In Richard Clarke & Fred Estes’ book, Turning Research into Results, the performance management gurus acknowledge, “Many otherwise good managers still believe you need only train and pay people, and they will work effectively”[1]. This is an unfortunate, but very true observation, even in today’s dynamic marketplace where transformation is a given.

The landscape is rapidly changing. Automation and modernization are key words in almost any organization. The drive toward automation creates a shift in the workforce, moving from process workers to knowledge workers. Clarke and Estes suggest that “increasing knowledge, skills, motivation and focusing those assets on organizational goals” are the keys to success in a changing environment.

One way for Managers and Project Managers to support this shift is to consider the influences that impact their employees and stakeholders while aligning them to the organization’s stated goals. Knowledge, Motivation, and Organizational (KMO) influences have a significant impact on organizational performance and transformation. Therefore, KMO influences are important considerations when developing stakeholder engagement and communication activities.

What are KMO influences1?

Consider how this applies in practice. A team is learning Agile methods. They have been trained and the team members see the value of the Agile approach, but leadership has rarely been involved. The employees see the lack of engagement and interpret that to mean the organization is not on board with the move to Agile. So, the project manager raises this concern with leadership and together they identify key activities that will help demonstrate leadership’s commitment to the shift to Agile. Since the organizational setting was the roadblock for employees, they feel more comfortable with the transition once they see their leaders are behind the change.

To drive everything from small to enterprise-wide change, make an effort to understand the KMO influences and use them to inform activities to support transformation. Hopefully, you have developed an organizational change plan for your project. Even if you haven’t, try defining the knowledge your stakeholders need, their motivation, and the organizational influences as an input to your next communication and engagement activities.

[1] Clark, R. E., & Estes, F. (2008). Turning research into results: A guide to selecting the right performance solutions. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc