I bet you brushed your teeth and washed your face this morning. How did that come about?
Your mouth is minty fresh today thanks to years of reinforcement by mom and dad – day after day of monitoring, reminding and correcting while you were growing up.
The Accounting Department needs the same thing. Good practices don’t come by chance and cannot be instituted overnight. They are deliberately selected, and then built bit by bit (read: slowly) one on top of another, monitored and tweaked through time.
This is precisely why transformation projects typically fail – too much too soon. While everything may look good on paper, forcing lots of changes all at once instinctively activates our “fight or flight” response. That means we start strong. We get into survival mode, bite the bullet and rise to the challenge. But after the project is over, the realization sets in that the department lacks the support to sustain these changes. Then our hard-earned progress back slides and employees become demoralized.
So, as we go into next year’s planning activities, take care to avoid overambitious undertakings. In fact, chant this before planning meetings: 2013 is NOT the year that we’re finally going to (insert master plan here). Rather, focus on something as small as freeing up the staff for a few hours a month to reflect as a group and make small improvements.
Small ideas are easy to implement, easy to sustain and builds massive momentum for bigger changes.
Success, even a small one, is contagious.