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Walkthrough Wednesdays

Transformation: Process-Project... Principles & Perspective

Cisco Employee

I see here that you say you are a transformation and innovation specialist.  How exactly would you transform my organization?

First off, thank you for your time and attention.  I think that the first step towards transformation is to begin listening to those around you, particularly the experts already in place.  I view myself as a problem solver ultimately, and in your case.. I begin by identifying what problem we are trying to solve. What are your business issues right now?

  • IT infrastructure is too costly?
  • Operations is generating an "issue a day" and consuming costly resources in a reactive delivery model?
  • Workforce is not engaged fully and you are missing out on the creative spark already here?
  • Your customers don't see the potential of your products?
  • Your leadership team is engaged in "always worked before" mentality?

Depending on the problem we are trying to solve, I would bring differing blended tool kits into play.  They would however follow three basic principles for utilization.

  • People get things done, and relationships and engagement are the primary keys to success.  People are creative and powerful, and must be empowered to experiment and solve with incentives which deliver value for them personally as well as for the corporation/organization collectively.
  • Processes can always be improved and streamlined. This is a focus for every good leader, but it is not a magic bullet as I'm sure you know.  Process mapping and redesign is expensive both in time and resource and it requires specific skillsets to be successful.  Depending on the "maturity" level of our process, we will have varying degrees of success from focusing on the process and that focus can never be in a vacuum.  I am a huge fan of lean process, agile, waterfall SDLC, and a myriad of other delivery models including ADKAR as a change management methodology. That said, process is just a piece of the puzzle and must be skillfully managed and applied as the "power tool" it is.  Used in the wrong place, it can be destructive... but used by a master builder with an creative design, it can be the simplistic and integrated core of a new home, school, or office building... rising out of the ashes of a previously failing institution like a pheonix. 
  • The third, and perhaps the most important part of my approach is to manage perspectives.  Too often, we all entrench in our ideas and history.  (e.g. Technology, or "an upgrade" will fix it.  The people just aren't talented.  The goals are too ambiguous) We neglect to listen, to see, to experiment, and finally to be ruthless in seeking efficiency once we have defined the requirements and plan.  Delivering results is extremely difficult and contentious.  As a performing artist, I've often said that behind every great performance, there is a passionate dictator somewhere.. Sometimes, the conductor, sometimes the performer, sometimes the manager.. but somewhere for sure. 

Consensus and diversity of thought are key to discernment and strategy, but where operations are concerned, the job calls for efficiency and actions.  People need to know their roles, and they need to get the job done... together, as a team yes.. but the product must ship.  From software, to widgets, to education, to the opening night of the opera.. When the curtain goes up,  the time is NOW. 

A balanced approach to those three principles will transform your organization and solve your problems.

It is not an easy journey, as their will be casualties, and sacrifices.. but there will also be opportunities, and miracles of imagination.  The sparks of success lie in a vision for the future (from people) which generates a plan, and the ruthless execution of that plan through process.  And finally, if the plan isn't working, you must be willing to step back and maintain perspective.  As Eisenhower said: "Plans are nothing, planning is everything"

Transformational leaders are willing to adjust and listen, and when necessary, press forward to action.

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” - Leonardo da Vinci

1 Comment
Daniel Bogda

Great quotes! and great guidance.

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