Changing the process in any company is always difficult, and a lot of the work is invisible and hard to measure. This and other things can lead to wear and tear on the people that are championing the process.
“the accumulation of your kaizen bit by bit may show results much later… You must not give up on the accumulation of your daily effort” — Taiichi Ohno
So how do you keep these people motivated, while they wait to see the result?
I am not a coach or even a leader, so I can only talk about what I see motivates me and others, and what I have experienced as motivation killers. So hereby I share my thoughts…
2. Observe. When you are changing the culture somewhere things might change that you haven’t championed but that naturally got adopted. An example of this in our organisation is “Kaizen”, a short round at the end of every meeting where everyone can say something that can improve not only the meeting but also anything related to the ongoing activity. If you don’t have something to say you just say pass. We as the “Fibonacci kittens” didn’t have a task to make everyone do this, but it has been adopted as a tool across the business.
3. Visits to external businesses that has gone through the same is also great, it can show that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
4. Have a clear mandate, and make sure that is communicated to everyone. An unclear mandate leads to confusion and irritation. That the mandate is communicated to everyone is important as you are changing the whole company not a specific part of it, you need company wide buy in.
5. If you are a leader, especially in a company where the process change is going towards Lean and Agile, do not micro manage. Stand by your mandate. One of the key points in Lean thinking is to proceed with validated learnings, allow your champions to just try and fail/succeed instead of micromanaging.
6. Celebrate success and failure. Investigate successes and failures equally, you can learn from both, and a failure might feel less like a failure if you can “prove” you learned something.
7. As a leader make sure that people that you enlist for your task force and the people enlisted for tasks connected to it get the freedom to actual contribute, and doesn’t have to do it on top of their regular work. We all had 100 % jobs before we got enlisted to change the culture somewhere, and doing so is not done in 0 hours. Not doing this will lead to burn out and annoyance within the group when people can’t contribute as they are otherwise occupied. This might seem obvious, but….
7. Give freedom but demand results. Power with responsibility! If the group is free to act upon the things they feel are most important it gives a feeling of responsibility. How ever do not be afraid to question why that was chosen or to see what the result was. It shows you care!
9. There will be dips in motivation, talk about it , don’t let it fester. And maintain your focus on action, get things done.
10. Have fun! Continuous celebration is the essence.