Change Leadership Secret – 90 – Version 1.0 Is Junk

Change Leadership — Secret # 90
Version 1.0 Is Junk

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose your ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.
—David M. Burns

What I Need to Know

Let’s face it. Version 1.0 is a disappointment. Everyone bought into the vision of the change. At first, they were skeptical. But then they gradually saw the benefits and the driving forces and they eventually warmed up to the vision. Once the decision was made to move forward with the change and to define the implementation plan, people got downright enthusiastic. Then, when the implementation team came back with the plan for Version 1.0, it was like a dark storm cloud pouring rain all over the change parade. The implementation plan requires huge amounts of time and resources. In addition, key features of the change plan have been dropped due to costly obstacles.

That all sounds depressing, but the reality is that perfection is not possible. That does not mean you should resign yourself and your client to accepting low quality, or to giving up entirely. Rather, it means you have to accept the reality expressed in the verse from the Rolling Stones’ song, “You can’t always get what you want… You get what you need.”

Your mindset as a change leader should be to strive for “Kaizen,” the Japanese concept of continuous incremental improvement. In fact, incremental, rather than wholesale improvement is a core premise of quality control, because something cannot be controlled if more than one factor is changing at once.

What I Need to Do

Do not expect perfection on Day One, or on Version 1.0.

Rather than striving for the perfect, all-the-bells-and-whistles version, break up the change plan into smaller chunks that can be implemented in phases with measurable milestones.

Consider change as something that happens continuously and incrementally rather than suddenly and completely. Scale the increments according to the magnitude of the project scope and resources. For example, deploying software to 100,000 users would have bigger increments than deploying to 100 users.

Remember that quality control depends on the ability to measure the separate impact of each variable. Although enthusiastic customers may want to forge ahead all at once, if anything goes wrong (and you can bet something will), it may be much more difficult and costly to find the cause and correct it. A systematic, step-by-step approach usually gets the project completed faster and cheaper—even though it may seem more costly in the beginning.

Action Summary

  • Do not aim for perfection—aim for incremental improvement.
  • Identify appropriate milestones for the size of the change.
  • Plan and execute the change in a systematic, step-by-step manner.
Change Leadership Secret - 90 Version 1.0 Is Junk

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