Staff Wars: Change Star, Rogue None – Part 3: Actively Engage Your Troops
This is part 3 in our series focused on guiding you on how to implement a new project initiative without it getting blown up.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are the author’s own and do not represent Erecruit’s support of a particular alliance – Empire or Republic.
In our previous posts, we introduced our project and team, discussed how critical project vision, goals and objectives are, and examined what the “right” project team should look like for implementation success. Now, let’s talk about why it’s essential to consult with, establish individual ownership and accountability for, and express appreciation to your “troops” within your organization.
While a change initiative is usually devised, approved, planned and executed by an executive or other higher leadership level, it would be irresponsible not to recruit support, and engage and elicit feedback from those who are closer to where the change will have the most impact. Without this effort, you may be unintentionally omitting critical information that may help drive process transformation and execution decisions.
In addition, by not involving your frontline producers in the project as quasi-internal consultants, you may delay understanding, acceptance and ownership of the change by those employees.
There is certainly a delicate balance when it comes to the level of involvement from your production employees, though. Looking back to our previous post regarding project team selection, your core team should embody those who can deliberate and apply decisions “stractically” (i.e. are able to understand and apply strategic goals to tactical objectives and resolutions) and efficiently, without an excess of deep dives or breakout meetings. This core team should be small and agile in its operation; too many producers involved in the day-to-day project activities and decisions can introduce delays or bottlenecks (due to “too many cooks in the kitchen” or focus on low-risk, low-probability scenarios), increase cost (due to time spent away from production activities), and sow distrust or doubt in the project (due to their inclusion in complex process or configuration decisions).
Therefore, in order to reduce team encumbrance, yet still encourage and foster collaboration and feedback, project team members should be communicating and validating change decisions early and often with their staff, to identify any possible variations or considerations that may have a significant impact on up or downstream process functions or project activities.
Your “troops” play a vital role in promoting enthusiasm, building confidence, and validating success factors for your project. In John Kotter’s latest book, Accelerate, he talks about idea of enlisting a “volunteer army” – a “sizable body of employees excited and able to take action on critically important initiatives linked to your business strategy”. Without buy-in from the bottom-up, you run the risk of employees creating roadblocks towards progress, or ignoring or simply being unaware of obvious tactical problems that may not have been spotted at the strategic, executive level.
For our Imperial project team, the Executive Sponsors and Wil Tarkin were so focused on the completion of the Death Star that they failed to properly acknowledge and inform their troops of progress and impediments. Had they treated them as valued resources versus mindless clones, they may have been able to spot the risk.
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 Kotter International. “The 8-Step Process for Leading Change”, 2017. https://www.kotterinternational.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/
Amy Yackowski is the Director of Healthcare Best Practices for Erecruit. She is an avid watcher of the Star Wars stories and seeker of new ways to improve the contingent workforce management experience for staffing agencies and their clients through operational analysis and technology. Amy is responsible for helping Erecruit healthcare customers develop their framework, analyze their business processes and optimize their use, effectiveness and efficiency of the Erecruit solutions. Join her in conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn and email@example.com.
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