|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 that 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 unify them as a team.
Second, they all need to identify and clarify for themselves and each other how they can help themselves and their organizations achieve a more positive change climate. These steps may seem minor, but because they help people mentally shift their existing paradigms, these subtle steps and this thoughtful upfront attention to detail will make the difference in a successful merger or change effort.
Third, it is necessary to discover specific ideas (and belief systems) generated by all your members regarding change. Organizations often fail to recognize that outstanding ideas for improvement already exist in their own backyard. Perhaps skipping this step is a common mistake because it is easier said than done to facilitate meetings wherein staff members feel safe and encouraged to honestly share-out. It is in the essence of these meetings that participants learn how to discover their own and each other’s strengths, as well as create and recognize the best solutions for their unique situations.