Author: Ray Vollmer
Change is a tricky game in today’s workplace and is a constant part of our lives on every level of an organization. It causes disruption, individual performance can suffer in the short term, and emotions can run high. Change can also be career progressing, fulfilling, rewarding and provide opportunity for growth. That was never more apparent than during the most recent SIG where the combined forces of Talent Development and Org Dev & Change presented case studies in how change is captured in different ways which have big learning opportunities on the culture of the organizations we serve. We had a lot of takeaways from the presentations and small cases which surfaced some important learning points. Those takeaways were succinctly described by Karen Weeks in “Providing Development Opportunities” posted in the Talent Development Section of the blog. Some other thoughts to share are:
A common theme with any change initiative is that frequent, transparent, and sincere communication to those affected by the change is crucial. The formats used to communicate depend on the size of the organization and the culture. For instance, in laying out a new sales team structure and direction it was paramount that a clear strategy be communicated and reinforced through group training, one on one and organizationally. Clients also need to know to some degree how the sales team is changing.
Not everyone will like the change nor buy into it. That is ok and part of the process, but managers and human resources have to keep a close eye on who is buying in, leading the change or who is putting up road blocks and pivot accordingly.
Organizations are not always knowledgeable about the talent they have right in front of them. People will rise up naturally and slide into leadership roles without formality or structure. Others will need more direct assessment of skills and where they will contribute the most to change and beyond. Some employees will leave, some will be asked to leave and others will drink the Kool-Aid and fit right in with the change.
It is incumbent upon leadership and HR to engage in coaching and training to make informed decisions about next steps in a change process. Also, during disruption through department reorganization, back office outsourcing, merger or other change, people can go into survival mode and dig in, rise up or check out. A sort of vacuum can be created where leadership opportunities for the natural leader or the informal influencers behind the scenes are typically filled. These are the people we want to give more opportunity to. You need their buy-in in a big way for successful change. Have them communicate the change along with the executives.
If you would like to hear more about the cases or any of the specific take aways, please feel free to reach out to Karen Weeks, Jen White, Anita van Burken or Ray Vollmer.