Category: Entreprise Analysis
Type: Team Management
Title: Council between Human and Process
Our client Artemis (nickname for the purpose of the case) is a consultant in event planning. She contacted us to help her implement an improvement in a communication tool in order to start a marketing campaign. This tool is the website of an association, FAUVE (nickname for the purpose of the case), in which she is involved. FAUVE is a non-profit organization that helps children to have a good education, food, health service etc. The situation in FAUVE, as presented by Artemis, is that the leader has to make a choice to update or not the website under a new communication policy suggested by Artemis. It’s necessary for the development of the organization but one collaborator is opposed to the update of the website. This resistance to change and the fact that the leader is close to both the collaborator and Artemis make the decision difficult to take. We have suggested few recommendations based on team and leadership management to implement a solution that implies to redesign the website and to council the approaches to achieve this improvement.
Diagnosis (recall of facts)
The FAUVE organization wishes to develop its activities by launching a fundraising phase to an audience made up of young professionals in the Diaspora of the country and stake holder from another horizon. FAUVE wants to give a new, more dynamic image to attract this target audience. The leader asks her cousin Artemis to help her in this mission. Artemis offered to refresh the website by using the services of a professional designer before organizing a corporate event to promote the association and collect donations. The site was originally made by a collaborator, who is a sister in law to the leader, on a voluntary basis because she has knowledge in programming. After a meeting where the new targets have been presented to the team, the collaborator objects that the redesign of the website that she built is not necessary and request only corrections to be applied to it without global change. She threatens to leave the team if the purpose of renewing the website is maintained.
Formulation of the problem
The leader of FAUVE must choose whether to renew its communication tools and in particular its website taking into account the opposition of his collaborator (sister in law and creator of the website) and the proposal of her cousin Artemis who act as a consultant in events planning to develop the activity of the association.
Analysis of the situation
Before the beginning of the consulting work made by Artemis the association was dormant and lived on personal investment of the leader without collecting enough donations for its activities. Artemis brought the idea of revitalizing its activities by playing on the image of the association to reach a wider audience and get more support. The credibility of the association was at a risk. The first portal of the association is its website. It is in a static form while most of them are now in a dynamic form with or without the use of template. The English version is not available, and, returns an error message when people click on the link. The update seems to be necessary. The choice to rework the website from the initial model is hard to implement with the methods of developers that prefer to implement new solution instead of correcting other mistakes. Again, the website seems to be obsolete compared to the new objectives. There is a conflicting issue between the collaborator who created the website and Artemis. Both of them have a special and close emotional relationship with the leader of the association. The threat of withdrawal of the collaborator stiffens the choice of the leader who must choose between two point of view or between two people. The emotional charge of the choices for the development of the association is an obstacle in this situation.
We are here in a case of resistance to change. It is also a matter of cultural management within the team to adapt to new challenges: to break the status quo, immobility and conservatism to build a new team spirit and promote a new deal for the association. Finally, the leadership style of the leader is an obstacle to the development of its structure. The moral and emotional commitment and closeness to the members (parents or close friends) of the association limits the implementation of new strategies.
Strategy options and actions
Solution 1. The website is updated by its initial creator
Communication policy should adapt with the fact that the site is now obsolete. The focus can be internally to prioritize action on the ground instead of collecting money online. The creator of the website should however realize important maintenance to eliminate the bugs and make the site more attractive. Ideally she should redo the site and not only fix bugs. The work of refreshing the website can thus be entrusted to the collaborator and this should imply that she strengthen the graphic design with or without template. She should accept the loss of the initial effort made to create the website (real reason of the reluctance to change). The possibility of a symbolic or substantial remuneration for her is better for fairness and to start disengaging the personal proximity between the work made in a professional way and the volunteer commitment.
Solution 2. The website is updated by a professional designer and the collaborator leave
Despite the emotional load of choice and moral commitment towards the creator of the site, the association needs to move forward and its new target audience is sensitive to the aesthetics of websites to assess the credibility of organizations where they should invest their money. The all new communication policy should be launched from the redesign of the logo, the redefinition of objectives, the messages etc. which are often listed on the site. The apparent intransigence of the collaborator who threat to leave the team is not beneficial to the group and the future of the association. This type of attitude could happen again on other issues and block up changes in the structure. An alternative commitment may be offered to her in another position or the association must go on without her. This does not close the door to a return once her affects calmed down over time.
Solution 3. The website is updated by a professional designer and the collaborator remains in the team
In a project it’s better to count on the support of all people of goodwill. The website and the communication tools that are obsolete need to be changed. The question to be addressed is to pacify the difference in the perspectives between the two members of the team. Mediation can be offered by a mentor, someone outside the structure to reconcile differences and reach a consensus between the two points of view. This must then ensure a good team spirit among members who were in the association at the beginning and those who may be asked to join them in the course of the development of new money raising campaign. The leader must always keep the emotional load balance among the member and be sure to keep and respect a healthy distance with them to be more effective, responsive and proactive in making decisions on behalf of the non-profit organization.
What happen next?
FAUVE has changed the website and the two members are still in the association. The leader found a designer who is a friend of her but the outcome is still not enough for Artemis who want to a more professional image. They organized a fund raising event and continue the work on the field. This experience was not mediation but a way to help an innovation to take place in a changing environment where communication and image need to be updated
We are sharing here a sample of our work to help you understand the fields of our expertise and be more familiar with the approaches and methods of project management and business engineering. This is the kind of solutions that we can implement in order to ensure business achievement for any initiative. We are working closely with the client to adapt the outcomes to the existing environment and process.
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