Kumar Dattatreyan (00:09):
Hey, good afternoon everyone. This is Kumar with Agile Meridian. It's a catchy tune, isn't it? It is,
Michael Jebber (00:15):
Yeah. Like, Oh, this is, okay.
Kumar Dattatreyan (00:19):
I like this . Right. And for this episode, this is where, up, up to what? Episode? 45. So we've been doing this now for maybe a year and a half or so. Yeah. Pretty exciting stuff. And our, our title of course is The Art of Emptying Your Glass. And that doesn't seem all that artful. I just take a glass Right. And youse it. What's, what's this about Mike?
Michael Jebber (00:45):
Well, actually, this, this is one of my favorite topics and I would say one of my top five this is something that for a long time I didn't know existed. I didn't know, and I didn't understand it very well. I really didn't know it was a thing. And consequently, it made it very hard for me to help people move from where they were to where they wanted to go. If we want to lump that all together into, you know, successful change management. Right. I know it's kind of cliche-ish, but we'll use that in, in, cuz people recognize that term. So it, what I found in, in trying to, to do a better job in my, in my earlier career and helping people with change when, when they were looking to improve something or assigning me work saying, Hey, go build this or go do something new.
It was always a challenge to try to get folks to come along and to try. And some folks, we, we, we've talked about this in other agile shorts around the Rogers innovation adoption curve, right? Some folks like where they are, they don't want to move, right? And, and they, they like where they're at. And it, what I found is it's really a critical, crucial part of getting prepared and ready for change management. Hmm. And I never really thought about preparing for change, like in that way, but it's very much similar to, we've used the analogy in other shorts around preparing the environment Right? Or how environments help change things. Well, that's true, but if your environment isn't ready to help to isn't isn't set up to help that change happen, then you're gonna be very disappointed and frustrated with your lack of progress towards wherever you're trying to go. So this is really a, a key concept in making sure that change management activities, whether it's an adoption, a transformation, whatever you wanna call it, happen successfully.
Kumar Dattatreyan (02:38):
Mm-Hmm. . Interesting. So the really emptying the glasses, as the caption says there, it's really preparing for successful change, making sure people are mentally set up for what this change entails. Is that, is that what I'm hearing?
Michael Jebber (02:57):
Yes. It's actually a couple of things. And I would, I would classify, there's three things we're trying to do when, when we, when we talk about the effort of emptying the glass mm-hmm. but one, one of the first things is, is we're trying to really, we use that glass analogy, just like you were saying before, and I've got a full glass of water so I won't tip mine , but the, using that glass analogy to say, Hey, if your glass is full and I try to put something on top of it, it just, there's no room for it, right? So there's that. We have that, we have that challenge as people and talent within an organization in two ways. We have it with our calendars. The, there's just no time in the calendar. We put more stuff on the calendar.
There's no more calendar spots. We're, we're literally outta spot. The other part is in our brains, we don't have the, we don't have the mental capacity. We don't have the mental space for this, or we don't, we can't, We have so much noise going on, we can't hear or even, you know, find wherever it is. We're trying to put this new stuff with within our heads. Yeah. So, so when we're emptying the glass, we're really emptying those two things. We're creating space in both your calendar and in your head to be able to, to, to go after something new to, while again, reducing risk, continuing the operations and trying to work towards the commitments you already have and minimize the impact on those.
Kumar Dattatreyan (04:17):
That makes a lot of sense because you know, we are especially, you know, I keep saying this of course, but we're still in the throes of the pandemic, if you will, maybe the latter stages of it. But it's fundamentally changed how people work today. And people are working, you know, remotely for the most part. I mean, people are starting to go back into the office, but the remote work, I think has fundamentally changed people in, in many ways. Mm-Hmm. people are finding that they're working more, longer hours. Maybe it's more flexible because they can take time off when they need to cuz they don't have to go into an office. But they're finding that they're, it's hard to disconnect from the work environment. And so there's very little space right in your head, in your brain to Yeah. To do any, any thinking or any changing or even any retrospective in, in terms of looking at how things are currently working and how things can change for the better.
And then when you layer on top of that, Oh, we're gonna change, we're gonna transform, we're gonna try this new thing. It's like, I don't have time for that. I don't have any space for that. My calendar is full. So this idea of emptying your glass is, is it's a nice one because it, it's you know, you can get that visual representation. My glass is full and this one is in flow, but if my glass is full, there's nothing more I can do. Yes. And the only way to do that is to empty the glass a little bit, make some room so that I can take on something new. Is that like
Michael Jebber (05:53):
That a lot? Yeah. And, and you know, it's funny you talk about there's no, there's no room to think or learn. We used to have, while Yeah. We are working more hours cuz we have some efficiency gain by the fact that we're at home. We don't have to commute, we don't have to do whatever. Right. But we're working more, We're not necessarily producing more because it takes more effort to do things when you're distributed, when you're not together. It, it's more patient to be effective when you're together. The inefficiencies are in the traveling to get together. Right. So you get back those inefficiencies when you're at home, but now it takes twice as much effort to get the work done because you're not together. You don't get the cues, you don't get all the same, you don't transfer information as fast with each other.
You don't come to decisions or get work done as fast. And we're working more hours to produce the same thing. So we kind of traded efficiencies. Right. But we don't have downtime on our commute. Yeah. I used to think about my day coming home or going into work. I used to have, I used to generate ideas that Yeah. I don't have any of that now. It's, there's no time between the coffee pot and that room and, and the chair in this room. I don't have enough time walk around the block. Right? Yeah, exactly. So, so we need to, we need to plan those events more so than ever. Now I've been doing this for, since 2013 ish around there. Yeah. so, you know, it's, it's been going on for all, I've been doing it for about 10 years, kind of with a, with a technique that we're gonna mention at the end of this, right?
There's, there's a couple of techniques and one which is really effective in, in generating the, the results we're looking for and actually giving people space in their glass. Real activities you can do to do that. And it's very successful. But people need to do that now. And, and we're, you and I are getting requests to do this because people are, companies are trying to figure out how to just, they're still recovering on how to try to work the best way they can with this distributed environment, right? Sure. So you know, so, so we talk about those two things that we're trying to gain, you know, the, the two things we're trying to gain in terms of capacity. We're also trying to get two other elements. There's two other benefits to doing this. And in, in macro categories. And, and that would be one of them is kind of getting ahas, getting some ahas around what it is that we're all thinking, what we're all, what we're all doing and, and, and what we talk about our collaboration maturity model in several agile shorts, right?
We talk about you need participation, participation in visibility in order to have an opportunity to get alignment and consensus. And without those four things, you can't build a path and execute a successful path of change management of of, of moving from one place to another. Yeah. It will be, it will be inefficient. You might be, you only get a portion of the results. It'll be frustrating. You'll feel like you're dragging people along and other people feel like they're, they're, they're going too fast. You don't risk, you don't manage risk well when you're changing, if you don't have those four things working for you. So it's, it's, it's inac it, it's, it generates that participation and visibility to get ahas. So you start to get alignment. Now you can get consensus around yes, this is current state, Yes. These are the, these are the things that we do well and these are the things we need to go after.
This is what's gonna, may prevent us from making this change happen. These things are things we can leverage to make this change happen better. And you start to get that agreement. Now you're gaining a, you're getting a quorum, right? Together, you're getting mass around a group of people that can make this happen. And you've got, usually, if you've done it right and you've set it up right, you've got the right bodies in the room when you're doing this and the right minds in the room that you're covering all of the area, the bases you need to cover. So you can have very effective, sustainable adoptions and change management. Repeatedly you can do this whenever you're ready for some kind of a big new shift. And once you've done it once and had some success, people are bought in, they get it. They understand the value of it. You're also building psychological safety within an environment, right? We talk about changing the environment and making sure that the environment is, is strong. One of those environmental elements is psychological safety. As you build that alignment consensus, you're building psychological safety, you're building trust around the room. So you're getting folks to be more willing along that adoption curve to move towards innovation, to move towards change. Which is great.
Kumar Dattatreyan (10:08):
Go ahead. This is all great, right? You need psychological safety and of course a lack of it will squash any kind of, any effort, Right. Change effort, otherwise, you know Right. It's so important in, in, in in a modern workforce or any kind of workforce. What are some other challenges? You know, that, that some things that you need sort of the till the soil to prepare. One of the things is force emptying your glass. What are some other things that are needed?
Michael Jebber (10:34):
Kumar Dattatreyan (10:34):
Get to those ahas, right? Get to those shared, shared goals and shared vision, shared alignment, if you will.
Michael Jebber (10:41):
Yep. Preparing you. You said it, you said it good. Preparing the soil. We've talked about this before. If you're gonna plant something new, you need to have the soil set up and ready to be able to hel let that seed grow in Germany and its best possible case scenario. Yeah. And that means preparation, right? So this is what we're doing. We talk about emptying the glass as really one of the key, those key elements of preparing that environment. And that's, that, that's where I didn't see, I didn't realize that that was necessary when I was trying to make it happen. It's like, can't everybody see this is a good change? Yeah. No, nobody does. Why don't you? But people are different, right? Individuals are different and and they all have different risks and tolerances and things they need in order to be able to be okay with change. We know that looking at Roger's adoption, so this good preparatory
Kumar Dattatreyan (11:28):
Also include, you know, emptying glass for the leaders, right? I mean, they need to do the same thing, right? It, it's, we're not just talking about the people that are, you know, being changed, you know, sort of what change is being applied to. It's also the people that are initiating that change. And, and in my view, that's the leadership of a company, of an organization, of a team, of a department Yes. And so on. And they too need to empty their glass a little bit. Bit true.
Michael Jebber (11:53):
Yeah. Oh, very much so. Because I, if you don't have leadership involved, they're the, the leadership group is the one that provides the initial psychological safety in a bubble. If it doesn't exist, if your culture's good and it's psychologically sound in terms of people feel very comfortable in speaking their mind, and there's no new retribution and people wanna hear from you, great. This is gonna be very natural for you. You're gonna get into the techniques, you're gonna do a, a workshop type thing, and it's gonna feel, oh yeah, this, this makes a lot of sense. If you don't, somebody has to provide that, that air cover or provide that initial psychological bubble that people can start to operate in and feel comfortable enough to get the ball rolling. And then what will happen is, is that group will start to expand. That bubble will start to expand. And what's good is leadership will see the change. This happens every single time. They see the change happening amongst the people in the room. They see the relationships and the interactions changing from what they were. And they go, ah, get it. Now, the aha for leadership is this is a way for me to propagate psychological safety throughout the organization mm-hmm. . And it also allows me to expedite successful sustainable change because I can align people around something, around whatever it is. Right. So
Kumar Dattatreyan (13:10):
You're really talking about feedback loop here. Yes. It, it's sort of reinforces each other. So leaders are making space, emptying their glass. They are you know, creating a safe space for the, the people, the followers, if you will mm-hmm. leaders in their own Right. Right. They're leading something, they're leading themselves, leading their work, emptying their glass. And in this psychologically safe bubble, they are thinking about how this change is gonna impact them, what they need to do to prepare for the change for the people that they serve. You know, that they're followers, if you will. And they're, they're all experiencing these ahas together, you know, shared alignment, the discovery of what needs to happen. What else, what else are some benefits of this approach?
Michael Jebber (13:57):
Well, leader leaderships realizing that by doing this, they're actually mitigating risk. They can see, you can see the risk being mitigated when you have people moving along in the same direction. And the likelihood is, again, you get the right people in there. And the right people is not necessarily the people at the top of each segment of the organization. It's the people that are really really driven to and interested in, in improving those elements of those organizations. And they're good
Kumar Dattatreyan (14:24):
People doing the work, the people on the front lines that are actually generating value. They're the ones that are, is that what you're saying? So it's, it's really making it easier for them to empty their glass and Yeah. Implement some of these changes, right. That are, that are being talked about.
Michael Jebber (14:40):
Yeah. You don't wanna look at the org chart and go, Okay, give me the director of this and the director of that and director. No, no. Look at the humans involved and say, this person is a, is a good collaborator and they've always been interested in moving, moving things forward. They're not afraid of change. You wanna find, you wanna seed that environment with as many of those types of mindsets as you can. Even if there's different levels of the org chart involved in that. But what you're doing, there's another, there's another benefit you just mentioned is you are moving decision making closer to the work. You're moving. Yeah. You're moving that, that leadership towards closer to where the work happens by doing these activities. This is a way to get that kick started as well. When you're doing the empty the glass type exercises, you're actually preparing people and getting people comfortable with the idea of taking on more accountability and taking on more leadership around the things that they work on. And then figure, and you're building communication conduits and collaboration conduits with the other people of the organization doing, who are doing the same thing in the room with you. So you're building, you're naturally building a DRI structure, which we've covered in previous shorts.
Kumar Dattatreyan (15:50):
Me, for a sake of the audience, what does DRI stand for?
Michael Jebber (15:53):
So a directly responsible individual is a dri We talk about DRI structures being a group of those people that can get together and make things happen from the, from representation of all the perspective things in a value stream. Right. I work with a couple manufacturers right now, and so everything from a, from an ask from a customer all the way to the point where value's delivered and money's received. Yeah.
Kumar Dattatreyan (16:17):
And one of the key aspects of DRI is, at least the way I understand it, as a dri, as a directly responsible individual, their role is to provide leadership as a service. Meaning they are leading their group. And if the group can't reach a consensus on a decision, the dri their role is to, is to pick who the decision maker is going to be. Who is closest to the decision, the work, who's who, who, and then the direction to go. So if we're in a room and we're discussing something and we can't reach consensus, you know, and I'm the dri for that, then I might say, Hey Mike, which way should we go? And you might say, We're gonna go north. I'm like, Okay, that's the protocol. We're all gonna go north. We're gonna follow Mike's decision. Right.
Michael Jebber (17:01):
And you can't do that without an environment where there's psychological safety and trust. You can't do that in an environment where there isn't alignment and consensus where people don't see current state the same way. So, so all of these things, the the last thing we didn't mention before we go to the technique is that we're trying to expel the, the space that we're opening up. We don't wanna get rid of the things that are good, that are, that are in our history, in our past, in our skillset. We wanna keep those things and take them forward. And we're identifying that in the techniques we're gonna talk about here. But what we wanna get rid of is the bad memories. We wanna get rid of the bad experiences. We wanna get rid of the unsavory history. Perfect. I love the way you put that to, to get, That's what we want to eject out of the glass. That's where we're gonna get our face a little bit. That's
Kumar Dattatreyan (17:47):
The way it works around here. Mike, what are you talking about?
Michael Jebber (17:50):
Yeah, exactly. That's, Oh, I've been here for 20 blah to blah years and blah, blah, blah. Fill in the blank. You've heard it everywhere you go. Yeah. That is what we're getting rid of and we're, but you can't get rid of that unless you give people an opportunity in a safe environment to be genuinely heard in a way that they can speak their mind and not feel like they're gonna be in trouble for doing so. And you gotta get, it's a weight off of you. Literally, people see people in chairs that are like this when they come in in the meeting, and then as the meeting goes on, they start to sit up a little
Kumar Dattatreyan (18:21):
Michael Jebber (18:22):
It's, it's, it's amazing the physical and mental weight that comes off of them to be able to do this. And now that, that's out of the way and that people understand sometimes it's just a matter of being heard of what I've experienced with a lot of these things, sometimes people self-select out. You find out who's not ready for this. Yeah. And, and, and you find out maybe do we have enough people that are ready to actually go ahead with the change? You're learning a lot when you're doing this, but getting rid of the unsavory history gives everybody that it was in the session space in their glass. And most everybody has eliminated, the majority of that spaces has come from unsavory past things that they have now been able to archive and put away. Again, they'll go grab it again if, if they feel like something's going wrong. But if we keep the momentum going, what ha what I've seen is they don't go back forwarding.
Kumar Dattatreyan (19:09):
Michael Jebber (19:10):
Kumar Dattatreyan (19:11):
It's all about forming new habits, right, Mike? Yes. You know, it's like those unsavory habits and patterns, they go away because they're replaced by new habits that are less unsavory or not unsavory at all. They're actually savory. They're good things because they're
Michael Jebber (19:27):
Kumar Dattatreyan (19:28):
People making decisions are the people that are making the decisions are now closer to the work. And it's, it's that, that feedback loop that's that it keeps getting strengthened. It's a virtuous cycle rather than a vicious cycle. Right?
Michael Jebber (19:41):
Kumar Dattatreyan (19:41):
It. So you're building that virtuous cycle which keeps strengthening new habits and new ways of working. And that's absolutely a beautiful thing.
Michael Jebber (19:50):
Absolutely. Yeah. And, and what's amazing is you feel like you're getting, you feel like you're making change already when those things are out of your life. When you don't, when you don't have those things, you're carrying around on your shoulder every day. It feels like a change has already happened. And frankly, a change already has happened. You've, yeah. You, you've changed your perspective, you've changed your mindset, and you've given yourself capacity and the willingness and interest to learn and do something different. Right. and that is huge cuz humans are not programmable like systems and, and they're not you, you can't plug 'em into processes and they're all gonna act the same way. So, but what this, and I guess we should probably looking at the time, we should talk briefly about how, how do you do this? How do you make this happen? Right. But we have what we call we call our sory activity. Right. So SORY stands for strengths, opportunities, risks, and impediments. And, and what we're doing is this activity is usually about a two hour activity, depending on the size of the group, like to do it around groups that are like eight to 12 people. That's usually a repre a good representation of a space of something that you're trying that wants to make a change. It's,
Kumar Dattatreyan (20:57):
It's the it's the catalyst in the organization, right? It's, it's that group of people that you'd pull together into this type of a workshop.
Michael Jebber (21:04):
Absolutely. And that was, again, kind of you, you getting with leaderships. What what we do is we get together and sit down with leadership. We, we think about intentionally who are the folks that would be in that catalyst group and why mm-hmm. . so what we do is we coach and consult leaders on the things that they should be thinking about or looking for. They know the people. They go get those people. Usually about 80, 90% of the people are good. I have some groups where nobody self-selects out. I've had one group where 40% of the group self-selected out, Hey, well what it did is it told the leader, I don't know my people as well as I thought I did. Right. There's some things that I thought that would work in this. And they're not, obviously there's some other things. So even just getting that catalyst group together uncovers a lot for leaders.
But the sori activity is about a two hour, two hour activity. The workshop's usually about half a day, sometimes with a bigger group will go a day cuz we'll tie it in with some other things. But this is one element of something that we do when we're trying to help folks really take and make a shift in what they want to do. If they want, they want to ch impact their culture. They want to change the way that they operate. They wanna become the category one company in their space. This is what we talk about, right? Yeah. This is one of the beginning steps. This is a, a a, a soil preparing activity to plant new seeds. And it, I I have found that I I, when I'm not able to perform this, in fact, to this day right now, if someone were to come to me and say, I want, I want you to help me change my organization, but I don't think we need this, I would say, No, thank you, because I don't have what I need to help them. This informs the facilitator a lot, it seems. Yeah.
Kumar Dattatreyan (22:46):
Michael Jebber (22:47):
What's going on,
Kumar Dattatreyan (22:48):
Right? I haven't run this per personally myself. I've done stuff like this. This seems like a very powerful exercise just on the face of it. Not knowing enough about how it's facilitated, but I can imagine how it's facilitated. Yep. it, it seems to me also that the outcome of this is that you're building a sort of a steel thread through the organization. Yes. One that can, can grow and sustain. And as, as that steel thread, you know, again, you're going across sort of the maybe multiple value streams in the organization, finding those catalysts to come together. And as it builds and the momentum builds, you can kind of build other steel threads in the organization. Transplanting some of the people, the catalysts to start coaching and helping and guiding other people that would form new steel threat threads. Is is that a pattern that you've used, Mike?
Michael Jebber (23:40):
Yes, absolutely. That and that's it. That you can propagate this thing out. You can, you can repeat it. Right. In fact, I'm with an organization now, I've been with for a little over two years. We're on our third element. They're a manufacturing organization. They have a strategic leadership group that's doing strategy. They have now two facilities, two entire manufacturing plants that are running. And that they got started with this technique as part of like six or eight things that we did to get them kicked off on building a, an organizational structure that would allow those facilities to run without plant managers. Yeah. So they are innovating, running and improving their operations without a, without a plant manager. Yeah. and they're, they're more, they're more nimble, they're more adaptive, and they're more agile in their activities now because of it. And this is one of the elements that we've done in every single instance, a very, very first or second thing that we do.
Kumar Dattatreyan (24:36):
Yeah. It seems very simple. You know, empty your glass, make more room. But it's, it's, it's not always as simple in practice because like you said, you have to create that psychological psych, psychologically safe bubble, if you will, for people to even be willing to empty their glass for something new. Right. what's gonna be the impact if I don't do X, Y, or Z? Am I gonna be reprimanded? Is it gonna be on my review if I, if I leave something off that I now am responsible for? And so I think it can be really powerful just as simple an activity as emptying your glass, making some room, getting rid of some meetings that you don't need to attend to. That could be really the catalyst, if you will, for transformation. Yes. A large, larger scale transformation. It's a beautiful concept. It really is. It's a, it's sort of a systems thinking concept. It's like what's the root cause of what prohibits change? And it introduces
Michael Jebber (25:37):
Thinking to everyone in the room if they have it. That's
Kumar Dattatreyan (25:39):
Right. Yeah. And you think about the root cause is people just don't have time. And so if you, if you remove that element and you give people time back or encourage people to take the time, then that could be the catalyst that's needed to support change. That's
Michael Jebber (25:57):
A great question. There are unhealthy and unsavory elements inside of every, every one of us in our daily activities and in our, in our historical careers with our jobs and our own personal careers, whether it's from company to company or whatever. And we rarely get an opportunity to talk about those into archive them. You know, a lot of people carry them forward for so many years over so many, so many different jobs and companies. And this is really an opportunity to let go of a lot of that
Kumar Dattatreyan (26:25):
Stuff. Yeah. No, it's a great, that's, it's a, this is a really, it's a longer than a short short. It's a long short Yes, . But it's a very valuable conversation and I hope people that are either now listening or will listen to it contact us. You know, we, we we would love to help you and your transformation. And actually I was, I came into this, honestly I was, I'm tired, I'm overwhelmed myself, you know, lots of work going on, and I'm energized by this conversation. Mike .
Michael Jebber (26:57):
Kumar Dattatreyan (26:58):
. Yeah. I, I'm really energized. I'm, I'm gonna make it a point to empty a little bit of my glass today and see what can I, what can I you know, and, and I would say the lesson here is not just from an organizational perspective, it's an individual thing too. You know, how can you empty your glass to learn something new, to change how you work, to reduce your overwhelm to, to, you know, whatever it might be that your, your goals that you've, you've been procrastinating on or postponing because you just don't have the time. How can you empty your glass a little bit to make time for the things that are important?
Michael Jebber (27:35):
Absolutely. It, it's a valuable thing to spend time on. Incredibly valuable, pays so many dividends, it's hard to calculate. But if, if you're, if anybody's ever interested, yeah, reach out. We can talk to you. We can actually have you talk to others, other leaders of organizations that have experienced this and they've experienced the results. In fact, we're getting ready to do a testimonial with a, with a one client that we've got locally here and talking about those very things. So yeah.
Kumar Dattatreyan (28:05):
So it'll be in the show notes below, you know, information on how to get ahold of us. We'd love to be able to talk more about this. We could talk about this for an hour, , but we are gonna try to keep this under 30 minutes. We're at 28 right now, and so let's
Michael Jebber (28:20):
Do it. Yeah.
Kumar Dattatreyan (28:22):
Thank you very much, Mike. This was a great topic. Thanks for suggesting this.
Michael Jebber (28:26):
Thank you everybody for attending. And hope to see you and talk to you soon.
Kumar Dattatreyan (28:31):
All right. See you all later. Bye-Bye. Bye-bye.
This transcript was exported on Feb 24, 2023 - view latest version here.
The Art of Emptying your Glass (Completed 10/28/22)
Transcript by Rev.com
Page 1 of 2