Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for April, 2016

Proposing a solution at work? The more details you provide, the better.

I thought about only publishing the title of this post, because it says it all. But I’ll offer just a couple of examples and you can take it from there. I’m sure many of you have influenced a decision based on your contributions to a recommended solution. I hope you’ll choose to share them here.

On to my examples . . .

Maybe you’ve decided to speak up about how inefficient a clunky software system is to your work process. Or, you’re finally going to speak up about the unfair distribution of work among your team on a current project.

In the first example, seemingly the solution would be to purchase a new software system. Yet, without the details of what purchasing and integrating a new system might entail, and how you’ll personally support it, you’re simply handing over a boatload of work to someone who probably won’t have either the time or passion to act on it. Could you offer to meet with stakeholders, vendors or IT specialists? Could you help to explore costs, crunch numbers, or run a report? Can you anticipate timelines and their impact on production?

In the second example, clearly you hope for the re-distribution of work among your team. And, you may be thinking it’s the team lead’s responsibility to do that. Yet, bringing the idea of re-distribution of responsibilities to your team lead may go nowhere. Again, you may have a fair shot if you present your documented recommendations as to how this will happen, and how you are personally willing to contribute to or participate in the solution.

Both scenarios demonstrate similar dynamics. Bring what you want to ultimately happen to the table and chances are you will fall short of results. Bring documented and detailed recommendations about how to get there, and your chances of influencing towards positive results will increase.

Here’s the good news. If you’re thinking about proposing a new idea or strategy at work, unless your role and responsibilities clearly call for coming up with that strategy, you don’t have to. But if you want to influence a decision and action towards a solution—and you decide to go for it—the more details you include, the better!

Focus on follow-up to manage change effectively

I had this brief article published last week in the business section of our local newspaper. Although brief, it talks about something I feel very passionate about. It may be helpful to remind ourselves that consistent and on-going follow-up is crucial in order for people to really “get it” when it comes to the requirements and their accountability towards an organizational change.

– – – – Originally published in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 3/29/16; Focus on follow-up to manage change effectively, by Donna Rawady

Your organization may be moving through a recent merger or acquisition, a change in infrastructure, or an intentional shift in workplace culture. Regardless of the change, most leaders realize there are specific strategies that are crucial to effective change management, including: establishing a clear plan; carefully positioning and communicating the change; clarifying roles, responsibilities and expectations; consistent and inclusive updates; and being sensitive to the change’s impact on morale.

An additional and crucial factor in accomplishing sustainable change is strategic follow-up and follow-through by leadership and middle management to generate and sustain accountability in support of the plan’s objectives.

As leaders, we may feel that we have made the business case behind the changes crystal clear, and that involved managers surely understand what needs to be done to “make it happen” within their teams. Yet, in order for individuals or teams to internalize those new standards and plans, requirements may need to be communicated, and support provided.

Here are a few follow-up strategies that, when well-executed, will help to generate and support sustainable change:

• Ensure that your managers are equipped to: communicate the business case behind the plan, generate accountability relating to required job responsibilities and target dates, and respond to questions or challenges relating to the interim objectives or the end goal.

• Provide a forum for hands-on leaders to discuss their successes and challenges in leading or managing people or processes through change.  Then customize recommendations or coaching to support managers and/or employees toward the long-term change/objectives.

• Evaluate, share and celebrate successes along the way to maintain trust in, and enthusiasm for, the organization’s future state.