24 Sep Why too Much #Change too Soon can Have a Negative Impact — see @Eagles
Change is hard. Everyone deals with it differently. Some people avoid it. Some take baby steps. Some confront it. Some dive in head first and change everything. Just ask Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles. No matter the approach, successful change requires careful planning and execution. It’s not a rush job!
Neither avoiding change or changing everything at once is a good idea. Either approach can lead to consequences. Things can become stagnant and predictable or things can unravel because you’ve pulled too many strings at once. And both could lead to your organization having an 0-2 start…like the Philadelphia Eagles.
I’ve made it no secret that I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan (FLY E-A-G-L-E-S!). And I’ve made it no secret that I am disappointed (putting it mildly) with Philly’s 0-2 start. Why are they 0-2? Partly because Chip Kelly cleaned house – all at once! He got rid of all of the familiar faces – at the same time. A rapid loss of institutional knowledge with no knowledge transfer. Gone are some of the leaders on the team that had good team dynamics, knew the culture of the organization, the strategy, and the communication style.
“Run from being good. Chase being great.” – Chip Kelly
Imagine firing 75% of your staff and expecting the new team to be high performing from day-1. It doesn’t work that way. Things like institutional knowledge and familiarity of the operation are imperative to high performance. Without these, and without clear leadership, you can end up with things like…sacks, limited offensive yards, and a defense that gets so tired because your “high-powered” offense is going nowhere.
No one within your organization – you, your team, or your customers and vendors (or your fans) – are happy with dysfunction. It causes an organization to become more reactionary than proactive and prepared. No team can win and win consistently while in a reactionary mode.
So how do you avoid your organization enduring an 0-2 start?
Tackle these 5 questions first:
Where do you want to be?
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra. You must have a clear strategy to achieve your goal – like say…a Super bowl win. You also need to be able to clearly communicate that strategy to your team. They need to understand the direction you’re headed, why, and how they fit into helping you get there. Ask and answer, what does success look like to you? What is your end goal? Why? Is it achievable within the established timeframe? What do you – and your team – need to reach your goal? And how does your team fit into reaching success?
What is (or isn’t) working and why?
Organizations are also like snowflakes, no two are the same. What worked at one may not work at another. Carefully identify what you’re doing well and what you can improve upon. An organization is also like a spider web of activity. Or at least it should be. Every facet of your organization’s operations are linked together. Changing one part also changes other parts. You need to first evaluate each facet you want to change and why: identify the key areas/departments, how they interact with one another, identify the roles, then identify your downstream implications and impacts to other areas of the organization if making changes.
Who is (or isn’t) working?
So it is imperative to understand why things are working and aren’t working. It’s also imperative to understand who is working well and who isn’t working well. Some people may just be poor performers overall, and others, may just not be in the best role for their skills and interests. If you want to make the playoffs you’ve got to constantly evaluate the skills of your players. To get maximum performance you need to align those skills to a role that best utilizes them. For those who are simply underperforming because of lack of interest or commitment, then it may be time to cut them from the roster. Also, don’t forget to take a hard look at yourself as a leader, are you a fit for your role?
How should things be changed?
A general rule of thumb – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So if things are working keep doing them. If it is broke – plan, plan, and plan some more before taking action. Successful change can’t be made on a whim. So focus on how you can make the things that aren’t working work better. Consider all impacts, people, process, technology, external factors and downstreams implications. Build a detailed plan with realistic timelines. Allow for input and feedback. Course correct as needed.
What is your roadmap?
Now you know where you want to go, what you have, who is (or isn’t) working, how it should be changed and what you need — create a roadmap for change and a plan for how you will execute the change. What will you try, when, and how will you measure it? Will you be agile and adjust to the ever-changing business environment? How will you communicate all of these changes within your organization? What will your governance and decision making structure be? You need to map out your plan and path to success.
Managing and navigating change – is not something you should rush or endure alone. You need a team of people committed to change. All stakeholder groups accounted for. Often an outsider to come in and see your organization for how it may really be perceived…not how it may be viewed internally. Sure, you should still be a main part of making change happen – but don’t go it alone. Get additional sets of eyes and ears to help guide your path.
Answering these 5-questions is a good start to setting yourself up for successful change. But the plan is the easy part. Executing your plan is the most important step of all. Hopefully Chip Kelly reads this! And follows his own advice…
“I don’t think anybody has a ceiling. Everybody can constantly improve.” – Chip Kelly