Andy Gilbert, Founder, Go M.A.D. ThinkingAndy Gilbert, Founder
Henry Ford’s factory floor innovation in the 1910s that ‘took work to the men instead of the men to work’ via the novelty of conveyor belts inadvertently sowed the seeds of modern-day change management. Today, change management is an unavoidable and essential function that can improve any kind of business operation for enterprises. However, many companies fail to grasp the wisdom within the proverb, ‘change has to come from within,’ and fall short in effectuating change at an individual level in terms of thinking and behavior. When realized at the grassroots level, change management will take care of itself or make the transition feel less forced. After all, even Henry Ford sought to bring a positive change by ‘making difference’ in how each team member of his workforce did their role.

Today, Andy Gilbert, the founder of Go M.A.D. Thinking wants to help every company make such a difference via change management. Through a lot of hard work and research, Andy has quantified the 7 key principles behind creating such a positive change within organizations at the grassroots level. The study evaluated how people successfully achieved their goals and went from point A to point B.

These principles - based on the14-month phenomenological study - are published in Gilbert’s book, “Go M.A.D.– “The Art of Making a Difference.” The same principles are powering the company’s unique Go M.A.D. Results Framework. Go M.A.D. Thinking delivers a robust global change management consulting service via solution-focused thinking using their proven framework to transform results and enable change.
  • Additionally, we run an Engage and Empower program where a manager or a group of managers experiencing a lot of change is given support over a three-month period

In a conversation with the Manage HR magazine, Andy Gilbert shares his insights on how businesses can attain measurable results using Go M.A.D.’s proprietary change management methodology.

Please throw more light on the conception of Go M.A.D. Thinking.

We started with a solution focused framework of 7 key success principles that can be used to self-coach, coach teams, and create a shared language around an organization. Over the last 25 years, we metamorphosized from conducting management development programs to providing change management programs that engage and empower leaders and teams to Go Make a Difference.

We now refer to ourselves as a business improvement consultancy that develops leaders and teams to transform results and enable change by thinking bigger, better, and bolder through the Go M.A.D. Results Framework. Most of our work and intellectual property is based on the books that I have written. In addition, we have over 70 videos around the subject and have produced about 260 podcasts in our ‘Thinking for Business Success,’ series. We are very much research-based, and we turn that into practical tools that leaders and their teams use via digital programs and apps containing a blend of text, audio, video, worksheets, templates, and blueprints. We also train and licence internal Change Champions to facilitate the programs.
What do you believe are some of the common challenges when it comes to change management?

There are certain challenges around the shift in thinking and in behavior as it pertains to change management. There is a lot of uncertainty especially in a post-pandemic world, where more people are working remotely and getting used to their new normal.

We exist for only one thing; our company purpose is to improve YOUR world through better thinking

Never before in my 30 years as a change consultant have I heard the phrase “We need to rethink or think differently” used so frequently. Leaders must juggle much more in the post-pandemic environment. Many organizations’ 3–5year plans were shot to pieces, and the need to “think and rethink” has taken prime focus. The whole purpose of thinking has been elevated, and most leaders don’t know how to embed a shared thinking system. This is essentially what we do. It revolves around devolving responsibility for problem solving rather than centralizing it and attempting to control it.

What are your solutions that help clients overcome these challenges?

Be it a project-bound change management or an enterprise-wide initiative regarding digital transformation and work culture, what makes us different is that we understand better than most, the people side of change. We provide a 12-step change blueprint when it comes to large-scale change. We can work with an individual focused on change—i.e., changing themselves and being more productive—to managing a team through change. Whether it’s a line, a functional team, a project team, or a large-scale organizational change and transformation, we can help them all. Whether you be the most junior person in the organization or the most senior executive, we provide a shared toolkit, language, and set of frameworks that can solve problems, engage teams, and promote continuous improvement.

Very often, not enough care and attention is given to the mental transition, i.e. the internal adjustment that people need to make to change behavior. We have some practical models to help people ask the right question at the right time, to the right person or the right group of people. We emphasize question design, and we train people to ask better questions, which translates to improved meetings, be it 1-1 or across an organization. For the latter, we will make a list of all the different types of meetings that exist in an organization, and we will look to improve or remove them. Typically, we would seek to remove a third of meetings and improve the remaining 2/3rd by enabling attendees to ask the right questions before and during the meetings. We thereby create microcultures that become a part of the bigger culture.

‘Change the meetings, and you change the culture,’ is one of the approaches we use.

We facilitate, observe (and give feedback), and audit meetings to improve them. Licensing our methodologies will help organizations to do the same, which is very cost-effective. In effect, we have a “do it yourself,” option, where we will train and support people to be internal change consultants, and we have a “do it for you” option, where we act as the consultants to do that.

We work on a lot of 30, 60, and 90-day improvement cycles, which we call Go M.A.D. Challenges, that revolve around making a measurable difference. Our methodology can easily sit alongside any other change or improvement methodology that organizations may already have.

Additionally, we run an Engage and Empower program where a manager or a group of managers experiencing a lot of change is given support over a three-month period. They get to attend a 4-hour workshop, leverage our online library of tools, and have either a 1-hourweekly or a fortnightly workout to enable them to tackle what’s hot, what’s new and what’s on their mind.

Depending on the type of change in an organization, if there is a lot of restructuring and uncertainty, we might have to run some programs about managing uncertainty.

There are two types of change that we mainly work with. One is where teams are reacting to change, and we help leaders manage those reactions to minimize loss of productivity. The second is the positive side to change, which is the Go M.A.D. side or ‘the engaging and empowering people’ side. That is where many of our Results Acceleration Programs are designed to engage groups of people across an organization to collaborate more effectively.

For instance, if we are working with the NHS (National Health Service), we might have teams of up to 40 internal change champions (master coaches or facilitators) using our methodology. They would work on the front line with their teams to improve patient care and productivity and innovate new ways of working. The heart of it would be our research methodology and our framework of seven key principles that can provide a project R.O.I. more than 1,000%.

What differentiates you from other change management consultants in this space?

Our unique research and proven frameworks, where we have done two studies so far, is a key differentiator, as is our willingness to provide significant R.O.I. guarantees.

Our extensive library of intellectual property is also a key factor. We share this with clients to ensure sustainability, knowing that they have embedded a new way of thinking that will support the changes within their organizations. Our highly practical tools can help people apply new ideas to their day jobs and projects to improve and change things within a couple of hours.

We exist for only one thing; our company purpose is to improve YOUR world through better thinking. The world of our clients entails multiple projects, complexity, and people that have lives inside and outside of work. We help them think better via a practical, cognitive approach.

What does the future hold for change management, and what are you planning to meet that future?

As a business, we are enhancing our digital capability to reach more clients. We use large-scale collaborative software that provides augmented intelligence to help our clients rethink strategies and develop smarter, faster, and quicker solutions. We have been doing this for the last 18 months. We are also building a licensed partner model to accelerate the growth of our business.

Go M.A.D. Thinking is also focused on the data points artificial intelligence can create. This will allow us to personalize digital services to clients in real-time. By learning user behavior patterns, we can tailor the correct content for individual needs so that they can learn faster and apply what they have learnt. We are also prototyping change gamification. To celebrate our 25th business anniversary, are launching our new “Transforming Results, Enabling Change” programme focusing on helping 25 teams in 25 organizations to apply the 25 best practices that get results.