You’ve come up with your three top transformational initiatives for 2012. Like most leaders, you’re jazzed about the new beginning, the new year. Here a four pitfalls you may run into as you work to implement you new year’s strategy.
1. Complacency Think about any major transformation you’ve made in your life. Whether it was loosing weight, climbing a mountain or becoming a certified diver. There was always an exciting, emotional reason behind what you were doing. Far too many corporate initiatives are supported by spread-sheets and board room logic. These are important, but they don’t inspire people to act. Find a way to make an emotional connection to the change and loose the complacency.
2. Lack of a Broad-based Implementation Team. You may be the leader but you’re not going to be able to accomplish big changes without a coalition behind you. The coalition needs to be broad at the beginning of the change and deep at the end or completion of the change. In other words, find evangelists to support the change throughout the organization and then build depth as you go.
3. The Changes are Poorly Communicated. You have a vision for the new year. It is crystal clear in your mind’s eye. The most important question is not whether you have a vision, but does everyone in the organization know the vision. Posters, emails, tweets, paycheck stuffers, blogs, notices on portals, anything to get the word out. Everyone has to know about the change initiatives and then they need to understand what they can do to support the change.
4. Waiting for the Bang. The Big Bang corollary in strategic planning theory is that you declare a big, hairy, audacious goal and you wait for it to happen. I’m a fan of the Flywheel Approach rather than the Big Bang. In other words, your business is constantly moving and every gain is incremental! You may roll out a new product or fire a top exec and that may bring about a big change, but to make change stick, you have to constantly consolidate short-term wins.