If you know Your Clear Next Step, you know we can’t go very long without talking about change. Change is in the very fibers of the organization! In fact, we’ve gone through three major changes just in this first quarter alone. But that doesn’t mean we expertly and gracefully skip our way through the transition. So although change is hard for us too, we’ve learned tips and what works well - and what doesn’t so much - all so that we can grow, and help others do the same.
We’ve been running a series of blogs centered around teams and the sorts of characters we find in different situations. In this next blog of the series, we’ll discuss some characters we see emerge in a time of change and transition, and the roles they play in the process.
This person has some sort of metric or measuring device to make sure the team doesn't go off the rails. This person could work in the finance department, for instance. Someone working closely with the organization’s budget, could be watching to ensure spending isn’t getting out of control. This person would be the one with the tool - thermometer, ruler, scale - and be ready to announce when things get too hot, too far to reach, or are falling out of balance.
Meredith is a manufacturing plant’s accountant and all things money specialist. She’s the one to flinch when big ideas are pitched, and then relay - yet again - what sort of leeway is available in the budget. Meredith’s organization has just announced that safety protocols were found to be out of date, so the company will need to invest in updated equipment and more safety training. Meredith must crunch the numbers to create a flex budget now that the organization will go through this transition. She has to consider the potential wrenches the change could throw in the budget, and plan accordingly. In what areas is the organization prepared to cut back - or perhaps increase - to flex to this transition?
If this is you: thank you for ensuring that no matter how big our great ideas become, they won’t be the cause of a sinking ship. We all need someone to pull back on the reins and say, “wait a minute,” so we can still have that idea become reality - without breaking the bank.
If this is something you want to try: think about your current role and the measuring tools you have at your disposal. What could you pay more close attention to, what sort of limits or boundaries would you need to build, and how would you go about announcing when things start to get out of hand?
Petunia the Planner
This person keeps the work moving, even in the busiest of times, prioritizing the most important work. You’d likely find this person works closely with schedules or high urgency matters, and that they’re highly organized. You probably wouldn’t see them get rattled easily as they’re cool under pressure. Amidst the change or chaos, this person can keep their wits about them and push through.
Petunia is the manufacturing plant’s office admin, so she’s got a hand in a lot of things. This role already takes a ton of focus and prioritization - now Petunia is adding this change to the mix. Although it doesn’t affect her directly, it does impact those she works closest to. She’ll have to ensure the office can continue to run while they have a moment to process, and manage the change first hand. Petunia watches the office calendar so important meetings aren’t missed, sends reminders so upcoming events don’t fall away, and maintains communication with those external to the company.
If this is you: thank you for not letting the chaos get to you - we still need those who can keep their heads straight while the rest of us have a moment of “aahh!” Although the ground may be shaking, you keep things moving by ensuring what’s important isn’t lost in the rubble.
If this is something you want to try: practice calming or focusing techniques - you’ll have to find what works for you. Imagine the rest of the office is bustling around you - there are loud noises, frantic chatter (maybe some manic laughter) - how will you stay focused on the tasks at hand?
This is the person who tries to fix the problems the organization comes across, and let’s face it - where there’s change, there are issues. This person might be an HR Manager or someone in IT, for instance. They are those who people look to when a problem arises, and they want to help fix it. Whether there’s a disagreement amongst coworkers or communication systems aren’t working properly, this person is ready to provide suggestions and answers.
Felix has been working on the organization’s equipment maintenance team for years. He’d noticed quite a dip in their functionality, and was even the one of the few who suggested upgrades were necessary. Now that the organization has taken his recommendation and provided new equipment, he’ll be in charge of getting the machines and their users up to speed. Felix is grateful for the upgrades, as he was worried about injury, and he’s happy to provide a helping hand.
If this is you: thanks for your thoughtful and eager approach to getting things back in working order. Without you, we’d have a hard time going through any change - or our daily tasks for that matter!
If this is something you want to try: test your expertise - where do your fixing skills best appear? Not everyone is a tech wizard or has mastered conflict management. In what areas does your organization struggle, or where could they use an extra hand?
As we’ve talked about the different characters we find on various teams, during a time of chaos - and now change - we’ve learned they all play a part in the success. Whether that's the success of the organization, the team, or the person themselves, an integral role is filled. We all make a contribution to the whole, and the goal is to become even better at doing so - and maybe filling the gaps as well.
Have you taken notice of any roles that need to be filled, or those you are interested in filling? How can you be even better - for yourself, your team, or your organization? Stay tuned for the next blog in this series as we discuss filling the gaps.