1 – Are Observable Change’s sets of accountable actions similar to job descriptions?
Actually, they are opposites!
Job descriptions are role-specific, but they only describe, in general terms, the role’s goals, objectives and interactions. Job descriptions list a role’s responsibilities – what should be accomplished – but without specific guidance. To prove they are generic – people often copy text from other company’s job placement advertisements to create new ones.
Observable Change’s suggested actions describe what people need to do differently!
Out of a sophisticated analysis of your organization’s strategic agenda, its operations, and its culture, Observable Change’s suggested actions are realistic adjustments to a role’s existing activities which will improve strategy execution and business performance. Observable Change’s accountable actions are precise descriptions of powerful, agenda supporting actions which create a visible improvement within weeks.
Example from an Engineering Organization:
One engineering project management client had spent years frustrated by project managers who made project risk decisions and then notified the company’s owners (project leaders) by email only. Busy owners would find out later about these important decisions which gave their clients the impression that the owners were unaware. The company’s culture made the matter worse. If project managers reached out to owners mid-project, the culture viewed them as weak project managers who couldn’t manage on their own – that they needed ownership’s ‘help’.
The project manager’s job description didn’t help. It stated project managers should manage projects well and keep senior leaders informed. As project managers emailed company owners when they made these decisions – project managers felt their job description and the organization’s culture were both satisfied. Customers, however, were not! The disconnects continued to damage the company’s reputation.
Analyzing both the operational requirement AND the company’s prevailing culture, Observable Change’s accountable action involved a ‘voice mail’ alert – something the project manager needed to do differently to improve the situation.
Rather than being a signal of desperation, it was portrayed as a showcase of competence. Project managers were now accountable to make a quick phone call to an owner when they made a risk exposure decision. It was strictly a voice notification of the risk decision and the project manager’s plans to address the issue – to ensure it wasn’t lost in the stream of endless emails. Owners were invited to respond if they had additional information which would be helpful, and if not, to be satisfied in knowing they had been notified by a very professional project manager. This entire action could not have been measured – but the impact was visible.
Imagine the impact of 20 or so accountable actions like this per role across an entire organization or division, and the visible difference in business operations, collaboration, leadership, and customer service! That’s the impact of Observable Change™.
2 – We are already doing a program or two – do we have to wait before they finish before considering Observable Change™?
Observable Change™ is done in organizations looking for improvement. These organizations are always working on improving some aspect of their client care, operational quality, workforce productivity, or leadership development. Observable Change™ includes these programs in the agenda analysis to ensure all program objectives are addressed in the resulting sets of accountable actions. Observable Change™ therefore helps organizations to be sure their existing programs are implemented and that program goals become a normal part of what people do daily. So there is never any need to wait – Observable Change™ will improve the adoption and completion of your existing programs.