Managing big change by focusing on the small stuff

AREA VICE PRESIDENT

We worked with an area VP who was heading up a diverse group of applications, sales, data science and consulting teams, trying to deliver to customers and meet quarterly targets, while getting to grips with a company-wide shift from being purely a provider of hardware and software to having an additional consulting service, as well as understanding changes to his own role and setting up a new management team. Although very experienced he had never managed change on this scale before and was daunted by the task.

He found his Accelerated Success executive programme of huge value right from the start. The sessions allowed him to articulate issues and ideas with a trusted expert, who asked him searching questions and challenged his thinking, giving him a sharper focus and enabling him to gain clarity on the things that mattered most, and avoiding wasting time and energy on a myriad other things that were of lesser consequence.

He realised his main challenge was to bring a new focus and purpose to his management team meetings and spend more time planning how he would communicate with team members, in particular focusing on building relationships with them rather than simply using them as a conduit for the messages he wanted to pass down to their teams.

In doing this he learned that his team didn’t always see things the same way he did and often favoured different solutions and different ways of implementing them to how he did. Importantly, he also learned that, as long as this got the job done, this didn’t matter and was, in fact, better in the long term, with his team feeling more empowered and taking more responsibility.

Building on his success here, the area VP focused on performance management, agreeing criteria with team members and reviewing progress against them at regular intervals.

Key learning points for him from his programme were that he could take a more hands off approach yet feel he was managing his team more effectively, and that change isn’t about big initiatives but is about small stuff over time, not trying to do too much too soon and regular reviews of how things are going. He also learned to ‘pay attention to my gut’ and, when he feels strongly that something is wrong to take action and not let it go, and to choose when to be collaborative and when directive in managing his team.

It’s early days to measure the overall impact of his programme but his team understand company strategy and all are clear on the part they play in delivering to it, communication is much more open and effective than before and his management team seem to be managing their teams more effectively too.