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Inspire: Winning Hearts and Minds

Dec 4, 2019 by Mike Weaver

We’re nearing the end of our MAD Change series, and the Inspire stage is all about winning hearts and minds.

For a successful Merger, Acquisition or Divestiture – or any large-scale corporate restructuring – it’s crucial to put your people first, and actively encourage them to embrace change.

MJ is certainly one of the most inspirational people I know, and in this video, we discuss how to keep your team on track.

Transcript: Winning the hearts and minds of your team

MJ: When we talk about inspire, what do we mean?

This means that during a change process, in order to maintain momentum, we need to inspire our team for them to continue to feel enthused and excited about the changes to come, because often once we’ve begun to achieve a form of integration, it can start to become flat. And then those, again reluctant adopters, won’t want to integrate.

So, this is about inspiring the team to continue to integrate and adopt new change, new processes, and a new culture.

Mike: So why is the Inspire phase so important? – or any large-scale corporate restructuring – it’s

You’ve put all of this planning and effort into your change, and now you’re here. This is where the rubber hits the road. This is, unfortunately, where it can fall off the rails a little bit. Here are some things to keep track of:

A lot of organizations, particularly large organizations may find that there’s some secret saboteurs amongst your teams. These are people that may appear to be adopting the change, but in the back end, they’re not.

Some examples of this might be a Departmental Manager that in Department meetings are supportive, but then in their individual team meetings, they’re really dragging and causing problems or maybe even badmouthing the project that you have. You want to be on the lookout for this and address it heads on to keep your project on track. You want to review and focus and ensure that what you’re doing is correct.

You may find that the business changed as your project was evolving; the business continued to evolve and make changes even though your project plan might have been a little static.

The other thing to look for is fatigue. You have this team with these critical early adopters that have really tried to do a good job and keep this change going, but they might be a little tired. Look for this, ensure that you can give them an appropriate break so that they can stay energized and keep the change going.

MJ: So how are we going to inspire our team?

Well, there’s really four stages to this. Firstly, ensure you’re inspired. Find your team, work with peers, find your support mechanism, so that you can continue to be inspired yourself.

Often, you will have worked long hours, you will have worked hard, and you’ll be tired, so make sure you look after yourself.

Next, don’t underestimate the importance of celebrating quick wins.

Again, once we believe there’s a level of integration. we start to take for granted those steps or overcoming those challenges. Make sure we continue to celebrate those because they will continue to enthuse others, particularly those informal celebrations.

Next, use positive and enthusiastic team members to inspire others. We’ve got them involved, we’re using our influences – get them to help each other.

And lastly, and most importantly, any inspiring methods that you use, make sure they’re genuine. Your team will see through you if it’s fake. Genuinely celebrate milestones, quick wins, and keep them going.

Inspire Stage Q&A

Mike: So, let’s talk about how we can apply this a little more.

So, one of the questions that we get in this category is how can we inspire others when we don’t feel inspired ourselves? Even as a leader, no one’s perfect. How can you find that motivation or changeover to be able to inspire others?

MJ: Firstly, I would say that build your support, build your network, build your support system to help inspire yourself, and be aware of your own impact. We talked about that under Impact and Influence, so do what you need to do to feel inspired. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is, people assume that inspiring others is great teeth, good hair, saving people from burning buildings – it’s The Hollywood Show.

No, inspiring others is about being genuine. It’s about talking to people. It’s about involving people and being aware of when people have made a valid contribution and congratulating them for it.

Also, as we start to move through the change process, what happens is we stop celebrating the small stuff; it becomes the norm. Keep doing it. That will maintain enthusiasm.

Mike: So, in this category in our projects, sometimes this is where we advise our Leads to find someone in another company that’s been through this, or find someone in another Department to see what they’re going through, and that could be helpful, particularly in Office 365 tenant to tenant migration projects.

MJ: It definitely can, and actually, reaching out to people like yourselves where you may know of others that have gone through this and help them network.

Mike: Absolutely, we’re always happy to help them to make those connections. It’s interesting, whenever you haven’t seen the road before or haven’t been through it before, it’s helpful to talk to somebody.

MJ: Get help.

Recognize enthusiasm

Mike: So, another problem we run into is sometimes people are perfectionists in their role and we love these people because they’re the ones that give us an amazing output, and the ones that, ‘Hey can you help me with this?’.

But sometimes in these projects where things haven’t been done before that can be a real problem. What do you think about that? How do you help people that are in that perfectionist role or have that personality trait but when there’s so much unknown, they struggle with that?

MJ: Firstly, recognize that they are that type of person and you’ll often know because they’ll keep asking why. They will want the facts that you actually can’t give them at the moment because It’s such a dynamic process.

So, recognize that they are perfectionists, and say to them, ‘We know that you want all the answers, but as a dynamic process, this is about trying it out. This is about trial and error.’

To be honest, what may have to happen is, they may have to work on a different project – be taken off of it for a while as you resolve the issues – and then brought back when there’s more certainty to, if you like, finish the job.

What we don’t want to do is lose our perfectionists because when it comes to Integration, that’s when they’re really going to help us. But recognize it and recognize their contribution.

Planning a MAD project?

If your organization is in the process of a Merger, Acquisition or Divestiture, and you need some inspiration, please check out the business coaching and leadership training services of MJ Inspire.

And if you need technical help, please review our Office 365 migration services and talk to our talented team of data migration experts.