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Beyond the Conference Room Solution

February 27, 2013

If the Pope Can't Execute His Strategy...

So even the pope can't execute strategy. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal, The Papacy After Benedict said "an intellectually strong Pope such as Benedict can set worthy goals and articulate them with force and eloquence. But it comes to naught if the Vatican is either incapable of following through to execute the Pope's intentions, or even undermines them "http://on.wsj.com/XsHsr4

The article went on to cite the following example.  "For all the diplomatic attention given the Middle East, there is little to show for it. Benedict's failure to meet with dissidents during his visit to Cuba last year was a glaring and inexplicable failure by those preparing the trip."  So if the leader of the Catholic Church cannot get his flock to follow his lead, how is the typical manager who posses a bit less of a divine mandate supposed to marshal his resources to execute his strategy?
While an overwhelming percentage of organizational leaders recognize the need for change, it rarely takes root in any lasting way. Why? And what can be done to convert this shocking rate of failure into overwhelming success for any astute organization that recognizes the necessity?

Your change efforts have likely failed for a number of reasons. They took too long, so your people got tired and lost interest. Or your other approaches failed to generate enough short-term wins to initiate momentum. Maybe your people couldn’t take the time away from their day-to-day business to focus on the change effort fully. You weren’t able to overcome the inherent pervasive resistance that runs rampant in your company (and all companies). You couldn’t generate the huge amount of organizational energy needed to ignite and sustain a transformation agenda. Or you couldn’t translate your change agenda into a motivating force for your employees.
Employee motivation, and therefore engagement is best accomplished not by driving a top-down mandate, but rather by creating a culture that supports intrinsic (rather than financial or legislated) goals throughout the entire organization.  A culture of intrinsic rewards has the following components:

  1. The change must start with a vision that can be embraced (and owned) by the employees.  The employees must feel as though they are contributors to the change and not recipients of the change.
  2. Make the change meaningful – not just to management – but to the workforce at large.  What motivates a senior manager will likely not motivate a front-line worker.  It is essential to find out what aspects of the change appeal to the different sectors of the organization.
  3. Focus on the key influencers at all levels throughout the organization and make sure they are fully engaged. Neglect middle management at your own peril.
  4. Give ownership of the change to the organization.  Provide choice, delegate authority, provide timely feedback, and create a culture of collaboration.

Change is not easy but thoughtful planning and messaging will certainly increase the likelihood of success.

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"When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes." - Thomas A. Edison

Let’s start with an explanation of the title, Beyond The Conference Room Solution. In all of my workshops and in many of my lectures, I refer to the phrase, The Conference Room Solution as a far too common approach used by organizations use to solve many of their most challenging issues.

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The Q-Loop by Brian Klapper

How does an established organization filled with long-time employees, a deeply entrenched culture, and a history of drawn-out planning and development cycles become nimble, innovative, and responsive in today’s challenging business climate? Published by Bibliomotion, The Q-Loop: The Art & Science of Lasting Corporate Change delivers an actionable strategy to help your company rapidly achieve lasting transformational change.

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