Friday is my last day with Koné Consulting and while I’ve had over a month to prepare for the moment there’s a big part of me that still doesn’t believe it’s happening. A couple of months ago an old friend and colleague of mine whom I hadn’t spoken to in a long time invited me out to dinner to catch up on the work we’d both been doing over the interceding years. Slowly, but surely, the dinner turned into a job offer—one that I ultimately decided I couldn’t refuse. Next week I’ll begin work as the Chief Operating Officer of a Montessori academy in Chicago’s West Loop.
This may sound like a bit of a hard right turn, but I actually do have educational and professional experience in child development (from a previous life). That, coupled with the fact that my daughter will be able to attend school there, led to my decision.
I regret leaving so soon after starting—it’s been less than a year-and-a-half since I came onboard and I feel like there’s so much more I could accomplish, so much more I could learn. Nevertheless, I’m doing my best to remind myself that there’s plenty I’ve learned over the last 16 months.
All problems are people problems. There isn’t an issue an organization encounters that can’t be at least partially helped by getting a group of dedicated and thoughtful people into a room to try and solve it. Problem is, many organizations do not empower their frontline staff, who are the actual experts in how work gets done, to be true change agents. As I say to clients all the time, “no one shows up to work each morning saying to themselves ‘I can’t wait to waste my time today!’” No—people show up to work with a desire to provide value to the people they serve, and when we don’t invest in their development we are doing them a disservice.
All problems are systems problems. As stated above, people show up to work wanting to do a good job. But a bad process will trump an individual’s good intentions 99 times out of 100. We should not set up systems that require herculean efforts from individual workers just to get basic things done. Organizations that ensure that business processes take into account the people engaged in those processes everyday are going to be much more successful.
Understanding cannot be assumed. We practice 10x communication at Koné Consulting. That is, we take a guess at how often a message needs to be communicated for it to be internalized, and then we multiply that by 10. It ought to be obvious, but sending an all-staff e-mail at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday letting everyone know about a major change in process going into effect 9:00 a.m. Monday is not an effective communication strategy. And even if multiple messages have been sent to staff, or transmitted to supervisors, it cannot be assumed that everyone understands it. Frequent, personalized multi-media messages need to be offered to ensure everyone “gets” it.
The list goes on, but I don’t want to bore anyone. The bottom line is my time at Koné Consulting has helped me be a more conscientious and engaged organizational change agent—wisdom and expertise that I hope I may ably employ during the next chapter of my professional life. And so, I bid farewell to the incredible Koné Consulting team, with sincere hope that our paths cross once more. The elements be kind to thee and make thy spirits all of comfort! Fare thee well.