04 Jan Business Change Management: Form a Powerful Coalition
How To Reach Your Business Goals Through the Power of a Team
The second part of our Change Management Process as outlined by Kotter, is to form a Powerful and Guiding Coalition. (You can catch up on the first step here if you missed it). This is an important resource to help you reach your business goals and implementing change. But, what does that mean for small business owners, or even someone working on their own?
In reality, it means having enough manpower to implement those changes, and to retain a guiding hand on them. This means that momentum is not only kept to, but that you stay on the right path and don’t get distracted by bright shiny new ideas.
Who is the guiding coalition?
It will be management in most cases, and they should already be aware of the urgency of making changes to reach your business goals. If management aren’t used to working together as team, now is the time to invest in that. Use team building to help them get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and form a strong, cohesive and powerful whole. Ideally, you will have a mix of visionaries (Myers Briggs’ N Types ) and those who are detail orientated (S types). You will also have included those who understand and see the organisation as a whole, and those who are entrenched in the front line. These people in particular can spot any real world issues that may slow down change.
The people you chose should also have credibility and the respect of others. One reason why change initiatives led by outsiders sometimes don’t work is because they don’t have the credibility with the whole organisation and are seen as outsiders.
People to avoid on your team
The people who are dangerous at this time are the ones that don’t want change (“we’ve always done it this way, so why should it change?”). Those who focus on the negative or get overwhelmed firefighting day to day problems are also a problem. If possible, veer towards people who are positive, creative and excited by the thought of change.
Having a structure for implementing change – and not just the individual steps – is important. How often will you meet, report to each other, and assess changes against the vision? What’s the procedure for when things go wrong? Who is going to drive this and remind everyone of the overall goal?
You can also use a third party, such as myself, to facilitate regular mastermind sessions to drive change. The benefit of this is that a facilitator can keep you on track, ask the questions you all take for granted, and insist on accountability in a way that a colleague cannot.
Small Teams and Sole Traders
If you are in a very small team or work alone, this is still an important stage but you may have to be adventurous in your guiding coalition. Now may be the time to invest in extra help such as a virtual assistant like Natalie Guerin of Pebble or one from Moore Business. Use your VA to get a lot of the day to day work done while you work at a higher, more strategic level. Alternatively, it could be time to expand, bring on an intern or even make better use of someone on the team.
It’s also a time when working with a coach such as myself could be useful, forming a partnership to help you drive forward together. Otherwise, a mastermind group such as my Hot House will also be invaluable. It is set up so that you have your own mini board of directors and will naturally be a mix of different personality types, strengths and weaknesses.
An empirically sound personality test such as Saville Wave will highlight your strengths and weaknesses. You will learn who to look for to fill in the gaps, or uncover areas of weakness that you may need to top up. I offer this to clients, together with full feedback and a development plan you can implement. Alternatively, you may already be aware of some of your weaknesses (detail, finishing off tasks, getting distracted, procrastination for instance). You can then find someone who can help you work on improving your performance in these areas.
You may not have a team to worry about negative people on it, but you can still be affected by people around you. Keep interactions with negative people, worriers and those who question your need to even make changes to a minimum.
I believe the most important word here is “Powerful.” Working on your own, you are your powerful coalition and you are going to have to dig deep to find the power and focus to make this happen and reach your business goals yourself.