Management Success Tip #148: Be Inspired By Big Cities’ Success: Bring The Right Mix Of People To The Table

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Ben Hecht posted a fascinating blog on how big cities think about large-scale change. He described, in considerable detail, the process used by big cities that were successful in implementing complex, large scale change.

Hecht pointed out, in one sentence that caught my attention like no other, that “Much of what weʼve learned is relevant to leaders of any type of organization or partnership that want to catalyze change in the face of complex challenges.”

Indeed. Take but one aspect of the process, what Hecht calls “Get the right players to the table.” He states that “Change happens only when the right mix of partners, with the right experience, knowledge, and power are at the table…Too often, actors that were fundamental to achieving the desired results were not yet involved in existing efforts — thatʼs why the efforts werenʼt working. We asked cities to start from the results that they wanted to achieve, and then to determine who needed to be at the table in order to achieve them. Often, this meant bringing people together who were not used to working together.”

What a powerful lesson that can be applied to any size business! Look at your team, or the people you’ve assembled to work on a project, and ask yourself, “Are these the people who need to be involved given our goals?” Open yourself to bringing people together who do not usually work together: techies with creative types, designers with employees in manufacturing, Boomers with Millenials.

Your employees will be invigorated by the diversity of their team, and you will have greater success.


Management Success Tip #58: Beat The 70% Change-Failure Rate!

Successful Change

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

If you walked into work one day, and found your office was now on a different floor, around the corner, you’d be upset. If you called a team meeting and discovered that four of your usual ten-person team had been replaced with four newbies you’d never met, you’d be more than upset, you’d be angry and worried. And if you came in and found that your parking place had been reassigned, regardless of where to, you’d be one cranky person.

Yet that’s what your employees are faced with, regularly. Oh, not the exact situations, but the essence of them: namely, unannounced, unsolicited change in which they had no say.

Granted, you’re the boss, whether it’s of your department, shop, or company, and you certainly have the right to make changes. But there are reasons why, according to research by McKinsey & Company, about 70% of all changes in all organizations fail, and that this abysmal rate has remained stable over the past 20 years, costing companies substantial waste of dollars and effort. And one of the reasons for it is failure to ask the very people involved in the change for their input and feedback before the change is implemented.

Too often, change is dictated from the top with the expectation that employees, being paid as they are to do a job, should simply go along with the change. But employees are human beings before they are employees, and one thing most human beings heartily dislike and resist – is change.

If you want your employees to adopt whatever change you are contemplating, if it involves them either directly or indirectly, talk with your employees about the change being considered before putting it in play.  Talk with them about the why, the where, the when and the how of it. Ask for employee opinions, thoughts, worries, fears, all of it. Incorporate what comes out of those discussions into the final form of the change.

Your change, big or small, will have far greater chances of success.