I like process. I like order. I like predictability. However, I have learned that managing change is messy.
Dave Wieneke reminded me of this again yesterday while I attended his presentation called “The 7 deadly sins of business innovation”. Among other great insights, Dave reminded the audience that “your business is not a project, so don’t manage it that way”. (Learn more about Dave on his website www.usefularts.us )
In most corporate America environments, we try to manage most things like a project. Initiatives have kick-offs, due dates, budgets and “SLT” sign off. We have detailed Excel docs with deliverables and owners. Before we approve something new, we must first review a business plan with a ROI.
All of this process can be a good thing, as long as we balance it with time to be messy.
- We need to schedule meetings that include enough time to talk through ideas and concepts without worrying about the next 10 agenda items.
- We need to allow employees to test things that could go wrong, and if they do go wrong treat the situation as a learning experience, not a fatal error.
- We need to be OK with the occasional presentation or idea that is not fully baked yet. Humans don’t always have time to do their homework.
- Veering from “the plan” is sometimes OK.
- As we drive business change we must balance the detail view with a balcony view. From 10,000 feet you can best observe the change happening over time. We can “see the forest for the trees”.
Your business is not a project, so let’s adjust how we manage to allow time to be messy.
- Changing How We Manage Change (customerthink.com)
- Leadership Follies: The Art of Management by Shiny Objects (linked2leadership.com)