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Jesse Jacoby

In his book, Seeing What Others Don’t, Gary Klein retells the story of a seminar attendee. It illustrates perfectly the contrast between what managers should and should not do if they want to be fully engaged with their employees.
The person in question said that when she went into her boss’ office, he was focused on his computer screen; but as soon as he saw that she had come in, he stopped what he was doing …

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Home » Change Leadership, Recently Published Articles, Business Transformation, Culture, Leadership, Management

How to Convert Project Failures into Amazing Successes

project-failure-successWe all want to be positive, embrace an optimistic future, and focus on possibilities. This is especially true in managing projects and introducing change into an organization. We see the possibilities at the other end of the change, it can be exciting . . . however, the change can’t simply be declared and expected to happen. The journey needs to be lead and managed.

In leading and managing any project or change, it is instructive to take some time to look back. It’s what I call “taking time to leverage failure” – simply so we learn and improve continuously. And, in our years helping lead and manage change we have had a lot of failure to leverage. We want you to be the beneficiary of our learnings.

At a High level, we have found that there are key behaviors at the Organization, Team, and Personal levels that are critical for any change journey.

Organizational Behavior

“Here it comes, another ill-conceived program.” Many communications coming from the leadership team leave employees wondering about priorities, impacts, and expected outcomes. When an organization effectively manages change, the leadership team agrees on the intent of strategy execution, successfully engages employees to adapt to the change and implement decisions, and willingly reaches throughout the organization to help employees handle the implementation.

Team Behavior

Without healthy team behaviors, team members end up pointing fingers at one another, and devolve into counterproductive, time wasting rituals. Effective teams work together quickly to achieve goals. This requires healthy conflict to engage and discuss difficult topics, commitment to the team’s purpose, and a willingness to hold one another accountable for outcomes.

Personal Behavior

We’ve all seen cartoons depicting the disheveled executive. When you look beneath the appearance, you see an ineffective, guarded individual who doesn’t deliver. Conversely, effective executives are open, vulnerable, accept risk, and speak with honest candor with others.

Here are five characteristics of an organization that effectively manages change. How does your organization stack up?

  1. The leadership team agrees on the outcomes of decisions.
  2. Priorities are clear to the organization.
  3. The organizational impacts of decisions are understood by those impacted.
  4. Front line employees are involved in implementing the decision.
  5. Leaders coach employees through the implementation of the decision.

Looking at every project through this five-pronged lens is key to your success. Thinking about both project structures and behaviors at each of the three levels, organizational, team and individual ensures that you are comprehensively considering every element of your project teams’ make-up to ensure success.

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Steve Salisbury
Steve Salisbury is a Change Leadership Expert, who focuses on consulting, coaching and speaking about effective change leadership. He founded Steve Salisbury Consulting to help executives determine how to most effectively lead their organizations through large-scale change. Steve has enjoyed a long career consulting executives and helping them lead change. Among his clients are Whirlpool Corporation, Johnson and Johnson, Deere and Company, Lowe’s Companies, Allstate, Nike and AbbVie. You can reach Steve at steve@stevesalisburyconsulting.com and view his website, stevesalisburyconsulting.com.
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