Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to remove the obstacles to change

As I write this my wife is giving a presentation as part of a job application that she's making. If she sticks with the ideas she was having in her practice run-through earlier then she'll be making the point that she boils down a lot of the fancy phrases and detailed research concepts that she's come across in management training books and articles. In fact, at heart she says that leading a small team is about two things:
  1. Make sure that the team consistently (daily) understands what is expected: not just what to do (task) but how to do it (quality)
  2. Remove the obstacles by making sure that they have the resources they need, and nothing holding them back from doing it
I think that simplification is super. But when it comes to introducing a broad change initiative it's often necessary to go further and consider whether anyone is actively resisting the change. Are there processes or structures that are getting in the way?
More than this:

  • Make sure you have, beyond just you, other leaders whose main role is to bring about change.
  • Look at your organizational structure, job descriptions, and performance and compensation systems to ensure they're in line with your vision.
  • Recognize and reward people for making change happen.
  • Identify people who are resisting the change, and help them see what's needed.
  • Take action to quickly remove barriers (human or otherwise).

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