Engaging Your Workforce Around the Work

Engagement with a purpose is the over-arching theme to building and sustaining a high-performing culture in a unique and measurable way. While studies have consistently found a high positive correlation between employee engagement and financial performance, the data also shows that correlation is not necessarily causation; and while employee engagement is a necessary ingredient for…

Engagement with a purpose is the over-arching theme to building and sustaining a high-performing culture in a unique and measurable way.

While studies have consistently found a high positive correlation between employee engagement and financial performance, the data also shows that correlation is not necessarily causation; and while employee engagement is a necessary ingredient for high performance, like flour to a cake, it is not enough.

In contrast, “Engagement Around the Work” involves specific steps for achieving a culture of engagement that is inefficiently associated with team productivity, performance and job satisfaction. It incorporates a clear objective of engaging people around the one thing they all have in common and and the one thing that can bring about increased profitability and a sustainable competitive edge: the work .

Consider that engagement for “engagement's sake” has been a prevalent trend over the past several decades, and most of these engagement efforts have failed to yield tangible results. They have also failed the sustainability test.

As is the case with any improvement initiative, an ad-hoc approach involving little or no planning or structure, and lacking defined, measurable objectives, is given to failure.

In contrast, a more focused approach of improving both the work and the workplace in a measurable way can result in high-levels of productivity, profitability and engagement. As explained by one successful leader in the field, “We engage employees in aggressive efforts to eliminate waste and reinvest those savings in ways that are visible and meaningful to the employees.”

This perspective is well-aligned with our approach, which differs from traditional attempts at employee engagement in two important ways:

  1. A strong focus on productivity and continual improvement as catalysts to engagement
  2. A strong focus on measurement and return on investment

Driving productivity as a means of achieving and maintaining high-levels of workforce engagement enables an organization to more easily promote and reward desired behaviors, measure and document progress, and ultimately realize tangible results.

Equally as important, the measured return on investment enables leadership to further invest in the work as well as the workplace, thus promoting a culture of continuous improvement and engagement through.

The Concept of CPI²

As noted in a previous article, people are much more likely to become engaged when they feel productive … when they feel like they are achieving success and

that they are an important part of the organization's success; when they feel that they have a voice in creating a better – and yes, more productive – workplace as well as a better future. Productivity leads to engagement, not the other way around.

This means we must create a culture that is based on improving all that we do (our work and our workplace) and which enables and empowers every employee at every level to make improvements through involvement and commitment – through being engaged!

Put another way:

EVERYONE IS INVOLVED IN THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT OF BOTH THE WORK AND THE WORKPLACE; THEIR WORK and THEIR WORKPLACE.

People become increasingly engaged as they improve their work and workplace – as they become more productive and experience greater levels of job satisfaction while embracing a stronger belief in a secure future … a future they are helping to build and a future in which they have a voice.

The strategy involves two key components:

  1. Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) – Attaining optimum results from your improvement effort requires an objective analysis, innovative vision and diligent execution. This means you need a methodology to gather, synthesize and analyze data, a rigorous method of priority-setting to decide what to work on (or to gather more data on), and effective and efficient ways to study, change and improve the work processes and the workplace.
  2. Continuous People Involvement (CPI) – People at all levels must be educated, empowered and engaged so that the concept of improving both their work and their workplace becomes cultural.

This will involve identifying a clear link between individual, team and department performance and organizational goals, and helping people develop a clear sense of purpose.

In addition, leaders must create effective communication protocols to learn and

understand the things that are most meaningful to employees. They must also

devote the necessary time and attention to the performance management culture, and create a work environment that supports high quality and productivity. This will include:

  • Helping people at all levels understand the core values ​​and beliefs which drive behavior.
  • Promoting practices that are in sync with organizational values ​​and beliefs.
  • Clearly defending roles and responsibilities, performance gaps and accountabilities.
  • Helping managers develop and refine their skills and ability to coach for improved performance.
  • Recognizing achievement.

Since the combination of Continuous Process Improvement and Continuous People Involvement can yield breakthrough results , we refer to it as CPI².

The Journey Within: Organisational Change From The Individual Outwards

Lasting change in organizations can only come about through individuals choosing to see the journey ahead, and actively taking the first steps, rather than by an external process imposed upon them. It is the 'journey within' rather than the journey 'without' that really makes overall change possible. Neuroscience is shedding more light on the process…

Lasting change in organizations can only come about through individuals choosing to see the journey ahead, and actively taking the first steps, rather than by an external process imposed upon them. It is the 'journey within' rather than the journey 'without' that really makes overall change possible.

Neuroscience is shedding more light on the process of change and how we can be more effective with change initiatives – shifting attitudes from resistance to engagement and 'buy in'. In doing so, it is bringing us closer to overriding one of the key organizational challenges of recent times …

Non-sustainable change

Often, the executive level is bemused at the failure rate of change initiatives. Management theory is followed to the letter and yet resistance levels are high; after an initial period when people seem to have taken the changes on board, they soon revert to previous behaviors.

It is estimated that up to 70 percent of all change management initiatives fail – and this is not a new statistic. It's been a constant problem for organizations and teams through the years.

Part of the problem is the pressure on organizations to deliver more to the bottom line for shareholders; these results in trying to drive more profit from fewer people, which can place undue stress on individuals. We see that motivation levels drop and absenteeism increases.

In this environment, driving engagement in change initiatives is almost impossible, because people are essentially in 'survival' mode. This makes it more difficult to operate in the 'higher thinking' mode required to see the 'bigger picture'. What's more, such behavior is contagious and can quickly spread through the organization, with damage longer term subsequences.

An inside-out approach

Neuroscience helps us better understand behavior and it is increasingly behind new leadership approaches to getting the best out of people.

While we should avoid generalizations when dealing with groups of individuals, neuroscience helps us identify some common characteristics or 'needs' of all people. By first understanding and addressing these needs, a more favorable response to change in the longer term can be cultivated.

Change initiatives must consider the following cognitive needs of individuals:

  • To feel part of something cohesive, fair, and safe
  • To express emotions rather than suppress them
  • To feel recognized, valued, and independent
  • To feel understood, supported, and connected to others
  • To be able to see progress
  • To understand the need for change (through the vision)

Leaders need to focus on how they can meet these needs before trying to induce change on their teams; note that some of the needs will be stronger in some people than in others, but all will be present. So it is important to cover each need in the order above above.

Leaders will increasingly be judged on their ability to manage change and to mentor to team members – and neuroscience provides some key guiding principles to start with.

By first looking at the human requirements of individuals, we have a new 'lens' through which to view change initiatives. Change without engagement is no change at all, because it is not sustainable. Change from the standpoint of first meeting basic needs makes engagement, buy in, and lasting success far more likely.

Brexit – How Not to Manage Change

I am reminded of the famous Oliver Hardy catchphrase 'Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten us into' when I think of the Brexit result and its ramifications for all of us in the UK and Europe. Or otherwise I should say for all of us in Europe as I was under the impression that…

I am reminded of the famous Oliver Hardy catchphrase 'Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten us into' when I think of the Brexit result and its ramifications for all of us in the UK and Europe. Or otherwise I should say for all of us in Europe as I was under the impression that the UK is in Europe!

When historians look back at the extraordinary mess following the Brexit poll to exit the EU what will they conclude? If I were one of them I would conclude that Brexit was a dire example of how not to manage change.

Having worked for the last 35 years in delivering change management training to organizations all over the world I would like to consider the UK Government's level of expertise against a number of key success criteria. Perhaps you could score their level of skill on a scale 1 – Very low to 5 – Very high and send me your results. So here we go:

Successful Change Leaders:

1. Have a concrete vision of a preferred future. People can see it, touch it, feel it.

2. Communicate the vision in simple, everyday language. Remember the Martin Luther King speech 'I have a dream'

3. Create a guiding coalition of key holders who will support the vision and commit to implementing it. You would think that this would be the British Cabinet and that only those cabinet members who themselves who believed in the same future direction, be it stay or go, would be in the Cabinet before initiating the change. You can not have a split coalition for change.

4. Plan the change using a Gap Analysis. What is the current situation? What is a preferred future situation? What are the key issues that need to be addressed to move from the current situation to the future situation?

5. Work with the coalition for change, the keyholders, to address each key issue with a change plan.

6. Train those tasked with implementing the change in change management skills.

7. Look for early wins ie proof of success and communicate them broadly.

8. Open recognize and reward champions of the change.

9. Part company with those not fully bought in.

10. Appoint future leaders who will ensure that the change, once made, is not under and that it takes root in the longer term future.

These steps hold good for any change. In Brexit there would be change if we stayed in or out of the EU. I grant you it is maybe too early to score our Prime Minister, whoever it will be, on some of these key success factors but I would hazard a guess on how they might shape up!

The signs for a successful implementation of Brexit are not good, and we have not even considered the lack of knowledge and skill in this area in other European Leaders!

So what can we conclude as this mess unfolds? There are three lessons to learn I think;

1. As a leader, if you are going to use a referendum (an opinion survey in corporate speak) you must know the likely outcome. Way before the referendum you need to use local focus groups as a way of predicting the result. Maybe the Parliamentary Constituencies.

2. Your vision needs to attract the winning followers you need to back you. The Population.

3. You need to keep communicating your vision and 'sanity checking' the reaction to it, modifying the crafting and communication of the vision as a result of feedback from the Parliamentary Constituencies.

Only when you are sure of the likely outlet should you hold a reference, after which there is no going back.

Let's hope the next Prime Minister and Cabinet Members are well versed in the practice of change management, otherwise in the words of Fraser in the British Comedy Dad's Army 'We're Doomed'!

How Emotions Can Help Drive Change

Some individuals are able to easily accept change, making swift decisions in order to adapt to the new circumstances that are before them. But not everyone is as welcoming of change because it often forces him / her out of his / her comfort zone. Change is unpredictable. And people are plagued with the thoughts…

Some individuals are able to easily accept change, making swift decisions in order to adapt to the new circumstances that are before them. But not everyone is as welcoming of change because it often forces him / her out of his / her comfort zone.

Change is unpredictable. And people are plagued with the thoughts of “what-ifs”. What if I fail? What if we face setbacks? What if?

But it is important to recognize that change is inevitable and essential to one's growth. Yes, there may be negative “what-ifs” but without change, there is no moving forward.

As discussed in a previous post, there are different events that will make someone consider change- changes in reality, logic, intuition, or emotion.

And there is also a difference between the decision to make a change and adapting to external change. When one is forced to adapt, s / he is better at following through and committing. Whey is that?

The difference is in the use of emotion.

Humans are able to use their innate strength whenever they wish to do so; learning to properly channel one's emotions can result in more success and help them follow through with the choices that are made.

While is a stigma associated with using your emotions to make decisions, it is incorrect .

Emotions are a powerful tool and you must learn to properly use them. One particular emotion that has a large impact is pain.

Let us set up a situation: you have not yet made a change because it is not the right time, you are worried, or a similar excuse.

The first step to take it is to better understand yourself and analyze your levels of pain.

  • What is so painful in your current situation that you want to change?
  • What will be painful if you do change the situation?
  • What will be painful if you do not ?

Change is daunting, but when you compare the levels of pain and take the time to mentally run through your current position, embracing change is the clear choice.

If you need help taking the leap or committing to a decision, consider partnering with a business consulting company. Working with a coach can alleviate some of your stress and allow you to a better understand of yourself. Change, both personal and professional, is inevitable and necessary for survival so take the actions needed in order to ensure that you are ready and able to do so.

To better understand change and how to embrace it, visit our blog and the blog post, “When Is The Perfect Time For a Change?”.

What Is Change?

Change. To change is to deviate from what is known, from what is familiar, in order to start something new. However, change can often cause many individuals to feel uncomfortable or anxious. And then, even though things may not be functioning in the most efficient or best possible way, people will not venture off the…

Change.

To change is to deviate from what is known, from what is familiar, in order to start something new. However, change can often cause many individuals to feel uncomfortable or anxious. And then, even though things may not be functioning in the most efficient or best possible way, people will not venture off the known path because there is no guarantee of what will happen.

There may be no certainty that the change will be for the better but change is growth. And that makes it necessary.

People normally contemplate change when:

  1. reality, a physical change in the way that something was working, is altered
  2. logic, an understanding of ineffectiveness, strikes
  3. intuition, a new realization, occurs
  4. emotion, a frustration or annoyance at the present situation, overpowers

But there is a difference between change that occurs as a result of individual choice and change that occurs as an adaptation.

A choice to change, for example, is one that is set by most people on the first of every year: a New Year's Resolution. This falls under logic . You realize that some aspect of your life is not as great as it could be, whether it be that you are not eating as well as you could be or that you are spending too much money on useless items, and you actively choose to change it .

On the other hand, an example of a change in reality is when you are told that if you do not pick up the slack, you will be demoted or fired. You are not voluntarily choosing to work more but will do so in order to maintain your position.

However, New Year's Resolutions, more often than not, fail within the first month. And why is that?

You made a choice to change! Great. But you were not able to commit because mentally, it was not an instance of sink-or-swim, where if you did not change, it would have visible adverse consequences, such as getting fired.

So what can you do to channel the same strength that external adaptations force you to use for personal decisions? Gain better control of your emotions . This change will impact your personal and business life, allowing you to continue to move forward in both aspects.

If you have been experiencing anxiety when it comes to dealing with change or are uncertain about what changes to implement within your company, consider working with a business coach in order to discuss possible courses of action. S / he will work with you to confront and fix the problems.

For more information about change and how to better channel your emotions, visit our blog and the blog post, “When Is The Perfect Time For a Change?”.

The Power of Uncertainty

The result is known, the struggle is over – at least temporarily – for the UK has decided for Brexit. There are many arguments on both sides, but one argument I do think decent that I never heard effectively rebutted by the Remain camp was the argument of the 'democratic defic': that unmarked people, unaccountable…

The result is known, the struggle is over – at least temporarily – for the UK has decided for Brexit. There are many arguments on both sides, but one argument I do think decent that I never heard effectively rebutted by the Remain camp was the argument of the 'democratic defic': that unmarked people, unaccountable bureaucrats, were making decisions without any mandate from the people. The best the Remain camp seemed to be able to muster in response to this point was that – and they were willing to say this with ferocious glee – what about the monarchy, what about the House of Lords, these were unmarked too, right? This of course is making two wrongs a right: yes, there is much wrong with British democracy unarguably, but adding another layer of unaccountability to it is strictly the way to go. Indeed, it is admitting that the EU is undemocratic; and more robustly, I would say anti-democratic.

No, despite the strongest argument of the Remain campaign and one I deeply respect is the argument of uncertainty: that leaving the EU would create uncertainty and that uncertainty is bad for markets, bad for business, and generally speaking be bad all round. Now on the face of it this is a strong argument for remaining, but how valid is it really?

We all like certainty: the certainty that our partner loves us, the certainty that the money we have in the bank is accessible by us at any time, the certainty that in making business plans (and I am in business) we can rely on certain 'knowns' that mean we can execute and realize our plan. Yes, certificate is very necessary for the effective and orderly functioning of human life; but too much certainty is, alas, bad for us. It was the Devil in the Medieval Mystery Play who said: “Security is mankind's chieftest enemy.” What the Devil saw, and what we all can clearly see in everyday life, is that certyty, which breeds and leads to security, has some terrible drawbacks.

When we are certain and secure we have a tendency to become arrogant and indolent; we have bias towards reinforcing the status quo, which means rejecting and condemning innovation and change; when we are certain we develop a know-it-all sort of mentality that is imperfect to improvements from whatever source they come; and certainty, and security, leads to a smug complacency, a sort of 'I am all right, Jack' kind of mindset. To an unbiased outsider I think this is exactly what we do see: it is quite clearly the better and more well off who have made the case and voted for the EU, (while often positioning themselves as champions of some great internationalist cause) but sadly I rarely hear any real appreciation from these people about the planning of the poorer elements of our society who clearly feel entirely disenfranchised by the EU circus. Finally, because at some deep level all humans know that certainty and security are impossible in this life since our best attempts to build civilizations and Third Reichs that last a thousand years, there is a strict and highly strung tone to the voices of those demanding certaintyy ; they know subconsciously certainty is really impossible but they are going to have it consciously anyway, and so they rush like lemmings all in the same direction, and often the same perilous direction. In the UK this seen in the fact that both major political parties Remain even though in doing so it is making their own roles more and more redundant.

Thus it is that uncertainty, especially in a time of stagnation such as we have now, can be a very powerful stimulus for change and growth. Uncertainty can unleash creativity and vision, uncertainty can galvanize people and teams and organizations into whole new levels of performance and productivity, uncertainty can lead to a new openness, flexibility, curiosity, sense of wonder and inquiry that can be absolutely absent where stricty reigns. So I welcome the new decision to leave the EU. Certainly, there is one certainty: it will not be easy. And too, our security will feel threatened and diminished. But the ultimate benefits of working through this together are potentially powerful.

There is no certainty in life and this rendereum has shown that decisively, but it has also shown the power of the people and what can happen in uncertain times. We know need strong leadership, devolved appropriately, so leaders can emerge at all levels within society, and we need to start moving forward together. The idea, as one film star tweeted, of 'best of three [Referendums]?' is nonsensical and substantially undemocratic. The die is cast so now we work together to get a great result from this momentous decision.

3 Signs Your Organization Is Ready for Change Leadership

As an organization navigates the waters of growth, it will hit periods where a transform change is needed. These are beyond the range of your usual, everyday goal adjustments, and could reflect a complete makeover for your business. These are the moments of challenge and opportunity that can be high-stakes for your company. One of…

As an organization navigates the waters of growth, it will hit periods where a transform change is needed. These are beyond the range of your usual, everyday goal adjustments, and could reflect a complete makeover for your business. These are the moments of challenge and opportunity that can be high-stakes for your company.

One of the main factors in how successful you are in making transitions will be having effective change leadership for this sensitive time. Leaders during change need to act differently than during general operation. With high stakes and often urgency on the line, their methods are adjusted and optimized to drive the new implementations. But how do you know when your business is ready for this more active form of leadership? Here are 3 signs that let you know when change leadership is not just helpful, but needed.

New opportunities have arisen in your industry, or for your business specifically

Maybe you have developed a product that you feel ready to launch on a larger scale, or your customer base has grown exponentially to the point that you can not keep up as you are, or maybe you have discovered new lines of product that you want to grow into. Your market can change drastically as consumers' needs and awareness change, and this can be an excellent opportunity for you to transition and establish yourself before your competitors saturate the market. Anytime that your business needs to scale up to keep up with demand, this also calls for change leadership to ensure that the stages of major growth are handled competently, and to ensure that your business does not lose the qualities that attracted your customer base in the first place.

Technology updates have provided your business with new solutions.

As the technological tools available to businesses rapidly develop, you may find yourself in a completely different playing field than when you first defined your business plan. Whether there are new manufacturing tools available, online sales networks that open up new markets, or new marketing tools to demonstrate your product, tech can be a refining factor of your business plan.

Your business is starting to fall behind.

If you find that your business is missing the mark, it may be time to define a new course, rework the business plan, look over your marketing and strike out in a different direction. If sales have hit a ceiling, the market has become overly populated, your brand is not specific enough, or some other newly discovered aspect is holding you back, it's time to make a change to survive.

Change leadership is an active, progressive form of driving a business forward. While with transition comes risk, allowing your business to become stale ensures its mediocrity-or even failure. Catching the moments where change is necessary and shifting to change leadership lets you move forward, find the new opportunities, and scale.

The Changing Face of Management: Good Vs Bad

Management Piles of documents, records of routine dealing statistics, watching over the firm's employees, maintaining the routine cycle, trying best not to give a chance to the seniors to complain and if it is business than trying hard to raise the finance or set a track that is being demanded for the rest of the…

Management

Piles of documents, records of routine dealing statistics, watching over the firm's employees, maintaining the routine cycle, trying best not to give a chance to the seniors to complain and if it is business than trying hard to raise the finance or set a track that is being demanded for the rest of the staff for organizational benefits, is a summed up formula of management. It is about carrying a series of tasks to reach a specific objective.

Change

Indeed! Management is about accomplishing tasks, but is this enough to sustain the business? Or does this ensure the lifetime guarantee of the managerial skills? Definitely not. The solution or I must say the solutions do not lie in a single statement but a series of events, research of decades, several conducted experiments and much more which lead to the accomplishment of tasks. The strategies which before were found to accomplish the tasks today require innovation for tomorrow.

Changing Face of Management

Companies face changes every day, there would be a chaos if companies make changes without careful planning. Management change should be well structured in order to achieve goals and missions. The functions planning, organizing, coordinating, staffing and controlling have been expanded in meaning so as to encompass the change.

Initiating evolution has higher capabilities if the companies consider change as a constant opportunity and the implication of the change of any company or organization lies with the change in the management. Various time phases have gone through some minute and some immense changes in management networks which transformed the traditional methods or diluted them into modern and better strategies.

Industrial Age and Change of Workers

Industrial-age organizations or firms were the formal hierarchies which assigned various tasks to the employees. The power basically used to stay in the hands of the managers through which they used to govern the overall procedures of the organization and its employees by controlling, planning and organizing their specific tasks. This is what actually made management a restrictive function. Later on, in the era from 1910 to 1950, it was found that to manage the tasks and in order to have a broad approach to get things under control for client's satisfaction and business sustainability, changing employees after a fixed duration was a solution.

Cultural Code Switching

Afterward, a more balanced approach came into view after a brief study conducted by gathering information from experts of cross-cultural communication and information networks.

Code-switching between cultures was determined by an effective skill to work with the foreign employees. Definitely, each contributor or state has its own peculiarities and adjustment of one for a whole lot is better than expecting the whole lot to change for the sake of one individual. So, managers are expected to change their strategy according to the mindset of their employees and get used to their trends, only then they can communicate in the language of their employees and make them abide by the management strategies. International experience in working is important which managers can achieve only if they appreciate diversity and have specific cultural intelligence.

Traditional Models of Hierarchy and Innovation

Later on, with the emergence of technology, few organizations became more focused towards the innovation of the set-up which could nurture and then conceive the decision-making programs. An example of which is the often use of mainframe computers in the banking departments which are used by managers. However, several organizations still employ the traditional models of hierarchy, organizational structure, strategies, planning and organization control schemes because the present stage management is more focused on obtaining things completed where past experiences act as directives for today and the innovative setup approach is still in progress for the future.

Motivation and Health of Employees

The ways of past are not enough to carry out the management programs of the present. So, it needs to and has so far evolved to motivate its employees.

Firstly, the managers today are more into adopting the top down strategies for objective setting, then the management looks forward to measure and control whatever is being done and whatever needs to be done in order to provide corresponding incentives for good or bad performance and lastly those monetary incentives motivate the employees.

Nowadays, the work-life balance, environmental factors and socializing with the employees has become a keen demand for the business. With daily challenges ahead, realizing and advancing the employees for their extraordinary exercises is a remarkable step of managers in the present situations. Past business affairs mostly demanded employees to exceed compliance, now the focus is towards their motivation so that they may exceed performance and the future will emphasize more on the employers' potential and their approach towards innovation.

With motivation, carrying out health programs is another major step which managers are taking for their employees' needs which have made the companies profitable in the long term. According to the United States Department of Labor's OHSA, companies which implement the health management practices, reduced employee injuries, and illnesses by almost 20 to 40% and the productivity increased to almost 13%. Moreover, carrying out employee fitness programs is another step taken by most of the companies of the present age.

Good VS Bad

Good

The good thing about the changing face of management is that now the technology has opened gateways to a baseline analysis of the work which enhances the objectives of any company. Moreover, with technology in hand, through the innovation of smartphones, automated devices, and other technologies, the manual load has decreased to a great extent due to which the managers can watch over their employees' performances. Various applications have been introduced in the markets which promise efficiency.

In addition to this, organizations need more effective results than burdening their employees with an unnecessary work which was opposed in the past. So, this is another beneficial side of the changing face of management. Now, the managers are more expected to be vigilant in their field that is they have to introduce such policies which can balance the transaction and the employees on it. The instructions of the manager play a vital role and if those are good enough then it can propel the organization to great heights.

Since past was more into changing the employees after a certain time period which never really made the workers realize their capabilities. However, with the change in the management, the workers are not only apprised of intelligence but their practices are also accredited which ensures efficiency within the organization. Also, it does not put the health or esteem of the employees at risk. With the balance in professional and personal lives, employees have a sense of relief and are not engaged in the fear of being completely work addicts. Although in countries like the US, holidays are a rare event throughout the year but the light work environment and suitable work hours leave room for the individuals to experience life outside the office.

Bad

In the past, the changes occurred at a slower pace and it took years to them to change their modules in order to comply with the changing readiness. Moreover, management restriction in industrial age was like more energy with fewer results. The authoritarian approach made the manager and employee relation into a dominion and submissive one.

However, since the changes used to occur at a slower pace in the past so the handling crisis was relatively simpler as compared to the present where introducing new strategies is a big deal. Although we are blessed with the technology but despite our technical approach, lack of time is a major issue so dealing with problems in minimal time is tough. For those who think that technology is meant to come up with the perfect consequences then no this is not the case every time. With smartphones in hands, it is a rare event to avoid the pop-up notification menu while working. Researchers found that interior distractions have higher abilities to happen and are stronger than the exterior ones and it takes almost 25 minutes to the person to focus back on his / her objective.

Moreover, if a perfect strategy being introduced by the manager can become a reason of success for the organization, simply a poor decision can collapse the organization as well if the flaw persists then it becomes hard to get rid of it.

With determination and other managerial skills, change readiness is now considered an asset in the management world. Although the past management was not that popular but one thing is for sure that the experiences done in the past have led to the achievements of the present which can ensure the innovation for the future. A frequent ideas' generating mind is important for the revival of the success of any company and this is not possible if the manager does not have experience of adjusting to frequently new work setups. Only then he can make his employees live in the change.

Creating a friendly environment, recognizing the extraordinary constitutions of one's co-workers and the ones working under and thenraising them for that, ensures efficiency among them. On the opposite side, the over controlling atmosphere is more viable to fade the competitive struggle among the workers. In addition to this, if we want to make good surpass the bad, it is best to form such units which are only given the responsibility to deal with the probabilities of risks in the present age and then over them so so managers will not have to focus more on this problem, rather they can concentrate on the effective results and ensure new strategies in less time. Furthermore, interior distractions can be encompassed if each individual tries to be more honest with his / her working hours. Thus, proper configurations and right decisions can happen at the right time and lead to better prospects.

Do Leadership Training Programs Translate to Better Team Performances?

Do leadership training programs translate to better team performances? In a word: no. Now the important to understand is that this is not a simple black-or-white answer against the programs. Yes, there are very evident benefits to undergoing a leadership training programs but what this article will specifically focus on is whether or not they…

Do leadership training programs translate to better team performances?

In a word: no. Now the important to understand is that this is not a simple black-or-white answer against the programs. Yes, there are very evident benefits to undergoing a leadership training programs but what this article will specifically focus on is whether or not they translate to team performances.

In order to understand this answer, we will discuss the different parts that ensure a better team performance.

The first problem that a manager must overcome is his / her own ability as leader, or in other words, their current skill set.

Companies often use leadership development programs in order to help managers cultivate a specific set of skills. Managers are often the leader of the group- they needed to help rally the team and guide them in a certain direction. Now these programs are useful to the manager, as it can teach them how to deal with stressful situations or connect to his / her team, and provide more practice in order to perfect those skills.

Now the second problem: the team's expectations and limitations as a whole.

Because you are working with a team, there are certain methods that become the norms. Now you as a manager are determined to bring back to your company the new skills that you have learned at your leadership training program. You want to have a force of change and growth, and rightfully so. But how to do you do this when no one else on the team understands this new perspective that you bring in.

And that is why leadership training programs do not translate to better team performances.

Team performances often rely on team training or team leadership development performance analysis in order to see the growth that they want. This is often a great complement to the traditional leadership training program because it focuses on the team in its own territory, getting them all on the same page, and moving them forward.

If your team or company thinks that team training would be helpful, there are many options available. Although it many seem like an investment, the benefits will be well worth it in the long run because of the results you will see. Try looking at a business coaching company to partner with for the guidance and resources that will elevate you to the next level and work to produce a high-functioning, cohesive team.

Learn How to Avoid Doing Succession Wrong

I have met with CEOs and corporate executives many times during my coaching career. Many I have met with recently have shared how they are planning to retire in the next couple of years, and their executive team plans to follow shortly afterward. I always make it a point to ask about the amount of…

I have met with CEOs and corporate executives many times during my coaching career. Many I have met with recently have shared how they are planning to retire in the next couple of years, and their executive team plans to follow shortly afterward. I always make it a point to ask about the amount of knowledge, skill and experience that will be walking out of the door when the executive team leaves. What surprises me is the managers frequently agreements with me, and they do not have a plan to prepare.

I would be inclined to believe that if a C-level executive knows there will be a gap when they leave, the executive should not begin to close it. Should not the executive do more than just make a selection of who will be succeeding him / her and the members of the team? A strategic leader would bridge the gap by putting the successors in leadership development training. I am often told the successors are mentored by the individuals they are replacing, but that will not be enough.

The successors will be dealing with a task consisting of millennials who have a very different approach to work. Chances are the organization will be changing the way it does things due to innovation, so only a portion of what the mentor offers will be useful. The other dynamic to consider is that employees only stay around for two or three years so chances are the successor will have to develop skills to engage a new employee they do not know.

I agree that the mentoring time with the current executive in the position is needed to close the technical gaps of the position. However, there are still the people skills that are required to ensure successors have the talent to inspire their team to move in the strategic direction developed for the organization. Being fit to execute is crucial when a strategic plan has been developed to keep the company relevant over the next year or so.

An assessment can be used to ensure there is a managerial fit based on the skills needed for the position. The assessment may give insight that the successor may be a better fit in another part of the organization. The assessment will reveal where development is needed for the position. An assessment will also tell you things about the successor you will not be able to detect through daily interaction. One area you will not be able to detect administrative fit is their top three priorities when it comes to working in an organization.

Leadership development is needed to ensure the successor is equipped to execute their portion of the strategic plan. Being fit to execute means that the successor has the skills to be flexible in their leadership. Most leaders fall short in communication. Understanding that one size does not fit all when it comes to communicating with each member of the team can prove to be valuable. There are seven ways to communicate when leading the team. There is a particular situation that dictates when to use each method when addressing a member of the team.

Employee engagement is crucial. The successor should be looking for opportunities to know the new team members and their career aspirations. The new leader must be clear with communicating expectations and what success in the role looks like for supporting the strategic direction. The most important question a leader can ask when trying to increase employee engagement is, “What help do you need from me?” This question is a game changer.

When success planning is done right, selections are made based on a personality and skills match which can only be conveyed by an assessment. The successors are going to need to grow their leadership in areas where the assessment indicates where the executive is lacking, so leadership development training will be necessary. If you have a strategic plan in place, the leadership training will also help if new members come on the team. The leadership training will teach the successors how to build relationships as quickly as possible, so there are not any gaps when it is time for the old guard to retire.

Managing Change: 6 Ways to Keep Employees Committed

Change initiatives often start off well, but during the first month after the big kickoff, momentum begins to wane, sapping the initiative of its power. Early on, managers build support for the change by promoting the initiative and making sure everyone is on board. However, when these change managers return to their day-to-day jobs, employees…

Change initiatives often start off well, but during the first month after the big kickoff, momentum begins to wane, sapping the initiative of its power.

Early on, managers build support for the change by promoting the initiative and making sure everyone is on board. However, when these change managers return to their day-to-day jobs, employees frequently lose focus and enthusiasm sometimes referred to as “commitment dip.” It's where employees' support for, clarity about, and commitment to change falls off, sometimes dramatically. If an organization does not take corrective action in the first one to three months, there is little likelihood that the initiative will achieve its objectives.

Fortunately, research shows it is possible to avoid the commitment dip when managing change. Here are six key steps leaders can take to keep employees highly committed and focused.

Be Forthright About the Change and its Impact

Sixty-four percent of the 655 responds to a recent survey said open and honest communication from leaders makes change easier, even when they do not have all the answers. Employees want leaders to be accessible and to engage in “change talk.”

Model Behaviors that Support the Change

If employees perceive there are two sets of rules and behaviors-one for them and one for senior leaders-the change initiative will lose credibility. It is not enough to just say the right thing or even enthusiastically communicate the benefits and the business case for the change. Employees want to see those words backed up with behavior.

Be Realistic about Milestones and Resources

Reaching realistic goals makes team members more positive about the change initiative. Keep in mind that employees have regular jobs away from the work they'll do to make the change a success, and ensure they have the resources they need to do both jobs well. Eighty-two percent of the people at top-performing organizations surveyed said that the availability of adequate resources is a key element in successfully achieving changing objectives.

Do not Put Your Plan on Automatic Pilot

Many companies do a lot of work to put a plan in place that clearly communicates and prioritizes the objectives, but mistakenly assume all they need to do is say, “Go,” and employees will stay committed and carry out the change. When you're making your plan, you know what you would like to happen and you can predict some of the problems and obstacles that might pop up, but once you're in it, you discover the plan will have to be adjusted. That's why you must treat your plan as a living document-one that you keep coming back to and reviewing as you learn and discover unanticipated problems and opportunities.

Maintain Enthusiasm Among Employees for the Duration of the Change

You have to keep the change in front of your employees at all times-not only during that first month. It's another reason why you can not put your plan on automatic pilot and why leaders need to model behaviors that support the change for the duration of the initiative, not just at the kickoff.

Get Middle Managers on Board

Conventional wisdom embodies the importance of getting the senior team on board. But one big difference between top companies and less successful ones seems to be the extent to which middle managers feel involved in and integral to the change process. Research shows that the introduction level of middle managers in the top performing and the less successful organizations is similar at the initiation of change. However, top performing companies are more effective at maintaining and increasing mid-level manager involvement in the first three months than are the less successful organizations.

How to Manage a Multitude of Change Initiatives (Including Enterprise Wide)

When I was a kid I used to love listening to my Walkman. I loved creating mixed tapes of my favorite music and shared these with my friends. We've spent hours discussing the parts we loved about our favorite songs and so the 'rewind' button became very well worn. It was almost unbelievable that my…

When I was a kid I used to love listening to my Walkman. I loved creating mixed tapes of my favorite music and shared these with my friends. We've spent hours discussing the parts we loved about our favorite songs and so the 'rewind' button became very well worn. It was almost unbelievable that my pride and joy would ever change. Well … it did … many many times over. First there were better models with higher fidelity, then slimmer Walkmans, then tapes were out and in came minidisc players, and eventually CD players won the battle. After a few generations of iPods we now have phones and watches to replace the Walkman.

There are countless articles outlining how we are now facing unprecedented levels of change more than ever before driven by technology, innovation and continued globalization. Apple has now come to become the world's largest manufacturer of smartphones when several years ago it was Motorola, Nokia and RIM. Utilities are facing significant changes with the increased cost of grid modernization, commodity price fluctuations and the focus on renewable energy sources. Financial services companies are facing a slew of regulatory changes, cost of maintaining IT currency, increased lending costs, growth of digital banking and increased online competition. Other industries undergoing significant change include the likes of telecommunications, certain government departments and health.

So how does an organization effectively manage and coordinate a large number of change initiatives and the effect of these on employee performance and customer experience?

Firstly, change initiatives in the eyes of employees and customers are initiatives where they're asked to do something differently. This could mean adjusting to a different look and feel when one logs into the company's system, understanding a new product from a company, heads up on a new policy to be implemented across the organization, corporate restructuring or cost cutting initiatives. The new behaviors after the change initiative could include using the system differently, following a new policy, executing different work steps, or learning how to use a new product such as the new iWatch (no prizes for guessing which product I'm excited about) .

To manage change effectively one must know what are the changes. This may sound overly intuitive, yet this is one of the key challenges for companies undergoing significant change. In most large companies, different departments manage different change initiatives in a silo'ed way. A marketing department may be driving numerous product changes concurrently as well as any compliance to government legislation on product disclosures. Call center employees are affected by multiple departments since call agents will need to be abreast of all product changes, system changes, legislative changes and sales / promotional initiatives.

In this way, you can see that change initiatives typically do not just impact one department, but multiple departments. For example, the roll out of a new IT system, a new departmental strategy (impacting how other departments work with this department), and new Finance or HR policy (usually impacting the whole company). Therefore, having a view across the whole company is critical to better managing the impact on employees and customers since it enables a clear understanding of what, when and how the changes will affect a group of employees and customers.

How does a company create one integrated view of all change initiatives? This depends on the size of the company. For smaller organizations or organizations in industries that are fairly stable and not prone to concurrent changes spreadsheets may suffice. However for larger organizations with large operations that spread across geographies or numerous functions, a much more rigid approach may be needed.

Unfortunately, many of these larger organizations have still relied on various stand-alone spreadsheets requiring significant manual effort to undergo data gathering, verification, analysis and reporting. The data is as recent as the last time the person has made the call to the 'driver' of change to verify the initiative. And most of the data have focused on cost, timeline, and resource data – and neglected a critical piece of the pie, ie change impact data (the nature to which employees and customers are impacted by an initiative).

Take for example, within a given year a sizeable financial services company would likely face 10+ legislative changes, countless business improvement initiatives driven at corporate, divisible and sub-divisible levels, various restructuring efforts, at least 30+ technology changes, divisionally driven policy changes such as procurement, finance, HR, etc. And the list goes on. A previous organization I had worked for had over 500 change initiatives for the year. No wonder divisional operations that are tasked with managing the various impacts on employees and customers were overwhelmed.

When I spoke to my colleagues in divisional operations that they expressed that they were constantly challenged with understanding what changes are going to happen, from which department, hitting which teams, at what time frame, in what way, and the sizes of the implications. With each department having their separate spreadsheets (or having none) and multiple changes impact the same group of people this has lead to continuous impacts on employee performance, operational efficiency as well as risk not fulfilling the initiative's targeted benefits.

There was one story that described how a department was pushing for the call center to sell as many Product A as possible to meet the sales target, and at the same time the other department has sent out communications stating that Product A is reaching 'end- of-life 'and that there should be no further sales. Imagine the impact of a confused agent team on performance results as well as the customer experience.

So for companies undergoing a multitude of changes what can they do to create an integrated view of all change initiatives no matter legislative, technology, policy, strategy or product changes?

To be able to tally and maintain potentially hundreds of change initiatives an online tool will be extremely helpful to manage this complexity. To help reduce the complexity, to better communicate changes and to better manage risk, the online tool should contain the following characteristics:

Easy to administrator and maintain for both 'drivers' and 'receivers' of change, meaning the tool should be quick to fill in and easy to access, while still capture key data points of people change impacts

Focused on collecting key people change impact data to supplement other existing project or business data

Effective and flexible reporting tools to help Operations Managers, PMO and senior managers to plan for people readiness for change initiatives

Analysis tools to help identify change risks such as change loading and timing issues that may require initiatives to be re-prioritised

Tailored for the organization – since every organization will have different departments, types of changes, reporting requirements, etc.

However, we all know that any tool is as good as the people using them. An effective tool that helps to tell the story of the series of changes the company is embarking on needs to be supplemented by 1) an effective operating rhythm to embed the tool into the normal operations of the company, and 2) capability in leveraging the tool to make business decisions.

1. Operating rhythm to embed the tool.

This includes driving the operating processes of using the tool across all divisions of the organization. So for Marketing, there should be roles identified to be charge of coordinating product changes and ensuring these changes are entered into the tool. A marketing planning role may also need to be identified to analyze the data from the tool to plan product launches after assessing the timing appropriateness of various launches (against the picture of initiatives that affect particular groups of employees and customers).

Having an integrated picture of change initiatives through this tool will also result in the need to create an enterprise level (corporate / group level) governance body or committee to oversee the upgrading of development and usage of the tool to meet the needs of various holders and to discuss any strategic issues around change delivery risks and initiative prioritization (these two purposes may be allocated to different committees).

2. Capability in leveraging the tool to make business decisions.

After having an integrated view of change initiatives the company will then need to learn how to use the data to make critical decisions around managing employee bandwidth to absorb change initiatives, resourcing impact, potential impact on customer experience, timing of initiatives and overall alignment with the strategy. A determination will need to be made on how much 'change capacity' will be deemed to much, ideally with historical data to derive 'cause and effect'.

In undergoing this journey of rolling out an enterprise change tool, companies will find that their overall change capability will increase, for the same reason that after implementing SAP companies typically find that their targeted capabilities have increased linked to the specific modules being rolled out. This is because the company's processes and operations are being redesigned to support the tool, assuming the tool is designed at the Change Management best practice level.

In this article I've placed focus on the initial fundamental equation of understanding what is changing and having an integrated view of initiatives. Once this is established, there are many other areas to focus on to effectively manage a large number of initiatives, such as building and scaling change leadership capability in managers, establishing a portfolio change function, creating a change risk framework, aligning customer impact data with customer experience management, etc. Stay tuned for further articles in these areas.

Change Compass provides a leading edge proprietary enterprise change management tool as well as change management consulting services.

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Neuroscience and Managing Attitudes To Change

Is it true that people avoid change? That we prefer the status quo and that's why so many change initiatives in organizations fail? Neuroscience has helped to cast light on how people view change – and what organizations need to do to start introducing more successful change initiatives in the workplace. Perceptions of change Change…

Is it true that people avoid change? That we prefer the status quo and that's why so many change initiatives in organizations fail?

Neuroscience has helped to cast light on how people view change – and what organizations need to do to start introducing more successful change initiatives in the workplace.

Perceptions of change

Change and disruption seem to be constants in today's workplaces; and recent studies suggest that most organizational change initiatives end up in failure.

Our response to change starts in the brain; most of us look for some degree of safety, certainty, and predictability in our lives. It's no different in the workplace. We tend to avoid anything that will activate a threat response in the brain, which is what happens when we perceive that our job, our daily routine, or our livelihood is at risk.

Not knowing what will happen tomorrow causes most people to expend neural energy on the threat response more than in more productive pursuits.

Researchers Christopher Musselwhite and Robyn Ingram identified three major 'groups' in terms of people's response to change:

1. Conservers – who prefer the status quo

2. Pragmatists – who accept change if given reasonable time, training, and communication

3. Originators – who prefer the stimulation of ever-changing environments

This makes more sense than expecting everyone to view change in the same way; after all, some people prefer to go skydiving in their spare time for the adrenalin rush, while others settle down with a good book to get their 'fix' of what makes them tick.

If we assume that most people fall into the second category ('pragmatists'), the question for leaders would be how to change that allows reasonable time, training and communication.

Undoubtedly, this will help to initiate change; but neuroscience is showing us that, for real lasting change, we need to delve a bit deeper into people's basic needs.

Change for the good

Change for the good – lasting, positive change – comes when people's basic needs and expectations are met. Then people can adapt to anything they put their minds to.

We are all different, and may view change differently as already established. But we all share come common needs (all be it in varying amounts) when faced with change. These are detailed below:

  • We need to feel part of a group that is cohesive, fair, inclusive, and safe. We need to feel respected, valued, and trusted.
  • We need to be able to express emotions rather than suppress them; we need a constructive environment with two-way feedback.
  • We need to feel recognized, valued, and independent. This means we have achievable goals and have our individual aspirations matched to team goals.
  • We need to feel understood, supported, and connected to others. We want to feel that our leaders empathise with us.
  • We need to feel that we are making progress, and that our performance at work means something.
  • We need to understand the need for change through the vision of the organization – and see how the change involves us.

By meeting these needs first, change initiatives are introduced into a culture where they can flourish; Without meeting these needs, initiatives are often satisfied with suspicion, mistrust, and even hostility.

The Trick to Understanding the Real Benefits of Change

In the corporate world, most approaches in defining the business value of change involve 'hard' benefits such as revenue, cost and time. For example, increased revenue per customer, reduced people cost and improvement in processing time. Yes, there are non-financial benefits such as capacity improvement and strategic alignment. However, in practice most tend to focus…

In the corporate world, most approaches in defining the business value of change involve 'hard' benefits such as revenue, cost and time. For example, increased revenue per customer, reduced people cost and improvement in processing time. Yes, there are non-financial benefits such as capacity improvement and strategic alignment. However, in practice most tend to focus more on hard benefits that are more tangible and easier to track.

The problem is that benefits are usually defined in a top down, linear way and have not taken into account the environment that determines the benefits. For example, a Strategy department defines the need to cut people cost by 10% and therefore the analysis will subsequently focus on headcount reduction or pay and benefits reduction. Finance will therefore work with HR and the business to start clearing which head counts to cut and any opportunities to reduce pay and benefits. A list is then collected to report on potential cost savings in dollar terms.

What is wrong with this scenario?

On paper everything looks fine, but without actually involving those managers in business and understanding the environment in which the costs will be saved it is hard to determine the actual benefits. How much influence do these roles have on the organization from a lateral networking and influencing perspective? Can any of these roles be critical in implementing the change process? What are the potential impacts in service delivery resulting from these cuts? The learning here is that top down analysis of benefits can often only be rated as high level and we need to work within the organization to find out the realistic benefits.

In a previous role, an IT department wanted to reduce the $ 25 per call for employees to change their passwords. When I started finding out more about the experience and the process for an employee to change passwords the discovery I made was quite shocking … $ 25 was negligible compared to the real cost. Take for example, my colleague Barbra just returned from maternity leave and had forgotten her login password. She rang the Helpdesk 4 times to try and retrieve her password but was unsuccessful for some reason. Barbara became incrementally irate. We've heard her screaming at the phone, taking breaks to calm down, and talking to others to express her frustration. For days she was not able to log on. For Barbara's case the company has lost the equivalent of 3 days in productivity to the tune of $ 2500. We've also found other similar cases.

So how might we better analyze and assess the benefits of change initiatives?

  1. Observe the environment for those affected by the change initiative . Utilise human-centred approaches in observing the employee or the customer and how the initiatives may impact their lives. These include observation, seeing the whole picture by putting yourself into their shoes, identifying the impacts on various people and processes, and if needed interview them after observation to find out more. What else will be happening in their worlds other than the change initiative in concern? Will there be risks for overlaps or time conflicts for different initiatives?
  2. Tally various sources of benefits observed . Who are the people potentially impacted by the change initiative? What processes and systems are affected? Therefore, what are the sources of potential benefits in terms of time, cost, or revenue.
  3. Test change initiative and benefits before large scale roll out . Test at a smaller scale initial change implementation approaches on selected target audience and observe the effects of change and resulting benefits. Experiment and tweak these approaches before larger scale implementation.

Click here to read other posts from The Change Compass.

Navigating Stormy Waters – The Right Way To Right-Size

There has been a flurry of redundancies and right-sizing RFP's in the last month, as regional organizations prepare for more fiscally challenging market conditions. As companies and government departments face these new commercial headwinds, how do they trim their sails to suit this change in the market weather conditions? Because, the truth is that so…

There has been a flurry of redundancies and right-sizing RFP's in the last month, as regional organizations prepare for more fiscally challenging market conditions. As companies and government departments face these new commercial headwinds, how do they trim their sails to suit this change in the market weather conditions? Because, the truth is that so many get it so horribly wrong.

Is the boat really sinking?

Before your organization begins the emotionally charged and extremely difficult process of selecting staff to walk the plank, stop and ask yourself three very important questions.

1. 'Is the boat really sinking or is it just shipping water?'

As I have traveled the globe providing advice to company directors, owners and CEO's on company structures, I so often find that they have failed to ask this most critical first question of their organizations.

Is the Problem Too Many People or Too Little Profit?

We all know that markets are cyclical, and the commercial conditions will, at some point in the future, become favorable once more. If your business is still operating profitably when navigating through a commercial storm, do you really need to structure in order to gain an extra point or two in your EBITDA quarterly numbers? Knowing that you will be ready and fully staffed for when the winds shift once more into more favorable market conditions; can your business sustain a reduced margin for the period of the downturn? To stay with the maritime theme, all boats ship water in a storm, however if they are seaworthy, they can sustain their progress progress, albeit at a slower pace.

In those homely words of the great Warren Buffet from Berkshire Hathaway “A profit is a profit is a profit, always”.

Using a redundancy solely as a cost cutting measure is hugely problematic: throwing away valuable talent, shedding intellectual capital and organizational learning by off-loading employees only makes a bad situation worse. The work structures in your organization still need to be completed. The efficiency, and morale, of the staff you keep will be reduced as they are overloaded with extra tasks. When your business lacks revenue this quarter, removal staff is actually placing a mortgage on the potential for future growth of the organization next Financial Year.

However, if the honest answer to this first question is that the organization is over staffed, and your ship is sinking, then you've begun the process of a well-thought-out strategy for change. To robustly determine if you have too many employees, the first place to look is the organization's business plan, not its head count, which leads to the second question.

2. What product and services will the organization offer through the market downturn? Which of these products and services is likely to be profitable, or will you need to keep as a base for when the market turns positive again?

Once the shape, position and niche of the future business have been determined, only then should your organization look to begin the structure with the third question.

3. What talent will you need to run the new organization? Who is going to crew this boat?

These questions will help frame up and plan for the post-redundancy future. If the organization can answer them honestly, it will ensure a quick turnaround from the inevitable negative effects of downsizing to positive growth in value and efficiency.

A Case Study.

In a downturn that occurred early in my Human Resource career, after the 1987 stock market crash, I witnessed the following events. The organization's staff were brought into a room for a meeting. There had been no reason given for the meeting only that 'everyone had to be there'. There had been some whispers of lay-offs, but nobody really had the facts. We were an organization of about one hundred people. The manager was clearly uncomfortable with what he was about to say. Once we were gathered, he simply stood and said 'Can the following people leave the room' and read out a list of names. About two thirds of the room dutifully stood and returned to work, still without knowledge of the fate of those that remained.

Once the room had settled down, two guards entered from a side office, and stood at the door leading back to the office. The Manager then said “I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to let you go. I've got your final pays here (and pointed to a cardboard box). and leave by the outside door .No one is to go back to their desk; your effects will be boxed and sent to you.

Then, as names were called, each employee stepped forward, an envelope was passed over and they were directed to the door. There were some tears, a great deal of anger, and not once did I hear the manager acknowledge the service, or shake the hand of any of the employees, of which some had been in the employ of the company for decades.

When the last person had left, the guards locked the outside door so that nobody could return to the workplace, the manager turned to the three HR staff left in the room and said simply “that's done. “, and walked back to the office. The guards were dispatched to the desks of those recently departed staff with boxes and began to openly pack personal effects under the supervision of another manager. Nothing was ever said to the staff that remained, although they observed the packing, and in the absence of truth, the office filled with rumors and disgruntlement.

Many of us have seen or heard of similar situations. Even though this incredibly clumsy company structure occurred in the 1980s, sadly, we all know that it still happens today.

Why is it that some organizations can effect a corporate structure with dignity and respect, while so many others fail this very human aspect, despite the fact that it can have a huge effect on the organization's future performance? When I travel to assist companies who have contracted a poor structure, I find that their downsizing has been often executed with a hurried, compassionless efficiency that leaves laid-off employees angry and surviving employees feeling helpless and demotivated.

For Those that Stay

All too often with a poorly coordinated corporate structure, the focus is on getting those unwanted staff out the door. Very little planning or thought is given to the staff who remain at an organization after their colleges are removed. The feelings they experience have been likened to bereavement, and it can leave them demoralized, anxious and desperate to find a new job. So, as the organization tries to move forward, how can managers ensure that the staff they want to keep are sufficient motivated to want to stay?

I acknowledge that there may be some managerial resistance to dwell on what has happened, however, staff need an opportunity to vent. This involves acknowledging the elephant in the room and facing up to the concerns and fears of staff as they ask the very human question of 'will I be next'. “One of the most common complaints I hear from staff in such situations is that they” do not feel they've been listened to. “Managers, who are also trying to move on and dealing with the awful emotional turmoil of their own, often fail to give their staff the chance to just talk it out. difficult action to complete, but vital to the future of your business. These are normal human feelings, and all will need to be acknowledged.

The ironic reality is that many organizations feel battered immediately after a structure. How Managers create the time and space for people's needs to reconnect, re-energize and move forward collectively in the immediate period after a structure is critically important to safeguard the long-term future of the business. This is the time to help staff to generate new ideas for improving services to clients and have greater clarity of the company's new purpose. You need to give staff the opportunity to air their views and let people feel more confident and better motivated.

The alarming reality is that most organizational change programs fail. Primarily, the human impact of the change is fumbled and clumsy. Too often the focus is on those that go, rather than those stay. The irony is that, while most change in organizations is designed to increase productivity, if restructuring is not conductively respectfully and with dignity, it has the opposite effect.

If staff feel mistreated, trust in management is lost, and future changes will be resisted even more. Too often I find a poor corporate structure, the very people that management willingly want to keep, are simply seeking the first opportunity to leave because they have lost faith in their bosses. You must keep that exceptional talent, who are also the employees most marketable to other organizations. When they see the company treating employees poorly, they'll start looking for a better place to work, fearing their heads will be next to roll.

Five Signs Your Restructure is heading for disaster …

1. The Arbitrary Selection Process

Many take the approach on a last-hired, first-fired basis across all departments. The method for downsizing that is most clearly defensible in a court of law, for example, is to lay off 10% of employees across all departments on a seniority-only basis. This way no employee can claim that he or she was dismissed for discriminatory reasons. This approach may succeed from a legal perspective, but not necessarily from the larger and more important concern of long-term organizational health and stability. Firing employees by a flat percentage across different departments is irrational. How can it be that accounts can cope with the same proportion of fewer employees as operations? The decision of how many employees to make redundant from each department should be based on an analysis of business needs, not an arbitrary statistic. The choice of employees for a layoff should be based on a redistribution of the work, and the skillset required for the future business, not the date the individual employee was hired. Sometimes an employee of 12 months has a skill far more valuable than one with 12 years' with the company.

2. Give as Little Notice as Possible

Out of fear and sometimes guilty many senior executives choose to give employees as little forewarning as possible about upcoming redundancies. Managers fear that if employees know their fate ahead of time, they might become demoralized and unproductive – they may even sabotage the business. The fact is, there is no documented evidence that advance notice of a redundancy increases the incidence of either of these things.

The lack of advance notice about downsizing, however, does dramatically increase mistrust of management among those left behind. Trust is based on mutual respect. When employees discover what has been brewing without their knowledge or input (and they will when the first person is let go), they see a blatant disrespect for their integrity, destroying trust. Treat people as adults. By not giving employees information that could be incredibly helpful to them in planning their own lives, you create a cycle of mistrust and helplessness that can be very destructive and require years to correct.

3. Act as if Nothing Happened

Many managers believe that after a layoff, the less said about it the better. They hope everyone will just forget and move on. Why keep the past alive? The reality is, surviving employees will talk about what's happened wherever the management does or does not. If you do not fill this vacuum with the truth, your people will fill it with rumors.

The more you suppress these discussions and act as if nothing has happened, the more toxic the discussion becomes. Recovery from a structure can be easier if managers and employees are allowed to speak their minds freely about what's happened. It can be a great opportunity for the team of surviving employees to pull together with a renewed sense of purpose. When management refuses to acknowledge what has really taken place, it appears heartless, and ends up feeding the employees' sense of helplessness. If management will not talk about it even after the fact, what else is it hiding?

4. Downsizing Effectively

What will the Post-structure Look Like?

Having a clear, well-defined vision of the company is critical before the structure is executed. Management should know what it wants to accomplish, where the emphasis will be in the new organization, and what staff will be needed. Without the clear vision of the future, the new organization will carry forward some of the same problems that initially created the need for the structure. Unfortunately, many managers underestimate the momentum of the old organization to recreate the same problems later on. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Once the decision to downsize is made, do it once. Too often, I find companies who need to downsize but can not stomach the hard decisions, so they simply skim the surface of the organization. 12 months later, they have realized the cuts should have been deeper, and proceed to put their staff through another round of the same emotional rollercoaster. I have recently spoken with a departmental head of a corporation who has gone through three structures in the last two years. He said his staff are demoralized, can not trust the company management, and he can not hold the good staff he wants to keep. Honestly, who can blame them? If you must downsize your organization, cut once and cut deep. If you realize that you have gone too far, you can always rehire or contract in those you've let go.

5. Failing to Respect People's Dignity

Like the case study above above, the methods employed in many poorly managed structures simply treat employees like children, or worse, a number. Information is withheld. Managers' control over their employees is violated. Human resource representatives scurry around from one closed door meeting to another.

A structure is an incredibly difficult and emotionally charged period for all members of staff. Anybody who has had to let staff go, for any reason, will state it is one of the toughest actions in business to complete. Being removed from your place of work, your friends and collections, and your livelihood can be gut wrenching. As the staff member who has been involved in the process, but has been sworn to confidentiality until all can be revealed- and still has to sit in the lunchroom across from the worker they're recommended for termination, can create a feeling of intinction guilt .

What so many managers miss when then resignation the right sizing activity, but is so vital for your long term business sustainability is: How those you let go are valued is how those who are left behind assume they may be treated.

My last point that managers also forget is what the go go staff will say about the company in the market place, if their release has not been handled with dignity. How many times have you spoken with a former employee of an organization that is impressed about the way their redundancy was handled? That is, to be blunt, negative word of mouth selling. After the structure, whether you like it or not, you are releasing into the market place a salesforce of free agents. How they proceed to talk about your company will be based entirely on how you have valued them with dignity and respect. Or not.

Making it Happen

If you have successfully planned for the new organization, treated people fairly, openly and with honesty, your company will rebound from this structure with new vigor and purpose. The staff you have kept will understand their role in the new company, and having had time to grieve and discuss openly the process, will appreciate the new flatter structures and communication pathways. They will see that you have completed this very difficult process with great dignity, and treated those you have let go with great respect. You have provided time and space to bed in the new ideas from your staff to take the company forward through this difficult period. Importantly, you have set your organizations' sails to face these market headwinds, leaving enough in reserve so that you are ready for when the market cycle returns to a more positive state.

Downsizing successfully is difficult. The following ideas can help to focus thinking:

• Treat all employees with respect.
• Clear map the impact on process, systems, workload and structure well in advance.
• Have the resources to train and develop those left behind to navigate the new environment.
• Give managers the skills, resources and coaching to manage the human side of the process, or if they do not, hire someone in who has those skills already.
• Communicate too much rather than withhold information.
• Give employees the space and forum to accept, and discuss, what has happened

But, first of all, ask that one fundamental question “Is the boat really sinking?”

Conclusion

No one, from the front-line to the board-room, enjoys downsizing; but when the need for a reduction in staff is unavoidable, it can be accomplished quickly, respectfully and with dignity; and will see your organization excel into the future.

About me: I work with clients globally to optimize business results through strategic human capital consulting.

Email me at: karen@themojoink.com