SEVEN WAYS TO STAY FOCUSED |
I often facilitate meetings where a group of thoughtful people plan for large-scale change in their organizations or the community. I feel privileged to be with them during this time of reflection and creativity; when they are temporarily away from their desks, cell phones, and obligations. The work they come up with is inspiring, often radical, and seemingly doable though, by no means, an easy lift.
How do these leaders keep their eye on the big picture when they return to their desks, swamped with day-to-day demands? For insight, I called a colleague who is in the midst of transforming a large public system. His reflections included seven key steps which are particularly relevant for implementing major organizational change.
Trust Yourself and Your Team.
Admit what you are good at and where you need to rely on others. Don’t try to micromanage in areas where your staff know more than you. You can’t do this alone.
Bad news is as relevant as good news. Encourage people to share what’s not going right, and to challenge your leadership decisions. Support them when they do.
Bring In Outside Reinforcement.
Seek an outside assessment. Get insights and recommendations from subject matter experts to inform and add credibility to your work.
Set Targets with a Sense of Urgency.
With the help of staff, create a time-sensitive work plan that designates roles and sets targets for accomplishing change at an ambitious and realistic pace.
Communicate at All Levels.
Listen to and talk regularly with staff directly responsible for implementing new policies and practices. Equally important, connect often with the people and families you serve.
Give People a Chance to Make an Impact and Share Credit.
Give your team the opportunity to make a difference. When they succeed, make sure that they are recognized. People will work harder and better if they know their work matters.
Build a Support Network.
Identify peers or mentors outside your organization to process and strategize with confidentially. Leadership can be isolated work, and a small group of trusted and wise colleagues helps to refuel and reconnect with the passion driving your work.
We are not too busy to achieve large-scale change. We do need to know our own capacities, build a shared vision, and support ways for people in the organization to participate in and advance a collective plan.