Top Tips for making the most of your challenge
Learn from experience of members during 2016 and set yourself up for success in the 2017 Challenge
- Create the capacity for change. Many teams have generated internal efficiency, applying continuous improvement on their reporting or production processes. They’re pushing back to validate the value of time consuming activities or reports that nobody reads or uses. Some are finding that better engagement with operational teams makes regular operational meetings shorter, because everyone is on the same page and comes well prepared. By doing all this, they have freed up to for new activities that add greater value to the business.
- Be crystal clear of what you what to achieve. State this issue/problem along with enough context to describe why it is important to change. Then describe the future state and the reason/benefit why you need to reach that point. A vague problem leads to a vague plan, without clear direction which leads to misunderstanding, and ultimately failure.
- Align your challenge goals to a business imperative or strategy. If your project is not critical, it will not be a priority and too easily pushed to one side when pressures mount, or new ideas get suggested. Your challenge may only be part of the plan, just make sure that is aligned and other projects know what you are doing.
- Be agile – look for quick wins and alternative approaches. Have a “Plan B”. Identify “Other” areas for change/improvement and don’t put “all your eggs in one basket”. You can gain confidence with a few “quick wins” as well as trust and credibility from other key business leaders. Also, if your main project hits a major blockage, or is pulled, you will still have plenty of other areas for change/improvement.
- Engage stakeholders and create a communication plan. A key win for most members was to identify key stakeholders (from customer facing colleagues to senior managers) and then create an effective communication plan. This can help focus your message and reach your target audience in the right method at the right time. Consider how each stakeholder can help you resolve your challenge problems. Keep them close and aware of developments.
- Regular meetings to discuss your progress. Weekly, or monthly meetings have really helped some challenge teams. They are used to avoid ‘blind alleys’, get support and track progress against timelines. Early detection of blockages can often help to resolve quicker, or even remove. Regular progress updates also help you to celebrate reaching milestones
- Set 2 or 3 goals with the right mix – some quick wins and time saving steps as well as a project with tangible benefits in the business
- Include these in the Team’s 2017 KPIs and link them to your performance/team reviews
- Find efficiencies that create new capacity and forecast projected benefits from the start
- Lose focus with a long list of goals or choose a single project that can be held up by factors outside of your control
- Rush in before you analyse the problem or forget to engage stakeholders at the start