Have you ever implemented a new technology or process in your company and wondered why it took so long or felt so difficult? Maybe it looked more like the spaghetti method—you throw it on the cabinet and see if it sticks. However, with the right focus and outline, the process can be much easier for you and your team.
According to research, three skills provide the necessary connection between the process part of change and the people part of change. The three Cs are communication, collaboration, and commitment. The words are easy to say, but how do we implement these three Cs?
Following is a two-part, step-by-step process to set you and your team up for success. If you have already done personality assessments with your team or the TIGERS (trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk, and success) team wheel game, this knowledge about your staff will assist you with the process.
Focus on the Emotional Target
The first part involves focusing on the emotional target, which includes getting the team to a place of being accountable and committed to achieving the plan’s objectives. Some might also consider that it engages the right side of the brain before shifting to the left side. Often this part will take teams up to three hours to complete using the following four steps:
Step 1: Outline the plan
I will use a technology changeover and implementation as an example. You will review with the team why the change is happening, the desired ground rules for implementing the plan, and the steps that are important for effective planning. Many vacation rental management companies have encountered problems with new technology as a result of some platforms not integrating well together or some platforms choosing not to grow or expand. It is important for the team to understand in detail why the change is happening.
Step 2: Consider what success looks like
Discuss what success looks like for everyone. This might mean reducing double entry as much as possible, having enough staff to help with the process so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming, and eliminating redundant steps in daily processes. It is important to bring in personal satisfaction as much as task success.
Recently, a business owner implemented a new technology platform in her business, and I asked her what she would have done differently, knowing what she knows now on the other side of the change. She said, “I would have staffed up and accepted the decrease in net revenue during the transition.”
Step 3: Admit reality
Review what team members bring to the table as positives and how others will struggle. In most companies, some team members are more “techy” than others. That is okay, but it’s important to acknowledge that and place people based on their strengths for a successful implementation process. For example, some members are better at looking at the process at a high level while others are great at digging into the details or testing and troubleshooting. You need all kinds of strengths to have a well-oiled machine when undertaking change. Discuss what will work best and address areas that could lead to problems during the process. If a leader is constantly going to an employee who isn’t strong in the area for which they‘ve been assigned, it will create frustration for the leader and can make the employee feel undervalued or incapable.
Step 4: Outline an agreement with the team for commitment
It is recommended this agreement contains wanted behaviors, ground rules, communication techniques, and decision processes. The agreement will support everyone in being accountable for their part in the change.
Focus on the Goal Target
The second part involves focusing on the goal target. This part is where you delve into the action planning of the process. This four-step process can take anywhere from four to six hours of focused time with the team.
Step 1: Document the tasks at hand
Review and document the actions that will occur during the process. Gather the actions and divide the members into subteams to finalize the actions. Sometimes, technology platform companies will give you this information; in that case, the head implementation team member can still undergo this process with the team and then add in areas the technology company may not have considered. What information needs to be saved from the previous platform to move to the new one? How do you transfer information to reduce duplication and ensure clean data?
Step 2: Create the timeline
As we know, timelines are great to have, and they will be flexible based on business flow and running into glitches. Ensure this timeline is somewhere everyone can always access it, and reference it throughout the process to keep on task.
Step 3: Coordinate the final details
The team will discuss leadership roles in specific areas such as decision-making, task reporting, communication, and specific tasks which must be completed before other tasks can begin.
Step 4: Resolve and pull it all together
This is where you will have the team meet and agree that everything is covered. Some teams like to create a theme for the implementation with a title and slogan to create focus and team spirit. This is a great time to bring the creatives into the mix so they feel like they are adding value to the change.
This process can be enhanced by a leadership facilitator who is in the company or an outside consultant. If you are looking to be certified in this area, Dianne Crampton of corevalues.com offers such certification to company leaders. I have found the certification to be extremely helpful, and it has allowed me to offer teams support during change and implementation in their companies without the 65 percent failure rate so many change initiatives face.
Change is always happening in companies. It can involve hiring a new team member, implementing a new position as the company grows, or even adding company values and a mission statement. It is all about how we as leaders implement the change with the teams to create a culture of inclusion and honor the three Cs.
“A leader’s job is not to do the work for others; it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.” —Simon Sinek