How to Run a Perfectly Good Change Initiative into the Ground

At our core, we’re a company of problem solvers and risk takers.  Our glasses are half-full and our hallways bursting with collaborative conversation.  We eat dessert first, embrace stretch goals and make it a priority to pay it forward.  We embrace change and welcome any challenge. After all, it’s the core of ThinkTank.  So, it’s always fun to flip a topic upside-down and share what not to do by offering you concrete tips on how to run a perfectly good initiative into the ground.

Ok, let’s first make sure we’re clear.  A corporate change initiative is a significant undertaking and not for the faint of heart.  It’s requires commitment, planning and follow through.

So, with our tongues firmly in cheek, how can you ensure your next Change Initiative (or career) positively bombs??  Just make sure to say the following:

“I HATE change.”

You like your boat un-rocked and you’re still grieving the death of the iPhone 6 headphone jack. You’re the boss and your teams take your cue.  As a leader, you create the culture.  So don’t be surprised if your teams dig their heels in and cry foul.  Because, if you’re not willing to embrace change you’re not ready to lead. There must be a willingness to recognize the need for change, and finally, the ability to lead change.

“Do I really have to include everyone?”

By all means, keep everything to yourself.  Really, don’t share any info.  In fact, keep it fully under wraps.  Outline your change initiative to the Nth degree, but wait until the very last minute before sharing.  Don’t bother getting buy-in from your senior team.  Who needs those pesky stakeholders to get on board?  When you do decide to share, be selective about the groups you include. Better yet, keep it siloed for maximum damage.  When and if you share to a broader group, we encourage you avoid providing context or explanations about why the change is necessary.  Gloss over the details.  And please don’t ask for feedback! As you progress through this process, be sure to communicate even less.  

“The details will take care of themselves.”  

Stay in your office, map out the plan and focus on the big picture.  Forget specifics (i.e., timelines, execution, metrics and follow through).  You’re the holder of the strategic vision and you need peace and quiet to think through the overall objectives.  Your team can iron out those pesky details on their own.

“One and done.”  

Hooray, you have a game plan for change.  But that’s it.  One plan. No back-up.  No plan B. And, why would you?  Especially since you haven’t included anyone (teams, stakeholders, etc.,) during the planning process, there’s no feedback to worry about.  No modifications or improvements necessary.  It’s perfect.

Back to reality.  Today, it’s all about business growth and finding a competitive edge and change initiatives are a part of that.  But a successful initiative requires strategic planning that is fully inclusive, encompassing a broad spectrum of teams and stakeholders.  Active engagement and buy-in are critical to any change initiatives long term success.

Fortunately, this is exactly what ThinkTank was created to do.   

Photo Cred: Dane Rude