Transformation program – Implementation
In this series of four articles Daan Noordeloos discusses the four I’s – Insight, Inspiration, Implementation and Integration – from the perspective of an internal transformation manager, supported by People Change.
The previous article described the Inspiration phase. Insight is thinking and inspiration is feeling, but in the Implementation phase you do things.
The organization runs the Implementation phase on the basis of GROW cases. GROW stands for Goal, Reality, Options and Way Forward (also known as Will). A GROW case starts with a development Goal. Then you investigate the Reality, and then you generate Options as a group. Finally, the person with whom the development question lies, chooses from the Way Forward an option he wants to implement, and how he wants to develop.
All participants have their own case to determine what they can develop themselves to rise on the value axis, as described in the previous article. In this way, people first learn to develop themselves and then, step by step, how they can better position themselves in the organization and how they can collaborate better.
My GROW case, an example
My Goal was to implement the transformation strategy in the organization. To do so, I first used factual argumentation based on statistical research. But the Reality was that this did not resonate in the culture of our organization. What is important about this green culture is that you connect with the people and think about what that strategy means to them. So my Option was to connect with that green culture. In addition, we opted for the bottom-up approach, in which people decide for themselves what to do.
That has been an important lesson for me: I have to adapt, not the organization. Then the effect on the result axis often comes naturally.
From individual cases to team cases
Once participants have mastered their own development with the first individual GROW cases, they can start doing team cases. In the Implementation phase, we combine working on personal development with their training as practitioners. The members of the leading group carry out the Scan with colleagues in their own team. This gives the people in the teams a very good idea of their environment, their challenges and what they want to develop themselves in order to make the change happen. Then they reflect among themselves and support each other with the help of the leading group. What do they need to develop as a team to take a step on the value axis?
Once such a team starts to grow on the value axis, it often knows even better what it can improve on the results axis and they can start working with larger, more complex GROW cases.
Culture of requests for help
When people are stuck, it is a reflex to think harder. We try to create a culture in which they ask for help and the team makes a collective effort to solve the problem. Because on your own you go faster, but together you get much further.
When that happens, the team suddenly develops the ability to make more changes and requests come out of the organization, for example: “Can you help improve our customer satisfaction?”
The people who get this question are extremely proud to be given a substantial role in such an important case.
Managers now see that there is a successful movement over which they have no control. Now, in this situation, there is nothing more tempting than to set up all kinds of well-intentioned control mechanisms. Such as: I would like you to keep me updated on progress. But such a simple intervention can cause an entire program to come to a standstill.
The participants spend months developing themselves and their team. When people solve something very difficult together, they come back differently. Then they have experienced things with each other and that creates a bond, routine and effectiveness. If an outsider such as a manager then joins the group, that whole dynamic has to be rebuilt. Because that person has not been part of that process.
Small-scale communication: patience and trust
The further you get in the implementation phase, the more communication is needed. I often get the request: “Shouldn’t we communicate this on a large scale? Because then everyone will know about it.”
Then we always answer “No, certainly not in this phase.”
Because we start on a small scale and only communicate the results of what we have achieved. We do not tell what we are going to do in the next step, because there are always people who want to slow down the process. That is why we only pay attention to what is going well and only put energy into people who want to change themselves.
The larger the programme, the more stakeholders need to be informed in order to arrange budgets, for example. The programme management therefore has continuous discussions with stakeholders in order to keep as much peace in the group as possible. A programme manager understands where the programme is going and only informs the people who are needed.
But that also means that we make clear agreements in the Insight phase, so that the programme has room to invest time, effort and money. Otherwise that investment will not pay for itself. That does require a lot of patience and trust.
Results: operate more autonomously
If you are busy for a while and beautiful things are already happening, the environment usually reacts positively. So those teams want to deliver results. If they are really able to make that connection, the team members will start working inspired by their insight. First with themselves, and then in their environment. They implement changes that contribute to an organization that subsequently operates much more autonomously. When something happens in the outside world, people can think for themselves and work together to solve the crisis.
The final step is then integration into the existing organization, about which more will be discussed next month.