As a leader, you are an agent of organizational change. It could be new processes or products, new software, or an organizational change in structure or focus simply to remain competitive and viable in your industry. My point is that in today’s fast-paced world of work and commerce, the only thing constant about change is change itself. And it’s your job to make organizational change happen. The challenge of course is that you can’t do it by yourself – in order for change to be successful, your employees have to come on board because they are the ones who will have to implement it, maintain it, and ultimately ensure its success. Or not! Which is why I’m kicking off a new video tip series on strategies that leaders can use to successfully effect change. The first tip: involve employees in the change process early on.
Involve employees early on in the change process
I know this sounds obvious, but I have to bring it up, because it’s often missed.
The critical thing you need to remember as a leader is that employees are not so much against organizational change as they are against being changed. Here’s what I’ve seen happen repeatedly in organizations – the change initiative, whatever it is, is discussed at the management level, and once the details are worked out, management comes out from the big room and like Moses on the Mount, bestows the change upon people. Well no one likes being bestowed upon!
Don’t be an ostrich
If you operate on the basis of only-on-a-needs-to-know basis, then you’re the equivalent of an ostrich with its head in the sand. You know, employees are well aware that there is a change underfoot, so if you believe that it’s a big secret, then you’re dead wrong. While your head is stuck in the sand believing that no one else knows what’s going on, your employees are effectively undermining the change initiative with negative informal communication – a very effective form of communication – the company grapevine. And that’s going to work against you! So it’s to your advantage to bring employees into the process earlier. The sooner you involve employees in the process, the better off you will be implementing the change.
I have many more strategies to share with you in the upcoming weeks, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions to this one. What have been your experiences with organizational change, good or bad? Please share by adding your comment below.