A little while back, social media generated a viral meme: leadership lessons we can learn from travelling packs of wolves. Wolves, like humans, provide roles for members of their social group. Some set the pace of travel, others protect members of the group and one leads from behind, ensuring the pack is always on the same path.
As it turned out, these posts were off the mark on some of the finer details of wolf pack behavior. But the general lessons still hold, and I couldn’t help but think of the parallels to my own workplace and my role as a Microsoft Dynamics NAV Support Manager.
Who are you?
As a Dynamics NAV Support Manager, I identify not only as the leader but also as the pacesetter and protector. I want all of my team members and my clients to succeed. We are all really one team, one community joined together by a common product. Each of us has a piece of the answer, guiding us in the right direction to our destination. Ask yourself which member of the pack you are.
Who are the members of your organization?
The pack of wolves also reminds me of how personnel in an organization need to be managed when moving from legacy to newer Dynamics NAV iterations. Every organization has members who are resistant to change, as with change comes a fear of adjustment. If we look for inspiration from our canine counterparts, we should invest in those employees and help make them comfortable with incoming technology. For example, slow down the pace. Don’t race to the go-live finish line. Invest in those users so that you can ensure they don’t get left behind. Follow their lead.
The users in the middle of the pack, on the other hand, are generally those that feel ready for the new system. They are the ones that support the project and have generally been cooperative and open to what is coming. Contrary to what we may often think, they too need to be watched by other strong and competent users. That way, when the unexpected occurs, when expectations aren’t met and frustrations rise, the strong users are there to cushion the blow with their knowledge and guidance.
The role of a leader
The role of the leader is to serve the team – the wolves learned this long before us. There are many different types of leaders, but they all have one role: to ensure no one is left behind. They ensure everyone is on the same page, unified in the vision they cast. They will be the first to take the brunt of any attack on the group. They are selfless. They believe so much in the vision of the endeavour, they sacrifice themselves in order to fulfill it. They are passionate about the vision and their passion is addictive. You can’t help but follow them.
When it comes to an upgrade project, what does your team look like? Do you have a leader you want to follow? Is the leader ensuring that no one falls behind? If you’re the leader, are you passionate about your vision and this system upgrade? Have you assigned the strong and best to those that need help and support, both those hesitant to change and those that seemingly embrace it? Do you keep the team on course? If so, how well are you managing your team?
We can all learn from the wolves, no matter our role. See how you can serve your colleagues rather than yourself. Turn your focus outward, and find ways of helping those around you in your areas of strength. Ask more experienced members of your team for help in areas you want to grow. The entire team will benefit, protecting itself from unexpected attacks whether physical (system is down), or emotional (frustration and fatigue). Stand united. Support one another, creating a culture of respect and productivity to reach your destination successfully.