I've read a lot of books over the years and have moved many of them out of my collection after a single read. Every now and then one comes along that is a game changer - one that was clear, simple and so powerful that I want to tell my friends about it. Mastering Change by Ichak Adizes is one of those books. It is radical in it's deep simplicity and powerful in its potential.
In the context of Design Thinking this stuff is the deep theory and practice in the Human piece of the triad. The Empathic Inquiry, Latent Needs Finding, Point of View discovery, Find their Pain leg of the stool.
In the course of 14 chapters, presented as conversations, it covers all the things they didn't teach you in college which if you don't know will blunt your effectiveness as an engineer, Design Thinker or manager at work and friend, partner and parent at home.
Here is one example, taken from the last chapter of the book. It's a set of rules about how to run meetings in a way that will foster respect and trust on a team. (I've added the record keeping item.)
I call them Structured Meeting Rules because I haven't figured out how to apply them in a Dreamstorming session, yet.
Structured Meeting Rules
- Whoever speaks may speak for as long as they need to.
- No one may speak or raise their hand while someone else is speaking.
- In other words; Wait your turn - no rushing, no pressure.
- When you have finished speaking, look to your right.
- Whoever else wishes to speak may then raise their hand.
- The person who has just finished speaking then calls the first person on their right by their first name and passes the right to speak to them.
- Anyone who interferes with someone who is already speaking pays a $1 penalty.
- Once someone breaks the rules twice, they will start loosing their next turn to speak.
- The meeting moderator may interrupt in order to keep the meeting on task.
- The penalty fines are donated to charity.
- Keep a record of the conversations and decisions.
In the book, Ichak explains why these meeting rules works, but I'm not going to include that here.
In testimony to its effectiveness, I will loosely quote Stewart Resnick, Chairman and President of the Franklin Mint, from the back cover of the book jacket;
Dr. Adizes theory and practical methods have been one of the reasons we have grown from $10 million to $750 million in sales over the past ten years, without any outside equity financing.
I'll post more material from the Adizes method in future blogs and explain how they fit into the Design Thinking framework. For now, just get the book and read one chapter per day over the next couple of weeks. Once you get to chapter 12 there are some ideas you can start to apply in your daily life. Be patient, they are worth the wait and you need to know the foundational material that precedes them.
I promise you won't regret it.