• Face Reality.

    An excerpt from Team Reconstruction

    Managing a work group through major change is like running the rapids. Fighting white water. You confront a completely new set of problems. People act differently. The world around you speeds up. There’s less margin for error, but more likelihood of mistakes and a bigger price to pay if you do foul up. Many techniques that worked while you paddled along on a peaceful river no longer apply.

    In the same way, shooting the rapids of organizational change means your job changes. It gets bigger. Harder. And you need to start doing different things.

    The duties you prefer, or that you perform out of habit, may not matter much during transition and change. Even things you’re really good at—the best skills in your managerial repertoire—may not contribute enough in times like this. Your preferred management style might be right for routine conditions, but all wrong for now.

    Look at it this way. When the situation changes, so should the focus of your efforts. New problems usually call for new responses. If you fail to shift with the shifting conditions, you’ll be off the mark. Even good intentions and a great effort won’t get you very far if you’re doing the wrong things right or the right things wrong.

    This book gives you guidelines for achieving quality performance when you’re working in the white water of change. These guidelines may not be consistent with your usual management style, but reality says they’re right.

    Another reality—for now, priority #1 is team reconstruction.

    Why? Because you can’t succeed as a one-person show. Top management has it right: You have to do more, with less, and do it better than before. You simply can’t pull that off by yourself. You need help from the people around you. You must orchestrate a carefully coordinated group effort, achieve high quality results, and do this under very difficult conditions. Plus, you don’t have time to fool around.

    Don’t think of team reconstruction as a distraction, or as a nuisance task over and above what you’re paid to do for a living. Consider it the heart of your job. If you’re too busy to carry out the tasks of team reconstruction, you’re busy being wrong.

    Work groups rocked by change require special attention. You must take direct aim at the destabilization. Move immediately to mobilize your team against the threats to high performance. Concentrate on engineering the individual efforts of your people into a unified, coherent, collective effort.

    Reality also says you’ll hit resistance. When you push to implement changes, the organization starts pushing back. Don’t expect the existing culture to be on your side. More often than not, the established culture actually gets in the way during organization transitions from the old to the new. Just remember that you can’t keep every employee happy, and don’t get distracted trying to protect a culture that may not even be viable for the future.

    Finally, the reality is that your reputation is at stake. The best way to protect that reputation is to get results. And that’s what team reconstruction is all about.

    Face reality. Do what works. 

    © 2012 PRITCHETT, LP