Transformation: How to Apply SoPK

Transformation: How to Apply the System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK) presentation by Tripp Babbit at our 2015 research conference. Tripp also moderates our Deming Institute podcast.

Tripp discusses Kurt Lewin’s change model:

  1. unfreezing – overcoming “interim” and dismantling the existing midset
  2. changing
  3. freezing – adopting the new habit/way-of-thinking, the new way becomes what you expect and what makes you comfortable.

Tripp also discusses the idea of customer-in thinking; he learned this thinking from Peter Scholtes (our last blog post discusses the value of learning from a customer perspective).

He also touches on the psychological benefits of PDSA. Change often worries people. So while there are benefits to piloting on a small scale using PDSA to be efficient, effective and to reduce impact on customers of attempted improvements there is also the benefit that PDSA can help employees accept change more with less worry. The experience of the PDSA provides comfort in that the change has be tested. It isn’t as risky as change without experimental results showing the impact of that change within our own workplace.

Anyone can be the impetus for change, not just the CEO

David Langford discussed this well at a previous Deming conference, Change has to Start from the Top (that link phrase might seem to conflict with Tripp’s quote but follow the link to see that it does not). It is true that the management system has to support the ability of people to improve and institute change. What prevents most change for improvement is not the inability of most people to improve the systems in place but the management systems that prevent people from acting.

Related: People Take Time to Believe Claims of Changed Management PracticesBaking Apple Pies Using the Deming Management System (Deming podcast with Paula Marshall)Change Management: Create a Culture Seeking Continual Improvement, Don’t Just Use Band-Aids?

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2 Responses

  1. mike cardus says:

    While I enjoy the Lewin Schein change model there is new research that shows that the 3 steps were never mentioned by Lewin and that some of our long-term bias in thinking about change may be misguided. Added a link to the video

    • Hi Mike-

      I watched the video – this is interesting research. Begs the question, “where did it all begin.” I wouldn’t necessarily go the route that he “never” said this. We just haven’t found the evidence. The 3 steps originated somewhere.

      I can see where folks might assume an existing model fits without considering what is actually happening. However, I haven’t found this to be the case from my experience and application. There has to be something that propels an individual, group or entity to pursue change. The books I mention in the presentation.

      I might emphasize that “refreezing” in service industry or modern times can be a mistake as change is constant and refreezing can lock in our thinking and actions.

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