In a meeting John asked:

“This is all great & works now. How are we going to maintain this in the long run? We’ve got a history of falling apart and returning back to chaos.”

Yes, Don’t we all

My horrible responseI hear you. The people in this room have the skills and talent to continue the work, you have to decide what works and how to use it.”

blah … blah … blah

What I wish I had said / done

Let’s schedule a discussion on implementation and ‘making this new system stick’ in our next training meeting?

At the next training meeting…we would SOLVED

1 Situation:

What is working well? What do we like about the changes? What evidence do we see that what we are doing is working?

  • Identify what the people on the team like about the new system and project management
  • Identify what is working well with the changes and how people are using the tools, models and job aids.
  • Identify evidence of what’s working and highlights of success using the project management tools, models and job aids.
2 Observer:

What feedback are we getting from customers? Stakeholders? Other departments? Management?

  • Share customer feedback from before and after the improvements
  • Share quality data from before and after the training and development
  • Share stories that have been gathered from key people within the company comparing the old and new ways of project work
  • Ask the people on the team to share stories of what is working well and what areas need more focus
3 & 4 Level & Validation:

Scale of 0 – 10 with 10 being we have achieved the goal of Making this new system stick and 0 being the opposite, where are we today? … What would 2 steps higher on the same scale look like?

  • Have the team identify where we are on the scale.
  • Have everyone identify what they have done that is successful to place us where we are, i.e. if you feel we are at a 5 what has already happened that shows you we are at a 5.
  • Have everyone (plus myself) identify what +2 would look like…creating a list of evidence based steps – things we can point to and say ‘we did this’.
5 Exceptions:

Looking at the list what we already accomplished? Which of these are already in progress and/or are already happening?

  • Identify exceptions and progress happening.
  • Identify how we got that started and what each person plus the team did (in detail) to make that happen.
6 Decision and Direction:

What is the next step? How will we know that we are achieving it? What must each person on the team do? What must I do?

7 Follow-up:

What’s better and how are we ensuring that this new work system lasts?

  • Follow-up. Plan a date for completion of action plans and follow-up.
  • Repeat steps 1 – 6 ….

The 7 SOLVED steps above should accomplish three things:
  1. Reinforce the hard work of the people, the team, and management.
  2. Slow the team down to examine evidence of progress and setbacks. Breaking them from existing psychological inertia ‘stuckness’ of thinking nothing ever changes and they are powerless.
  3. Supply the team, the people and me with concrete steps to work on. Keeping the vagueness to a minimum allowing all of us to make progress on work that is meaningful.

What do you think?

Have you ever given a bad response to a question? Try the steps above and le me know what works for you.

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