“I’d like you to join our company. One of the Projects you will lead is our ‘Productivity Initiative’ unless you will be naming your project. We need to transform all of our business processes and culture and improve our efficiencies everywhere.”
Wow! What a great challenge and opportunity to make a difference. But calling it the “Productivity Initiative”? That was as inspiring as watching paint dry or grass grow.
“I’ll do it! But we need to give this Project a NAME. A NAME that will inspire people, motivate people, and capture the essence of the change and cultural transformation that we are looking for. And this can’t be an ‘Initiative” … it has to be an ‘Imperative’ … this is not optional … we have to transform the business and we need everyone to rally around our cause!
Launching a Game Changing Project
So began a great opportunity to lead a Game Changing Project. I mentioned this same thing to the two people who would be leading this with me. And they immediately understood the significance once I mentioned this to them. They had tried launching another “Productivity Initiative” the year before but it didn’t survive long.
To accomplish great changes you typically need people working with you from a variety of functions and backgrounds. They will almost always have their own objectives, which may compete with yours, and they will always have other, more pressing, demands on their time.
They may even disagree with your fundamental goals. And there will certainly be people who resist change at every step, who will throw obstacles in your way, who will tell you that it’s been tried before and didn’t work, and who will disbelieve whatever is attempted or accomplished.
But for the most part my experience is that people do want to do a good job. They know what works and what doesn’t work. They more often than not get tired of complaining and making suggestions only to have their feedback fall on deaf ears.
Naming your Project is of Critical Importance
So how do you rally all of these people around a new Project and your change leadership? A key starting point is to create a NAME for the Project. The NAME has to be compelling, inspiring, motivating and clear. It has to evoke imagery when you hear it.
In short, it will become the identity of your project and define the very platform for change you are trying to create. It will become your brand!
There are many, many names which will suit your Project well. EVEREST is an example. When you think of Mount Everest what comes to mind? The highest mountain in the world! The pinnacle of achievement! A risky and difficult venture! Something that very few people will every be able to accomplish and survive!
Does this describe the Project you are undertaking and the achievement you are looking to realize?
If you define the characteristics of change that you are looking to achieve in your Project this will help you and your team to come up with the NAME you are looking for. And once you have that NAME then people will be inspired by it!
Game Changing Project Names
For the ‘Productivity Initiative’ we brainstormed many names and solicited input from all employees. This is a good way to get employees invested in your Project up front. In the end we selected GALILEO as our Project name. It evoked the imagery of exploration and challenging all conventional norms and paradigms It meant reaching for the stars and going where no one had gone before!
GALILEO fit perfectly with our Project objective of driving business process transformation and cultural change everywhere in the company through change leadership.
A peer company was so captivated by the idea that when they launched their own transformational Project they called it MICHELANGELO. This name similarly evokes imagery about creating some of the best known masterpieces in the history of the world.
And when we launched our Project to drive game changing results in Inventory Performance we needed a Project name that would also become our rallying point for unprecedented change. We chose FIREFOX which, within our industry, was understood to characterize our attack on the competition.
Pick a Motivating Project Name!
Whatever NAME you choose know that this will become the identity of your Project. Naming your project is imperative.
Within the GALILEO Project we launched an Employee Suggestion line, wherein anyone could submit any and all ideas. Their peers would all anonymously vote on the ideas, which would then become the basis for prioritizing what we would work on next. Before long employees were sending in their suggestions beginning with the phrase “Dear Galileo, …” or “Hey Galileo, I have an idea to improve …”.
It was amazing!
GALILEO had become an identity that people embraced. GALILEO represented not only the change that we who were leading the project were looking for, but it represented the change leadership that all of the employees were looking for.
We had created an inspiring, motivating and compelling NAME and identity for change. People rallied around it. And it became embedded in the very DNA of the culture we were trying to change.
It was a true sign of Change Leadership! That would never have happened if we just called it the “Productivity Initiative”. Naming your project well is essential and critical.