This week’s posts have focused on the impact that organizational change can have on the leaders and impacted individuals. Today’s post is focused on how can an organization go through this change effectively. If the leadership doesn’t plan strategically around this change, it can cause a lot of chaos.
Some of these large scale changes like an acquisition or a merger can take a year or more to complete and finalize. The distraction factor is a major area of concern and severely impacts productivity, so completing it quickly is better for everyone. Start laying the groundwork for how things will work as soon as possible. There are strategic and tactical decisions that will need to be in place. Are there some clear principles that will be used to guide decisions? What is the vision for the future state? How will all of this be documented and communicated regularly? Should current projects stop or keep going? The goal is to be as transparent as possible with what is going on and to minimize any unnecessary confusion.
Major decisions need to be made quickly to build the future while maintaining the current state. There will be a need to create teams focused on the future state, while others remain in place to keep the current state running. It can be very difficult to create two teams with equal knowledge. You may only have a few subject matter experts who need to work on both current and future state. Do what you can to check in with your team to see how they are doing with the change. These circumstances are difficult enough plus you have aggressive timelines. This has a strong impact on the stress level of your team members.
This type of change is never easy. Senior management will usually say something to the effect of “we just need to continue business as usual” while the change is going on. That is easier said than done. The topic becomes a “water cooler” conversation and everyone is distracted. The focus goes away from their jobs and becomes fixated on the change and how it will impact everyone. Your team will assume that you know what is going on and have more information than they do. Communication and being as transparent as possible will help to minimize some of the rumors and assumptions that will occur. Use the questions from yesterday’s post to help keep the conversations going and to minimize rumors.
As challenging as this type of change is, it is also important to take a moment and try to look at in a positive way. Recognize the great experience you are gaining and how it is pushing you out of your comfort zone. Not everyone has done something like this and it will build skills in areas that will be new for you. It will also increase your ability to manage change for you and your team. Ensure that you have your own support in place by leveraging mentors or a coach to help you. When the change is complete, there will be many lessons learned for you and the organization. In today’s world, there is always another big change that will take place so reflecting on those lessons is an important step to ensure continuous improvement occurs.
Are you going through these types of changes in your organization? Leaders have to wear the brave face to support their team. A coach can provide the much needed support for the leader. Let’s set up some time to discuss how we can work together as you navigate this difficult challenge: http://susanmbarber.com/schedule-an-appointment/