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GUEST COLUMN: LEAN OPERATIONS Randall Benson | Lean Operations Randall Benson is a management consultant, author, and Lean master based in Whatcom County. You can visit his blog “The Lean Heretic” at, and his website at

Want big change? Sound a wake-up call! All leaders will be faced, at some point, with that moment when they must engage their organization in big change. Big change only happens when passionate leaders engage peoples’ imagination and sustain an organization’s commitment over months or years. Big change results in transforming organizations, recovering from dislocations, or exploiting windows of opportunity. It makes sense to sound an organizational wake-up call to start the change in motion. President John F. Kennedy’s man-on-the-moon speech or Al Gore’s message in An Inconvenient Truth are well-known wake-up calls. Yours can be about the big change your organization must pursue. Wake-up calls happen at critical junctures of success or fail. If your organization refuses your call (or you never get around to making one), then the change is dead and failure becomes probable. So, it’s worth fine-tuning your message. Here are seven tips that will help you create a powerful wake-up call:

1. IDENTIFY THE GAMECHANGER. Let people know that a triggering event (e.g. a dislocation, crisis, or a window of opportunity) has irrevocably changed the game. The organization cannot go back to the status quo. 78 | BUSINESSPULSE.COM

2. CREATE A RACE AGAINST TIME AND MISFORTUNE. Make your view known that a dislocation or missed opportunity has consequences that will worsen over time if action is not taken. If the state of misfortune continues,

Name the audacious prize. Make it clear… something much better is possible. Paint a vivid picture of a highly desirable future state…. then customers, the public, stockholders, and employees will suffer and the suffering will only get worse. Action is imperative and time is of the essence.

3. NAME THE AUDACIOUS PRIZE. Make it clear that while people cannot go back to the way things were, something much better is possible. Paint a vivid picture of a highly desirable future state, something bold and new – and ultimately attainable. State the prize in terms of achieving a higher purpose, healing misfortune, and creating real benefit.

4. INVOKE DESTINY. Communicate how the past has uniquely positioned the organization for the upcoming challenge. Describe how past events and achievements were precursors that have perfectly positioned your organization for the change journey.

5. OPEN SPACE FOR CHANGE. Make it clear that the means to achieve the prize are not predetermined, but are open. The participants will have the degrees of freedom necessary to apply their own creativity. You are opening the door to exploration and discovery.

6. PLEDGE A PAYOUT. Be clear that, while risks exist, the rewards are immense. A successful journey will lead to breakthroughs that will ease suffering and create new benefits. Your organization, and those who undertake the journey, will be handsomely rewarded for success.

7. SOUND THE CALL. Invite others to join you, not to learn best practices or to execute a proven-path project, but to become your companions on a bold new journey — one where they will discover the means to ultimately achieve breakthrough and create the big change.

Profile for Business Pulse magazine

Business Pulse Fall 2016  

Keeping you informed on the business activity in Whatcom County.

Business Pulse Fall 2016  

Keeping you informed on the business activity in Whatcom County.