Thursday, July 24, 2008

Plan to get as many people as possible involved.

Accept that different people move at different speeds. Just as the Eskimo’s word for snow has more than twenty meanings, changing means different things to different people, especially in today’s multi-generational firm. While Matures, born before the mid 1940s, value hierarchy, Baby Boomers, born between 1946 to 1964, crave consensus. Generation Xrs, born in the 1960s and 1970s, demand flexibility and choice. Gen Y folks, born between 1981 and 1995, need structure. These members of the Internet Generation have higher expectations than any generation before them. In addition, they’re so well connected that if an employer doesn’t meet those expectations, they’ll let thousands of their cohorts know with one click of the mouse. You need to design different ways to reach and involve each of these groups.

If the change moves too quickly, many employees will likely be left behind. As a result, they’ll be unsure about the purpose and detail of what’s likely to be implemented and won’t be able to frame appropriate questions to express their concerns.

If you get too far out in front, other people become a crowd chasing you rather than a group of followers.

Create a support group that you can check with from time to time to make sure you’re on track and still connected to your key constituencies.

There's an old saying that people support what they help create. The price of getting their commitment to changing involves working on their issues as well as the company's agenda. I believe this is so important, I even wrote a little poem about it:

I’ve always thought it rather strange
that those who plead and plan for change
do seldom contact or involve
the people upon whose resolve
success and failure rides and falls.
Without their help, the process stalls.

So try to contact everyone,
(yes, this takes time and isn’t fun)
but if you don’t, they’ll mourn and wail,
and in the end, you’ll likely fail.

My working theory is quite brief:
“Involve 'em, or you’ll come to grief.”

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Ha ha! I like your poem. That's great!