In everyone’s life there comes a time that in order to make a change happen we must “deconstruct” rather than just “remodel”. Deconstruct is the opposite of construct, it means to take apart piece by piece the focus of the change; albeit environment, relationship, organization, etc. Remodels are typically changes where you are willing to make improvements, but unwilling to take things down to the bare studs for many reason; i.e., time, money, talent, FEAR etc.
Don’t get me wrong, remodels are good. The speed in getting to a finished result is faster, and as we know faster is often the name of the game. After the remodel we look really good, but really good for how long? How “sticky” (meaning it has traction and forward movement towards an anticipated goal) is this remodel before the cheap handle falls off the door, or the paint peels, and the new windows leak? If the change that we want is minor and doesn’t affect an entire system, then remodeling is probably an economic way to make a difference in the bottom-line. We hear all the time of small rapid cycles of change, Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles.
What happens when continuous process improvement doesn’t gain us the long term change that we want and we find ourselves at a juncture in our process improvement plan? Many executives are facing this exact quandary. As one analyst put it, “They (executives) know how to do business with our parents, but not our children.” Shifting and looking from a whole different window pane, even better, constructing a whole new wall with glass that goes floor to ceiling is maybe what we need to really make change happen.
I am not a political person and I often joke that “being Canadian”, I can’t impact the political system anyway; but when Obama and every other bandwagon player started to shout, “Yes We Can!” I shuttered and thought can what? Change? Was America really ready for “deconstruction”, because the “remodels” of the past had the doors hanging from the hinges.
So where am I going with all this talk of “deconstruct vs. remodel”? I am heading into the January buzz word of resolutions – which mean change. We notoriously ring in the New Year, with a cadre of resolutions in hand, looking to be different by the end of the year, or in some cases within the next 30 days. In business we might shake the dust off the old strategic plan and open it up, wondering why we have not accomplished what we wanted to and how are we going to set the course again?
I want to leave you with four simple steps to getting traction with your New Year’s resolutions.
1. Look at the goal you want to reach, your resolution, and be willing and able (these are not necessary mutually inclusive) to articulate the goal using metrics and benchmark data.
2. Assess your past pattern of behavior. Have you tried this before? If so,what did you learn last time your tried it? What will you do differently this time?
3. Is there more to this “resolution” than meets the eye? Does this “resolution” really force you to “deconstruct” your life in order to succeed, or will a simple “remodel” do.
4. Once you are clear if this is a “deconstruct” or a “remodel” then you can lay down a plan, incorporating the time, treasure, and talent necessary to be successful.
Well for me this is a year of total “deconstruction”, I will let you know how I fair along the way. In the meantime I will sit back and watch Tom Hanks and Shelly Long in the movie “Money Pit”, because inevitably in a “deconstruct”, it is far more emotionally and financially expensive than we ever imagined.