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MAKING IT HAPPEN

Once the Five Principles or a similar model for transformation has been established the projects need to be managed; one very real issue for individuals, teams and organizations is how to make it happen.

Right people doing the right things at the right time. Such a simple statement. Think about your own organization: how often does this happen? In step 3 of the Five Principles, matching individual competencies to the tasks was highlighted. An important part of any transformation program is about helping people identify and develop the required competencies. At the start of the process it is likely there may be three categories of development of the people in the organization:

  1. individual and organizational alignment;

  2. alignment but needing development;

  3. discord.

Individual and Organizational Alignment

The right people doing the right job at the right time: working with this group as a coach during a transformation process, it will be important to encourage, reward and recognize this group as champions. Ideally they should also be encouraged to take responsibility for making things happen. Take time to ensure that they are supported in what they are trying to achieve. From an organization or a team perspective they should not be held back because of petty bureaucracy.

Organizationally or in a team, this may cause real tensions if it is perceived that certain groups or individuals are receiving special attention. However if you're looking to really transform performance there has to be real change. Just because processes have worked in the past doesn't mean that they will in the future.

As well as sponsoring this group they may also need real support to stay motivated as they may become frustrated with the speed of change. For those who can see the way ahead they may feel that others are deliberately holding them back. As a coach, be sensitive to the needs of the whole team but also recognize the needs of this group. Acting as a sounding board, encouraging them to air their frustrations and helping them to develop personal action plans to manage the challenges that they are facing are important roles that you can provide as coach. Encourage them too to support others; being seen as a star can be a great personal motivator, but helping people to act as a guide for others can also be important. It is a delicate balance between giving them a free rein and asking them to act as role models to help others develop.

Alignment but Needing Development

With this group it is important to help them recognize where they need to develop. One of the first tasks is to think about the role and to identify if they need to change roles or whether they need to develop new competencies or behaviours. Using profiling tools and competence mapping can be vitally important to identify where the elements of mismatch are occurring. Although this will take time it is an important part of the transformation process, and important to the individual as well as the organization. If the role specification has been clearly defined then this could be a good starting point; if this is coupled with an accurate assessment of an individual's competence then as a coach you can work with the individual to help him or her identify the growth areas.

For some this will mean that they need to develop new competencies; for others it may mean that they need coaching to identify the new behaviours that they need to develop. The work of Daniel Goleman has been mentioned before but using his model of emotional and social competencies can be a valuable starting point. The people in this development category need to identify where the gaps exist and to assess their willingness and motivation to change. This group will need ongoing support; very little in a program of transformation can be based on the assumption that once it is set up it will happen. Regular coaching sessions, support from line managers and sponsorship from the champions will all help this group continue to grow.

All progress needs to be reinforced. This category may turn out to be the largest grouping in your workforce; therefore they will need constant reassurance and confirmation about the overall direction and progress. When something isn't working out you need to make sure that this group understands what's happening. Changes in direction need to be carefully communicated so that they continue to believe that the change is worth while. When this group is neglected this is often the reason for a growth of discontent or negativity, or disbelief that change is really happening. Lack of motivation and the feeling of a loss of direction and momentum can easily spread.

They will also need assurance that the journey is worth making; although it may take time they will need support to make the transformation. They will want to know that they are making a valuable contribution to the team or the organization, but they will have the highest motivation when they can see that the transformation is worth while for them.

Discord

This is the biggest challenge to any team organization and coach. As with group two, a thorough assessment needs to be undertaken; unfortunately, some organizations lose good people because of mismanagement, or lack of identification of real talent. So when addressing this group the coach has a very important role to play in helping both the individual and the organization explore the reality of the discord. If we look back at the original statement, 'right people, right role, right time', then we will see with this group that one or more of these is out of step. Therefore the first assessment has to be about the individual and helping individuals to identify where they are in their career, what they achieved before they entered the organization, what they have achieved since entering and what they believe their potential to be.

When organizations downsize, individuals often leave without a real understanding of why they are without a job. There is often an underlying feeling of 'Why me?' As an organization transforms there may be genuine mismatches and in this context there will be occasions when individuals recognize that their personal aspirations and the overall organization direction may not be aligned. There may also be a real difference between the skills and competencies of an individual and the needs and opportunities within an organization.

Unhappily too there may be a behavioural mismatch and this is often the hardest element of all. In some industries there will be managers, senior as well as junior, who were recruited and encouraged to demonstrate particular behaviours that now do not fit with the new direction of the business. In Chapter 4 the way people are managed is given as one of the main reasons why talented people leave organizations. If your organization is losing talented individuals this is another important reason to address individual behaviours.

From a coaching perspective working with people who were unable to see the impact of their behaviour on others can be a real challenge particularly if they are senior players. Organizationally there has to be an assessment of how much time to invest in this area of development. Equally important is the impact on the individual: does the individual have the motivation to change his or her behaviour? What is the personal impact on the individual? One of the most important aspects of working with this group is respect and integrity. Whatever decision is taken either by the individual or by the organization will send out signals to the rest of the workforce. Careful planning, careful support and acting in the best interests of all employees are critical measures of the success of any transformation programme, not just for the internal audience but for the wider community too.

There is a need to see people as individuals able to exercise personal choice. Ask simple questions like 'What are you really good at?', 'Given a free choice what would you really like to do?' and 'If you could develop a new skill what would you like to do?' The overall aim should be to create the right job, for the right person, in the right place.


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