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  • Writer's pictureTünde Lukacs

How can you turn a project that’s getting rocky?

I learned it through the hard lesson.

This story happened many years ago. As the leader of large transformation projects, I was in charge of rolling out a new tool across multiple teams.

We started off the usual way, including:

↳ meticulous planning

↳ tons of slides

↳ perfect documentation.

But the rollout was rocky. Despite all our preparations, people were frustrated and confused.

We started getting questions, - many of them we did not prepare for.

Because of that, milestones shifted and we ran into delays. This did not look great, when the tool was supposed to make people's life easier! We were overloaded and could not see the end of the open questions.

And because of that, our team got into low-energy mode too. Roadblocks and problems were mounting, when all we wanted is happy people with a brand new tool.

Very soon, it felt like something was missing. We were so focused on the tool that we were overlooking the key ingredient – the people who would actually be using it.

That’s when it hit me: we needed a different approach.

So, this is how we continued:

↳ ditched the slide decks

↳ had a different conversation on people’s needs, pain points, and how this new tool would impact their work

↳ did small, iterative changes, got feedback, and adapted as we went along

Also, we made communication a continuous process – regular check-ins, sharing successes, and celebrating even small wins. Suddenly, we started building trust!

The result? After the bumpy start (and change of winds), the tool had much higher user adoption than we ever could have imagined. Most importantly, our teams are happier and more connected.

The takeaway? Process improvement isn't just about efficiency. It's about people. Focus on building relationships, understanding needs, and communicating with empathy. No convincing needed after this 😊

I reflected on this learning last week during my hike at beautiful Walensee. Keep on reminding yourself of the hard lessons!

Have you had a similar learning experience?

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