January 4, 2013
As we launch the new year, many organizations are also launching their new strategic plans. Having a killer plan is one thing – but having your team follow you as you implement that new plan is quite another. This challenge is critical, whether you are a front-line supervisor with a small team, a program manager with large clinical team, or the CEO of the entire organization.
Making “followers” of your team is a key leadership competency – and a path fraught with many obstacles. In a great piece on followership in the McKinsey Quarterly, How leaders kill meaning at work – The Four Traps, authors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer outline four common traps that can “squash” your team’s enthusiasm for implementing anything new. Here’s a quick summary…
Giving off “mediocrity signals” – Does your organization’s mission say one thing, but the actions of your managers say another? Are you publically claiming to be “customer-centric,” but not investing in improved customer service and engagement? Is your annual report focused on “innovation,” but your innovation budget hasn’t really followed? The dissonance between the plan and the actions of management quickly cause team members to disengage.
Suffering from strategic “attention deficit disorder” – This is the classic “flavor of the week” approach to management. There are too many new initiatives and few are ever finished. Without a few “wins,” team members quickly lose confidence in your organization’s ability to change.
Playing the role of “Keystone Kops” – You may be too young to remember the Keystone Kops (for a quick study, see Keystone Kops), but in their day, they were the poster children for miscoordination. They ran around in circles, bashing each other on the head and fumbling one case after another. When implementing any new plan, it is absolutely the leader’s role to assure coordination and support across all staff and all departments, address any need for changes in policies and procedures, and smooth out any ruffled feelings. The question is whether your management team is stepping up to assume that role – or playing the role of 21st century Keystone Kops.
Does your management team resemble the “Keystone Kops”?
Setting misbegotten “big, hairy, audacious goals” – Every team member wants a BHAG for their organization: “a bold strategic vision statement that has powerful emotional appeal.” But a vision is not a plan. An organization’s leaders need to assure that any BHAG can be translated to an operational reality – or discouragement ensures.
So, as you move ahead with your plans for 2013, watch out for these four traps in implementing new plans for an evolving era. And, for an in-depth session on this topic, join OPEN MINDS Executive Vice President John F. Talbot, Ph.D. and OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Stephen Holoviak for their discussion session, Making Organizational Change Work: Change Management For Clinical Teams at the 2013 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Institute, February 14 in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS
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