We all want to be positive, embrace an optimistic future, and focus on possibilities. This is especially true in managing projects and introducing change into an organization. We see the possibilities at the other end of the change, it can be exciting . . . however, the change can’t simply be declared and expected to happen. The journey needs to be led and managed.
In leading and managing change, take some time to look back. It’s what I call “taking time to leverage failure” – simply so we learn and improve continuously. And, in our years helping lead and manage change we have had a lot of failure to leverage. We want you to be the beneficiary of our learnings.
We have found that there are key behaviors at the Organization, Team and Personal levels that are critical for any change journey.
“Here it comes, another ill-conceived program.” Many communications from the leadership team leave employees wondering about priorities, impacts, and expected outcomes. When an organization effectively manages change, the leadership team agrees on the intent of strategy execution, successfully engages employees to adapt to the change and implement decisions, and willingly reaches throughout the organization to help employees handle the implementation.
Without healthy team behaviors, team members end up pointing fingers at one another, and devolve into counterproductive, time wasting rituals. Effective teams work together quickly to achieve goals. This requires healthy conflict to engage and discuss difficult topics, commitment to the team’s purpose, and a willingness to hold one another accountable for outcomes.
We’ve all seen cartoons depicting the disheveled executive. When you look beneath the appearance, you see an ineffective, guarded individual who doesn’t deliver. Conversely, effective executives are open, vulnerable, accept risk, and speak with honest candor with others.
Here are five characteristics of an organization that effectively manages change. How does your organization stack up?
- The leadership team agrees on the outcomes of decisions.
- Priorities are clear to the organization.
- The organizational impacts of decisions are understood by those impacted.
- Front line employees are involved in implementing the decision.
- Leaders coach employees through the implementation of the decision.
Looking at every project through this five-pronged lens is key to your success. Thinking about both project structures and behaviors at each of the three levels, organizational, team and individual ensures that you are comprehensively considering every element of your project teams’ make-up to ensure success.