Often, leaders and professionals can become overwhelmed by the prospect of undergoing a complicated transformation or change. It can be challenging to determine how much detail is necessary in order to get started.
However, it is essential to remember that while having a good understanding of the task at hand is critical, over-preparing can lead to stagnation rather than progress.
It is the nature of change programs to have many dimensions and levels of detail. This is not about Agile or Waterfall, but rather the nature of how change programs are. Those programs have the potential to create overwhelm while leaders and teams wait to see what the complete end-to-end and the final product are going to look like before moving forward.
What is needed?
There are some day 1 foundational aspects to be understood, and I would not recommend moving forward without understanding them (regardless of your delivery methodology). Things like:
- The Business Outcome
- What does good look like?
- Why would our customers pay for this?
- What main design principles do we want this program to be guided by?
- What is success? Define that for every customer (internal and external)
I will go into the details about these in a future article and will be doing deep dives into each point in the People of Change Community launching in the coming weeks
However, in the context of this article, the point to make here is that most of the above points are unfortunately not given enough time or effort and are left to the implementation teams to decipher
And instead, most of the upfront effort and time is spent trying to know more about the solution, the different building blocks and what everyone would do and contribute to those building blocks… Leaving what matters up for interpretation
The need to know first before moving forward is a serious trap many change and transformation leaders and teams fall into. This creates one or more of the below situations:
- Under pressure to deliver, we cut corners and make assumptions to deliver something ’tangible’ soon. And then try to bring people on the bus (or maybe force them into the bus)
- Take way too long to think, design, and decide, leaving many team members lost and unmotivated (resulting in people leaving, getting bored, and losing the window of opportunity, all while looking busy)
- Reverting to “quick wins” and patching up an assumed solution. (which leads up to a culture of Band-Aid and fixes, which eventually creates a spaghetti landscape, making things so hard to understand, hardly making sense, and eventually hard to change – talking about the lack of business agility)
Striking the right balance
Striking the right balance between having enough knowledge and dwelling on details can be a difficult but necessary skill to master when undertaking any sort of transformation or change.
Taking the time to ask the right questions, address the foundational aspects (mentioned above), seek answers, and gather feedback is an integral part of this process. With intentional effort and focus, you can ensure that you have the proper understanding to begin your transformation or change. By doing so, you can move forward with confidence and clarity.
This is a 50/50 problem
This is a 50% leadership problem and 50% team members problem
On the leader’s side
- Good leaders know what needs to be communicated and leave room to empower and create space for creativity and for the team to devise a way of tackling problems and identifying and designing solutions.
- There is a delicate balance between giving away too much, being too directive, and leaving people hungry for what is next and seeing the road ahead.
- As a leader: Position yourself as the guide and the coach and give people the space to ask questions and visualize where they think this should go.
- Leaders need to provide these 5 critical pieces of information (mentioned above and will reiterate this critical point again below) to ensure that all efforts are heading in the right direction (the level of detail can vary)
- Clarity on business outcome
- What does success look like
- What should we be aware of? And Who do we need?
- Why are we doing this? The purpose and ultimate outcome
- Why would our customers pay for this product service
The team’s side:
One of the most critical skills in transformation and change is moving with flow between the big picture and the details (not passively but intentionally). Being stuck on one side is never helpful and will cause frustration and burnout.
Capable and confident team members are:
- Able to ask meaningful questions and know why they need to know and in what context
- Before asking: make sure you have designed a proposed path of where you think this should go and why
- Be open to having a change of direction, not getting the answers you want and be open to being redirected to see the bigger picture or move into the details
I have seen many team members fall into the trap of:
- Waiting to be told what needs to be done
- Going in isolation and putting the blinders on, and doing some kind of work that ends up not serving the overarching outcome
- The balance between the big picture and details is a real skill many do not give the intention and the attention it needs and prefer to react to instead of being proactive and intentional.
One last piece of advice, your strengths and what you consider yourself to be good at can play against you if you overuse your strengths and insist on knowing so you can connect the dots and see the full picture before proceeding and moving forward.
I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and feedback in the comments section below. Thank you!
When you are ready to take your Change and Transformation career & impact to the next level, here are a few ways I can help:
1. Land an impactful and successful change & transformation program and make a bigger impact today. Lock in a Free 30-minute Impact-Maker Call for a conversation about how I can be your behind-the-scenes one-on-one consultant, mentor and advisor. I help leaders elevate their transformation & change practice mastery, expand their perspectives, be visible and respected, build high-performing transformation teams, elevate their leadership, accelerate their career progression, and bring their authentic voice and true expertise to the table. Message me to book your Free 30-minute Impact-Maker Call.
2. Ready to ELEVATE your impact now. Join ELEVATE, my group coaching mastermind program – for ambitious leaders, consultants, professionals and advisors already working on or in charge of change & transformation programs who want to get it right, earn a seat at the table, and elevate their leadership, all without the burnout, guesswork, or losing opportunities. If you are interested, reach out, as the next cohort is now open for registration
3. Express your interest in joining the PEOPLE OF CHANGE (POC) community membership program as an early-bird founding member. The POC community focuses on 5 different pillars: Build incontestable Mastery of world-class change & transformation practice, Be an effective and purposeful Leader, show up, be Visible and make a dent, accelerate your Growth and Career, and earn your Seat at the table. Send me a message to learn more and express your interest
- The link to the People Of Change (POC) Launch announcement is here
- Link to episode 1: Focus here
- Link to episode 2-Part 1: Doing the Work (The Job) here
- Link to episode 2-Part 2: Doing the Work (The Inner Work) here
Get in touch with me by commenting below or email me at Success@PeopleofTranormation.com