I am currently traveling in China with my wife – visiting some family here. We were able to sneak in a little side trip. Our destinations were Fenghuang and Zhangjiajie. These two places are located in the Hunan Province in south central China. Fenghuang translates literally to Phoenix, a Chinese mythical bird with great power. I liken Fenghuang to Venice. It’s an ancient city built on the Tuojian River. Zhangjiajie is a national forest of about 28,000 acres. It’s more like a scene from another world with tall black and gray granite pillars covered with moss and vines, all of which seem to float in the mist. Most people have never heard of Zhangjiajie, so I compare it to Utah’s Bryce Canyon sans greenery and mist. Incidentally Zhangjiajie inspired James Cameron’s Hallelujah Mountains in the famed movie Avatar.
On this particular journey, we secured a group tour with 150 other people. Preparing to leave on the morning of the tour, I was reminded of the importance of good organizational skills when trying to herd 150 people on a series of five busses. On a project in which I was involved many years ago, we engaged approximately 3200 people to make major changes in their work habits as part of a large acquisition and merger. We coordinated, scheduled and conducted more than 30,000 hours of training for them in six weeks covering multiple subjects.
In today’s business word, speed of change is becoming more important. The ability of a company to quickly respond to market opportunities is critical to success. Highly developed organizational skills are required to meet these demands.
It took about 30 minutes for the tour company to load the buses and have us on our way. It seemed rather effortless. I was particularly impressed at how they handled lunch. All five busses pulled into the restaurant at nearly the same time. We had a great lunch and we’re all back on our busses and on our way within one hour. This pattern of highly organized action continued throughout our trip, and we were never the wiser. In fact when one of us became ill, or one of us became lost, the crew went to work. They readily accommodated the sick and found the lost, again with little disruption to the rest of us.
Use this simple assessment to determine your organization’s readiness to take on major change. Note if you agree or disagree with each statement.
a. Each function’s role supporting the overall organizational change is clear.
b. The structure of the change team aligns with its charter or purpose.
c. Leadership team member roles are clear.
d. There are clear hand offs between functions.
e. Each function consider the needs and requirements of other functions.
5 – You are in well prepared to execute a successful change.
4 – You are in good shape, focus some energy on improving this one area.
3 – Success is probable with extra effort.
2 – You will likely requires additional resources to successfully implement this change.
1 – Don’t proceed with your change deployment until you address the risks associated with these shortcomings.