Cover of 7 Assumptions that Drive Success & Happiness

When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME. We hear this as children because parents and teachers don't want us to take things for granted and make terrible mistakes. But what if we decide to assume responsibility for ourselves and our actions? What if making those assumptions led to changes in our beliefs and behaviors that can drive our own success and happiness? What assumptions would those be and what steps should we take to act on them? 

The 7 Assumptions That Drive Success & Happiness answers those questions by drawing on the stories of successful and happy people, combined with rigorous research to create seven core conventions that enable a successful and happy life. 

1st Assumption: Success is a self-defined social construction. 
2nd Assumption: Your story is a first-person narrative. 
3rd Assumption: Life is always in progress. 
4th Assumption: You are going to have ups and downs. 
5th Assumption: No person is an island. 
6th Assumption: It seemed like a good idea at the time. 
7th Assumption: You will become who you surround yourself with. 

Along with these basic principles, The 7 Assumptions That Drive Success & Happiness also includes actionable steps that you can take today to begin applying these concepts and making better progress towards your life goals.

Why are some organizations more successful than others? Is it better products? Is it a superior service model? Is it some mixture of the two? Is it merely a matter of lining up the products and services to meet the needs of the marketplace at a particular time? Or did they just get lucky? Many business leaders believe that the answer to these questions is a matter of strategy. Find the right strategy and the company is bound to be successful.

Unfortunately, too many organizations fail to find that right strategy. The question is why? Do they not go on enough executive retreats? Did they hire the wrong consultants? Were their PowerPoint slides just now powerful enough? While any of these factors could be a contributor, our research shows that the real driver is strategy efforts focusing too much on singular dimensions (e.g., the competition) rather than considering the entire ecosystem. Without a full view of the complete business environment, it is impossible to make fully informed decisions. Without being fully informed, we risk making the wrong choices.

The Systems Thinking Strategy addresses this issue by providing a holistic approach that incorporates multiple domains into the strategy discussion. It allows us to understand how our Capabilities, our Customers, and the Competitive Environment are all impacting our business success. It then provides an approach to making sense of those disparate data points so that we can make the right decisions to drive business success.

Cover of Systems Thinking Strategy
The cover of Journey Management

There is nothing most constant in business than change, and there are few things more challenging. The term change management is commonly used, but not universally understood. An operations person might think about shifts in the reporting structure and how that impacts who does what. An IT person is likely to think about tracking the modifications of code from one version of a software application to the next. An HR person is likely to think about the training and communication tasks that are required to enable the people in that organization to adopt the new processes and procedures for that change.

All of these definitions can be useful at different times. Unfortunately, this diversity of meanings can also cause confusion and challenges. For starters, we often find two people may be using change-related terms at the same time but not mean the same thing; and they may not even realize it. An example of this would be when the above-mentioned HR and IT people talking to each other about the change plan. They may walk away from the conversations with completely different understandings of what was said, and end up taking different actions than the other expected. This can drive frustration and limit communication. Without good communication, we end up with scenarios where the various changes, or even individual parts of a large change, occur in a vacuum. This results in uncoordinated activities. Under the best of circumstances, a lack of coordination will result in duplicated and wasted efforts. In a worst-case scenario, the results can mean confusion for employees, conflicting outcomes, and pretty much chaos.

The best way to mitigate the risk of these challenges is to evolve how we think about change. Don’t just think about change as a set of individual activities. Think about it in terms of the broader journey that the organization is on. Don’t just talk about change management approaches that are limited in scope and finite in the application, but focus on a holistic Journey Management approach that can address the full continuum of outcomes.

At the simplest level, Journey Management is the process of assessing the impacts of major organizational changes, and actively managing those transitions so as to maximize positive results and minimize negative consequences. Journey Management is different from traditional change management in several key ways…

• While change management tends to be tactical and limited in vision, Journey Management is strategic and considers the whole enterprise
• While change management is reactive, Journey Management is proactive
• A guiding principle of Journey Management is to always link change to some desired performance outcomes. If a change can’t be linked to some performance outcome then what is the point of doing it?

This is not to say that Journey Management is about abandoning the valuable parts of traditional change management. Instead, it is more about expanding and integrating those efforts so that they are coordinated across the enterprise. We do this through five major activities:

• Awareness – Recognizing the need for change
• Planning – Setting up processes to make it successful
• Readiness – Preparing the organization, the systems, AND the people
• Coordination – Integrating with other activities
• Execution – Following the plan, measuring the outcomes and adjusting if necessary

By effectively executing these cycles we not only drive positive outcomes of the change at hand but also instill a culture that allows our organizations to change more effectively over time. In today’s ever-evolving business environment, the ability to adapt and effectively change is the only truly sustainable strategic advantage.