what I think change measurement is important for. And it’s all without surveys wherever possible or leveraging surveys that already exist like employee engagement. Yeah, I’m well, I’m struck by all three. But let’s focus in on on the last one. I think having measures of success for the change team. I love your canary in the coal mine.

00;33;18;19 – 00;33;46;03
Right. I, I appreciate these so much because so often we’re looking at the outcome like the big outcome right. Will measure once along the way, but also will that the ultimate outcome of whatever transformation we’re trying to drive. But that can be tough to keep momentum going within the change team itself. And is it worth it? Not that it’s it’s always so negative and so hard, but sometimes it can be hard, right?

00;33;46;03 – 00;34;13;19
Is it worth it? Right. Are we making a difference? Can you talk about those measures as motivators. Yeah. So I have a whole section in the scorecard around change process. the reason that’s there is for that internal change team. People need to see themselves in the scorecard. And it’s a way to hold ourselves accountable as a change team for just putting in the work.

00;34;13;27 – 00;34;36;21
Yeah, the strategy piece of whether that work actually then creates the impact we want is seeing other places, but putting in the work and getting credit for that and being able to celebrate those small wins is such a huge and important piece, especially when we feel like we’re juggling 20 balls and trying to keep everything in the air.

00;34;36;26 – 00;35;21;07
Being able to take a moment to celebrate when we do our monthly review of our metrics, be able to celebrate the little wins that we got. Being able to go to leadership during our monthly reviews or updates on the change and being able to say, we fully utilize the budget you gave us. We’ve done these 2500 things, you know, and these are the metric outputs, being able to kind of show them the work that’s involved in getting the metric changes is also really important, which is why it’s not just an internal metric, but part of the scorecard itself, so that it’s everybody sees that it does take 2500 little actions to get a 1%

00;35;21;07 – 00;35;43;27
shift in this metric. And so it’s it is really important for that morale. But all the way up and down the organization change team all the way up to the top leadership. Absolutely. Well, what else should we be thinking about when it comes to the impact data can have on an organization? You know, we talked about side being a good common language.

00;35;43;27 – 00;36;08;06
Yeah. I think more and more data has become that common language for organizations about where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re going, the decisions that we need to make, especially when you’re doing strategic change. And so you’re working with the top echelon of the organization, their performance bonuses, their reports to the board are all data based most of the time.

00;36;08;08 – 00;36;45;15
So being able to talk in that language and kind of undoing the change, your squishy philosophy really helps you to be seen as a strategic advisor and, really helps to set your leadership up for success so that they can manage and give you what you need. Absolutely. So, yeah, for organizations who are thinking about, I was going to say, improving the way they’re measuring results, but let’s just say getting, getting getting good at measuring right.

00;36;45;17 – 00;37;15;02
And sometimes that means actually measuring what what practical tips can you offer? My biggest tip, and this is kind of my soapbox tip, if you will, is to focus on behaviors. Yes. To think through. This is what the leadership says they want. What behaviors does the organization have to do en masse? Yeah. In order to make that outcome a reality, because you don’t have to change hearts and minds to change behaviors.

00;37;15;04 – 00;37;41;21
Hearts and minds may follow. Ooh, but you don’t have to change hearts and minds to change behaviors. You just have to incentivize behaviors. And they’re measurable and they’re observable. And you can see like if I need to go from working in a cubicle five days a week to teleworking four days a week and collaborating one day a week or whatever, if you just think there are specific behaviors are on a continuum and you can actually see how you can help.

00;37;41;23 – 00;38;06;04
So, you know, through an employee, it kind of evolves through that continuum. So it helps in designing your implementations. It helps are your interventions. It helps define so much if you including your scorecard, if you look at behaviors, if you define your whole change through behaviors, it changes the whole way you look at the system and the way that you design your change.

00;38;06;06 – 00;38;32;10
And so that’s my big tip. Is behaviors working well. You mentioned a scorecard. So what inspired you to use the balanced scorecard approach. And can you and walk us through how you use it. Sure. So it was honestly just an effort to measure change and a, you know, with a client. And we needed indirect ROI metrics like that, productivity metrics so that we could get the case for change passed through.

00;38;32;16 – 00;38;52;22
Yeah. but we also needed to show that we were being responsible for the funding that we were given. We needed to show we’re utilizing it, but we’re not wasting it. So there had to be several financial metrics to show that, like, okay, so that’s kind of one piece. Then we needed to hold ourselves accountable for managing the change process.

00;38;52;23 – 00;39;19;02
And we talked about that before for motivation and for being able to show all the work that is needed in order to create the indirect measures impact. So we wanted to change process piece. And then because the change is specific, there were specific stakeholder measures that we could evaluate to, and we wanted to see those because those were the ones that would help us evaluate not just our interventions.

00;39;19;04 – 00;39;50;29
So we had those and then then we had all of those indirect. So that was for and so it just kind of ended up organically becoming this kind of balanced scorecard framework, that I have now used for every scorecard I’ve created since I made sense because it’s just those four categories and you can have I had scorecards with a really data heavy organization with 12 or 13 metrics under each of those four categories, and I had some with just 2 or 3.

00;39;51;04 – 00;40;09;15
Right. It can be completely customizable, right? But it currently covers the gamut. If you cover those four categories, most of you start out with your success measures from the very beginning, right? You can customize from there, but you’re not wandering into the dark, hoping that you stumble upon the outcomes that you need to achieve. So it makes sense.

00;40;09;15 – 00;40;36;15
Makes sense. Mary, this was great. We covered so much territory we did. I love talking about the change. I could talk about it forever. I really appreciate absolutely. How do people engage with you? How can they find you? Well, so specifically, if they are interested in the scorecard. Yeah, they can go to measure your and download it right there in exchange for an email.

00;40;36;15 – 00;40;57;24
So no big that seems fair. but it’s, it, and it’s a Excel file with some macros in it, so they should be able to put in the data, and it gives them a scorecard that they can cut and paste into a PowerPoint for leadership. It’s pretty rudimentary in terms of what could be done now with AI and I’m sure apps.

00;40;57;24 – 00;41;25;22
But it it’s been working for me for a decade. And so I, hope that it works for them too. And if they want to do a transformation audit for themselves, they can go to reset dash audit dot score It walks them through. I think there’s like 75 questions and around all 14 of those elements. And it gives them a really detailed report based on their specific answers to those questions.

00;41;25;24 – 00;41;55;24
They can then either call me if they want help interpreting it, or they can use the report to work with it internally and give themselves a step up. Excellent. And they can always connect with me on LinkedIn. I probably is the best way. Perfect. Doctor Mary Barnes, founder and CEO of Evolve Your Performance, a consultancy that aims to empower execs to maximize performance, deliver, transform, change and unlock employee potential.

00;41;55;24 – 00;42;10;28
And I gotta be honest, so much more then than just that. Thank you so much for giving us your time and wisdom and your tools. Incredible. Really enjoyed today’s conversation. Thank you. Thank you.

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Chris Thornton is a Senior Principal and member of the global leadership team at Daggerwing Group. In his role, Chris serves as a source of strategic counsel for Senior Executives with client firms, advising them on how to help clients achieve Executive alignment, transform their cultures and equip and enable people managers to lead and embed change. An expert in the people side of change with both client-side and consulting experience, Chris has worked with leading companies including Nestlé, Pfizer, and GE Aviation to do change right and make it stick. He is also an active speaker on business transformation, a driver of innovation in Daggerwing’s breadth of change consulting services, and the host of Daggerwing Group’s podcast, Change@Work. Chris and his wife were featured in the New York Times for their love of pie.