Based on experience are are 10 steps to successfully implement decentralized management system in any company.
1 – A must! Make sure you have a clear business problem that you need to resolve. Changing a management system for the sake of doing it is highly not recommended. To start this journey, you need to have a sound business reason. It’s not so hard to find a business reason in today’s complex and fast-changing world. The fact that there is a $139B market of consulting management is also proof that something is not working with today’s management system.
1.A – If you need, sell your business need and change to your boss, board or any entity that you need.
2- Search for available solutions that you can find reading materials online. Don’t use great ideas if they don’t have enough reading material about them. You’ll need this data to educate your team. Without this data, it will be hard for people to understand what this system is all about. Believe me, I made this mistake.
3 -Select two solutions that you feel will be a good fit for your organization. Involve several people you trust to validate your assumptions.
4 – identify a small team (not more than ten people) that should significantly benefit from such a change. Make sure that the team has metrics that are tracked for at least six months. This metrics will help to verify that changing the management system generate the right impact.
5 – Communicate the business reason and ask for potential solutions. Don’t share your solutions yet. Let people think about solutions. If one of them will come with a close idea, it’s easier to adjust it to the decentralized management system you had in mind. If it’s come to form leadership, it’s a bad idea, if it comes from the team its a great idea.
6- If the idea came from the team expose them to the two options and ask them to recommend which option is better for them. If the idea didn’t come from the group, explain why you believe a new management system will help and ask the team for a recommendation. In this step, you’ll need the reading materials.
7- Never take a framework that works for others and implement it as it is. This advice is applicable for management framework as well. This step is the most important one. If you do it right, you’ll have most of the people committed and knowledgeable about the new system. Now it’s time to sit with the team and adjust the framework of choice to the team and company culture. As you start this step, begin in parallel the next step.
8- Involve change management expert to help with the team that implements the change as well as with the entire organization. Find a change management expert that believes in the transition. Don’t use the traditional standard organizational design group. Without their understanding and support, they will create more damage than help. You won’t get this support from traditional OD groups. Again, speaking from experience.
9 – Start the experiment and pay attention to metrics. Don’t expect to see any result before 3-6 months. Expect a positive change follow by a negative change that will be turned again upside down to success, just to turn into another negative sentiment before the final continuous significant change. I’m writing this just to make sure that you won’t lose faith in the second negative sentiment. Many people are giving up at this point, don’t do it. The last change should be 40%-60% change in metrics. If you see any behavior that is not following this pattern, raise a flag!
10 – If you are not getting the expected change, you can try again with different framework or give up. If you see success from this pilot move forward following those steps for a bigger and bigger group. Don’t jump to the entire group after two or three pilots. Learn the lessons from each pilot and adjust the new framework accordingly.
10.A – sell success! It’s important.