Thursday, 17 September 2009

Goals for Change

Sign of the times?: Missed achieving the quarterly goals again. Individuals’ performance on supporting actions weak again?

The goal’s good – revenue; profit; prospects in sales pipeline. The supporting priority actions are logical.

So what’s wrong? Lack of focus? Lack of accountability? Lack of leadership? Unrealistic goals? Lack of buy-in?

Could have been any or all of those. Or it could be that the world’s changed and the assumptions that used to apply, the relationships that used to work, the habits that used to be effective aren’t/don’t any more.

The reflex response is typically to increase the focus and accountability; increase “buy-in” by consultation; do it harder! WRONG.

If your firm’s past the 1st flush of pioneer passion and settled into routine with a dollop of cynicism born of frustrated aspirations and broken promises, and on top of that the world has changed, doing it harder won’t work.

It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it: you have to change the way you do it; do things in new, unfamiliar ways that feel as strange as a new golf swing. How do you achieve that when you don’t have a clue what those new ways feel like!? Even understanding those new ways won’t do it. You have to know them (deeply)

You need to experience new ways of behaving; to surface and examine assumptions; to develop and experience new ways of interrelating and repeat them until they are new habits.

It’s not buy-in you need, its engagement.You need a change-project: NOT simply a sequence of agreed tasks with time/quality/cost KPIs. You need a project where the learning is achieved by the whole team; to together develop and practice new ways of achieving those same simple goals.

You need a project with scope that’s wide enough to provide real, strength-fitting action for each team member and a compelling shared purpose that increases your capability to adapt to change and achieve your simple goals at the same time.

If it feels strange then you’re probably on the right track. Most managers, including project managers have never experienced an organisational change project. That’s OK. Don’t pretend. Bullshit kills learning.

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