The Challenge: A bank was implementing a new software system in the US and other locations around the world. The project leader was concerned that fiefdoms would wreck the project before it ever got off the ground.
The Opportunity: Just because fiefdoms wreck the plans of others, there was no reason why this bank needed to suffer the same fate.
The Results: I was invited to join a team of consultants to work on this challenge. We brought key decision makers together for three days to look at the goals of the project.
Could these leaders get behind them? If not, why not?
It was hard work, but by the time the meeting ended, the key stakeholders were on board for this major change.
One of the managers pulled us aside and told us that he had come from a competitor who had faced similar challenges. Their integration project had been budgeted at $14 million. They never had a planning meeting like this and the project had now cost nearly $22 million – and they weren’t much farther along than we were. And this project was just beginning.
People were skeptical and protective of their own turf for the first day or so, and then they shifted. They began talking – and then working – together on ways to make this new software system a success.
This event happened a lot of years ago. Today, as I look back on it through the lens of The Energy Bar, I can see why the meeting worked.
- When we entered the meeting, some were excited about the possibilities and hopeful that others would see the benefit of joining in. Others were skeptical. Energy cut a pretty broad swath.
- We gave people a lot of time to talk with each other. Although there was a focus for all the conversations that took place during the sessions, we gave people a lot of room to talk. We didn’t try to push people to make decisions. I think this allowed them to let down their guard a bit and actually listen to each other. If we had pushed hard (as consultants and leaders can sometimes do), we probably would have caused any reluctance to solidify into outright resistance.
- It was easy to track energy. We could also hear it in conversations over breaks. E.g. the guy who told us about where he worked before and how much money had been wasted so far. And, we could see and hear their enthusiasm as they talked about plans for moving ahead.
If you have a new initiative approaching, consider using The Energy Bar in your planning. You'll find it and many more resources in the resource center here.