Greensilkmuse's Blog

Transformation – Stage II

Posted in 1 by greensilkmuse on April 19, 2010

“OK, so now we are clear on what this function needs to become”, she said.  “I don’t know where to begin.   There are so many factors… and we need to build our credibility with the executive team.”

” I know I’ve got some junior people who are great and can take on more.  Some of them want to take on much bigger jobs and expect to make a lot more money.  I think they can get there eventually, but not as quickly as they expect.”

” I have less confidence in some of the managers reporting to me.  They have what was needed in the past, but I’m not sure they can deliver on what we need now.   How are we going to be able to turn this place around without undermining our delivery?  The CEO is expecting to see us operating differently.  He doesn’t have a lot a patience.  We need to become what we’ve said we’d become.”

Underlying all these questions is her concern for her own job and her reputation.  She had competition from others both inside and outside the organization.  If she didn’t move fast and delight her internal clients, they would find someone else who could.

Over the course of the next few months, we put the pieces in place.  We defined new jobs, reorganized teams, hired new talent to fill in the gaps, defined priorities and communicated them, set up new coordinating forums, defined operational procedures and  clarified who was going to do what and when.  Through it all, we listened – to the staff, to counterparts across the corporation, and to clients.  It was the listening that helped to smooth the way.

This had been a function that, in the past, dictated what each business needed to commucate.  It served up what it thought was most important and, with the support of the CEO at the time, demanded compliance.  This approach wasn’t going to work going forward.  Of course, there were a few key messages that needed to be consistently delivered and, in some cases, the function would need to be directive.  But for most things, the success of  this worldwide communicatims team going forward was much more dependent on listening and responding to its constituents.

So, we set up various avenues for listening – through forums, one-on-one meetings, and polls.  And as they listened, and showed they’d heard, they gained the trust of others and the credibility and perceived value of the function grew. 

The functions staff members grew more engaged and motivated.  They felt they were part of a world-class organization.  They felt they were learning, and growing, and had impact. What had been a negative cycle of blame and second-guessing, had transformed into a virtuous cycle of appreciation and excellence.  With clear direction, honest feedback, and the unquestioned  intention and accountability for change, real transformation is possible.