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Change Management for Organizational Jinga

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June 01, 2010
Technology | Training
Daniel Johnson - Daniel.Johnson@VenzaGroup.com

My family and I like soccer. Coincidentally, while this article is being published, South Africa is hosting soccer’s World Cup competition, organized by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA. For those who do not follow the World Cup, it occurs once every four years, lasts from June to July and is watched by soccer fans around the world.  This event is so massive that many claim it as Planet Earth’s greatest sporting event. If viewership were the measure, the World Cup and the Olympics stand nose-to-nose.

I’ve shared the above to prepare you for a sports-to-business analogy. My aim is to draw a similarity between the next Gen new release of a software application and the execution of a soccer maneuver, or “jinga”, as it is called in Brazil (the world’s power house of soccer).

A great “next Gen” software release is like a game-winning “Jinga” in soccer. While I’m fully aware that equating sports with business has been done before, I’m ready to take the risk because of something I learned on YouTube.

I volunteered to coach my son’s soccer team a few years back and am now somewhat stuck in the system. I stumbled across a YouTube soccer coach/guru by the name of Mike Hefron. In one of his videos, he demonstrated how to successfully maneuver the ball around a defender. Hefron used the phrase “beat the man” in place of jinga. Here is what he had to say, “In any beat the man move, in order for it to work effectively you’ve got to sell the move … There are three components to a beat the man move: change of speed, change of direction, and element of surprise.”

Upon hearing those three components, I was struck by how jinga can be applied to the world of technology, particularly in terms of upgrade initiatives. Consider the execution of a next generation software product launch to be comparable to maneuvering a ball past an opponent. Whether the opponent is a competitor, time itself, or some other condition of concern, each new launch presents challenges as well as opportunities to show off your skills, your organizational jinga.

If a hotelier or a service provider includes a change management strategy (i.e. training, user-communications) in a next generation initiative, they will be able to successfully beat the man, achieving beautiful organizational jinga with efficiency, efficacy and advancement.

Change of Speed.  Change management initiatives deliver efficiency. For example, strategically incorporating technology-based training and communications solutions can streamline your organization. Well-architected Web-based training modules, for example, can supplant on-site training visits, reducing the days and nights members of an installation team need to be at user locations.

Electronic job-aids and learning management portals can provide just-in-time information for users. In that way, user-service call center staff members are not spending their hours giving tutorials. Instead, they are spending their time on more organizationally substantive conversations.

Change of Direction. Well-planned change management initiatives can enhance the efficacy of your organization. For example, measuring learning performance in a training simulation of an application can provide valuable user-to-system insight into the usability of that very application. Localization efforts, including but not limited to language translation, offer versions of communications and training initiatives that assure the successful international appreciation of your organization’s technology and, ultimately, brand.

Let’s stop here for a moment and take note. Optimization efforts, such as mentioned in the first two points above are worthwhile. I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of cutting cost? But can cost-cutting promise growth?

There is a systems theory term that addresses that question. That term is sub-optimization. Sub-optimization occurs when different sub-units each attempt to reach a solution that is optimal for that unit, but that may not be optimum for the organization as a whole.

For example, the quality control department of a light bulb factory may want to introduce a program that will guarantee the perfection of every light bulb produced. However, the higher cost and the resulting high price would lead to disaster for the overall company in the form of lower sales. Another example of sub-optimization might be the reduction of on-site installations at user locations to save on travel costs only to be overloaded with service calls and, heaven forbid, disenchanted users.

Changes that help an organization to optimize, alone, may save money. However, consider change management initiatives as opportunities for innovative enhancements that help a company win. That’s the third component to organizational jinga.

Element of Surprise. Change management initiatives provide an opportunity for advancement, for that element of surprise. For example, slick, targeted edu-marketing campaigns, that display system demos in an engaging fashion, can enroll users, new and existing, into the world of what the next version of the system has to offer. Also, adopting a variety of training deployment methods, such as mobile devices, may better serve the variety of system users.

Smart, novel change management initiatives can bring users around to a next gen release with all the speed, agility and power of the world’s top athletes. In other words, a great next gen software release is like game-winning jinga in soccer; both require change management excellence.
Daniel Johnson is the Chief Operations Officer for the Venza Group. He can be reached at  Daniel.Johnson@VenzaGroup.com.

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