Ten dirty little secrets KM leaders can't ignore - #1: People are lazy #discussion-starter


gordonvalawebb <gvalawebb@...>
 
Edited

I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little secrets of successful entrepreneurs" from the Ivey School of Business. I thought many of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation leadership (since we typically have to be entreprenurial in order to be successful).

I largely took his list and give it a KM / innovation twist. I thought, for the purposes of discussion, I'd put them out one at a time. For the full list see my blog post at http://web.archive.org/web/20130521055237/http://www.dynamicadaptation.com/?page_id=75

So - from the ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders - here's # 1:

1. People are lazy:

They are looking for the lowest-effort way to do something. This has implications for when we introduce new capabilities. They inherently feel, at the beginning, as if they are or will be more work than the old way of doing things. This also applies to organizational leaders – they want the easiest, least effort, way for them (so you have to make it easy for them to understand what you are doing).


Gerard <gerard.bredenoord@...>
 

I did agree – but I also think it is a cop-out to generalise.

 

If we average it all out I agree people will follow the path of least resistance – Is that lazy or just efficient. I also believe Km was never designed to make everybody happy. Thus averages or generalisations have been the root of many of our challenges (especially technology based challenges).

 

The quote that resonates the most when I talk to busy people in busy firms is: “The best knowledge always comes from the busiest people.”

 

We need nuggets of gold not heaps of rubble.

 

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of gordonvalawebb
Sent: 07 January 2013 15:04
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Ten dirty little secrets KM leaders can't ignore - #1: People are lazy

 

 

I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little secrets of successful entrepreneurs" from the Ivey School of Business. I thought many of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation leadership (since we typically have to be entreprenurial in order to be successful).

I largely took his list and give it a KM / innovation twist. I thought, for the purposes of discussion, I'd put them out one at a time. For the full list see my blog post at http://www.dynamicadaptation.com/?p=294

So - from the ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders - here's # 1:

1. People are lazy:

They are looking for the lowest-effort way to do something. This has implications for when we introduce new capabilities. They inherently feel, at the beginning, as if they are or will be more work than the old way of doing things. This also applies to organizational leaders – they want the easiest, least effort, way for them (so you have to make it easy for them to understand what you are doing).


Jack Vinson <jackvinson@...>
 

Fun article, Gordon. Thanks for writing it.  

As far as point #1, it seems like there are a lot of ideas tied up in this relatively "simple" statement. The change management world has been having this conversation a lot. 

People don't like change when they don't feel a part of it.  Or if they don't believe / see how it will benefit them.  Or if it looks like it will be more work. Or ...  

One thing I like to do is as lots of questions around how they do things now and what is working (and not working).  Along with implementing the New Thing (KM or otherwise), there are some Old Things that need to be stopped or significantly changed.  This is much more than fixing the process before you automate it. It's looking at the change from multiple perspectives to see if we can eliminate the annoying things and create more of what people like.   



Regards-

-- 
Jack Vinson
(m) 847.212.5789



On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM, gordonvalawebb <gvalawebb@...> wrote:
I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little secrets of successful entrepreneurs"  from the Ivey School of Business. I thought many of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation leadership (since we typically have to be entreprenurial in order to be successful).

I largely took his list and give it a KM / innovation twist. I thought, for the purposes of discussion, I'd put them out one at a time. For the full list see my blog post at http://www.dynamicadaptation.com/?p=294

So - from the ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders - here's # 1:

1. People are lazy:

They are looking for the lowest-effort way to do something. This has implications for when we introduce new capabilities. They inherently feel, at the beginning, as if they are or will be more work than the old way of doing things. This also applies to organizational leaders – they want the easiest, least effort, way for them (so you have to make it easy for them to understand what you are doing).



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Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Jack and Gordon,

I think the thing that most people forget about organisations is that most of them are pretty unnatural. We mash together a whole of people with little in common except their need to have money, and perhaps some broader commonality in terms of skills and interests, and then expect them to actively participate in an organisation's change effort!

I think that organisational psychology (for lack of a better term) is a hugely important and under-explored issue. I talk more about the pathological nature of many organisations here:
http://bounds.net.au/node/84

In the context of KM and change management more broadly, one observation is that whenever there is a detectable "organisational culture", it means that there are norms that are being successfully enforced (formally or informally) as an expectation of continued employment. This is the essence of change management, since people will then either adapt in line with that culture or leave -- in either case, moving the organisation closer to the desired end state.

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

On 8/01/2013 5:37 AM, Jack Vinson wrote:
Fun article, Gordon. Thanks for writing it.

As far as point #1, it seems like there are a lot of ideas tied up in
this relatively "simple" statement. The change management world has been
having this conversation a lot.

People don't like change when they don't feel a part of it. Or if they
don't believe / see how it will benefit them. Or if it looks like it
will be more work. Or ...


gordonvalawebb <gvalawebb@...>
 

Thanks for commenting. And I think you're absolutely right - there is a lot tied up in "people are lazy".

A fuller statement might be to say that people are not lazy so much as they are "a pattern-recognition machine that is constantly trying to predict the near future" using satisficing decision-making approach that tends to reuse existing set of mental models rather than developing a new one (and sometimes they do this entirely subconsciously).

So, to get people to try something new you have to make the new thing "easy" to do right away while making the "old" thing(s) harder to do.

As to your comment about change management, I would refer you to dirty-little secret #7: "We're emotional animals that think – not thinking animals that feel" and the SCARF model for using that insight (along with neuroplasticity) to think about change management (there's a link to the relevant resource in the blog post).

Gordon

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, Jack Vinson wrote:

Fun article, Gordon. Thanks for writing it.

As far as point #1, it seems like there are a lot of ideas tied up in this
relatively "simple" statement. The change management world has been having
this conversation a lot.

People don't like change when they don't feel a part of it. Or if they
don't believe / see how it will benefit them. Or if it looks like it will
be more work. Or ...

One thing I like to do is as lots of questions around how they do things
now and what is working (and not working). Along with implementing the New
Thing (KM or otherwise), there are some Old Things that need to be stopped
or significantly changed. This is much more than fixing the process before
you automate it. It's looking at the change from multiple perspectives to
see if we can eliminate the annoying things and create more of what people
like.



Regards-

--
Jack Vinson
(m) 847.212.5789



On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM, gordonvalawebb wrote:

I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little secrets of
successful entrepreneurs" from the Ivey School of Business. I thought many
of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation leadership
(since we typically have to be entreprenurial in order to be successful).

I largely took his list and give it a KM / innovation twist. I thought,
for the purposes of discussion, I'd put them out one at a time. For the
full list see my blog post at http://www.dynamicadaptation.com/?p=294

So - from the ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders - here's # 1:

1. People are lazy:

They are looking for the lowest-effort way to do something. This has
implications for when we introduce new capabilities. They inherently feel,
at the beginning, as if they are or will be more work than the old way of
doing things. This also applies to organizational leaders – they want the
easiest, least effort, way for them (so you have to make it easy for them
to understand what you are doing).



------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links




gordonvalawebb <gvalawebb@...>
 

Thanks for the comment.

In short I would say that culture trumps strategy (and tactics) every time. That is: every organization has a "culture" - and it is an extraordinarily powerful force.

I'm not sure I understand the concept of a "pathological nature of organizations". I need to reflect more on your blog posting before I can comment on that.

Gordon

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, Stephen Bounds wrote:

Hi Jack and Gordon,

I think the thing that most people forget about organisations is that
most of them are pretty unnatural. We mash together a whole of people
with little in common except their need to have money, and perhaps some
broader commonality in terms of skills and interests, and then expect
them to actively participate in an organisation's change effort!

I think that organisational psychology (for lack of a better term) is a
hugely important and under-explored issue. I talk more about the
pathological nature of many organisations here:
http://bounds.net.au/node/84

In the context of KM and change management more broadly, one observation
is that whenever there is a detectable "organisational culture", it
means that there are norms that are being successfully enforced
(formally or informally) as an expectation of continued employment.
This is the essence of change management, since people will then either
adapt in line with that culture or leave -- in either case, moving the
organisation closer to the desired end state.

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

On 8/01/2013 5:37 AM, Jack Vinson wrote:
Fun article, Gordon. Thanks for writing it.

As far as point #1, it seems like there are a lot of ideas tied up in
this relatively "simple" statement. The change management world has been
having this conversation a lot.

People don't like change when they don't feel a part of it. Or if they
don't believe / see how it will benefit them. Or if it looks like it
will be more work. Or ...


Murray Jennex
 

I actually like saying people are lazy mainly because I don't use lazy in a negative context.  I spent 20 years also being an engineer and it is well known in the engineering field that "lazy" engineers make the greatest inventions and contributions.  Not because they don't want to work, but because they don't want to work needlessly and so find ways to make work simpler and easier and even faster.  This is what I think of as "lazy" simply not wanting to do needless work.  In this context it makes perfect sense that people want to see value in doing something before they go do it.  As a "lazy" engineer, academic, project manager, and KM researcher, the below statement is too long, I opt to just say lazy...murray jennex
 

In a message dated 1/7/2013 1:58:50 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, gvalawebb@... writes:
Thanks for commenting. And I think you're absolutely right - there is a lot tied up in "people are lazy".

A fuller statement might be to say that people are not lazy so much as they are "a pattern-recognition machine that is constantly trying to predict the near future" using satisficing decision-making approach that tends to reuse existing set of mental models rather than developing a new one (and sometimes they do this entirely subconsciously).

So, to get people to try something new you have to make the new thing "easy" to do right away while making the "old" thing(s) harder to do.

As to your comment about change management, I would refer you to dirty-little secret #7: "We're emotional animals that think – not thinking animals that feel" and the SCARF model for using that insight (along with neuroplasticity) to think about change management (there's a link to the relevant resource in the blog post).

Gordon

--- In sikmleaders@..., Jack Vinson  wrote:
>
> Fun article, Gordon. Thanks for writing it.
>
> As far as point #1, it seems like there are a lot of ideas tied up in this
> relatively "simple" statement. The change management world has been having
> this conversation a lot.
>
> People don't like change when they don't feel a part of it.  Or if they
> don't believe / see how it will benefit them.  Or if it looks like it will
> be more work. Or ...
>
> One thing I like to do is as lots of questions around how they do things
> now and what is working (and not working).  Along with implementing the New
> Thing (KM or otherwise), there are some Old Things that need to be stopped
> or significantly changed.  This is much more than fixing the process before
> you automate it. It's looking at the change from multiple perspectives to
> see if we can eliminate the annoying things and create more of what people
> like.
>
>
>
> Regards-
>
> --
> Jack Vinson
> (m) 847.212.5789
>
>
>
> On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM, gordonvalawebb  wrote:
>
> > I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little secrets of
> > successful entrepreneurs"  from the Ivey School of Business. I thought many
> > of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation leadership
> > (since we typically have to be entreprenurial in order to be successful).
> >
> > I largely took his list and give it a KM / innovation twist. I thought,
> > for the purposes of discussion, I'd put them out one at a time. For the
> > full list see my blog post at http://www.dynamicadaptation.com/?p=294
> >
> > So - from the ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders - here's # 1:
> >
> > 1. People are lazy:
> >
> > They are looking for the lowest-effort way to do something. This has
> > implications for when we introduce new capabilities. They inherently feel,
> > at the beginning, as if they are or will be more work than the old way of
> > doing things. This also applies to organizational leaders – they want the
> > easiest, least effort, way for them (so you have to make it easy for them
> > to understand what you are doing).
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------
> >
> > Yahoo! Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
> >
>



------------------------------------

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Patrick Lambe
 

Human brains are engineered to conserve cognitive effort. We extend our collective capabilities by exporting knowledge into (individual) habits, (collective) culture, tools and infrastructure. We extend the number of things we can pay attention to by creating categories.

"Laziness" implies it can be overcome by a simple effort of will. We are not optimised for continual and multidirectional efforts of will.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Tel: 62210383

website: www.straitsknowledge.com

Have you seen our new KM Planning Toolkit?   







On Jan 8, 2013, at 6:32 AM, murphjen@... wrote:

 

I actually like saying people are lazy mainly because I don't use lazy in a negative context.  I spent 20 years also being an engineer and it is well known in the engineering field that "lazy" engineers make the greatest inventions and contributions.  Not because they don't want to work, but because they don't want to work needlessly and so find ways to make work simpler and easier and even faster.  This is what I think of as "lazy" simply not wanting to do needless work.  In this context it makes perfect sense that people want to see value in doing something before they go do it.  As a "lazy" engineer, academic, project manager, and KM researcher, the below statement is too long, I opt to just say lazy...murray jennex
 
In a message dated 1/7/2013 1:58:50 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, gvalawebb@... writes:
Thanks for commenting. And I think you're absolutely right - there is a lot tied up in "people are lazy".

A fuller statement might be to say that people are not lazy so much as they are "a pattern-recognition machine that is constantly trying to predict the near future" using satisficing decision-making approach that tends to reuse existing set of mental models rather than developing a new one (and sometimes they do this entirely subconsciously).

So, to get people to try something new you have to make the new thing "easy" to do right away while making the "old" thing(s) harder to do.

As to your comment about change management, I would refer you to dirty-little secret #7: "We're emotional animals that think – not thinking animals that feel" and the SCARF model for using that insight (along with neuroplasticity) to think about change management (there's a link to the relevant resource in the blog post).

Gordon

--- In sikmleaders@..., Jack Vinson  wrote:
>
> Fun article, Gordon. Thanks for writing it.
>
> As far as point #1, it seems like there are a lot of ideas tied up in this
> relatively "simple" statement. The change management world has been having
> this conversation a lot.
>
> People don't like change when they don't feel a part of it.  Or if they
> don't believe / see how it will benefit them.  Or if it looks like it will
> be more work. Or ...
>
> One thing I like to do is as lots of questions around how they do things
> now and what is working (and not working).  Along with implementing the New
> Thing (KM or otherwise), there are some Old Things that need to be stopped
> or significantly changed.  This is much more than fixing the process before
> you automate it. It's looking at the change from multiple perspectives to
> see if we can eliminate the annoying things and create more of what people
> like.
>
>
>
> Regards-
>
> --
> Jack Vinson
> (m) 847.212.5789
>
>
>
> On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM, gordonvalawebb  wrote:
>
> > I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little secrets of
> > successful entrepreneurs"  from the Ivey School of Business. I thought many
> > of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation leadership
> > (since we typically have to be entreprenurial in order to be successful).
> >
> > I largely took his list and give it a KM / innovation twist. I thought,
> > for the purposes of discussion, I'd put them out one at a time. For the
> > full list see my blog post at http://www.dynamicadaptation.com/?p=294
> >
> > So - from the ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders - here's # 1:
> >
> > 1. People are lazy:
> >
> > They are looking for the lowest-effort way to do something. This has
> > implications for when we introduce new capabilities. They inherently feel,
> > at the beginning, as if they are or will be more work than the old way of
> > doing things. This also applies to organizational leaders – they want the
> > easiest, least effort, way for them (so you have to make it easy for them
> > to understand what you are doing).
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------
> >
> > Yahoo! Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
> >
>



------------------------------------

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gordonvalawebb <gvalawebb@...>
 

"because they don't want to work needlessly and so find ways to make work simpler and easier and even faster."

A perfect definition for the kind of "lazy" I was thinking of. As a lazy KMer I heartily subscribe to that approach for both myself, my teams and the organizations I work for. In my experience we need more lazy people - i.e. those that look for creative ways to make work simple - or to stop unnecessary work.

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, murphjen@... wrote:

I actually like saying people are lazy mainly because I don't use lazy in a
negative context. I spent 20 years also being an engineer and it is well
known in the engineering field that "lazy" engineers make the greatest
inventions and contributions. Not because they don't want to work, but
because they don't want to work needlessly and so find ways to make work simpler
and easier and even faster. This is what I think of as "lazy" simply not
wanting to do needless work. In this context it makes perfect sense that
people want to see value in doing something before they go do it. As a
"lazy" engineer, academic, project manager, and KM researcher, the below
statement is too long, I opt to just say lazy...murray jennex


In a message dated 1/7/2013 1:58:50 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
gvalawebb@... writes:

Thanks for commenting. And I think you're absolutely right - there is a
lot tied up in "people are lazy".

A fuller statement might be to say that people are not lazy so much as
they are "a pattern-recognition machine that is constantly trying to predict
the near future" using satisficing decision-making approach that tends to
reuse existing set of mental models rather than developing a new one (and
sometimes they do this entirely subconsciously).

So, to get people to try something new you have to make the new thing
"easy" to do right away while making the "old" thing(s) harder to do.

As to your comment about change management, I would refer you to
dirty-little secret #7: "We're emotional animals that think â€" not thinking animals
that feel" and the SCARF model for using that insight (along with
neuroplasticity) to think about change management (there's a link to the relevant
resource in the blog post).

Gordon

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, Jack Vinson wrote:

Fun article, Gordon. Thanks for writing it.

As far as point #1, it seems like there are a lot of ideas tied up in
this
relatively "simple" statement. The change management world has been
having
this conversation a lot.

People don't like change when they don't feel a part of it. Or if they
don't believe / see how it will benefit them. Or if it looks like it
will
be more work. Or ...

One thing I like to do is as lots of questions around how they do things
now and what is working (and not working). Along with implementing the
New
Thing (KM or otherwise), there are some Old Things that need to be
stopped
or significantly changed. This is much more than fixing the process
before
you automate it. It's looking at the change from multiple perspectives to
see if we can eliminate the annoying things and create more of what
people
like.



Regards-

--
Jack Vinson
(m) 847.212.5789



On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM, gordonvalawebb wrote:

I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little secrets
of
> successful entrepreneurs" from the Ivey School of Business. I
thought many
of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation
leadership
(since we typically have to be entreprenurial in order to be
successful).

I largely took his list and give it a KM / innovation twist. I thought,
for the purposes of discussion, I'd put them out one at a time. For the
> full list see my blog post at http://www.dynamicadaptation.com/?p=294

So - from the ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders - here's #
1:
>
1. People are lazy:

They are looking for the lowest-effort way to do something. This has
implications for when we introduce new capabilities. They inherently
feel,
at the beginning, as if they are or will be more work than the old way
of
doing things. This also applies to organizational leaders â€" they want
the
easiest, least effort, way for them (so you have to make it easy for
them
to understand what you are doing).



------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links


>


------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links


gordonvalawebb <gvalawebb@...>
 
Edited

People are impatient:
 
If you make your people (be they participants or leaders) wait too long for gratification you will use them. So you need to give your participants some immediate payoff for their interaction with your system - and you need to demonstrate real, tangible, positive change to leadership at least every six months.
 

Background: This is from my blog post

I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little secrets of successful entrepreneurs"  from the Ivey School of Business. I thought many of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation leadership (since we typically have to be entrepreneurial in order to be successful). So here are my ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders . . .


gordonvalawebb <gvalawebb@...>
 

I've long thought that "unlearning" is an important - and unacknowledged - part of KM. That is we reuse existing models of thinking to "conserve cognitive effort". The essence of KM is that you need people to "K" something. Often it is something different that what they currently know - hence the effort to "unlearn" one thing so as to learn another.

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, Patrick Lambe wrote:

Human brains are engineered to conserve cognitive effort. We extend
our collective capabilities by exporting knowledge into (individual)
habits, (collective) culture, tools and infrastructure. We extend the
number of things we can pay attention to by creating categories.

"Laziness" implies it can be overcome by a simple effort of will. We
are not optimised for continual and multidirectional efforts of will.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Tel: 62210383

website: www.straitsknowledge.com
weblog: www.greenchameleon.com
book: www.organisingknowledge.com

Have you seen our new KM Planning Toolkit?

http://store.straitsknowledge.com







On Jan 8, 2013, at 6:32 AM, murphjen@... wrote:


I actually like saying people are lazy mainly because I don't use
lazy in a negative context. I spent 20 years also being an engineer
and it is well known in the engineering field that "lazy" engineers
make the greatest inventions and contributions. Not because they
don't want to work, but because they don't want to work needlessly
and so find ways to make work simpler and easier and even faster.
This is what I think of as "lazy" simply not wanting to do needless
work. In this context it makes perfect sense that people want to
see value in doing something before they go do it. As a "lazy"
engineer, academic, project manager, and KM researcher, the below
statement is too long, I opt to just say lazy...murray jennex

In a message dated 1/7/2013 1:58:50 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, gvalawebb@...
writes:
Thanks for commenting. And I think you're absolutely right - there
is a lot tied up in "people are lazy".

A fuller statement might be to say that people are not lazy so much
as they are "a pattern-recognition machine that is constantly trying
to predict the near future" using satisficing decision-making
approach that tends to reuse existing set of mental models rather
than developing a new one (and sometimes they do this entirely
subconsciously).

So, to get people to try something new you have to make the new
thing "easy" to do right away while making the "old" thing(s) harder
to do.

As to your comment about change management, I would refer you to
dirty-little secret #7: "We're emotional animals that think – not
thinking animals that feel" and the SCARF model for using that
insight (along with neuroplasticity) to think about change
management (there's a link to the relevant resource in the blog post).

Gordon

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, Jack Vinson wrote:

Fun article, Gordon. Thanks for writing it.

As far as point #1, it seems like there are a lot of ideas tied up
in this
relatively "simple" statement. The change management world has
been having
this conversation a lot.

People don't like change when they don't feel a part of it. Or if
they
don't believe / see how it will benefit them. Or if it looks like
it will
be more work. Or ...

One thing I like to do is as lots of questions around how they do
things
now and what is working (and not working). Along with
implementing the New
Thing (KM or otherwise), there are some Old Things that need to be
stopped
or significantly changed. This is much more than fixing the
process before
you automate it. It's looking at the change from multiple
perspectives to
see if we can eliminate the annoying things and create more of
what people
like.



Regards-

--
Jack Vinson
(m) 847.212.5789



On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM, gordonvalawebb wrote:

I recently read Stewart Thornhill's article "Ten dirty little
secrets of
successful entrepreneurs" from the Ivey School of Business. I
thought many
of them, with some adaptation, could apply to KM and innovation
leadership
(since we typically have to be entreprenurial in order to be
successful).

I largely took his list and give it a KM / innovation twist. I
thought,
for the purposes of discussion, I'd put them out one at a time.
For the
full list see my blog post at http://www.dynamicadaptation.com/?p=294

So - from the ten dirty secrets for KM / innovation leaders -
here's # 1:

1. People are lazy:

They are looking for the lowest-effort way to do something. This
has
implications for when we introduce new capabilities. They
inherently feel,
at the beginning, as if they are or will be more work than the
old way of
doing things. This also applies to organizational leaders – they
want the
easiest, least effort, way for them (so you have to make it easy
for them
to understand what you are doing).



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