Creating a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Creating a sense of urgency is Step One in the well-established Kotter model of leading change.  But what exactly does that mean?

After 30 years of research, Dr John Kotter believes that most major change initiatives fail mainly because organisations don’t commit to seeing the change through and don’t take a holistic approach throughout.   He has demonstrated that his 8 step process provides the most credible way of delivering and embedding large-scale organisational change.

His method elaborates and enlarges upon Lewin’s simple Freeze Phase, three stage approach – square, blob, star.  The underlying principles are the same. The model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organization or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts considers these steps in greater detail. we have already reissued;  Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change and Step Four: Communicating Your Vision.

You have to work really hard

When I put the words ‘creating a sense of urgency’ into a search engine, I came up with all kinds of great ideas!  For example,  inspiring the team to work together towards a goal!  Lots of pleasant and positive stuff. Sounds good doesn’t it –  makes you feel good!  The problem is that, sadly, these positive ideas don’t work if you want to make fundamental change in an organisation.

Kotter reckons that for change to be successful, 75% of a company’s management needs to “buy into” the change. In other words, you have to really work hard on Step One, and spend significant time and energy creating a sense urgency, before moving onto the next steps. Unfortunately, there are no pleasant and easy answers.

It is hard to persuade groups of people to move a long way out of  their comfort Creating a sense of urgencyzone!  They will not move unless they understand that staying where they are is not an option! That means convincing them that staying where they are is going to be painful, or is simply no longer possible.

As my old lecturer in change management said somewhere back in the 90s – unless the pain of staying where you are is greater than the pain of moving, you usually stay put! He started the lecture with a picture of an amoeba and gave us a lecture on the fundamentals of stimulus! He was pretty focused on the importance of creating a sense of urgency. Without it, there would be no fundamental change!

So what can you do for your group?  It isn’t as simple as just showing them the sales figures, or other written evidence of need, and expecting them to respond.  You need to work with them. Go through the figures and then help them think through the consequences of doing nothing! Make it real. Not just consequences for the organisation, but for them. Help them to ask; “What will it mean for me in six months if nothing changes?”

Let them understand and absorb the threat. Then, work with them to think through options for the future and how they can move forward.

Share the pain and then show how you can share the gain.

Show them what they have to  gain from making a change. This may not be much but there will always be something! If the facts mean potential redundancies, work out how can you work together to mitigate the effects.

Are there new working patterns that you can adopt, for example, flexible or short-time working? Are there new markets to explore. What do they know about that might be helpful?

But, be careful. There is a difference between sharing the pain so that together you can make a change  and creating panic. There is a big difference between creating a sense of urgency and throwing things into chaos.

Do your homework before you start.

You are the leader and you need to remain in the leadership seat. Keep your nerve. It won’t be easy but then no one said being a leader was easy! Prepare well – you will face some challenging questions!

Don’t be naive! When they leave your meeting or presentation, the rumour mill will get to work. So, follow up with good information. Keep the communications flowing about your plans. Always be prepared to answer questions and be available. There will be some questions afterwards that they wished they’d asked at the meeting.

If you have experience of creating a sense or urgency, please share your war stories.  If you have a change to make – I hope things go very well for you! In the meantime if you need help please get in touch, I’ve been there before you.

Meanwhile…

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Career Management: Maintain a Time Tracking Record in Order to Stay Organised as an Employee or Freelancer

Career Management: Maintain a Time Tracking Record in Order to Stay Organised as an Employee or Freelancer

Today we have another guest post from Tamara M. Williams who is an EzineArticles Platinum Level Expert Author. Her articles cover topics such as Computer and Technology and Email Marketing. Visit her profile page on EzineArticles to learn more.

You have to learn how to manage your time and tasks responsibly whether you work as an employee or as a freelancer. You need to keep track of time spent on certain tasks each day for your employer or client. This is useful to verify the progress that you are making on your projects. It can also pinpoint any difficulties that you are having which require more information or resources. In addition, you could identify tasks that you are very talented or skilled at completing.

First, you will need a Word or Excel Time Tracking template. Then you will need to add relevant information for yourself and your employer or client. Ensure that the template has columns for the date, hours, time and task. You will need to have a total field that sums up all the hours worked per week. Templates can be downloaded from Microsoft Office at http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/templates/. In addition, most Office suites already come preloaded with templates, so you could check those to determine whether they suit your needs.

One advantage of keeping track of work done for each project is that it makes it easier to determine how much progress you have made. You can easily identify your milestone tasks and compare them to your expected project schedule or Gantt chart. Then you can communicate with your team or client each week to determine if tasks should be added, removed or modified for future work.

The second advantage is that you are able to pinpoint problem areas. These would be tasks that you spend an incredible amount of time on in a specific day or have to repeatedly tackle over weeks or months. You need to determine if you have all the information you need to complete the tasks correctly or if you need to ask your supervisor or clients for more information. It might also be that you need to strengthen your skills and experience in that area. Maybe you have to ask a team member or another freelancer for assistance in order to defeat that hurdle. Make sure to ask for guidelines and tips on how to tackle similar problems in the future too.

The third advantage is that you will be able to identify tasks that are easy for you to complete. The task could be easy because of the area that it covers. On the other hand, it might also indicate great talents and skills that you have in those areas which allow you to complete the work quickly and efficiently. Add those tasks, talents and skills to your strengths and use them to showcase your expertise in the future.

Using a time tracking sheet to track your daily tasks is very beneficial to your job or freelance work. Be better prepared for future projects by using the lessons learnt from your previous time tracking records.

About The Author:

Tamara M. Williams is an EzineArticles Platinum Level Expert Author. Her articles cover topics such as Computer and Technology and Email Marketing. Visit her profile page on EzineArticles to learn more.

Also by Tamara

Career Success:Assess Your Work Expenses Every Month to Ensure That You Live Within Your Budget

Productivity Tip: Improve Your Productivity at Work by Keeping Notes for Every Project You Work on

Solve Problems at Work Quickly and Efficiently by Using Online Forums and Communities

Productivity Tip: Improve Your Productivity at Work by Keeping Notes for Every Project You Work on

Productivity Tip: Improve Your Productivity at Work by Keeping Notes for Every Project You Work on

Today we have another guest post from Tamara M. Williams who writes career articles based on her personal and work experience. She shares tips so that readers can take the necessary steps to develop their careers further She also writes articles for EzineArticles and Squidoo on topics such as Technology, Marketing and Entertainment.

Every day you go to work, there are many projects that you need to tackle. Sometimes you have to pause one project for weeks just to pick up another. Then when you return, you feel like you have to start from scratch. To make your life easier, make sure to keep documents for every project that you work on.

Keep a small notepad with you at all times. In it, record any information that presents itself through discussions in client, team, or staff meetings. Keep a digital document for each project, and use your notes to write a more detailed description of all information. You can use Office software such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft OneNote, or Apache OpenOffice Writer to add pictures, graphs, tables, diagrams, or any other relevant information to your notes. You can use subheadings to separate your information into categories such as resources, suppliers, team discussions, or tasks that align with your overall project goal.

Text recorded in long paragraphs can be difficult to re-read, so try to add bullet points, numbered lists, and tables to make critical information stand out more clearly. Then use small paragraphs to add explanations and examples so that you can understand the process better. Also, make a note of any underlying principle that justifies the steps you took. Review your notes regularly and add information as you go along. You want to ensure that you do not have any missing information as you may have to re-trace your steps or solve a similar mistake that took place on one of your past activities. It also makes you more flexible to try a new path since you will build on any information from previous paths you choose.

Remember that additional information can be ideas that pop up during brainstorming sessions, clarification from co-workers, mistakes made, and solutions to various issues. Keep your notepad in a desk drawer, pocket, handbag, or briefcase in case you need to catch up on your tasks after a break from the office due to illness or vacation. Be sure to ask your colleagues to fill in any gaps for the periods that you were absent. Doing this makes it easier to reflect on your progress so far and use your notes constructively to move forward.

Do not depend on your memory. Make notes to ensure that you have relevant, updated, and varied types of information to make the best decisions that move you towards your goal and a successful project completion.

About the Author

Tamara M. Williams writes career articles based on her personal and work experience. She shares tips so that readers can take the necessary steps to develop their careers further. She also writes articles for EzineArticles and Squidoo on topics such as Technology, Marketing and Entertainment.

Also by Tamara

Career Success:Assess Your Work Expenses Every Month to Ensure That You Live Within Your Budget

Project Management – Tips

 Project Management – Tips

Project Management – Tips! Today we have a guest post from Nate Miller, a part-time guest-blogger. His main interests are Business with a recent focus on Education and Technology. He is constantly extending his fields of interest to incorporate news suggested to him by his readers. He is currently interning at Domo. Make sure to follow him on his business intelligence blog.

Multiple Project Management – Tips

Multi-tasking is almost always tricky business. It can be seriously difficult to do just one major project at a time, never mind trying to juggle multiple. But the fact of the matter is that sometimes you just have to deal with several projects at once since schedules won’t allow for it to be done any other way. Fortunately, there are a few methods you can use for staying sane during the process and getting everything done on time.

Use Project Management Software

There are many different programs you can use to keep track of projects. For example, Microsoft Project is a piece of software that helps you maintain and manage projects effectively. This sort of management is crucial for not getting left behind or getting confused on which project you’re doing. One of the major benefits of this software is that it integrates with other pieces of Microsoft software. For example, there’s a seamless option to transfer files to project from Word, Excel, and so on. So if you are working on projects within these other programs, you can use Project to keep track of them all or mix them together, as the case may be.

After all, sometimes multiple projects will combine together or overlap for the sake of other larger projects. It can be much easier to have a program to help with the organization rather than trying to do all of it yourself in the long run. It can help to experiment with different programs until you find one that you’re comfortable with before settling down to learn every aspect of it. After all, the process of learning a project management program can be fairly time consuming.

Keep Organized

It’s also important to keep notes for the individual projects and organize them all separately. For example, it can be useful to create separate folders for each project. That way you’ll make sure that you don’t accidentally get projects confused. It can be easy to misplace some of the files from projects so that they get stuck in with other projects if you aren’t careful. This is especially likely to happen if you have a lot of projects and a lot of files for each.

For example, if you give files for different projects a similar name, like something with “project.doc,” then you could easily open and work on the wrong one if you don’t have them all in different folders. It can help to name not just the folder, but also every one of the files something related to the project so that you have no chance of getting confused.

After all, it’s easy to get confused when you have multiple projects all happening at the same time.

Overall, finding out as many different methods for managing multiple projects at the same time as you can is important. You can easily find business intelligence, blog after blog on the Internet on this subject as well, to get additional ideas. There are no shortage of possibilities for organization including a wide assortment of management programs and apps. 

Writer Biography

This is a guest post by Nate Miller, a part-time guest-blogger. His main interests are Business with a recent focus on Education and Technology. He is constantly extending his fields of interest to incorporate news suggested to him by his readers. He is currently interning at Domo. Make sure to follow him on his  business intelligence blog.

 

Multiple Project Management – Tips

 Today we have a guest post from Nate Miller, a part-time guest-blogger. His main interests are Business with a recent focus on Education and Technology. He is constantly extending his fields of interest to incorporate news suggested to him by his readers. He is currently interning at Domo. Make sure to follow him on his business intelligence blog.

Multiple Project Management – Tips

Multi-tasking is almost always tricky business. It can be seriously difficult to do just one major project at a time, never mind trying to juggle multiple. But the fact of the matter is that sometimes you just have to deal with several projects at once since schedules won’t allow for it to be done any other way. Fortunately, there are a few methods you can use for staying sane during the process and getting everything done on time.

Use Project Management Software

There are many different programs you can use to keep track of projects. For example, Microsoft Project is a piece of software that helps you maintain and manage projects effectively. This sort of management is crucial for not getting left behind or getting confused on which project you’re doing. One of the major benefits of this software is that it integrates with other pieces of Microsoft software. For example, there’s a seamless option to transfer files to project from Word, Excel, and so on. So if you are working on projects within these other programs, you can use Project to keep track of them all or mix them together, as the case may be.

After all, sometimes multiple projects will combine together or overlap for the sake of other larger projects. It can be much easier to have a program to help with the organization rather than trying to do all of it yourself in the long run. It can help to experiment with different programs until you find one that you’re comfortable with before settling down to learn every aspect of it. After all, the process of learning a project management program can be fairly time consuming.

Keep Organized

It’s also important to keep notes for the individual projects and organize them all separately. For example, it can be useful to create separate folders for each project. That way you’ll make sure that you don’t accidentally get projects confused. It can be easy to misplace some of the files from projects so that they get stuck in with other projects if you aren’t careful. This is especially likely to happen if you have a lot of projects and a lot of files for each.

For example, if you give files for different projects a similar name, like something with “project.doc,” then you could easily open and work on the wrong one if you don’t have them all in different folders. It can help to name not just the folder, but also every one of the files something related to the project so that you have no chance of getting confused.

After all, it’s easy to get confused when you have multiple projects all happening at the same time.

Overall, finding out as many different methods for managing multiple projects at the same time as you can is important. You can easily find business intelligence, blog after blog on the Internet on this subject as well, to get additional ideas. There are no shortage of possibilities for organization including a wide assortment of management programs and apps. 

Writer Biography

This is a guest post by Nate Miller, a part-time guest-blogger. His main interests are Business with a recent focus on Education and Technology. He is constantly extending his fields of interest to incorporate news suggested to him by his readers. He is currently interning at Domo. Make sure to follow him on his  business intelligence blog.

 

Leadership: How To Build Your Project Team – Some Tips

Build Your Project Team – Tips

Leadership: How To Build Your Project Team – Some Tips

Build Your Project Team – Are you about to lead a new project team? If you are lucky, you are appointed before the rest of the team are chosen. Now, how are you going to set about choosing the right people for your team and then forming them into a well-functioning group?

Selecting the Team

This is when it pays to invest your time and energy in selecting the right people.When you build your project team, you need to have a clear view of the range of skills and abilities needed.  Be very practical.  What matters most is not necessarily having excellence but achieving balance! You need a good mix and balance of skills and experience.  As well as having specialist skills, team members need to be able to get along with each other.  You want a group that communicates well and works together to achieve results

Set Out the Ground Rules and Style of Working

Right from the start, model how you want the team to behave.  From your very first team meeting, show people how you want them to be behave.  Get there on time and make clear that you expect other people to do the same thing.  Make sure people understand what the team is there to do and what you expect.  Be clear – this is not the time for ambiguity.  Where you can, be ready to include all team members in decision-making.  But make sure people are understand that you are accountable for the decisions made. And make sure people are clear about their own and other people’s roles and who has responsibility for what.  If some things are not settled yet, explain how and when decisions will be made and how people will find out about them.

Have Clear Goals

It is important that the team as a whole has clear and achievable goals and that these are set out for individuals in the team.  Goals need to both attainable and unambiguous. Those set for one person should not be duplicated in the goals set for someone else, nor should they be in conflict. If the achievement of goals depends on out-side factors, people need to understand what they personally will be accountable for. If you want to lift morale, give some thought to goals that, while challenging, can be delivered fairly quickly, so that people can start out with a feeling of success.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is likely to be the most important factor in team success or failure. Your team and stakeholders (others with an interest) need to know what is happening.  Have a strategy for communicating from the beginning – think through who needs to know what and when.  Then set up how you will communicate and how often. Make sure everyone is clear how they will get information.

I hope you find these tips useful.  Teams are great places to work when they are set up properly and time invested at the beginning is never wasted.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Stress and the HR Professional
  • Leadership and the keys to keeping your people engaged
  • Managing People – The Dangers of Having Favorites!

 

People Matter

People Matter

Leading Change – People Matter

People Matter – this is not a new post but I thought it was worth re-posting because the message holds good for all time 

I’ve just seen an advert for a “change management lead” for a multi-national facilities management company – they provide everything from reception services to construction.  It asks for Prince2 (project management skills) and Six Sigma (improving the quality of process outputs) certification.  It mentions the enterprise management system used by the organisation and says the post-holder would be required to set up and document SLAs and define KPIs.  Sadly, beyond asking for the candidate to have strong interpersonal skills, the one thing it doesn’t mention is PEOPLE and leading people – this from a company in the heart of the services sector!

Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  If a services organisation doesn’t know enough about change to know that people, and the leadership of people, are at the heart of any change then we really do have a long way to go to spread the message! But something else strikes me as well!  If the applicant is required to lead change then this company doesn’t really know much about leadership either and that has much wider implications!

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

>

Leading Change – People Matter

Leading Change – People Matter

This is not a new post but I thought it was worth re-posting because the message holds good for all time 

I’ve just seen an advert for a “change management lead” for a multi-national facilities management company – they provide everything from reception services to construction.  It asks for Prince2 (project management skills) and Six Sigma (improving the quality of process outputs) certification.  It mentions the enterprise management system used by the organisation and says the post-holder would be required to set up and document SLAs and define KPIs.  Sadly, beyond asking for the candidate to have strong interpersonal skills, the one thing it doesn’t mention is PEOPLE and leading people – this from a company in the heart of the services sector!

Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  If a services organisation doesn’t know enough about change to know that people, and the leadership of people, are at the heart of any change then we really do have a long way to go to spread the message! But something else strikes me as well!  If the applicant is required to lead change then this company doesn’t really know much about leadership either and that has much wider implications!

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Leading and Managing Change – It Starts With One
  • A Charming Introduction to Leading Change – Our Iceberg Is Melting

Managing Difficult People – Announcing A New Series Of Posts

Managing Difficult People – Announcing A New Series Of Posts

Next week we start a new series of weekly posts for people who find someone in their team to be ‘difficult’. And that has happened to most of us who have experience of managing people in challenging circumstances.

Dealing with difficult people can be hard and it can consume lots of your time, energy and resources. You need a strategy for managing the person that helps you deal effectively with their difficult behaviour, and helps them to become a cooperative, productive and respected member of the team.

We are going to consider how to manage those who

  • Disrupt other people’s performance
  • Say they will do something and then don’t deliver
  • Are ambitious but easily frustrated
  • Become aggressive with you or others in the team
  • Lower their own and other people’s morale with cynicism
  • Want promotion but just aren’t ready yet
  • Refuse to accept feedback and do not respond to the standard performance management processes.

We are going to think about

  • What can trigger difficult behaviour
  • Different types of personalities and your strategy for dealing with individuals
  • Barriers to good communication
  • Handling emotion
  • Performance Review
  • Potential legal and organizational issues and the role of HR

I hope you will gain

  • A better understanding of the causes of difficult behavior.
  • The confidence to stop one person demoralizing others in the team

So see you here next week for the first post in this new series for managers.

If you are a manager and need support in dealing with a team member you find “difficult”,  I would like to help you. Email me wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com now to arrange a free half hour coaching session by Skype. 

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Coming shortly – the WiseWolf Career and Personal Development Programme – if you would like to know more email wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

For Your BookShelf – Project Management Demystified By Geoff Reiss

Project Management Demystified By Geoff Reiss

Project Management Lifecycle

‘If you are new or relatively new to project management and you plan to have one book … this is the one you should have.’ Martin Barnes, President of the Association of Project Management

Project management – if you are new to the subject, this book should be on your bookshelf. In clear and concise writing Reiss presents the concepts of project management.

He introduces you to the jargon and then goes though nine steps you need to reach a successful project.

A series of paragraphs introduce project management in many different areas; from publishing to space exploration, charity events to defence, construction to business change. They describe the nature of projects in each of these areas. The principles and techniques for the project manager are the same in each of these areas, just as the principles and techniques used by an accountant are constant across industries.

The chapter on “People” issues provides a useful reminder to the project manager that their projects are performed by teams of people, and that people are all different. The principles of good team management apply equally to projects as they do anywhere else.

The descriptions of personality types that will be familiar to anyone who knows the Meyers-Briggs or Belbin tests.

Project Management Demystified is concise, an easy read and provides a good over-view of the whole project management process.

This third edition contains expanded sections on program management, portfolio management, and the public sector. An entirely new chapter covers the evaluation, analysis and management of risks and issues. A much expanded section explores the rise and use of methodologies like Prince2.

This book ‘Provides an interesting perspective on the profession of project management that will amuse and prepare people embarking on their careers. Project Management Tipoffs

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link