“This has genuinely helped me understand what I need to do and how I can manage my team through it”, “I feel so much clearer”, “thank you, I can see how I’m going to manage this now”.
I will never tire of hearing comments like these from my clients. Knowing that I have made a positive difference; that I have helped; is what drives me to do my best work. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning and leaves me fired up at the end of every day.
I work with teams and organisations who are going through significant change. Whilst there is usually excitement about the changes being implemented and drive to make the change happen quickly, this is often accompanied by feelings of overwhelm, frustration and anxiety. “There’s just so much to do, where do we start?” is a refrain I often here along with “we’re so busy, we just don’t have the time to get this organised”.
The teams I work with understand the value of having a clear structure for their programme of change and a realistic plan to deliver it. The problem is they usually don’t have the capacity or the skills to create this clarity.
Having a clear structure and realistic plan helps leaders focus their teams on the right tasks at the right time. It helps them to keep teams up to date with what’s happening when. And it helps them to identify the areas the teams can get involved in to engage them with the changes.
Without this approach change can feel chaotic, uncertain and scary. The excitement can quickly falter and engagement is lost. Trying to make big changes in an environment like this is an uphill struggle and takes its toll on leadership and staff alike.
My work with clients has taught me 5 key lessons:
Listen, listen, then listen some more. The more I understand the environment, the people, their hopes and fears, the background and the ambition, the more focussed and helpful my input will be.
I have to quickly find the most efficient way to get information out of people’s heads! It’s all in there it just needs extracting, analysing and shuffling in to a coherent order.
Don’t be afraid to challenge. Whether it be unrealistic timelines, unfocussed goals or insufficient clarity, ask the difficult question, play devil’s advocate, call it out. If I don’t, I can’t build an effective plan.
Guidance and support is always welcomed.
Enjoy it! My enthusiasm, energy and positivity breeds the same in the teams I work with.
I am lucky enough to have built a business around the work I love. I work with organisations that make a real difference to the world we live in. I get to see the direct benefit of my input and I get to hear positive comments like those I started this article with. It can be tough, challenging and emotional but it is always rewarding.
If you are a charity going through or planning change and you aren’t sure where to start, give me a call, I might be able to help.
Caroline Doran is the Founder of Deliver Grow Ltd. She works with overstretched managers in the charity sector to help them make the changes they want to see a reality. You can find out more about her work at www.delivergrow.com