Tranformation Pathways Compass

When we’re mapping a trip to an unfamiliar destination, it’s extremely helpful to be able to zoom out to see the big picture. We can then zoom in for turn by turn details.

A big reason up to 70% of change efforts fail is lack of zoomed out planning. Leadership training, succession planning, service/quality improvement, lean, safety programs, talent/performance management, or IT systems, are implemented at a zoomed in level. Often with a narrow street view on reaching that program’s goals.

Recently we completed a zoomed out offsite retreat with a leadership team. The session helped the team get their culture shift together. They reaffirmed their desired culture, set strategic priorities, and then zoomed in to action planning for implementation.

I received a follow-up e-mail from a participant wanting to cascade the same organization self-assessment and planning process we used at the retreat with her divisional leadership team. I linked her to a complementary set of tools on our web site that she — and you — can use to start or continue this mapping and implementation process using these steps:

  1. Have everyone complete the Organization Self-Assessment and Gap Analysis.
  2. Compare responses (results are e-mailed to each participant) to identify the top 3 or 4 Pathways your team agrees would have the biggest payoff if you improved them.
  3. For each of your highest priority Pathways:
    1. Select that Pathway from the pull-down menu at Transformation Pathways and read the description of that area.
    2. Participants SILENTLY brainstorm (no discussion) improvement ACTION ideas (not motherhood statements like “trust” or “communication”) for that Pathway on 3″ x 5″ Post-It-Notes (one idea per note) for about 10 minutes. Quantity/volume of ideas is more important than quality at this point.
    3. Collect the Post-It-Notes and cluster similar ideas.
    4. Get everyone’s input to put headings/titles on each cluster.
  4. Establish 2 or 3 Strategic Imperatives from the key themes or overlaps you see in your Pathways brainstorming clusters.
  5. Form an implementation team for each of your Strategic Imperatives with an owner, team leader (sometimes the same person), and team members. Give each team a broad mandate and direction to return in a few weeks with the broad scope of an implementation plan.
  6. Follow up in a few weeks with presentations from each team and negotiating their focus, scope, and mandate.
  7. Teams implement their action plans.
  8. Set regular follow-up dates to monitor/adjust progress.

In a frenzy of meetings and e-mails, many leadership teams are zoomed in way too far and getting lost in daily firefighting. Is your team zooming out often enough to ensure you’re heading in the right direction?