Have you ever tried to make large improvements for some aspect of your business only to find that after a period of time you feel like you are pushing on a balloon?
Have you ever lead, or participated in, a project with some very lofty targets only to find that you come up short of your goal because of unforeseen circumstances or unaddressed factors?
Have you ever got into a project only to find that someone else’s objectives seem to be in conflict with yours, and these competing objectives ensure that you will not succeed?
And stuff will continue to happen. So you need a Project Change Management Strategy to deal with the inevitable obstacles and influences that make achieving your goals more difficult. In my experience, a very powerful approach to help ensure your success is to Attack On All Fronts!
The Attack on All Fronts Ecosystem
Going in to any project you should accept the fact that unforeseen events and circumstances will happen that will either slow or stop your forward progress. Further you should also know that there are many different factors that MUST be taken in to consideration and addressed to achieve your goal.
For very high impact, Game Changing projects it is usually the case that there is a large ecosystem of factors and resources at play that have varying degrees of influence on what you are trying to achieve. This ecosystem is likely to include many different:
- Business Processes
- Facilities or Operations
- Organizations and Functions
- Cultural Behaviours
If your project involves some or all of this level of complexity then you are likely best served by taking a holistic approach (See my post Inventory Turnover Breakthrough (Part 1) … Go Back To The Basics! ). You will have many different moving parts to your project and a lot of balls in the air which you need to coordinate to achieve your singular goal.
So how do you mitigate this and dramatically improve your chances of success? By recognizing these various forces and influencers you need a strategy to address them. You need to Attack On All Fronts!
The Attack On All Fronts approach involves designing your Project Change Management Strategy to maximize your likelihood of success and minimize the risks and headwinds you may face. By doing so you hedge your bets and increase your chances of driving dramatic improvements.
Take A Holistic Approach
In several projects I have led to drive Game Changing improvements I have found that it was necessary to drive improvements across various dimensions at the same time. This involved launching sub-projects, within the larger project, to address all of the major business processes, all of the company’s operating facilities, and all of the Customer business units, ALL at the same time. This is critical in an Attack On All Fronts approach.
A multi-dimensional approach to your task reduces your risk. A project with a single dimension is totally reliant on the success of this one element which is thus a single point of failure. By tackling multiple processes or other factors concurrently you reduce the risk if any aspect of your project falls short of expectations.
In enlisting all of these dimensions simultaneously all of the Business Process, Customer and Facility owners will have a vested interest in achieving the overall goal. While they will come at it from different perspectives, they will recognize the singular objective as they interact with each other. To succeed the Global Process Owner will need to engage the Customer and Facility teams; the Customer teams will need to engage the Process and Facility teams; and the Facilities will need to work with the Process and Customer teams. In my experience this has helped address a lot of concern about competing objectives and broken through a lot of barriers.
Set Targets To Exceed Your Overall Goal: 1+1 can equal 3
You have only ONE overarching target or metric that you are trying to improve, which you must keep everyone focussed on. There are many, many metrics that are managed within a company but most of them are just enablers to ensure that you achieve the most visible metrics, such as Revenue, Profit, Return on Investment and Earnings per Share. While your Stakeholders really only care above the larger metrics, you do need to drive all of the sub-metrics as enablers to achieving the larger ones.
However you need to translate this overall target to each of the Business Process, Customer Unit, and Facility owners to more “local” targets unique to the various Processes, Customer teams, and Facilities. When you add up these aggressive, local targets they should, if all achieved, far exceed your single overall target.
In doing so you have translated your target to something that can be understood and actioned at all levels of your company. Further, if one area struggles to achieve their local target, you can still enlist the other areas to help recover this shortfall. It is critically important to remind everyone that achieving the local goal is fine, but achieving the overall goal is the real objective. So the team ONLY succeeds if the overall goal is met. As such you create an environment which fosters cross organizational cooperation wherein any competition is healthy, and not destructive.
This process of target setting helps you hedge your bets! Aim higher than where you hope to land and the sum of the parts increases your chance of success.
Track And Communicate Performance Across All Dimensions
I believe that a regular process of governance and oversight of the progress of your project is crucial with an Attack On All Fronts approach. This should include regular review of performance to the overall and local targets you have set. Further the results of this should be communicated to everyone involved just as regularly.
If one area is falling behind your intention is not to call them out. You need to support them and help remove obstacles to their progress. However you do want everyone else to also rally around them and identify where they can help recover any shortfall. This teamwork and course correction can only happen through a process of regular communication.
Sub-projects will progress at various rates and it’s important to understand this. Some sub-projects will take off quickly and then tail off. Others will take longer to get going but will catch up. You need to recognize this as it will help you discern where to spend your time in helping each sub-project along.
In net, regular communication of progress will allow you and your team to make course corrections along the way to keep your project on track.
Recognize the Need for Cultural Change and Drive It!
If your goal is to achieve truly Game Changing results then by definition you are looking to create some level of departure from how things have been done previously. All business processes and organizations and paradigms and metrics are the result of prior decisions and actions. If you want a different result then you need to do things differently.
To truly Attack On All Fronts you must tackle the behavioural changes that govern the way business is conducted. This will require taking on sacred cows as well as perceptions of how thing can or can’t be done, whether real or not. This can only be done by shaping behaviour in your interactions with your team each and every day. We will dive into this further in a future post.
Attack on all Fronts!
While success is not guaranteed, I have found that applying these techniques has led many times to the achievement of extraordinary results. Your circumstance may only require you to make small, incremental, step-function changes. However if you are truly trying to drive Game Changing results then you need to take a much different approach from that which delivers incremental changes.
In taking on an Attack On All Fronts approach you have recognized that numerous factors will determine whether your project will succeed or fail. This approach entails increasing the number of these variables that are within your sphere of influence.
As such you are hedging your bets and giving yourself a better opportunity to achieve great success!