10 Aug 2017
By Travis Thomas
Managing Director of Integral Development
Change and Innovation is harrrrrrd. Right? Right. Even if we are experiencing pain, we would rather tolerate it than make the changes needed to get to a better place. Allow me to provide an example and then some tips on how you can GET THINGS DONE:
I recently worked with a client group where we spent some time unpacking their innovation ideas after opening with a short session on leading and managing change. We did some core activities on refining their problem definition, validation, ideation and finished up with prototyping. When we got to the prototyping stage, they absolutely smashed the activity. Usually we open with this (to kickstart their creativity and innovative thinking) but this time I closed with it and they did brilliantly.
We closed the session and I thought “great, solid work”. We had tackled some of their real problems and pain points in the organisation with clear next steps.
Then the questions came, one after another: ‘how do we get others to do this’ and ‘how do we get re-trained if we forget’. Translation: ‘who will hold our hand’? My response: “You have to get $#IT done. No amount of training will substitute you actually doing these things. I am here to help but you must DO”.
Sounds easy, right? Wrong. We teach people these things, we coach them on it and we even help them build innovation / create change in their organisation but the moment the foot comes off the throttle, the car can screech to a halt. So, what can you do?
Be messy and deliberate
One of the things I’ve chosen to do this year is to be ok with getting it wrong sometimes if the trade-off is momentum and progress. Momentum is a funny thing. Its damn hard to build, but once it gets going, it takes on a life of its own. It goes from snowball, to snow boulder, to avalanche. Change comes easy when people expect that things will always change and momentum is the name of the game. Sometimes the avalanche will roll over something (or someone) we didn’t intend it to, but we end up with a much more substantive and positive impact than that snowball ever would have achieved.
Be ok with messy.
Sometimes you have to do things nobody is going to like
I manage a consultancy. We are great at collaboration, but guess what, we love collaborating (meeting, anyone?). Collaboration can have a dark side: it stalls progress. Instead, the culture I’m working to build thrives on waves of collaboration at key and deliberate points. People know that sometimes they have a say, other times they don’t. Sometimes not giving people a say means not being liked, but the end result is often much better and the outcome is hard to ignore. I’m not suggesting ignoring people, simply that collaboration is a double-edged sword and needs to be managed.
Slice through the bureaucracy like a hot knife
I LOATHE bureaucracy. Its awful and overdone, like a bad burger. We lay it on thick and we forget that its there to protect, not burden. Want to slice through bureaucracy? Find a champion in the organisation and have them sign on the dotted line (literally). If you are heading up a project, new venture, initiative or anything worth doing, get a champion who shares the vision AND commitment on board right away and let them be the bulldozer. If you are the champion for someone else, be there when its most needed. I’ve worked on some fantastic projects where the champion knocked over the naysayers and we had a great result. I’ve also been on projects where the champion hid under the table when things got tough. Find (or be) the former, not the latter. It makes a huge difference.
The Cult of Done – A Manifesto
While I don’t agree with everything on the list below, I do keep a copy on my desk (framed and always visible). Why? It reminds me to be vigilant, mindful in how I use my time and to just DO instead of discussing doing. See below for the Manifesto by Bre Pettis.
Now DO 😊
Equip yourself to get things done: www.integral.org.au
Back To Articles