Change Checklists II

Continued…

3. Form a Strategic Vision and Initiatives

We’ll cover the full process for creating a strategic vision later, for now just make sure that your plan is an actual plan and not a vague hope for the future. It’s easy to latch on to a piece of the desired future state without fully considering any of the steps required to get there. Real people with real skills in a fixed amount of time will have to make the changes necessary to see the vision through. Make sure you’ve considered who those people are, what skills they need, and what real time it will take.

At this point the strategy and initiatives need to be clearly communicated and easily understood. For example:

The Strategic Vision

  • Completely replace MS Project with the new platform within three months.

Initiatives

  • All new projects use the new platform starting May 1st.
  • Transfer all active project plans from MS Project to the new platform by June 1st.
  • All reports to the executive team come from the new platform by July 1st.

4. Enlist a Volunteer Army

Return to the list of interviews from steps 1&2. Start with the people with high motivation and high influence and charge them with finding more people like themselves. If they immediately understand your simple strategy and initiatives and are excited about telling others, that’s a green light to move forward. If you find yourself having to explain at length or feel like you’re convincing people to see things your way, that’s an indication that you need to go back and reposition your strategy.

5. Enable Action by Removing Barriers

Once the team is in motion and targeting clear initiatives, your job as project lead changes from setting up the work to clearing the path for those doing the work. The biggest challenge when completing a platform switch, for example, isn’t usually getting people motivated, it’s clearing their time for the additional work. When someone is ‘slammed’ and under project deadlines, the last thing they want to do is backtrack and revisit work they have addressed before. Learning new systems and techniques can also be low on the list. As such, it’s up to you to make sure the affected teams have a lighter than average workload so they can use a bit of extra time to make progress toward the next initiative. 

Johnathan Deckert