Throw The Pilot Out

I know that I have written about this before, but maybe not so explicitly. Program pilots are booby traps, doomed to fail, generally speaking. There is a simple reason for it. Change, real, observable, meaningful change requires conviction and commitment. A pilot of a change is a demonstration of the absence of both.

I know that I have written about this before, but maybe not so explicitly. Program pilots are booby traps, doomed to fail, generally speaking. There is a simple reason for it. Change, real, observable, meaningful change requires conviction and commitment. A pilot of a change is a demonstration of the absence of both.

Author and business president, Patrick Lencioni, lays out a very nice model of teamwork breakdown in one of his books. (1) In short, we fail to achieve results because of an inattention to results, because of an absence of accountability, because of a lack of commitment, because of a fear of conflict, because of an absence of trust. In his model, teamwork success all comes down to trust. Frankly, I like his model.

It is easy, too, to draw parallels between his model of teamwork and driving organizational change, a new program, or a major initiative because the improvement or change can only succeed when we all work toward achieving it together. The adjustment to Lencioni’s model that I make for the purposes of driving a new program is to change the word “trust” into “faith.”

I choose the word, “faith” because it can be applied both to our team members and our organization and leadership, as well as to the tenants of the program we are trying to institute. I agree with Lencioni’s model in that faith and trust are required for us to commit to the change.

We can argue that the purpose of the pilot is to prove the viability and the effectiveness of the program; to give cause for the faith demanded for program success. It sounds reasonable, except that the only people who demand such a thing are those who are resistant to the change or who would roadblock the program. I’ll even go so far as to accuse those who promote a program pilot of engaging in passive-aggressive resistance.

I say so because of what I observe happens. Someone proposes the institution of a business improvement program such as Lean, Six Sigma, or Quick Response Manufacturing, for example. Some of the leadership agree, while others voice their skepticism. Even leaders fear change, especially if it affects their own realms of responsibility or ambitions.

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