When you start a new management role, you will face a number of
interesting challenges and opportunities, ranging from making a quick
impact to getting to know the personalities involved. You will almost
certainly need to make changes to the operation you have taken over.
Be aware that, while these changes should be primarily motivated by
a need to improve performance, you may also need to be seen to be
changing things by your team and by your peers and seniors.
The challenge you face as an agent of change is inertia. Many people
in their jobs are comfortable with the status quo and relatively few
people embrace change as an exciting opportunity. Moving your team
to the vision you have for them will take pushing, pulling, cajoling and
an inspiring vision, among other things. You’ll find plenty on the book-
shelves about change because change is difficult to achieve. In fact,
Fortune magazine calculated that the main reason for CEOs losing their
jobs was the inability to realise change in their organisations.
Change is not impossible, however. Follow the relatively simple steps
outlined in this chapter and you’ll have a good chance of success.
Identify the gap
When you plan to make significant changes to the working environment
and processes that you control, make sure you have understood the
gap between where the operation is now and where you want it to be.
This will help you to sell the change to those in your team and others.
Understand specific items that need to be changed.
Set clear goals for the unit.
Focus on the elements that should be measured to demon-
strate the success of the change.
Communicate your intent and the gulf that needs to be crossed.
Demonstrate the problems you face and the opportunities that
could be gained.
To do a ‘gap analysis’, you must have an idea of what the best exam-
ple of this type of operation looks like – a best practice operation. Make
sure that your best practice example sets out clear and objective stand-
ards, such as performance measures and statements of activity and
behaviour. You can generate this by:
benchmarking (comparing) what you do against existing best
practice operations – companies running similar but non-com-
peting processes may be happy to show you how they work or
you may be able to glean useful information from the internet
drawing on your experience of operations that run better
developing your own standard of excellence – you may find it
useful and motivating to include your team in this process and
it will be important to understand what your manager expects.
Let us look at an example of this.
A colleague in the soft drinks industry – let’s call her Jane – was
anxious to make a mark when she was appointed Marketing Strategy
Director. She was aware that there were several opportunities to make
improvements in how the business organised and delivered marketing
projects, but she needed to make a clear case for this by comparing
her organisation with a best practice benchmark one. She had worked
for other similar businesses and took the time to talk to external experts
who had views on what the best companies were doing and also what
future best practice might look like. Jane put together a picture of all
PART B BUSINESS FAST TRACK