Posts tagged with ‘organizational change’

06 jun

The Brilliance (and Fun) of Improv!

Kerrigan2I tried improvisational theater (improv) for the first time the other night on the upper west side of Manhattan, and I’m hooked.

At first, I felt a bit uncomfortable performing without any script or knowledge of where the story was going. But here’s the thing: No one did, and we were all in this together. You see, improv is created collaboratively, without any pre-planning.

The story just unfolds, and it’s amazing how new ideas begin to flow: the creativity, the cooperation, and the fun are exhilarating! And, it’s all wrapped around a sense of openness and saying “yes” right from the get-go and building from there.

This culture of “yes” frees you from fear and embarrassment, and too much reliance on boring, tried and true habits. The brilliance of improv is that it takes you places you never thought you’d go, and your teammates are along for the ride as you all leap into the unknown together.

Now, picture this culture of “yes” in today’s corporate life, where change is an everyday event and innovation and resilience are necessary for growth. Improvisers take risks and make mistakes, and that’s needed to go forward in new directions. Just picture replacing tension, fear and conflict with encouragement, new ideas, and high team engagement.

Improv can open doors to the unexpected, to seeing and doing things differently. It could be the breath of fresh air, fun and forward-thinking you and your organization need.

So, what are you waiting for? Jump in and say “yes”!

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All Rights Reserved.

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert consultant and coach who specializes in helping clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence, performance and productivity. More at www.michellekerriganinc.com and www.workplaceconfidence.com.

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on June 6th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , ,

21 jan

WorkplaceRx: Is Hoarding Burying Your Company Alive?

MichelleKerriganThe topic of hoarding has been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. Anxiety-driven by a fear of letting go of something that may be needed later, the subject is portrayed buried under mountains of items that are not only no longer needed, but hidden from existence. The hoarder seeks shelter from change in a storm of stuff, and can barely function under the weight of it all.

In my years of working in corporations and with private clients, it has become apparent that hoarding is not just limited to the home. It spills into the workplace, not in the usual sense of “stuff”, but in the plethora of processes and procedures that may give some people comfort, and can bury an organization alive.

I have seen this all too often. I have heard it often too. Phrases such as “Well, we’ve been doing it this way for a hundred years…” is usually a call to action to take a much closer look.

Too often, clients come to me complaining that their company has just gone through a massive downsizing, and as survivors, they are now weighted with the responsibilities of those cut as well as processes that may not make sense in the new order.

A perfect example would be when I replaced a director who left unexpectedly. I inherited a massive report he distributed every week for 20 years to 250 executives. This report was miles long in excruciating details and took up to a full day to prepare. Since the company was rapidly growing, I needed to jettison as much as possible to make room for new goals. So, one day, I just stopped sending the report. The upshot: Only one person called to inquire. Yes–one.

So—as a new year is here, I offer you 8 tips for purging what may be keeping your company from functioning and meeting new and important goals:

1. Review and renew your goals and keep and/or adapt only the procedures and processes that bring your organization closer to them. Let go of the rest.
2. Whenever you downsize your organization, repeat this process.
3. Look at meetings, reports and schedules that could be shortened or deleted. Keep a log of how long these things really take—you will be amazed. That’s time that could be holding you back from more important endeavors.
4. Remember that not all things are created equal: some processes or reports may need to stay, but may not need to be as complex or as detailed as they were before.
5. If you truly fear a procedure or process may be needed again, write it down and store it in the archives. Keep only active ones at point of use.
6. Get input from your team and the departments you touch. Often, processes, meetings and the like have intrinsic value to only you and no one else. So, you may be holding on to what you think is treasure but is trash to others.
7. If you hear or say the magic words “Well, we’ve been doing it this way for a hundred years”, it may be time to start sorting and purging, keeping only what’s essential to reach the company’s goals.
8. If you still have trouble letting go, always prioritize (and purge) according to the revenue line. Ask yourself: is this making my company money? Is it bringing us new or repeat customers, improving our products, or increasing our market share? If not, it’s time for the heave-ho.

Avoid being a hoarder—it will lighten the road ahead for you and your organization and keep you both from being buried alive.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All rights reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping organizations and individuals improve performance and productivity in the day-to-day workplace. A trusted expert who uniquely combines extensive leadership and operations experience with powerful coaching and organizing techniques, Michelle helps clients develop skills and confidence critical to the bottom line. More at www.MichelleKerriganInc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on January 21st, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

13 mar

OperationsRx: The Gap Nobody Knows

MichelleKerriganThe gap between promises and results is widespread and clear. The gap nobody knows is the gap between what a company’s leaders want to achieve and the ability of their organization to achieve it.”—Larry Bossidy, former CEO, Honeywell International and General Electric

The gap nobody knows is bridged by day-to-day operations. Everything comes from it. It’s where your company lives and breathes–where ideas spring to life in the form of people, process and teamwork. It is the heart of execution–where strategy succeeds or fails. It’s a space I’ve worked in for over 25 years, and where I help leaders and teams succeed today.

Day-to-day operations comprise roughly 80% of most organizations, making it one of their largest investments. Yet this asset is often overlooked. Not leveraging its value widens the gap and means your company is leaving money on the table. In today’s economy, where resources are at a premium and you need to organize and expedite at the speed of change, can you afford to do that?

So why is it undervalued and underutilized?

I’ve asked a few leaders this same question, and they all focused on strategy as the one thing that mattered most. In fact, one leader, when asked about day-to-day operations and execution, waved his hand in dismissal and said “that’s management’s problem.”

As dieting is a favorite topic of mine, I asked this leader to compare business strategy and execution with a personal goal of losing weight. You want to lose 20 pounds. You plan on joining a gym, drinking 8 glasses of water a day, controlling food portions and counting calories. That’s your strategy—the direction you wish to take. You can repeat it a thousand times, make promises to your doctor or spouse, clip out photos of the ‘dream figure’ and attach it to your refrigerator door.

But unless you take the necessary steps to incorporate your plan into your everyday routine, nothing happens. No change. Not one pound shed. Your weight remains the same—you don’t move forward and you don’t reach your goal. Promises don’t yield results without day-to-day execution.

So, what does it really take to affect positive change?:

Have the right resources: Healthy food, personal trainer, scale, calorie calculator.

Develop realistic timelines and expectations: 2 pounds a week for 10-12 weeks. The greatest mistake most dieters (and leaders) make is being unrealistic about how long things take. Being realistic limits risk and disappointment.

Decide a deadline: Your svelte cousin’s wedding. The holidays. It’s amazing how activity levels rise as deadlines loom.

Get support: Choose the best people to help you stay on track: friends, family, personal trainer.

Take action every day: Go to the gym, exercise, eat lots of vegetables, count calories.

Stay motivated and energized: Keep your eyes on the prize—what success looks like (remember that picture on the refrigerator?)

Minimize distractions: Especially procrastination and perfectionism. Try to avoid wasting time on the wrong activities and getting discouraged if you veer off course now and then.

Allow for setbacks and unforeseen events: Parties that involve red velvet cake. Need I say more?

Monitor for results: Be accountable and follow through. Have someone record your weight and measurements on a regular basis. Monitoring is the key to successful change.

Link rewards to performance: Reinforce progress by celebrating milestones with small rewards and work towards that new wardrobe when you reach your goal.

The leader appreciated the analogy: Strategy only works when you take the necessary steps every day to move it forward. That’s how you turn promises into results.

Leadership is not just about pointing the way—it’s about being an integral part of the process from start to finish. It’s about dealing with the realistic issues of the day. It’s about tapping into your greatest asset–day-to-day operations–to get your company where it needs to go.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll lose a pound or two along the way.

Copyright 2011 Michelle Kerrigan

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping organizations and individuals improve performance and productivity in the day-to-day workplace. A trusted expert who uniquely combines extensive leadership and operations experience with powerful coaching and organizing techniques, Michelle helps clients develop skills and confidence critical to the bottom line. More at www.MichelleKerriganInc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on March 13th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,