Last week we looked at an approach for tracking your path to success for a personal change. This week we will look at the same topic at the organizational level. Many elements of the approach are the same in both cases; and, there are also some differences.
Throughout this post, I will use the following example. You are moving your advertising firm’s office to a new location. In doing so, you are also looking to drive a more collaborative culture. To help foster this shift, the new space will be designed with only a few enclosed conference rooms. Day-to-day, employees will be moving from private offices to open space. Your reasoning is simple. All-too-often you hear, in one way or another, ideas that would have significantly strengthened a project, but that were neither solicited nor offered. And, you are losing longer-term clients who are finding the thinking behind what you produce “old and stale.”
Begin by thinking through what both installation and realization might look like for this change.
Installation milestones might include locating the new office space; signing the lease; hiring the architect; approving the final plans; touring the new facility with the staff for the first time; and moving in. They might also include defined changes in how projects are staffed.
In thinking through the change, you might determine that realization will be achieved when you have achieved a 75% retention of clients from one advertising campaign to their next.
As you map out your key indicators for both installation and realization, engage others within the organization in the process; my recommendation whenever possible is to involve both formal and informal leaders. This will help do at least three things.
- It will help create a greater sense of ownership and understanding of the change within the organization.
- It will help inform you as to how the change is perceived by others.
- You will gain understanding and insights beyond your own.
What are the major adjustments that people will have to make in how they think, as well as what they do? In this example, that will most likely have to do with things like relinquishing pride of ownership (“It’s my idea!”); competition vs. collaboration; and defining one’s work space. People will benefit by learning more about one another’s individual strengths and weaknesses so that they can build stronger teams, and seek out help from the best available resources. (“I like working with Janice because we both think alike, but on this project I should probably ask Phil to work with me. He is much more creative and causes me to think things through instead of just doing them by rote.”)
What are the changes that will have to be made in the organizational infrastructure to reinforce the mindset and behavior shifts you are seeking? Do performance management processes need to shift? What about the criteria that are used for making decisions regarding promotions, raises, bonuses, etc.? Should changes be made in selection criteria so that you are hiring strong team–vs. individual–players?
Are there people who you believe cannot, or will not, make the shift? When major change is executed successfully, there are always some people who are there at the beginning, but not at the end. (Some measures put this number as high as one in three.) The problem is, all too often those who remain are the very ones least able to change, and those who leave are the ones most capable of changing.
Focus time and attention on retaining the people that you want on board going forward, the ones that can and will help you be successful in achieving your change objectives. And support those who are unwilling or unable to make the change journey; help them to make a graceful exit. (The importance of doing this cannot be overemphasized. Years ago I was with a consulting firm that was doing work in a recently deregulated industry. Having less-than-successfully made the transition, a potential client came to us to see if we could help them turn their situation around. As they put it, “We used to be an elephant in our industry. We wanted to become a jaguar, but instead became an elephant on Slim Fast.”)
Develop a “realization map.” While there are many approaches to doing so, the one I have found most useful is relatively simple. it seeks to answer the question, “What 2-3 outcomes do we need to accomplish in each of these four domains in order to achieve full realization?” The four domains are: People/Culture; Process/Internal; Customer/External; and Business/Financial. In our case, they may be something like this.
- People, Culture: Zero solo practitioners; 80% of new hires referred by current employees
- Process, Internal: There is a “Right Resource” staffing process; 100% of projects staffed by teams, vs. individuals
- Customer, External: 75% of clients select our firm from one advertising campaign to the next; we obtain 5 new clients from current client referrals each year
- Business, Financial: We experience 10% annual growth in profit; we receive the advertising industry’s “Ad to Action” award.
The example below shows what this map might look like, including the relationships between the different indicators. (Email my at firstname.lastname@example.org for a PDF of this example.)
Using your realization map, think through whether there are any additional changes required that you have not already identified. Once you’ve listed all of the changes in thinking and behavior you can come up with, grab some sticky notes and a pen or pencil. Put each one on a separate piece of paper, and put it up on the wall. You may want to use different colors for the different levels of the map.
Now you can begin to group these together. What you want to create are a series of work streams consisting of related pieces. For example, there might be an “internal processes” work stream; an “office relocation” work stream; an “organizational infrastructure” work stream; and a “creative culture” work stream.
For each work stream, what are the key realization metrics along the way? What needs to be put in place (installation) in order to be able to achieve those realization metrics? Be sure what you identify is measurable.
Let’s look at some of the metrics of an “internal processes” work stream.
- We have defined a “Right Resource” process for staffing projects (installation).
- The “Right Resource” process is applied on 100% of projects (realization).
- Unsolicited client feedback recognizes improved creativity in project deliverables (realization).
Revisit each of your work streams. If you achieve all of the indicators in each of them, will you achieve the business/financial results that are the catalyst for this change initiative?
just as was suggested last week for personal change, keep a record of what you have on the wall. It will change over time. You don’t have all the answers now; you don’t even know all the questions. Things will change around you. So, your indicators will have to change as well. Nonetheless, you are well on your way to planning, and preparing to launch, a very big, and important, organizational change.
What has been your experience with tracking the success of major changes in organizations? Do the promises at the outset translate to results at the end? Share your insights and lessons learned in the comments below.