Saturday, December 08, 2007

Latest draft for moving on any initiative

This is my latest thinking of the sequence of steps needed to move on any initiative. I'm sure it will undergo revisions in the future:

Here's my latest version:

Procedure for launching any initiative

1. Establish unequivocal leadership. Establish strong leadership where the buck stops -- someone ensures it is executed and who protects the initiative in its infancy. Someone stands up and says, this is my initiative. I am responsible and I will take action to ensure execution and protect this initiative.

2. Establish the working team. It's more important that these be the “right people” instead of some democratic ideal of seeking representation. The latter is only necessary to the point that representation will ensure execution. The right people means “mission appropriate,” loyal to the organization, doers.
A team of interested staff and students - small, workable, interested team with energy for this sort of thing / You pull together a committed group to work on this issue and meet as frequently as necessary.

Alert: I think this group needs to determine what process it will use to resolve conflicts, make decisions and solve problems. The problem is that either or both (1) folks just want to get to work and trust they'll work through things so this stage is perceived as a waste of time and/or (2) folks don't want to preemptively commit themselves to a process “in theory.” The time may come when they feel so strongly about a decision that they don't care what the process generates. I don't think it matters what the process is as long as there is a rational, agreed upon process. Doesn't matter if it's voting, consensus, using matrices, etc.

3. Invite controlled community involvement. Following meetings; share proposals and invite feedback via email. Hearing proposals at a staff meeting for the first time (as we did with the chore proposals) does not provide sufficient time to process the issues. Also, frequent communication reduces the possibility that you are doing something in conflict with another group {Again, the chore proposal had an action that directly conflicted with the house focus proposal regarding house clean}.

4. Focus on the smallest unit possible that will still be a contribution. Start small with your proposals. Start with one table in the lodge that is a no cursing table (that's an could probably start with meal time and kitchen work as the small unit to begin with). Have success with that before expanding the work. / a clear but small scope of behavior to take on at first and a singleminded focus to only deal within this scope until it has traction in this community

5. Overdetermine success by looking at every aspect of needed support. a system for supporting the success of this initiative: incentives/disincentives, peer support, assistance, removal of barriers, training, etc. / Once you have settled on a proposal; think of all the ways you would have to follow through to ensure that expectations are met. I have a model (6 cell model of human behavior) that I use to try to cover all angles on follow through. / Figure out how you will
(a) follow up with new events - celebrations, recognitions...some plan to keep it in the community's consciousness
(b) strategically build out the approach (expand from the smallest unit or expand in terms of overdetermining success)

Alert: How to address issues of execution? How to talk about it while implementing? Can the team actually carry out the play? Possibility: Need to do step 5 (overdetermine success) with the working core team itself.

6. Have a mechanism for review. a feedback mechanism for reflection and improvement

Keep doing steps 3 through 6.

Principles to follow:
1. Any action that is to be taken needs to be written out and explained in actionable language.

i.e., No foul language used in the kitchen (we have students working in the kitchen) NOT Everyone shows each other respect during KP {that's not actionable}

2. Any action for which someone must take responsibility must have a name and time attached to it.

i.e., Mike will explain the foul language rule to every student over weeks 1 and 2 NOT We'll make sure we tell the students not to use foul language {who will do it, when? Likely will fall through the cracks}

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