Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The process of implementing change.

Now it's time to look at the fourth P - Process.

All the effort and energy expended in developing and introducing strategies for change is to no avail if the results aren’t implemented effectively. UCLA’s legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, discovered that, “It’s not your focus on activity or time spent on activity that counts. Rather, it’s your focus on results that makes the difference.” Experience suggests the following cautions:

Steer by having measurable goals and track them regularly to demonstrate your success in moving towards the vision you want to create as well as measuring how far you’ve come from the past. Set 30-day action agendas and hold people accountable for their part of the change in monthly one-to-one meetings.

Talk about the change initiative in terms of the outcomes you want instead of the process you’re using. For example, talk about “The Reducing Overhead by 25% in 2008” initiative. That way, every time you or others in the firm mention it, it’s a reminder of what you’re trying to achieve. Evaluate progress from the start and don’t be afraid to introduce corrections if change elements aren’t working out as planned. Avoid publicizing only problems and failures. Provide constant high-visibility feedback on what’s going right. Create special events to publicly celebrate specific milestones and achievements. As the bumper sticker says, bark less; wag more.

Treat mistakes as opportunities for learning, not as experiences to punish or ignore. Make it easy for people to report what’s going wrong and never, ever shoot the messenger. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Failure is an essential element in learning because it motivates people to ask relevant questions. Deal with emerging problems and issues promptly. Don’t allow dissatisfaction and frustration to reign unchecked. Some frustration is helpful as a prelude to learning, but it can easily be overdone. Make sure the learning loop gets closed while experiences are still fresh in people’s minds.

Consciously ask questions to teach people what you want them to pay attention to. When Dave Packard was leading H-P, he wanted to foster the spirit of innovation throughout the firm. So every time he visited the various locations, he went around asking employees, “What are you working on that’s new?”

More tomorrow.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"Consciously ask questions to teach people what you want them to pay attention to."

That's very good advice.

I like that.