A champion is required for driving an initiative in an organization. I have seen couple of champions who face lot of challenges in taking an initiative to finish line. Following are some of the concerns observed from Champions “initiative needs a significant follow-up with concerned person and it is a frustrating experience”, “implementing an initiative is not an easy task it needs a lot of commitment and support from senior management”, “After a significant follow-up escalating to senior management will only help to make people to contribute”
All these symptoms indicate that there is something missing to make an initiative successful. Let me share my experience, first of all the champion should have an answer to these questions prior to roll out an initiative and communicate.
- How important the initiative for the individual
- What happens if the individual did not contribute?
- What benefit the individual will get if they contribute
- What kind of help or support they can get from champion
- a) How important the initiative for the individual: Explain the purpose of initiative and how important for the individual in their professional / personal front.
- b) What happens if the individual did not contribute / participate / implement: Determine and communicate what the consequences to the individual are if they did not contribute towards an initiative. Individuals not getting the benefits are not the consequences. Will there be any impact on the individual’s performance if they don’t contribute
- c) What are the benefits to the individual if they contribute/What is in it for me?
Some of the options are
1) Offering varying levels of benefits under a single scheme based on the contribution
2) Varying scheme of benefits based on their quality / quantum of contribution
3) Benefit at employee’s discretion subject to feasibility
- d) What kind of help or support extended to the individuals?
A champion needs to communicate on what kind of help / support will be extended to the individuals. Champion should act as a coach and mentor in providing support that is required for the individuals to contribute on the initiatives.
A champion keep following-up only on the status will not help in achieving the desired result. Also, just forcing the individuals on the result without addressing the above mentioned factors (1 to 3 under C), initiative will not lead to finish line. Also, just escalating the issue to the management will only increase the tension between the champion and the individuals.
In summary, it is a value creation exercise which can be accomplished by a champion only by working closely with the individuals by understanding what kind of challenges that they go through and providing suitable guidance.
Let us take some examples:
A champion in ABC Company made an announcement that those who deliver quality code consistently, they will get gift voucher and their name & achievements will be put on the notice board as well as published in the company’s intranet site.
There are quite a few employees delivering consistent quality in the company which is known to QC team as well as other employees. Those employees were not excited with these announcements made by the company because they knew that others in the company know about their quality of deliveries. The same employees were expecting a long break/leave that was rejected couple of times due to lot of deliveries committed to client. In this example, it is very clear that supervisor should think of granting a long break/leave as soon as the deliveries are over. In case, the supervisor has not considered granting long break, the employee motivation level will be low and may result in attrition.
Another example is that, Champion in ABC Company has arrived response to all the above points except point b) that is about what are the consequences if the individuals did not contribute on the new initiatives. Though, Champion communicated about the benefits and importance of initiative, there were some individuals who are not excited about the benefits. In this case, when the Champion sees a lack of contribution from those individuals, he has to understand what is causing lack of contribution and try to resolve it or ignore the individuals from the expectation list.
I suggest Champions to understand the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that is available in the following URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs