Why is it that some projects get buy-in and support from teams and stakeholders and other projects fail miserably? One of the reasons could be the way the team members and other stakeholders are treated. It is fairly common knowledge that people, all around the world, want to be treated fairly and yet there are many instances where leaders and managers fail to behave in a fair manner.
Fair process means being actively engaged with each and every person who is involved in, or will be affected by, the project. Everyone needs to be kept informed about why and how decisions were made, the reasons why people will be promoted or transferred, and managers need to set very clear expectations of the how each team member’s performance will be measured.
By doing this, you create a level playing ﬁeld and signal to the stakeholders that the leaders and managers value employees’ and team members’ intellectual and emotional worth. This will help to reduce feelings of suspicion that inevitably arise in situations of change.
Here’s a short extract from the book “Blue Ocean Strategy”: The Three E Principles of Fair Process
There are three mutually reinforcing elements that define fair process: engagement, explanation, and clarity of expectation.
Engagement means involving individuals in the strategic decisions that affect them by asking for their input and allowing them to refute the merits of one another’s ideas and assumptions.
Explanation means that everyone involved and affected should understand why final strategic decisions are made as they are. An explanation allows employees to trust managers’ intentions even if their own ideas have been rejected. It also serves as a powerful feedback loop that enhances learning.
Expectation clarity requires that after a strategy is set, managers state clearly the new rules of the game. Although the expectations may be demanding, employees should know up front what standards they will be judged by and the penalties for failure. What are the goals of the new strategy? What are the new targets and milestones? Who is responsible for what?
To achieve fair process, it matters less what the new goals, expectations, and responsibilities are and more that they are clearly understood. When people clearly understand what is expected of them, political jockeying and favouritism are minimized, and people can focus on executing the strategy rapidly.
If you would like to learn more about how to manage your team with fair process and to apply other important leadership techniques , we have a relevant course coming up: Executive Leadership in the 21st Century in November 2013. We’ll show you how to go beyond run-of-the-mill leadership methods and really build a team that works with effective and harmonious processes.