So you want to change how things work around here…

Think big but start small

As a producer, you will frequently need to introduce a New Process to the team. You’ll work long and hard on identifying the problem areas in production, think about different ways of fixing those problems, and finally come up with a solution. “It we only did it this way, it’d all work out much better“. 

You’ll probably quickly run the new idea by a few people, everyone is happy after some back-and-forth – and you send an email to the team. “Team, Starting today, this is how we are going to do this”  … only to receive flaming emails in your inbox and angry people at your door. And your perfect New Process will crumble in front of your eyes like a house of cards.

To avoid it, every New Process must begin with the grassroots. Think of it as a political campaign where you are electing the New Process to the office. You first go to the very bottom of the org pyramid, to those deep in the trenches. You discuss the problem with them, listen to them and collect their ideas. You propose your solution but let them shape its final form. It’s solving their problems after all.

Key point: Every New Process must begin with the grassroots. Think of it as a political campaign where you are electing the New Process to the office.

You do it one by one, no large meetings here! It’s difficult to control a group; before you can control the group you must control the individuals. Make sure you talk to the most respected (by their peers) people first. Get their input and their support. Then talk to the leads, then directors. In this journey, make sure to listen and adapt your proposal based on feedback. Only when you know that you’ve got people’s support, that you’ve got the “key votes” for your New Process secured, you do go public with the New Process. At that point your email will be met with cheers rather than resistance. If there are few who didn’t know about and are opposing the New Process, they will be quickly converted by their peers who helped build the New Process and feel a profound sense of ownership in it.

It takes much more effort to introduce change to large teams like this, as opposite to just dictating it down. But in the end it’s worth it – the procedure was refined by those closest to the problem and in the process  it became THEIR ideas, THEIR decision, they will understand it better and follow it eagerly.

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