Posted on Aug 20, 2013 by Kait Dinunzio
It’s no secret that I’m a bold individual with a zest for life. In fact, I have four core values that lead directly to my main driver. It took me a long time to develop these values to be something I could not only live within, but also thrive within. As a life long learner, I don't think I'll ever be done learning how to continuously improve on my values, especially in change. These are the things that help me be successful, and by virtue, help my clients be successful.
Purpose: I think purpose is important. I watched my dad work in a career field he didn’t like, in a job he hated, with an organization that was unwilling to hear the wake up calls that dogged their success for years. He didn’t work this way because he didn’t feel purpose, certainly the life as a jail guard and case manager lends purpose to society and of course to a peace of mind knowing the streets are safe for your children. But what he didn’t know was that he didn’t have to do that. There would have been life after the jail, had he chosen to live with a better or more defined purpose. For me personally, purpose is two fold: first off, there has to be something in it for me (sounds selfish right?), but actually, when I say this, I mean the change has to excite me, the vision has to be something I can subscribe to; and secondly, I need to know that my client is finding the purpose they need from me as a consultant in their company; there needs to be a well-defined role for me within the project. If either one of those is NO, then something has to give. Simply put – if there is no purpose, there’s no point. This is a very hard way to live, and it’s taken me some time to determine how to live this way without being completely self-destructive. That said, it's also helped me help a number of people and organizations realize their ultimate potential though difficult conversations and supportive actions to permanently change for the better.
Discipline: I've always been a very ambitious person when it came to my career. I've never had a defined career path, however; I don’t like having a bad reputation, so I have always gone above and beyond in my jobs. Oftentimes as a young woman, I had two or sometimes even three jobs at a time. The one thing I’ve always been is disciplined in my work. Being disciplined in change means staying the course, even when it's boring (because let's face it, some activities just aren't fun!!) or feels bad. Sometimes change hurts, and it's the job of the change leader to help others achieve their best sense of purpose in change. You can easily do that by recognizing your own feelings and emotions around change and staying committed to the end goal, that can be really hard. Oftentimes the change isn't about the consultant, but if you're an embedded change resource, the change can be very personal, which makes this a very hard value to stick to.
Quality: With discipline often will come quality… but not always. Especially if you have the parameters of what you need to deliver wrong. Make sure you have the right vision in hand (or developed) when you start your change journey! Its important to remember that quality above all else, is what leaders are looking for when they come to a change leader for guidance or support. This can be hard to identify, measure or sustain in change – but it’s not impossible. I find that the soft metrics can become hard ones when you deliver quality work around the tangible things that matter to a client, such as a communication or change strategy that is simple and easy to execute. Developing well thought out presentations and simple speaking notes for leaders or chairing a strong, well informed change network are other ways to deliver quality in this role. Another quality thing that I think is often overlooked, and more so in large business with consultants or change practitioners, can be quality relationships. When I ask someone how they’re doing, I genuinely care about their response. I want to have quality interactions with people whenever I can, this helps people feel safe and cared about, sometimes this takes discipline! People are messy … Remember?
Attitude: Not every day will be a good day. And some days, as a change leader, I take an absolute crap-kicking in the board room. Sometimes it’s my fault, and other times it’s not. But it’s my job to present a good attitude, a humble attitude, and a service driven attitude whenever I can. I’m not the Project Manager, middle management or the CEO of a company, I can only do and control so much with regard to how things unfold. The one thing I CAN control is my attitude. I use a very simple formula to help me keep my attitude in check: E + R = O. The Event + my Reaction = the Outcome. If my attitude goes sour – then it’s time to re-evaluate value #1 – Purpose. Why am I there? What am I doing? And am I really bringing quality to the table when I attend a meeting or present a program or plan?
Success: This isn’t just my success. This is client success. This is project success. This is organizational success. In this role, success is less often about me and more about what I’ve done to help contribute. I remember being a part of a major SAP upgrade and patch for one of my oil and gas clients. It was an enormous project with about 400 stakeholders with unique programs that were integrated (one way or another) into their SAP platform. Our ability to identify and communicate effectively with that stakeholder group allowed us to ensure that all financial processes were protected, that maintenance and operational business continuity plans were used and the CEO was aware of what was going on with reporting while the system was offline. The patch and upgrade took place successfully, and as a result of our robust engagement with our stakeholders, we received little to no feedback. In a circumstance like that – you don’t want feedback. We didn’t crater the company and we had a group of people who actually knew what was going on within a set timeframe that allowed them to be proactive in their business planning. That’s success! Do you think we would have been successful if we didn't work with purpose, discipline, quality and a good attitude? Seriously, SAP is a beast and people get touchy about it - so I think NO! We wouldn't have met success.
So, what does all of this mean? How can you apply these types of values or drivers to help drive sucessful change?