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culture series: creating a culture of change part 3

October 16, 2019

written by
Barbara O Stephenson

creating change–part 3 listening

Now that you have identified what you want to change, come up with a high-level plan, identified your playing field, and committed yourself to the benefits and made a rough plan- how do you move forward from here? How do you get your organization to commit to it? How do you handle the destruction of the plan once you try to implement it?  And why the hell am I advocating creating a plan that is going to fail??  Up to this point, you’ve done all of this in isolation at this point and only one point of view is a red flag. So this is where we create the culture of change.

set a team meeting

Let’s start off by getting your team on board with the goal. You’ll need to put together a dreaded “meeting”. The idea is to get everyone in one place at the same time. Try not to force it, try to make it something enjoyable. You’re going to need emotional commitment to your goal, not just lip service so if you need to bring food as bribes, do it. There are a host of problems just getting here- some companies don’t have comfortable spaces or people try to work on other things like “checking email” during meetings. Do your best to pull people out of their jobs for a moment and just be in the room with their coworkers. If you sandwich a change meeting in between rush jobs, no one will be mentally open to the goal.

Get consensus on the problem

Your end game for this meeting is to get everyone committed to the goal and so it’s time to share your plan. You need to share the pain points, using real examples with the people involved. Humans like to forget things that are painful so you’ll need to remind them. Maybe a few times. Once people agree there is a problem, then we move on to the benefits. This is the carrot before the horse. Paint a glowing picture of the ideal scenario.

Listening groupthink

At this point, you can do a brainstorm so that your team imagines themselves actively living the goal. Getting them thinking and feeling and imagining all the ways in which the goal benefits them and makes their lives easier. Also, they will probably come up with scenarios that you didn’t even consider and if you really listen, you’ll be able to pull those into your plan, wrapping each individual’s dreams into your process. Listen to the feedback on benefits, roadblocks, and issues. Your team has visions that you never get to see and that is how you burst the isolation bubble. There is nothing more motivating than making this personal for each human involved. And you’ll need to make it personal in order for them to execute against their bad habits so go to the next step.

Individual workflow and process

We create this concept of personal responsibility by sitting down individually with each stakeholder and run through scenarios in which each person identifies their individual daily battles with the problem. Ask them where they can see room for improvement and what would make their life easier. You’ve had the groupthink, now dig a bit deeper. Remind each person that the idea is to do the easy things more often and the things that seem stupidly hard, less often.

Revise your roadmap

Once that’s done, you need to go back and incorporate everything you’ve learned into your loose plan. Making sure that the stakeholders are as important to the process as you are not only sharing your power, it spreads the responsibility for the execution of the plan and helps overcome roadblocks.

Part 4 Next up Roll Out