In today’s issue…
Developing new habits – adding new practices to your organization, or changing the way it does things – requires process and discipline. Like breaking in a new pair of shoes, it takes a while to get comfortable with them. So you’re tempted to not “wear” them every day, preferring instead the comfort and familiarity of the old.
Next thing you know, the new habit is no habit at all. It never takes hold, because you didn’t use a successful process to “break it in”.
A colleague once described many organizational initiatives as “throwing sh- - at the wall to see if it sticks”. Stephen Covey, noted author, has cited five reasons initiatives often fail.
Lack of Clarity. When people don’t understand why it is important for the organization to succeed with a particular change or initiative, they tend to focus on the work required to get there.
Lack of Commitment. Without clarity, people find it hard to care.
No enabling. Change initiatives are long-term in nature. Most organizations are focused on short-term results. This disconnect can disable initiatives as early results are often small and hard to see.
No synergy. People within organizations, working independently, find it difficult to embrace the “interdependency” of a company-wide initiative. Conflicting agendas overwhelm the initiative.
Lack of accountability. Who is responsible for making what things happen and when are they supposed to be done?
Focus On The Outcome
One of the most important practices you can bring to your organization is to focus on the result of major efforts, and not on the effort itself. Make sure everyone understands what happens if the initiative succeeds. Make sure everybody involved understands the great things that will come from doing this – and the tasking becomes less intimidating.
One Thing at a Time
Focusing on the outcome also helps set priorities. By asking, “What will it bring?”, and not “What it will take?”, it becomes much easier to see which new opportunities are most important. Only one or a few can be top, top priorities. Concentrate your efforts on these and save the rest for later. As Covey puts it, “Focus on the wildly important”.
Meet, Review, & Score
It is essential that the team – however big or small – meet regularly to review progress, and address any challenges. This weekly feedback mechanism can do wonders for keeping a project on track, and on time.
Paul & Steve