Having spent over 25 years leading major transformation change programs, I have been involved in some great success and also witnessed many failures. While leading change can be a difficult thing; they usually fail because of the simplest of reasons.
Here are five things we can do to help put ourselves in a position to be successful.
Clarify the objectives and clearly communicate them
You would be amazed at the number of change programs where there is a lack of clarity over the objectives. If you cannot articulate the goals, then it is going to be difficult to come up with a plan to achieve them or know when you have succeeded.
I have also seen projects where goals have been known but have not been communicated to the teams; they have just been told what they need to do and no more. When we lack the context for what we are doing it can often lead to misunderstandings and mistakes.
We need to make sure that our goals are clear and that they are clearly communicated to our teams so that they not only what they are doing but also how it fits into the bigger picture.
Explain the Why
Knowing what the goal of the project is is a major step forward, but when we can add they Why, we can give our teams a much better sense of purpose. When I worked for DHL one of the projects we were involved in looked at improving our on-time delivery of packages, but it was communicated to the team as a change that would help ensure children got their birthday presents on the correct day. This gave the team a great sense of purpose, one which motivated them.
Explain what's in it for the team
Explaining things in a business context is great, but we can really increase engagement when we can let the teams know what's the benefit for them. If there is no benefit for the team, then why should they break a sweat, or go the extra mile to deliver this change.
We can always find a personal benefit, for example if the project serves to increase the profitability of the company, we can explain by strengthing the companies positions this can give us the opportunity to grow as a company which will give them the opportunity to grow too. The benefits don't have to be direct, even indirect benefits can increase engagement.
Keep it simple
Tony Robins say 'Complexity is the enemy of execution.' So the simpler we can keep things the higher our chances of success. Sometimes the transformations are complex by their very nature, but that doesn't mean that they need to be communicated in a complicated way. The more our teams understand, the more confidence they will have and the more successful they will be.
So look to communicate in simple terms to facilitate understanding, avoiding technical jargon as much as possible.
It's hard for the troops on the front lines to see the progress that is being made because often they are too close to the action, and this can impact their belief and motivation.
We need to make sure that they are regularly informed of progress so that they can see that their hard work is being translated results. As we start to see forward progress being made it will help create a momentum and build motivation in our team
Many change programs fail because they didn't implement these five simple things, don't let your program be one of them.