Joy at Work(er) Blog

Good Data Strategy is Good Culture

change Jan 10, 2022

Written by Roxanne Brown

I made the long flight from DC to San Francisco on a trip for work. I was going to a Data Governance conference in Japantown. Larry English would be speaking but that’s not why I came. Mr. English, who passed away in 2020,  was considered the data quality guru at the time. TIQM was his thing: Total Information Quality Management. He’d been advising our company for a few years, sometimes teaching long, slide-filled classes jam-packed with charts and graphs to help us learn the concepts beyond reading his book. We would listen to him and pour over his book trying to understand what he was advising and how to implement it at our company. It was daunting. It seemed like it was going to take forever to get traction. Our company had a patience limit of 18 months for a significant outcome. Our short attention span drove our culture.

A Change Practitioner in a Data Land

I wasn’t a data expert. Implementation was my work. I was a Change...

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3 Steps to Actually Hitting Your Goals

decision management Jan 07, 2022

Written by Ed Cook

It’s the beginning of the year and you are setting goals - again. We set these annual goals in so many contexts: business goals, fitness goals, financial goals, education goals. Our list is long. You set these goals with such hope for success, only to watch the hope wither as the routine of the year kicks in, just as it has in previous years, keeping your goals unmet. You tend to be ambitious in your goals at this time of the year. Maybe you feel the renewal of the new year. Maybe the time off energizes you. Maybe you simply feel that goal setting is expected in January. Whatever the reason, disappointment often follows.

Ephemeral Expectations

It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to set ambitious goals that are meaningful. Goals that, if achieved, would have a positive impact on your life. You can even incorporate the three-letter jargon that so often accompanies goal setting: ROI, KPI, and OKR. (More on those later.) What’s in...

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The Change Decision 2021 Family Christmas Newsletter

joy at work Dec 29, 2021

Dear Friends and Family,

This year has been momentous for The Change Decision. Although the world remained under the pall of the COVID pandemic, we celebrated our fifth year!! For the first time, we truly believed that we were going to make it. The world didn’t use the word “unprecedented” quite so much as it did in 2020. With that usage waning the idea of growing Joy at Work seemed a bit less frivolous and maybe a bit more possible. But that’s not at all how we started the year.

January

In just the first week of January, we learned the dread that arises from the phrase, “They’re in the Capitol!” The horror of the events of 9/11 still echoes for us, but seeing vigilantes in the Capitol and hearing about the deaths caused by these vigilante actions was newly crushing. After nearly a solid year of pandemic deaths and the economic pain of forced isolation, it was all the more devastating to watch Americans defile the one institution that is...

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Give People What They Want

change decision joy at work Sep 17, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

In times of crisis (and change), leaders need to give people something constructive to do that’s not throwaway work. That’s what people want right now. 

In normal times, the workforce has a much easier time deciding what they should focus on. A company’s values, mission, strategic objectives and historical track record are the guide rails employees use to judge what’s important and make decisions about their priorities. Today, companies are making frequent, unexpected pivots to both survive and take advantage of new opportunities. Among other things, shifts in supplier relationships and customer buying patterns are influencing adjustments to long-established business models. For employees, this means those guide rails for knowing what’s important are less clear.

On top of which, employees are overloaded with making decisions about their safety. Employees are asking themselves these questions:

  • (WFH policy) Will I be...
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Change: Learn Your Way Forward

change leadership Aug 22, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

Change is an active learning process! Even when the destination is clear (which most often it's not even in the most stable times), the path there involves a lot of test-and-learn activity. We like the "learn your way forward" way of thinking about change, or "decide-change-learn-decide-change-learn".

This way of thinking about it…

  • Removes the pressure of needing a clear future picture before acting – let that go!
  • Removes needing to have the answers to all the questions you anticipate getting – that’s not realistic, ever
  • Removes feeling like you have to be ready for every doubter’s comment – the doubters are worth listening to with lightness, meaning don’t get weighed down, instead think of them as helping you see the fears people have and what might be important to address
  • Removes the feeling that it’s hopeless, that any change is destined to fail and it’s impossible to come up with the right answer...
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The Secret to Virtual Work

joy at work management Aug 17, 2021

Written by Ed Cook

Perhaps the most consequential business decision of 2021 will be to what extent a business should return to the office. With COVID-19 continuing to impact the planet (and sadly showing signs of a very strong resurgence), it seems likely that we will continue working virtually at least in part. It also seems increasingly likely that as this situation continues, we will never use offices in the way we did two years ago. Virtual work will no longer be for distributed salespeople and a few other job types that make up a fraction of the workforce. It will be for everyone. So how do we do it well?  Answer: With Trust.

 “One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.” -- E.M. Forster

But what is Trust? And, why do we want to build it? Let’s start with trust. We place our trust “in” things and people, as in, “I put my trust in this old car,” or “I put my trust in...

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2018 Change & Innovation Summit

change leadership Jul 30, 2021
 

The founder and host of the Change & Innovation Summit, April Callis Birchmeier, interviews Roxanne Brown. Roxanne shares her thoughts about how to work with leaders and how to develop layers of change leadership.

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It may be a company ending mistake to “Go Back” to the office

Written by Ed Cook

The increasing frequency of calls to “go back” to the office is not surprising.  The past year-and-a-half has been anywhere from difficult to deadly for nearly everyone on the planet.  Who wouldn’t want to roll back the clock?  Sure, we had worries back then, but, for most of the world, it was not a trade-off between your livelihood and your life.  Now, with increasing vaccination rates (although there are important concerns about new variants and resurgent infection rates), it is possible to contemplate a return to normalcy.  So, of course, talk about going back to the office has been increasing in the last couple of months and will only increase through the summer and early fall.  But before pulling the trigger on the announcement that everyone in your organization should “go back” to the office consider the impact of the Great Resignation. 

The Great Resignation

Texas A&M Associate...

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What-if Scenarios: Risks Change Professionals navigate every day

change Jun 17, 2021
 

Part of the What-if Series: Risks Change Professionals navigate every day. What do you do as a Change Professional when you've just started on a project that's been in progress for a long time already?

Many Change Professionals believe that they're at a disadvantage when they don't start on a project right from the beginning. This may or may not be true, as Roxanne Brown explains. There's a lot you can do to be successful and create trust at the same time.

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Are You a Great Change Leader?

Written by Ed Cook

It’s a fascinating exercise to pose the question, “Are you a great Change Leader?”  The personae that tend to emerge break in one of two directions,  Lawyer or Scientist.

The Lawyer will begin with a recitation of presumably amazing evidence underlying their Change Leadership prowess -- the project that landed well and the difficult situation that got smoothed over;   the success in personal conflict resolution and the time something else “amazing” happened.  It is all true and valid, an airtight case!  

In contrast, the Scientist will pose a question: “How do I know if I am a great Change Leader?”  Evidence will be collected. But, even if done well, it’s not about proving a case but understanding the situation as informed by outside evidence, not inside justification.  That means asking others for assessments of your Change Leader skills.  The Scientist knows that...

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