help introducing big changes

I have gotten so much great advice here, I wanted to see if I could pick your collective brains  for some more.

Short version: I need to implement both cuts (in hours) and a completely new system of documentation in a group with a history of poor performance. How?

Long version:
I have made HUGE progress with my dueling passive-aggressives, thanks to O3s.  However, problems still remain with the diabolic duo. 

In particular, while one person has made great strides in terms of her personal development and letting jabs from the other person slide, her performance in terms of getting the job done is still sub-standard.  We are covered by regulatory rules for record keeping that are not being met. 

So, I (relatively new boss) have to tell the person who has been doing things a certain way for 20+ years that we are going to use a completely new procedure and more detailed record keeping.

A huge body of knowledge resides in this person's head. How do I get her to share it, when she knows that she's destined to be fired/laid off/other?  The reason it's all in her head is...no one ever wrote anything down.

I hate resorting to "Because I'm the boss, that's why" to get her to follow these new procedures.    But...so far, my attempts to discuss this change with her and have her initiate the change herself have not worked, although we've made some progress--she's not nearly as hostile to the idea as before. (Hi D, Hi C, is my guess on her DiSC type--likes to be in charge, doesn't like change.)

How, within the context of the nice O3 relationship we've built up, say "I Need It Now Or Else?"

I've listened to the "how to fire someone...almost" cast, and that helped me get her halfway here. Now I'm stumped.

Help me find the words?

Thanks!

How about the Change podcast?

 bug_girl,

I assume you've listened to:  http://www.manager-tools.com/2008/12/change-briefings-preparation-rule-1-individuals-not-arguments but thought it worth mentioning nonetheless.  

So you asked a couple different questions: 

- How to tell her to shape up, or she'll be shipped out...

- How to extract the knowledge in her head before she's shipped out...

If she's a high D, you can be blunt:  "You must do X work in Y hours per week, or I have to find someone who can."  You must track her work carefully (etc, the whole late stage coaching thing...)  Be prepared to let her go if she can't do the work.  Remember:  What happens if you fail to meet regulatory requirements?  Is she more important than that?  

Can the other person do the work?   

And is her knowledge really that important?  An early mentor told me that when someone has so much specialized knowledge in their head which makes them indispensable, then you should fire them immediately.  (actually, it's the manager's fault...)  Anyway, it's rarely the case that you can't get by without them.  Often, you'll find out that they actually know a lot less than you thought, and some of it is useless or worse.  

John

Since the person has made

Since the person has made great strides in their personal development, then it sounds as if they are responding positively to your management.

On the performance end, I would suggest 1) explaining that these are the changes and here is the rationale behind them, or 2) here are the new requirements that need to be met, here is why and I would value your input on how we can tailor your job to meet them. They need to know that change is coming and it's their choice to participate or not. Option 2 has the advantage of acknowledging her knowledge an contribution from the past and an opportunity to have some input into the future.

Once there is a process and a schedule set (with or without their input), I would review the responsibilities and tasks with the employee. I would then b prepared to document performance based problems.... There is some institutional knowledge that is meant to be lost.

Since the person has made

Since the person has made great strides in their personal development, then it sounds as if they are responding positively to your management.

On the performance end, I would suggest 1) explaining that these are the changes and here is the rationale behind them, or 2) here are the new requirements that need to be met, here is why and I would value your input on how we can tailor your job to meet them. They need to know that change is coming and it's their choice to participate or not. Option 2 has the advantage of acknowledging her knowledge an contribution from the past and an opportunity to have some input into the future.

Once there is a process and a schedule set (with or without their input), I would review the responsibilities and tasks with the employee. I would then be prepared to document performance based problems.... There is some institutional knowledge that is meant to be lost.

Since the person has made

Since the person has made great strides in their personal development, then it sounds as if they are responding positively to your management.

On the performance end, I would suggest 1) explaining that these are the changes and here is the rationale behind them, or 2) here are the new requirements that need to be met, here is why and I would value your input on how we can tailor your job to meet them. They need to know that change is coming and it's their choice to participate or not. Option 2 has the advantage of acknowledging her knowledge an contribution from the past and an opportunity to have some input into the future.

Once there is a process and a schedule set (with or without their input), I would review the responsibilities and tasks with the employee. I would then be prepared to document performance based problems.... There is some institutional knowledge that is meant to be lost.

Some of this I inherited

I should add that mgmt. of this unit was added to my pile last year because I'm now considered "The Fixer".  Errrr....Thanks MT?  :)

You have a good point that it isn't un-replaceable knowledge. This is a special group that is actually a non-profit foundation affiliated with us, rather than a part of the rest of the org.  As such, they were pretty much left to do what they wanted for decades. And so...they did.

It would be nice to capture that knowledge, though, and to keep relationships with donors intact. Because our endowment suddenly has no income, we are very dependent on these donors right now, and finding volunteers to pick up work from laid off people is critical.

One problem for me is that as an "add on" to the rest of my job, I just don't have time to march around 50 acres and consistently check her work.  John is right that I simply don't have enough time to effectively be a late stage coach for her. (Although, I am NOT complaining that part of my duties are now to go for a walk and take pictures...... :)  

I think I just need to stiffen my hi-S upper lip and continue to push for change, even if it produces a lot of conflict. 

Perhaps I'm just getting tired of the constant drama, and wishing it would fix itself! 

 

Would it be possible for you

Would it be possible for you to get the one you're not going to can (by whatever criteria you make that decision) to document a new procedure that will fulfil the requirements you have at the speed you require.  That way it's not the new procedure that the new wippersnapper of a boss has imposed on them. It's the new and improved procedure that they built themselves to meet the challenges of their new environment.

 If there is any difficult to replace knowledge this could be a way to get it documented.

Stephen

Actually...I tried that

Unfortunately, I already tried that Stephen.  I gave her the criteria, I gave her a resource book about the regulations, asked her to write the new protocol....and 3 months later, nothing.
Which is why she's on the way out.

I think (as usual?) my issue was more about me--my fear of the inevitable unpleasantness to come, and wish that I could find words to make it not happen.

And, then I have to deal with the other half of the diabolic duo, who is also dysfunctional, but in a different way.

Thanks for letting me work this out with you!

Would she agree that a

Would she agree that a change is needed?

If not, you need to present some more disconfirming evidence to get her there. You might be seeing the need for change, but she isn't seeing the same things as you in the same way. 

Get her on the same page as you about the need to change.

Show how the new way of doing things can be better.

Not just better for the company. Give her some skin in the game for improvement. If she's about to be let go, she might as well work hard on things that will clearly reflect well on her when looking for new jobs. 

Unfortunately, she doesn't

Unfortunately, she doesn't see the need for a change because "nothing has died yet."

Basically, she's doing things the same way she did in 1989, even though as an organization our mission and rationale for existing has completely changed.  It's almost the work equivalent of "La la la, I can't hear you!"

We've been working on this for over 6 months now, and aside from the personal changes she's made above, I have seen no real improvement in performance.  I've been taking photos each month to document what's going on, working with HR, etc.  We have a very nice formal late-stage coaching process that has made this...well, not easy, but easier.  (And guess what--they require weekly O3s when someone is in the process! This actually evolved out of our union environment, but it's a happy accident.)

I am pleased that she's at least progressed enough that she's actually employable elsewhere--I would not have said that a year ago.

She was awesome at her job 20 years ago. The problem is, that job no longer exists!  She was hired to work in the woods, and doesn't like people.  I can, to some extent, sympathize with this. :p

But--We now have outreach as our primary focus...so I need her to speak publicly, provide good customer service, and make sure things look nice.  That just isn't her thing.

I've had several talks with her about this, and I think she understands it...but just can't or won't act on it.

She also had a very complicated relationship with her previous supervisor (yes, including that kind of relationship) and may see changing all that she was taught as betrayal.