Key Lessons Learned during 2020 simulation

Published on Friday 9 November 2012 by in Blog with no comments

This week we ran a full ‘2020 – achieving sustainable change‘ simulation with 12 MoC experts. Objectives were:

  1. Experience how to approach organizational change programs
  2. Learn how to apply the principles of Kotter
  3. Learn how to lead organizational change programs

During this full day session the team discovered a lot of MOC, Program Management and Process Management issues. Here is a summary of the key-outcomes.

“We see the gap between ‘management’ and the ‘work-place’. They make plans, they hey know why but they don’t inform us in detail.” (strong use of the word ‘they’ – them and us culture).

“Why aren’t they using our knowledge and expertise?” (operational people carrying out the processes an work that is the subject of the change program).

“The workplace is always 1 round ahead. They see the sense of urgency, they translate this to actions and we are always too late!. Because of this we cannot make a structured plan and we are not abel to control this organizational change!”

“The change team is not taking (fast) decisions!”

“Nobody is telling use what they are doing. This is both sides, from the Change Team (Union Board) and from the Operations (Union)

This is interesting. A change team that is not able to control the change proces because the operational teams define their own activities.

We explored this item with the whole team to find solutions for this:

Shared Sense of Urgency

  1. The Change Team (Union Board) did not work on a shared sense of urgency. The board had their own sense of urgency and this one was focused on the future. The operations had a sense of urgency that was more focused on current operations and operational issues. The board did not take actions to create a common sense of urgency.
  2. As a result of this, there was no shared strategy how to fix the problems and as a result of this all actions taken were ad hoc and not checked to see if they were related to ‘solve our problem’
  3. As a result of this, the team ran out of oil, the countries did not meet their financial targets and the Union Board did not achieve their goals.

Goals and Mission

  1. The Union Board did not create a clear picture of the goals. The main goal for the Board was to create/keep a ‘Economical and Environmental healthy Union for now and in the future”. Related to this they should define sub goals related to (1) ‘Have 80% of the Taxi-Kilometers on Electricity and (2) 80% of the produced electricity from wind or sun”.
  2. From this they should plan and prioritize initiatives and activities and align decision making mechanisms. Since they were not doing this, they learned that they spent too much money, they did not solve the problems and they did not achieve their goals.
  3. At the end of the day, they did not receive their 20.000 tourists, they did not receive the income to be a financially healthy union and they did not creat a healthy environment. Which meant they did not receive any subsidies.

Program Management

  1. There was no clear picture of all activities that were planned to work on the goals. Decisions and activities were ad-hoc.
  2. There was no clear decision making process to decide which activities need to have priority and when we need to execute them. As a result, operations made their own decisions (focus on silo) and most of them were wrong and not effective.


  1. Both the Board and the Union were not communicating well. The meetings were unstructured.
  2. Most of the communication was about ‘WHAT TO DO AND WHEN’ instead of “WHY and HOW”. As a result of this the Board did not show leadership, they were not demonstrating control and as a result the Union took over the control. They took their own decisions.
  3. There was no structured process to align the ideas of the Union members. They had so many good ideas, but since the Board was not in control, they could not link those ideas to the overall plan.

At the end of the day we captured all lessons learned and key success factors. The results are shown here:

Success Factors Fail Factors
There MUST be a SHARED understanding of the sense of urgency. If the sense of urgency of Management and Operations are not aligned, there will be a miss match and the change mayl fail.
Give employees a fair chance and enough time to get used to the new way of working. Do not introduce too many changes at the same time. Being unclear in communication. Talking in terms of they, management, ‘some people’ makes the communication unclear and nobody feels responsible.
Use KOTTER. It’s so simple to understand (not easy to use). It gives guidance and structure. Especially the first 3 steps: (1) Sense of Urgency (2) Guiding Coalition (3) Create Strategy Ad-hoc approach or too many actions from the work floor not linked to to common strategy.
Listening. We are very poor listeners. We must concentrate on what people are telling, why and how. There lies a lot of solutions in the words of people. Pay attention to the way they say the words. Not paying attention to the interests of all stakeholders. We need to have everybody on board. Need to adrees the kotter aspect of ‘what’s in it for me?’


The day came to an end. And everybody loved the session. A few of the quotes from the participants:

ITSM consultant :

“Today I learned how to start my change program at my new assignment. I am in the middle of a difficult change, and this session really gave me the hands on approach to starting the program, better then I was intending to do!”

Senior Manager :

“Today I woke up. I realized that what I saw in front of me, was a reflection my own approach, my own team and my own behavior. I now know what I am doing wrong and I can do much better. Thanks for this!”

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