Charting Change for Product Managers and Innovators

by Chad McAllister

Charting Change for Product Managers and Innovators

As product managers and innovators we are often at the center of change because our work involves creating something new, which itself is change. Further, we need to persuade and influence others to change their perspective and embrace our ideas for building better products.

Sometimes the change is small, like a new feature to a product, while others it is large, like acquiring another company.

Adding change management tools to our product management toolbox is wise, which is why I interviewed the creator of the Change Planning Toolkit. He also wrote the book, Charting Change: A Visual Toolkit for Making Change Stick. His name is Braden Kelley. In addition to being a speaker and executive trainer, he has helped numerous organizations increase their revenue and cut their costs through the creation of innovative strategies, organizational change, and improved organizational performance. Braden is also the co-founder of Innovation Excellence.

Below is a summary of the topics discussed followed by a link to the interview.

  • [3:26] People don’t automatically resist change. They resist change they don’t like or don’t want. If they want the change, they will support it.
  • [5:53] Change is not easy; 70% of change efforts fail. That’s why Braden created the Change Planning Toolkit. As an innovator, he was being tasked with change initiatives and needed a toolkit to be successful. The Toolkit is based on what we’ve learned from Agile, Lean Startup, and change management methodologies.
  • [13:26] The framework for effectively dealing with a change initiative is called Architecting with Change. It begins with Strategy and ends with Change Maintenance. See the figure below.

Architecting For Change

  • [18:23] Using a pilot approach to making a change can be dangerous. For example, a leader sharing that we’ll try something new for 6 months and try something else if it doesn’t work may result in employees waiting out the 6 months for things to return to normal.
  • [20:26] There are 8 change mindsets in organizations that can be harnessed for success: (1) mover and shaker, (2) thrill seeker, (3) mission driven, (4) action oriented, (5) expert minded, (6) reward hunger, (7) team player, and (8) teachers.
  • [24:33] Even with good planning, not everyone can be turned into a supporter. Those involved in a change can be characterized as (1) strong supporters, (2) tepid supporters, (3) disaffected, (4) passive resisters, and (5) passionate resisters.
  • [28:33] Creating and conveying a compelling vision of the future post-change is critical to the success of the change. This quote sums it up well, “Nobody cares what’s over the horizon unless you send back some pictures and a map of how to get there.”
  • [30:45] Those that will be impacted by the change should contribute to the plan. The chance of success greatly increases when you get the right people involved from the beginning, and they are involved in building the plan.

Listen to the interview with Braden Kelley on The Everyday Innovator Podcast for product managers and innovators.

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Chad McAllisterChad McAllister, PhD is a product innovation guide, innovation management educator, and recovering engineer. He leads Product Innovation Educators, which trains product managers to create products customers love. He also hosts The Everyday Innovator weekly podcast, sharing knowledge from innovation thought leaders and practitioners. Follow @ChadMcAllister

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