Microchanges You Can Make to Have a Huge Impact in Activating Your Team

To date, our #Activation work has touched teams and organizations across various industries, including Financial Service, Technology, Consumer Products, Healthcare, and more.

And we’ve been curious to know which of the many #microchanges that have been implemented by clients on their journeys toward #Activation have been the most universally impactful.

So… we asked them.

We posed the question “Which of the #microchanges that you’ve implemented has yielded the greatest impact in #Activating your team(s)?”

We organized and categorized their responses which we’re excited to share with you now.

The Great Eight (as we’ve taken to calling these most popular of #microchanges) will be shared in two installments (so as not to overwhelm our dear readers!)

So there they are…

#Microchange #1: Letting go of “need to know”

We’ve said it before. When it comes to communication, too many leaders default to a “need to know” approach (I’ll tell my team what they need to know when they need to know it).

Yet we counsel time and again that information is not a currency to be hoarded but rather it’s a means of empowering great decision-making.

Knowing not just what they “need” to know (by a leader’s arbitrary estimation), but having the full picture of what’s happening around the organization and in the external environment allows team members to participate more fully in the creating and innovating anddecisioning processes – not just the execution.

Our clients tell us this small tweak in how they think about communicating has yielded big wins on the #Activation front.

#Microchange #2: The art of strategic caffeination

While organizations across industries are striving (almost blindly at times) for the holy grail of Innovation… sometimes all they need are a couple of simple, fresh ideas - which can be achieved by encouraging different permutations of people across the organization connecting and wondering.

We love the idea of strategic caffeination, which is simply an employee in Product Management having coffee (real or virtual) with someone in Technology… or Marketing or Human Resources, or Finance (you get the drift).

Sometimes simply having conversations that pull us out of our own day-to-day, and connect ourideaswith the ideas of someone in totally separate part of the business can yield a truly activated idea.

#Microchange #3: The enhanced question

Some of our clients tell us: we want -- and we regularly ask for -- feedback, innovation, questions from our employees. But it feels like no matter how often we ask, we just don’t hear much in response.

Hmmm… quite a pickle – huh?

Well, when we peek under the hood of what’s going on there, so often we find the issue is simply with how the question is being posed.

While we’d all love to be living in a world of #SuperCandor – in which everyone freely speaks their minds for the good of the team… the reality is sometimes we need to be effectively prompted.

So with some of our clients, we started prompting them to approach their questions a little differently.

Instead of asking a team “Does anyone have any feedback for me?” a leader might say instead “I would like to hear one thing I’m doing really well, and one thing I can do differently to support the effectiveness of the team.”

Instead of asking “Does anyone have any questions?” a leader might say, instead “What is one thing I might not have thought about or considered?”

And on and on and on.

Our clients tell us this simple strategy of tweaking their questions requires (as you can imagine) virtually no effort on their part, and yet the outcomes they realize move them notably toward #Activation.

Related: Activation: A Case Study in Innovation

#Microchange #4: The great pomp shed

The number one obstacle to being #Activated? No time. People are busy, calendars packed, exhaustion is setting in.


While a traditional solution might be to shut some projects down, the truth is that can be challenging. It’s hard to stop work in flight, and it can be deflating to those driving the work.

One recommendation we love (and seemingly so do our clients) is the approach of finding the “pomp” and pulling it out. In other words, can we find and solve for the tiny inefficiencies without scrapping the work altogether?

So for example, perhaps too many people sit on the “core team” slowing down progress; or perhaps senior leadership requests weekly updates when biweekly or even monthly could serve.

There are many ways to find the bottlenecks in any piece of work. Ask yourself – where are people spending time that adds value, and where are they spinning their wheels? If given the chance, they’ll tell you (and refer to #Microchange 3 before you ask the question).

So there you have the first four that made our Great Eight List.