“I was promoted to manager of the IT department 6 months ago. We have almost 40 people in 4 branches and this is my assessment. We are not proactive; we get the work done that is requested. However, we are too reactive, I want us going to our customers showing them how we can assist them to improve their performance with our support. I also feel I am pulling information rather than the team bringing the data to me”

“An example of being proactive would be going to a customer and making them aware that we can replace or improve legacy systems, or add new technology. I also would like to see the different branches collaborating on projects.”

“The last example is how our weekly Monday and Friday meetings are conducted. Monday, we start with goals for the week and Friday with what we accomplished. I am running too much of the meetings and I am pulling information rather than it being pushed to me. It is so frustrating.”

These are the feelings of a client I am coaching. He wants to work on behavior changes for himself to get the team to be more proactive and take ownership of the performance of the division.

Here is what he is working on:

First, is some reorganization. He is taking the leaders of the four branches and making them a team, responsible for reporting on all the projects in the division. The team will have the requirement to be cognizant of all aspects of all the projects; the technology, lifecycle, budget, and possible upgrades. Not only the projects in their branch.

The goals are no surprises, engagement with the customers, and being ahead of the lifecycle issues, take ownership of the projects and relationships with the customers. A major goal is instilling a mindset of proactivity and keeping pace with new technology. The team will also be charged with increasing collaboration amongst the branches to better employ the resources of the division.

To incentivize the team, he will evaluate the four team members on the performance of the team, not as individuals. This is to ensure interdependency. He is making the work these four individuals do as a team more important than the work they do in their branches. He is expecting some growing pains here.

He is also changing his behavior at the weekly meetings. His goals are to have the leadership team run the meetings and reduce his level of talking. This is to give the leadership team ownership of the meeting.

The big principles being incorporated

  • Providing a common purpose for the branch heads
  • Delegating responsibilities to the leadership team
  • Increasing the interdependence of the four branch heads

This is not without challenge. Stepping back, setting expectations, and allowing the leadership team to execute will be a significant change for my client. He realizes that his constant pulling of information, problem-solving, and direction, has contributed to the current mode of operation. He has to be willing to accept pushback and potentially a drop in performance while the division adapts.

I am interested to hear how you might have dealt with a similar situation or your recommendations.  Write some thoughts in the comment section so we can share it with the community.