The change had been announced and Carrie had no idea what to do to move forward. Where should she start? How was she supposed to understand all of these changes and still get her job done?
Carrie needed a roadmap! She needed a clear path for moving forward.
Change can be overwhelming, even when there is good communication, clear outcomes, and even laid-out processes. When an employee is stalled, chances are good that they don’t know the next step, or how to systematically go about making the change.
This could be an opportunity for one or more team members to be creative within the framework of the change. It is also time to create SMART goals. Everyone knows about SMART goals. I have a slightly different take on them: BE SMART goals. I use this formula for the overall goal, as well as for each individual step or strategy to reach the goal.
B = Brainstorm. Together with the employee, or with a group of employees, write down all of the options for accomplishing the change. How can this change be broken down into smaller steps? What other ways could the change be made? What is an opposite way of making that change? Get every idea out on paper - the sky is the limit, and nothing is too simple or too outlandish.
E = Evaluate. Look over the ideas and discuss the merits of each. Decide together on a doable option.
S = Specific. Write down the goal in a specific language. A good way to do this is to think about how it will look when it’s done.
M = Measurable. Include information about how much, how long, or other language that will help you know when the goal is met. “A mentoring program is in place for our department (specific) and team members are meeting with their mentor once a week for 12 weeks (measurable)."
A = Achievable/Accountable. The overall goal should be evaluated for achievability. If it’s not doable, then go back to the “drawing board” of brainstormed ideas. For each step or strategy to achieve the overall goal, define who is accountable for achieving that piece. Use people’s names rather than “team”. Otherwise, the people in “team” will think other team members are completing that step.
R = Reasonable/Resources. Once you are sure the overall goal is reasonable, then each step or strategy should have resources listed that the person(s) accountable need to gather or have available to get the step completed. These could be physical resources (reports, items, money, etc.) or people who can assist (IT, someone with specific knowledge). This is a huge time-saver when it comes to working on the step or strategy.
T = Time boundary. When does the overall goal need to be completed? When does each step need to be completed? Is the time-frame doable? Is it too long? When will progress be checked? Setting the time boundary not only helps the team and each individual plan and hold themselves accountable, but it can also help with overall accountability check-ins to see what is going well, and where there are obstacles.
Occasionally, goals need to be revised. You may discover that a step is missing, or that a step needs to be further broken down as a goal in itself. There may be an unexpected barrier to the timeframe or other components within the BE SMART goal plan. Evaluate all of these components at accountability check-ins.
Creating a specific roadmap for change helps keep employees from getting stalled, or from pulling off the road into the parking lot of “I don’t know how.” As your team is working through change, help them navigate by using their strengths.
That’s next week’s blog. Next week we will cover the N in chaNge - Navigate Strengths. Last week's blog, 5 Strategies to Stop Panic on the Highway of Change addressed how to harness thoughts.
What creative ways do you use to help your team assess options for change? We would love to hear from you!
If you or your organization need help assessing options during change or navigating change overall, contact Joy Humbarger at Joy@MaximizeYourLeadership.com.