In an change effort, the worst leaders can do is to ignore the emotional aspect of the change process.
Impact organizations are 'people organizations.' The people are the lifeblood of the organization for which any discussion about growth, scaling-up, or stability is generally about how the people can be nurtured, developed, managed to get to your strategic objectives.
While the change management field is filled with approaches and strategies to slay resistance and achieve a transformational change that any CEO would be proud of, in general, emotions can get the better of any leader.
In a recent local change effort that I have studied, I noticed that the President in his speech only mentioned once that they will be compassionate with the people that will be affected by the change.
Being compassionate is one thing but before they begin to determine the extent of impact that changes will have on staff, they should have the following at the back-end:
1) increased relations with every one concerned, even before the impacts will be felt, communicating what is to come and determining the best method to resolve it without accruing undue stress for staff;
2) increased trust-building; a low level of trust does not engender cooperation to find the best solutions for all parties;
3) increasing the voice of employees, whether they have a say or not, they should be informed and their voices heard;
4) build a strong follow-through in your every action; no one wants to be left behind after a decision had been made from the top;
These are not good-t0-haves but are musts when it comes to managing the emotions, defusing tension, and building a more collaborative approach to solutions-finding.
When one think that people will take a very rationale approach to changes is a very unfounded reaction. People have built in resistance to anything that could disrupt or alter their existing comforts, positions, and privileges. Moving them along towards a better state means more work on the journey where denial, resistance, and low-energy can bring your efforts to a grinding halt or slow motion.
Emotions are powerful elements if used in a positive way. In reality, a negative emotion is a fact and must be managed well.
It's risky to do all these steps after you have announced a change or about to announce one.
I have been harping about the incoming emergence that is set to make the world spin-literally with the reopening set for fall or early winter.
Like preparedness for disasters and emergencies, how are you bracing up for the revival?
Baby boomers are retiring and creating new businesses
Women workers are quitting their jobs and designing their careers
The stock market is at all-time high!
Vaccine sharing is on the offing
Borders are slowly opening
On-purpose organizations should see themselves honestly in this rubric. This is not a sprint but a marathon. The closer you are to the ground, the better your responses will be.
The Survivor-they will never prepare and invest in this great emergence because their main prerogative is to keep the house in order, first.
The Wait-and-See-they have the cards on their chest and are wary of doing anything different than what they're currently operationally and strategically impelled to do.
The Provocateur-they saw the signs and realized that their current strategies and mentalities are no longer viable for the future that's coming soon. They want to do something new now in a more intuitive and sustaining manner.
Are you the survivor, the wait-and-see, or the provocateur?
Do you feel like you're on a roller-coaster ride, navigating both smooth and rough waters simultaneously?
Are you fed up with the constant barrage of the need for change but don't know how to start? Are you trying to wait until the pandemic is over before doing some long-term work in your organization?
It is your best self-interest to ensure that your organization remains competitive and growing in the years to come. Avoiding atrophy is a challenge even in the most stable and secure organizations I know.
If at night, you can't sleep because of missed opportunities, then there are reasons to do what's necessary not what's comfortable.
Don't wait for the green signal. Take the next best step towards your greater impact.
Leaders must understand each context in order to use the right leadership styles in a given situation.
First order of business is sense-making. The ability to make sense with the environment and structure the unknown.
Second is the ability to apply the best leadership and managerial approach in that context. There are many styles ranging from charismatic, transformational, authoritarian, consensus-based, among others. Use them wisely with a certain objective in mind and learn to adapt as you go along.
Third, reflect on what happened when you applied a certain leadership approach. Did it matter at the end of the day? Were your staff able to understand why you had to act that way? What were the results in behaviors and attitudes towards work? Did it solve the problem at hand?
You can't be a one-pony-show at all times. You have to exhibit a wide range of responses and styles that could help you not just solve day-t0-day problems but lead you to your strategic goals as a leader and manager.
Instead of being reactive, choose adaptive. Instead of putting out fires on a daily basis, embrace ambiguity and improvisation.
There are many ways bureaucratic organizations refuse to believe that the horse is dead and would try different approaches to prove to themselves that it's not so.
1. Appoint a committee to study the horse.
2. Create a training session to improve riding skills.
3. Increase funding to improve the horse's performance.
4. Visit other site to see how they ride dead horses.
5. Declare that no horse is too dead to ride.
6. Buy a stronger whip.
7. Increase the standards for riding dead horses.
8. Hire an external consultant to show a dead horse can be ridden.
9. Form a workgroup to find uses for a dead horse, if all else fails.
10. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position or vice president.
Stop beating the dead horse in your organization.
This could be a rehashed idea, practice, or custom that are no longer relevant, valuable, and appropriate to the times.
The costs of reviving the old to account for the new versus creating new out of new experiences, discoveries, and insights are far greater.
Consider investing in the right tools and mechanisms to get to 'new ideas' and become better at attracting the right champions to it.
Source: Another vision of the story may be found at www.abcsmallbiz.com/funny/deadhorse.html
There's no paucity of resources in growing under challenging times. Growing, though runs the risk of getting into all sorts of complications.
On-purpose organizations should aim for simplicity, not just in operations but in strategy.
The moment the strategy gets lost in the minds of stakeholders in the organization, confusion and frustration set in.
I was working for a non-profit organization a few years ago where a grand vision was unveiled only to be reduced to a few doable 'strategic chunks' at the end of the honeymoon phase between the Board and the new managers. No resources and incentives were set in place to fuel the commitment to action. It became one of those 'false starts.'
High on good will, the leaders lost it by failing to bring down the vision into its elegant simplicity, which means showing the first key steps to making it real in the lives of customers and seeing progress through.
Simplicity is far from failure work and simplistic notions. By working on simplicity, organizations with scarce resources and under-pressure to provide value for less can support their mission with greater clarity and effectiveness.
People are not necessarily afraid of change. It’s the journey that gets to them, most of the time.
Show them that the future is that good that incentives for switching outweigh the perceived or imagined problems.
When everything is urgent, nothing is urgent.
When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
Change efforts go by the wayside if there's not enough urgency within the organization
to ensure that it will be given an undivided attention and resources it needs. Moving the strategic priorities into implementation requires consistent and constant pressure from management that understands strategic management.
85% of strategic plans do not get implemented. When the rubber hits the road, the tendency is to focus on the day-t0-day mundane issues, relegating the higher objectives into the backburner. This stop-and-go scenario will delay your progress and unconsciously reward inventing obstacles.
Managers and leaders- stop treating all crisis as equal. You should know how to treat priorities as real priorities, or your employees will not believe another memo with an urgent stamp.
It's not what they hear, it's what they see in action that gets believed.