Unfortunately for me, a lot of my stories, and jokes end with an exasperated ‘You just had to be there, I guess…’
Less to say about my story-telling ability, more to say about the fact that sometimes you just can’t convey certain themes, feelings, sights, etc. accurately unless you were actually there.
Achieving Goals Needs Success Criteria
Change is most successful if it is constantly measured against success criteria – and adjustments are made as you go – in order to achieve the goals you had in place.
How do we determine the factors that need adjustment though? It’s not always as easy or as straightforward as simply receiving feedback from all parties involved, and then making decisions based on that. Often, the feedback being presented can become a ‘had to be there’ moment.
Gather Round – It’s Story Time
Which leads me to story time…
Management By Wandering Around (MBWA) is a concept that originated in the early days of global tech giant Hewlett-Packard, where senior management spent a lot of their time visiting employees, customers, and suppliers.
This was an impromptu, unstructured way of management getting feedback and updates on current work, which then enabled them to make business decisions based on the information they gathered first-hand.
It cuts through inaccuracies in information delivery, builds relationships and trust, and even motivates staff by them seeing management taking an interest in their team’s work.
Key Component to Successful Change
For these reasons (and many others), the simple act of gathering information for yourself can be a key component to successful change.
I recently witnessed this first-hand with a client I was assisting that had a dispersed workforce. While they thought they had gathered the feedback and information required, it wasn’t until I suggested spending some time with different departments – ‘in the trenches’ so to speak – that we were able to determine that the way we had planned to manage the change for a particular team wasn’t actually going to work.
Whoops, That’s Not Going To Work!
Our initial plan would have changed their workflow so dramatically that their roles would have been much harder than before the change effort. Which is exactly the opposite of what an effective change aims to do.
I’d like to state: this isn’t to say that anyone did anything wrong or missed any pivotal information through apathy.
Instead, it highlights the age old: “people don’t know what they don’t know” mentality. Just because you ask for feedback or opinion, if the other party doesn’t understand the core of the change, they may give you the WRONG advice or information, simply because they don’t have the most complete picture.
“Straight From The Horse’s Mouth”
The best way to combat this?
Get the information yourself. Do your own research where possible. Be seen, be heard. Show an active interest in everyone else’s day-to-day. You never know what you’ll accidentally uncover, and… you’ll get your steps in for the day too.