Strategy · Entrepreneurship

If business priorities change, how do you help your team understand and carry out the shifted goals?

Samofalov Aleksey QA Specialist at Luxoft

November 21st, 2016

It is not a big secret that people from management are not among the most popular employees in the company. They are often thought to be incompetent, lazy, (although that is usually not the case) especially when things are going south, when there are sudden changes, shifted goals, deadlines etc. This is very hard to cope with but hey, it’s part of the job. So what is the best way to explain the situation so everyone understands it (the right way) and also keeps being motivated to work hard in order for the shifted goals to be carried out?

David Austin Relentless problem solver and innovator.

November 21st, 2016

As always communication is the key.  You need to get the stakeholders below you on board first and this often means they need to understand the larger universe you operate in, some of the the dynamics driving this change.  Upper management often develops a mindset that those lower in the management structure can't handle change, deal poorly with it, and must be shielded from the realities of running a business so they can focus on their unique responsibilities.  On the contrary, they know (or at least can sense) when this happens and it is extremely demotivating.  If you can cultivate the right relationship then being aware of these realities early on can become motivating that you trust that they can help develop and deliver a value proposition that puts you on top, and when things shift they'll share whatever confidence you are able to exude that adaptation and a necessary pivot is your best response.

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

November 21st, 2016

You start socializing the change with your closest people and enlist them to assist.  Not knowing how big your organization is, or how major the change is, this might not be practical, but using logic and data to support the change is important.  Change is difficult, but most people are comfortable if leadership is positive and thoughtful, while being understanding of their needs. 

Tom DiClemente Management Consulting | Interim CEO/COO | Coach

December 2nd, 2016

Hi Samofalov,

Following good change management practices is essential. This will lead you, as a team, to the right solutions.

Below are a few main steps. I will not explain expansively. You can google change management. Look at the 8-step process as a good overall model that usually can apply to any situation.

But it always starts with defining the problem and then getting buy-in among at least key people that there is a problem and most of all, among this group, to assure a sense of urgency in fixing the problem as a team. How soon and extensively you communicate to all the people in the organization depends a lot on your current culture. But as a minimum, this central group needs to work with you to develop a new vision for the future, and to communicate this vision throughout the organization, again working to get everyone ready to work in the same direction and achieving buy-in. These communication steps are critical in any organization to be successful in the long term.

But the most critical step is to generate short-term wins along the way. This builds confidence among the people that the new goals are the correct direction and that if they work hard at meeting them, they will see these wins continue, eventually reaching the longer term goals.

Thanks, Tom