Change can be productive when it results in process improvements, improved efficiency, and enhanced team morale.
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
Unfortunately, there is a phenomenon in modern organizations that kills morale and saps teams of energy and vitality.
You know it’s operating when team members begin to post signs like this one to express their frustration.
There are two scenarios under which this usually happens.
Scenario 1: A new executive is brought on board. In order to make a mark and prove his or her value, positive initiatives are scrapped without explanation. Successful programmes are put on indefinite hold, never to see the light of day again.
Scenario 2: There is a merger. Innovative programmes are shelved. Often, the more conservative less dynamic culture emerges and dominates.
To avoid change for the sake of change, there are a number of steps that executives can take.
- Slow down and avoid the rush to make changes. In fact, avoiding all but the most necessary changes for the first 6 months can be very helpful.
- Take the time to get to know the existing team(s), get the lay of the land and assess what is and is not working.
- Involve employees in identifying what initiatives are working and which ones are not adding value.
- Don’t put programmes or initiatives on-hold until you are clear about what you are going to do to replace them. Uncertainty is a guaranteed morale killer. It produces anxiety and sometimes causes the most valuable team members to “jump ship”.
- Before making changes, have a clear implementation process.
- Involve team members in formulating the plan.
People are more committed to ensuring the success of change if they have played a role in shaping it.
- Explain why the changes are necessary and provide a roadmap for what lies ahead.
- Provide a process for feedback.
Pay attention to any concerns that surface and improve the process based on input from team members and their manager.
90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels by Michael Watkins is a very helpful resource for executives who are taking on new assignments. Even the most seasoned executives can benefit from the tips provided.
Remember, imposed and unexplained change will always be resisted. By slowing down the process and only implementing changes that are necessary, executives can avoid the debilitating effects of “change for the sake of change”.
Photo Credit: R/DV/RS
Executive Oasis International Helps Executives Avoid
Change for the Sake of Change
Executive Oasis International, a Toronto-based consulting firm, helps organizations succeed even in the midst of turbulence. Core specialties include consulting for change initiatives, facilitated executive retreats, team building retreats, and business simulations.
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