How to create an office environment where change initiatives can flourish
|This is where you are, but…||THIS is where you WANT to be…|
|We find ourselves re-doing our project plan and spinning our wheels. People are not working as a team.||Increased cross-functional collaboration and communication. Higher degrees of participation from all members, at all levels. Less “failure work;” problems solved the first time.|
|People within and between departments are not communicating well. Creativity and synergy are poor or non-existent. Employee morale is down; absenteeism and attrition are up.||Higher and more consistent morale. A high level of creativity and discovery are generated. The benefits of diverse thinking and multiple perspectives are captured in the moment. Valued staff and customers are retained.|
|Customer retention rates are sliding due to loss of key employees and our directional changes.||Improved image of company or division within industry or community. New ideas and solutions to solve difficult problems.|
|Current systems and processes are generally less than optimal. People seem paralyzed about what steps to take next.||People have initiative and take action. A professional, safe and encouraging work environment exists for all. People feel safe to challenge the status quo; existing beliefs about how the organization works and new ideas about how to improve the organization are stimulated. Discussions on positive change and finding creative solutions to new problems occur formally and informally. The focus is on maintaining a learning organization approach.|
Achieving a Positive Change Climate
Charles Darwin theorized the fate of a species was determined by how “fit” it was. Interpreting Darwin’s statement, one might think that only the strongest or the fastest species would survive. But, this would not be an accurate interpretation of his theory of the fittest (especially when it comes to the defining the most “fit” in the business world).
Actually, it was neither speed nor strength that Darwin was referring to when he spoke of fitness. Rather, it was the adaptability of a species that would determine its fate. Similarly, evidence indicates that, just like in the animal kingdom, the survival of the fittest in the business world comes first to those who are able to change quickly and effectively in spite of tumultuous times in which cultural, environmental, and interpersonal changes are fast, fierce, and at times furious.
To successfully navigate through change, it is essential that leaders, managers, and all employees gain an appreciation of one another’s challenges and needs. This vital first step will help to unify them as a team.
Second, the executives and managers need to identify and clarify for themselves and each other how they can help the organization achieve a more open climate; one which encourages an honest assessment of the situation, not one which merely seeks to puff leadership egos. When conversation is facilitated properly, employees will feel safe and be encouraged to share their insight. These are the hall-marks of creating a positive change climate. Are all of your employees confident enough to provide input on delicate issues or do they hold back and smile, or worse, share what they think leadership or management wants to hear? In either case, if people don’t feel safe enough to speak-up and try to help the department or company solve problems then leadership is driving partially blind and undercurrents of fear and chaos are actually controlling and driving your company!
Third, it is necessary to discover specific ideas (and belief systems) held by all your employees regarding change. Leadership and management often fail to recognize that outstanding ideas for improvement already exist in their people. If your employees are frustrated, obstinate, and difficult it may because they care and want to help but leadership doesn’t value their input. As a result, your employees have given up and….you have taught them to give up because of your silence, snide remarks, and interruptions. yes, they will smile and nod because they must keep their jobs but they are not working with or for you. If any of this sounds familiar or upsets you……Congratulations, awareness is the first step. The second step is to call me or another specialist who can help you re-align your organization into an effective, fun and profitable company.
Kelly Graves, CEO
The Corporate Therapist
Internal Business Solutions, Inc.™