1. Key success factors for Step Two-Building a Guiding Team and best ways to accomplish them?
Gather them in a room. At AstraZeneca change in products and regulations are necessary to stay competitive, but when that happens it disrupts systems and power. Ben shared an example when a change was being met with significant resistance, which resulted in conflict of how to adapt. Several ideas immerged around the water cooler, which ultimately divided the team. If there was not a single vision and process adopted the financial blowback would implode the sales region.
In an effort to get the team to become unified and have ownership in the plan, Ben brought everybody into one room and shared the directive; when we leave this room there will be one plan. By creating a safe place for people to debate and resolve concerns the team worked through the problem together. This allowed them to hear a variety of perspective and build trust.
Ben felt that empowering the team to come to consensus on how they were going to achieve the vision increased ownership. When the group left the room they had participated in the process and had clarity of what was at stake. Maybe they didn’t completely agree, but they embraced the plan. You know your KPI has been achieved when everyone is saying the same plan consistently. The best way to accomplish that is to empower the team to own the process in a high trust, solution based debate.
2. What typically results in these steps being poorly managed?
Your side, my side and the correct side. Not all defiance is created equal. Most people when they are resisting change are really just trying to tell you that you have not resolved their concerns. The vast majority of people fall into that ‘undecided’ category, and if you can communicate in a way that resolves those concerns they will come along. People will change when they are ready to and not a moment sooner.
Ben shared the example of when his company was making the transition from paper checks to direct deposit. There were those that were upset about the change. Their side felt that having bank information was a breach of privacy and exposed them to potential fraud.
The paper vs. electronic payroll was the change, but not the concern. It took a skilled leader like Ben to ask discovery questions and then share the benefits and resolve the privacy concerns. Too often a lack of clear communication causes undo conflict which is why many of the steps in change are unsuccessful. Taking the time to understand their side, explain your side and come to an understanding of the constraints will lower the friction inherent in change.
3. What would you recommend be done differently during each step of change?
Communicate, communicate, and communicate. From the very beginning of creating urgency people need to understand what is at stake. Communicate the value proposition or consequences of action or lack thereof. If people are left to their own imagination when it comes to the purpose of change chances are you will not like the results.
In stage two with building guiding team, people want to know who is steering the ship. If they lack confidence in the sponsor it will not get off the ground. When getting the vision right and communicating for buy-in, everybody wants to know how the change will impact their life. If the team feels that the change is threatening their livelihood and the communication is unclear it will continue to be a distraction. In communication it is important to share enough to enable action, but not too much that the details distract from the purpose.
When progress begins, building momentum is important. By communicating and rewarding and holding everyone accountable those short term wins reinforce those demonstrating the desired actions. However it is common to backslide or revert to old habits. Continuing to communicate often and consistently allow the change to take root in the culture creating a state of continual slush. Meaning the team is change ready and is agile. All of this hinges on communication. Simple as it sounds, too often the executive team bullies people with formal authority and miss out on the engagement of their team to create solutions to problems that could be better than the prescribed plan.
4. Additional insight you would like to share?
Integrity. Everybody is watching to see if you are willing to make the hard decisions. Ben shared an example where one of the top performing members of his team repeatedly submitted falsified expense reports. In a multibillion dollar company does it really matter if a one becomes a seven on a receipt? Ben shared with us his philosophy when it comes to managing members of a team that are not in alignment with expectations; you can ignore them, develop them, move them or separate them. Each of the actions has inherent tradeoffs that vary in complexity, but the options are the same.
Ben called the individual into his office and presented the evidence and offered two options- the individual could clean out his own desk and leave or be formally disciplined. Could the deceit been ignored, or even rationalized? Sure, but what message would that send to the rest of the team. As far as developing the individual, if they are willing to sell their integrity for pocket change as an adult, chances are this is simply a manifestation of a deeper character flaw. Consequently moving the individual to another function would not solve the problem, which brought him to the conclusion that separation was the best course of action.
As a leader you will have to make value decisions of how you will react and people will be watching. It is better to make the hard decisions early and live with integrity so when you do make unpopular choices you have the trust in your emotional bank account with your team. That can be the deciding factor in leading change, if your team trusts your integrity to make the right decisions regardless of popularity.
Integrated insights of how the steps are interrelated and KSF to lead change effectively.