Arlington, VA. September 18, 2018 – – Have you spent millions of dollars in operations doing it as you’ve always done it with stagnant returns? You know a change is needed and the task seems daunting, even impossible. It’s frustrating. It always feels like there are never enough people, resources, and support. The data all points to increases in costs and decreasing capabilities to address it. Don’t feel beaten and recognize the opportunity which has just presented itself.

Remember that every challenge comes with a chance to address it.

Like the abysmal free throw shooter in basketball who practices the same way (continued bad habits) with no change in results, sometimes the path forward is to do something that is completely opposite and different. This might be one of those times I would contrast conventional wisdom and say to Richard Carlson that you should sweat (at least a little) of the small stuff. Here is what you need to do to achieve that initial success:

First of all, Congratulations! Having that initial conversation with strong communication both vertically and horizontally clearly articulates the expectations and targeted results will prime the pump of success.

Second, it is really important to keep your head in the game. Many peers, colleagues and even adversaries are paying attention to your every move. Managing the communication is critical. TRANSPARENCY IN COMMUNICATION COMBINED WITH A CRITICAL EYE TO NOT GIVING AWAY OPERATIONAL CADENCE IS PARAMOUNT.

It is absolutely important to manage those communications and information in a way that informs the top decision makers. Sensitive operations always have a way of creating their own narrative and potentially taking off in an unplanned direction. With thorough management of crisis communications, now you are able to address issues before they surface and much more resourcefully for unexpected others.

Third, providing the right amount of space for the team to operate will highlight the importance of servant leadership. That strong communication upfront has set the stage for broad understanding of mission and parameters. Now you can focus on outcomes. Trusting the experience and talent of your directors and managers is key to achieving success for the sensitive activity. THERE NEEDS TO BE TRUST IN YOUR TEAM FOR A SENSITIVE OPERATION TO BE SUCCESSFUL. This is critical. If you don’t have it yet, then do not begin your operation. Spend the time upfront and build the trust. Typically that will start far before the time that you need the team to jump into action.

Finally, keep your eye on the targeted outcomes. The initial success will lead to a bigger win overall.

For example, after several months working directly with the most senior decision makers I delivered an operations team that would execute on the mission. It took very transparent conversation as well as recruiting a team of trusted leaders and managers who understood the risks and saw the opportunity. There was resistance from many of the usual operators in this sector who said it couldn’t be done other than how they were doing it already. With some thorough research and a good plan for execution the team was set into motion.

Within the first 30-60 days the team hit a home run. They uncovered $2.5 million dollars of illegal activity, which was a record for a single operation of that scope. This one activity has expanded into several others with consistent outcomes and has quickly become a new normal in modus operandi for the organization and has been replicated in others.

So if you are struggling to set something different in motion – – don’t give up hope! This is a great solution that can deliver if you build trust, balance communication with transparency and discretion as well as staying present. Being confident, engaged and a servant leader will support your big win.

#servantleader #communication #trust #transparency #operations #changemanagement