Introduction - Ingredient 6 - Strategic staircase (Creating Short-term Wins)

. To recap: in the earlier stages of the transition process, the organisation's natural resistance to change is defrosted: this is done by the foundations for new ways, and establishing a sense of urgency throughout the organisation. A transitional team is assembled to oversee the long and complex effort. Furthermore, alignment is created via a compelling focus/purpose, linked to a clear and well coordinated strategic plan which is articulated and communicated to all parts of the organisation. Next comes tearing down organisational barriers: the structures that fragment responsibility and resources, the training and performance appraisal systems that are not aligned with the new purpose, the management information systems that fail to address market and competitive realities. Individual managers, who are resisting effort and not enhancing organisational connectedness, need to be confronted ‐ what is expected of them, a nd when, has to be spelled out. When all this preparatory work is complete, the stage is set for this next phase, Ingredient 6: identifying and generating short-term wins.

. Change management takes time, ie major change initiatives can take years, and renewal efforts risk losing momentum if there are no short-term goals to meet and celebrate within a period of 3 ‐ 6 months. This regular reinforcement energizes the improvement process, especially for the people directly involved who enjoy the fruits of success. Furthermore, Nassin Taleb (2007) observes that we derive more enjoyment from a steady flow of small, frequent rewards than from one large win.

. This ingredient is linked with learning to recognise and appreciate progress as it occurs. It involves:

- establishing interim goals that can help people gauge progress, ie as major breakthroughs take years, the short-term targets make it easier to be patient regarding long-term goals.

- watch for un-anticipated accomplishments - often these are neither predicted in advance nor appreciated/acknowledged when they occur

- keep a record of the shifts, over time, in people's views

- encourage participants to assume greater responsibility for assessment and measurement of their progress (this is a key strategy of accelerated learning). Furthermore, encourage this approach in the whole organisation to help bring more people on side in the change initiative. This involves "learning to assess" before we can "assess to learn"

. Short-term performance improvements prove that change efforts can produce results that are superior to the old way of doing business. The evidence supplied by short-term wins helps overcome the fear and uncertainty that frequently accompany change.

. In addition to allowing staff to see "some immediate" benefits of the change, it can allow for assessing the feasibility of goals and monitoring performance against goals.

. One way to achieve this is to make change steps small and incremental

. Rewards can be non-financial recognition like time and attention (make a fuss of them), perks and privileges, praise, awards, etc

"...what people really care about is acknowledgment, and what really drives them is peer recognition - one of the most underrated currencies in most organisations..."

Gary Hamel as quoted by Helen Trinca, 2004

. People have to feel better for having changed their attitudes and behaviour

. Change can have a heavy toll on people's self-confidence, can cause a fall in productivity, and make people feel that their competency is diminished. As a result, there is a need for some quick success to restore their former efficacy and commitment, ie self-esteem

. A way of handling the conflict between short-term and long-term objectives is that short-term wins should be results/outcome-driven and not process/activity-driven.

- results-driven refers to specific and measurable operational improvements, such as increased yields, reduced delivery time, increased inventory levels, improved customer satisfaction and referrals, reduced product development time, etc.

- process-driven elements can confuse means and processes with outcomes, like TQM and benchmarking etc.

. As stated earlier, change management requires from 70% to 90% leadership and only 30% to 10% management. But short-term wins are the one area where leadership takes a back seat to management.


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