Is Our Approach Toward Change in Australia All Wrong?

A recent survey by the Change Management Institute (Employment Study) in 2015 indicated that 77% of all Change Management roles in Australia are contract roles. Are you surprised by this figure? Would you have expected this figure to be lower or higher? And why is it that most change roles here are contract roles? Many…

A recent survey by the Change Management Institute (Employment Study) in 2015 indicated that 77% of all Change Management roles in Australia are contract roles. Are you surprised by this figure? Would you have expected this figure to be lower or higher? And why is it that most change roles here are contract roles?

Many of you will state that obviously change roles are there to help the company design and implement a change initiative and since changes are time-bound, it makes sense to hire a contract change expert only for this duration. Others will call out that the flip side to this approach is that change capacity comes and goes and the organization is not really able to build its inherent ability to manage change.

Let's look at how some of the most favored companies approach this. For those companies that are consistently listed the most accepted global companies such as Intel, Apple, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, etc., the approach is very different. For these organizations there is not a lot of ongoing contract changes bars. Instead, the leadership and operations uptake the responsibilities of driving change. And yes, this includes project work where individuals work on change impact assessments and implementation planning.

Take for example, at Intel the company typically redeploys its talent regionally and globally and where needed specialists may be brought in to lead or support change initiatives such as a new system implementation or new strategy. On the ground, operations leads are identified within the business and are expected to drive, support, communicate and monitor the progress of the initiative. Change capacity is built into ongoing management and team development, although there are also internal training courses focused specifically on change. This model drives significant business ownership and avoids a lot of the 'buck passing' and challenges of reaching full benefit realization compared to the mainly contractor model.

A key requirement of this model is that the business needs to be very clear with its key focus areas in driving change and not be inundated by too many initiatives. The leadership and operational leads constantly review a dashboard of initiatives and are clear with their implications as well as the prioritization of the initiatives.

I'm not advocating that companies do not need change contractors at all but we need to have clear what our operating model is to build change capability. Are we only seeking a pair of hands as needed to do project work? Or do we have a more strategic approach to design change know-how within the organization? What has been your experience in designing a Change Management model that builds inherent capacity?

7 Insights From Neuroscience That Will Change Your Approach To Change

Many change initiatives fail to meet what they set out to do – so perhaps it is not surprising that this is an area where people look to neuroscience to solve the problems; While it does not have all the answers, neuroscience is shedding light on why change management often ends up being a waste…

Many change initiatives fail to meet what they set out to do – so perhaps it is not surprising that this is an area where people look to neuroscience to solve the problems; While it does not have all the answers, neuroscience is shedding light on why change management often ends up being a waste of time.

By considering how the brain works and why people have the way they do, we start getting to the root of the issue; and new approaches to change management are already springing forth from the research.

Here are seven insights you may like to consider before initiating your next change program.

1. People do not like change

Our brains have an automatic survival instinct and when it is exceeded the 'barriers' go up. Change by definition means altering the status quo and introducing unpredictability about the future. This instinctively triggers the brain's fight / flight survival state; we are unable to engage in 'higher thinking' when we are in this heightened state, so it is not surprising that decision-making suffers.

2. People like to be in control

Our brains are far more at ease when feel in control of the situation; again, the nature of change means that this is not the case when we are asked to start doing things differently. Springing surprises on people is not the way to maintain performance – the process must be managed with clear information communicated every step of the way.

3. People want to feel part of the group

Trying to induce change on people who feel alienated from the 'group' is never going to work. It will be strongly resisted. Efforts to introduce change must be preceded by efforts to nurture a comfortable working environment where everyone feels a part of the group and is contributing to it.

4. People want choice

Being in control means having the freedom to make choices. Change that people choose themselves is nearly always more effective than imposed change; so, rather than simply broadcasting what will happen in the future, leaders could help people draw their own conclusions. They will then feel like they have contributed to the process rather than being just another 'cog in the wheel', and this raises commitment levels.

5. Our brains are always changing

It's wrong to think that people can not change – no matter how old they are. Neuroscience shows that our brains can change and develop right into old age. This means that we can all change and learn, given enough positive reasons to do so; it also means that we can always change ingrained habits.

6. Dopamine is addictive

Even the smallest changes have the ability to trigger dopamine production. Dopamine is sometimes referred to as 'the reward' chemical. It functions as a neurotransmitter that sends signals to other nerve cells; most addictive drugs increase the release of dopamine. Providing goal-oriented tasks in the workplace can help stimulate production, as this increases the sense of achievement, as does reaching your own insights, being recognized among people, and being reminded of successes rather than failures.

7. People are emotional

Leaving your emotions at the door when you go into work is impossible. People are essentially emotional animals and leaders' words have a big impact on what people are feeling. These feelings are also contagious – so negative or positive emotions can rapidly multiply around the workplace. Rather than talking about 'transformational change' it might be better to focus on what people will get out of the change personally, so that positive emotions are triggered.

Too often in organizations, people are an afterthought in change programs – and are considered as 'obstacles' that must be informed to achieve what the organization wants. This needs to change if change itself is to become more accepted – and successful.

Helping Clients Manage Change

Peter Senge quoted, “People do not resist change. As a consultant, do not you think this is true? You may have faced several such scenarios in your assignments where people in the client organization try hard to resist changes for obvious reasons. Excuses deled out range from – we are doing well so why change,…

Peter Senge quoted, “People do not resist change.

As a consultant, do not you think this is true? You may have faced several such scenarios in your assignments where people in the client organization try hard to resist changes for obvious reasons. Excuses deled out range from – we are doing well so why change, why now, etc.

To begin with, it is critical to understand the mind frame of those who will be a part of the change process in the client organization. Secondly, a consultant needs to display empathy to understand the factors that surround the change process. Ensuring that “affected parties” comprehend the need for change not only helps in getting them to accept change but also to support and drive it in their teams.

To help your clients manage such a change, follow the below approach in a step-by-step manner:

1. Help people increase the resistance to change:

When change is inevitable, most organizations follow a specific pattern. The shift generally starts with changing existing activities, beliefs, behaviors and practices – replacing the old with the new. While this appears easy, managing such a transition can be a tricky affair. Expert consultants enable organizations to first acknowledge the need for change and then plan for managing the emotional needs around the impending change. Consultants must acknowledge and respect the fact that change promises chaos and confusion in minds of stalkers, puts them under immense stress and drives defensive behavior that stems out of fear (of the unknown).

People are resistant or slow to change as they are unable to understand how their (work) environment is slated to transform – for better or worse. Does a change in the organization bring them more work or no work – this is the nagging question in the minds of people who are part of a change process. People want to know and understand the reason for change and the magnitude of change (how big or small). Making this reasoning clear and simple to understand ensures that transformation from resistance to acceptance is seamless.

2. Making sense of change:

Consultants need to understand that in tough times, emotions are more pronounced than pure logic or reasoning. It is important to build rapport and trust with each stakeholder to win their support in driving change as planned. The critical aspect here is understanding how the suggested changes about a shift in their environment, scope of work, control and other aspects. A simulation of the changed scenario and how these processes or systems work, helps in understanding fallouts and managing failures effectively.

Selling the need for change to stakeholders with its obvious advantages in the future state and getting them to visualize the downsides of resisting change, helps in securing the buy-in for change. When stakeholders see the need for change and are able to relate to it in a positive manner, they stand to support the cause and drive change more willingly.

A consultant may use a three pronged approach in the change management process:

a. Inform and educate the quakeholders (and their influencers) along with the target groups on the changes in the systems and processes

b. Devise a strategy and an action plan on how to implement these changes

c. Enable the quakeholders and other carriers of the change to drive the planned changes

You may want to consider Prosci's 3-phase process and the ADKAR model which describes managing change using a planned approach.

3. Pick the change agents:

To ensure change management is a smooth affair, it is highly beneficial for a consultant to identify an existing group or an employee (known as change agents) from the client organization who will own change management activities. Through detailed observations, discussions, references and analysis, consultants must pick those “influencers” and seek their agreement to assume ownership of the activities and processes involved around driving the impending change.

It is essential to identify these change agents and work at building rapport to establish trust and credibility in self and the recommended solution. These change agents provide valuable insights into critical aspects such, the positions people held in the current business scenario and how these proposed changes bring about variations in their environment, scope of work, control and other aspects. With these inputs and developed trust, the consultant can leverage the relationship with such change agents and take their support to “sell” the intended solution to key stakeholders or decision makers.

4. Decide the timing for the change:

It is extremely vital for a consultant to perform thorough analysis of the problems at hand and consider if they can be completely resolved. Ask yourself, “when is the right time to bring about these changes?” For example, changing the marketing message in the middle of a promotion may send conflicting and confusing messages to the end customers or consumers. Moreover, it could further aggravate problems resulting in lower product sales or loss of market share.

Estimating the time it would take to effect proposed changes is another important element that you should consider as a consultant. It is often perceived that longer a change process, more likely is its collapse. This perception stems from certain beliefs that change agents may lose interest over the long run, opportune moments may close and objectives may be forgotten. However, studies show that long term change processes that are reviewed on a frequent basis are far more likely to be successful than short term changes.

These four steps are crucial in defining how the change is perceived by all affected parties. It is important for a consultant to always keep the client's best interest in mind and recommend solutions. Ultimately, it is the client, who owns the solution and the impending change. Client decides whether to implement the solution and drive change. The success of any consulting engagement is helping the client agree to seamlessly integrate the “new” into their organization culture.

The Role of Leaders During Change

The critical aspect of any change management program is face to face communication. The role of leaders during change is very different from business as usual. It requires a greater physical presence among employees to reassure them that their concerns are being heard at the top of the organization and conversely that the CEO has…

The critical aspect of any change management program is face to face communication. The role of leaders during change is very different from business as usual. It requires a greater physical presence among employees to reassure them that their concerns are being heard at the top of the organization and conversely that the CEO has the opportunity to find out what is really going on.

This is why leadership competency in communication is so important, because from the top down people model behaviors including leaders on executive teams and right down to team leaders. If the CEO does not communicate then it is likely others will follow their lead. There are two types of change in organizations, the first is the downsizing change, the other is about organizational transformation, and sometimes one follows the other.

Here are two scenarios of how leaders can communicate change and demonstrate their change management skills.

Scenario One: In a downsizing situation staff just want to hear from the leader. If there is nothing to say about the detail this does not matter. In all cases I find employees just want to have access to the person at the top who they attribute to making the final decision that that be accurate or not.

So what does the face to face communication consist of? This is the easy part, transparency. Employees just want to know why downsizing is taking place and when they will find out if they will still have a job. At this stage very few will be listening to any commentary on strategy, first and foremost that they want to know about their financial security. Once this aspect of the change process is over, you need to move to strategy fast so that employees are clear on the road ahead and the opportunities to build on a solid foundation.

Scenario Two: Organizational transformation, this includes a new strategic plan, merge or acquisition, entry into new markets or new product lines or systems. Here the conversation is about the vision, the way the enterprise connects to achieve that vision and the importance of each area within the organization to support it.

If employees can contribute to change based on what they do having some impact on business decisions, real time measures such as sales or customer service feedback are an excellent tool for measuring how well your change strategies are working. Sharing business information always creates a motivated and focussed workflow rather than one where people come to work, do their job and have no idea how they contribute to the big picture.

So as an easy checklist all you need to do first is consider the audience and what they want to know, what information and engagement strategies will make it easier for them to understand the reason why change is happening not what is happening. Whether you are implementing a new IT system, entering new markets or merging with an organization, when focussed on articulating the why, transparency and openness will always be the outcome.

How to Influence Leaders When Driving Strategy and Change

The key to a successful change program is management and leadership commitment to the proposed communication strategy. The greatest challenge for change managers is to ensure that leaders stay on message and do not waiver from the challenges ahead. Change is hard, whether you are at the frontline, or at the executive leadership level. But…

The key to a successful change program is management and leadership commitment to the proposed communication strategy. The greatest challenge for change managers is to ensure that leaders stay on message and do not waiver from the challenges ahead. Change is hard, whether you are at the frontline, or at the executive leadership level. But the most difficult role of all to agree with change is the leader, because press comes from leadership team members warning against the changes, for many unfounded reasons. And they advise it is always safer to stay with what is known even if it is not the best income for the organization rather than to take a risk to try to innovate and do something new that is untested.

So here's what can you do to ensure that the focus stays on strategy.

1. Establish a project management team undertaken of key leaders that focus on enterprise wide change and dependencies and isaired by the CEO or department head. This ensures that the silo mentality is broken down as managers are required to adapt to a new process, that is, thinking of their specific project and the impact across the organization, which in turn changes behavior.

2. From a change communication perspective it is important to ensure that communication is timely and aligned with progress at each of these change meetings. More importantly it is essential to communicate how each project and strategy implementation is aligned with the enterprise wide vision and direction of the organization. This way employees and managers will understand how individual projects are linked and how the organizational strategy is dependent on them all coming together.

3. All members of the leadership team need to be aligned. They must have consistent messaging regarding the direction that they are communicating and that it is linked to the organizational vision and strategy. The need to communicate this face to face and influence support, provide specific details of the positive outcomes of the strategy to those who are accountable for driving aspects of the strategy.

4. Identifying and communicating the performance requirements linked to the strategy and confirming this at regular intervals through the year keeps everyone focused on the strategy and tasks.

5. Ensure that all managers make the strategy reviews and updates a key part of their regular team meetings.

6. Implementation is the most difficult aspect to manage successfully of any project because this is when it becomes real – most resistance will be at this phase of strategy execution, so it is important to have engagement strategies in place before this phase.

7. Identify those members of the leadership team most likely to be committed to achieving the outcomes and design a specific role for them to influence their peers and their management teams.

8. Where project management falls down is at the middle management level unless they have been engaged from the beginning and this means actually involved in the project and being able to influence the direction. This is where significant undercoming events of project implementation and that is largely based in fear. Find out what the fear is and then address it and ensure that middle management are engaged from the beginning so they feel less threatened by the unknown.

Senior management provide direction for the strategy, ensuring that specific resources both people and dollars are available, are focussed and directly involved and aware of all the issues and risks of the project and most importantly provide updates and direction on an ongoing basis. The role of the change manager is to support this by ensuring that all the other issues that could derail the project are deal with so that the senior leadership do not back track on the strategy.

Finally to maintain commitment to change all projects needs to be integrated into the longer term strategy and vision of the organization and for all employees from frontline to senior leadership to understand how the project and their role contributions to the overall vision. Change is only successful when it is seamlessly integrated into the way the organization operates, not as an appendage to the organization.

The 3 Key Reasons Change Communication Messages Fail

Given the number of number of times organizations embark on communicating change you think they would ever get it right. But many things get in the way, not the least of which is thinking that communicating change is easy and that what works in one organization will work in another. Those of us who develop…

Given the number of number of times organizations embark on communicating change you think they would ever get it right. But many things get in the way, not the least of which is thinking that communicating change is easy and that what works in one organization will work in another. Those of us who develop change communication strategies know that this is not the case, change is difficult, it is different for every organizational culture and the approach needs to be customized each time.

Here are the 3 key reasons change communication messages fail and what you can do about it to ensure that your change messages get traction.

1. The first key mistake is when the focus of the message is on the what, not the why. The key message should not be about the project or the IT system, if that is what the change is about, it is always about the why. You need to explain how the change links to organizational strategy and specifically how what leaders and employees do in their role will change. The important aspect here is that the change is not just because of a new process but due to the organizational strategy behind its implementation. And yes you read that correctly, you need to connect the dots for leaders as well. Never assume that they understand the why behind a change initiative. If leaders are a key part of your communication approach as they always should be, then they must all be on the same page when it comes to explaining and supporting change initiatives.

2. Many times the key message communicated to employees during transformation programs is the need to change the way they do things. Sometimes unintentionally the message is heard that they way way they do things is wrong and needs to improve. Successful change communication focuses on what is good about what employees do and how together we can build on this. By focusing on positive messages and finding creative ways to communicate them and not relying on online tools, you have a much greater change of encouraging employees to participate and support chance initiatives.

3. Change is never owned by the change team. The role of the change team is to provide the tools and techniques to enable transformation to occur within the organization, change communication has to be owned by the leaders and employees within the organization. If you stop and assess your current change programs, ask yourself the question, “When the change team ceases to exist will we have transferred capacity and appetite to drive change within the organization?” If the answer is no, then your change communication strategy will certainly fail as it will only be transactional and not embedded into the culture of the organization. The focus of any change communication strategy needs to be action techniques, not just providing information on what is changing and when.

Whether you are implementing new IT systems and processes, merging with another organization or any other change initiative, the above 3 reasons why change communication fails provides an opportunity to reassess change communication to ensure successful organizational transformation.

Plan B: The Pivot

To pivot is to adjust your business model in response to current or impending conditions, good or bad. To increase the probability that the tweaking will be successful, trend and financial analyses, along with planning, are imperative. Market research and reality (i.e.market) testing of what you think will work form the foundation of your pivot…

To pivot is to adjust your business model in response to current or impending conditions, good or bad. To increase the probability that the tweaking will be successful, trend and financial analyses, along with planning, are imperative. Market research and reality (i.e.market) testing of what you think will work form the foundation of your pivot plan. If revenue has been less than stellar for two or more consecutive years, it’s time to think seriously about how to respond more effectively to the business environment that your organization faces. Create a Plan B and pivot.

Business Agility Means Releasing Old Habits and Integrating New Ones

Mastering business agility not only requires your integration of ideas, people and departments, but also your own thoughts words and actions. The more integrated you become, the more agile you will be, ready to tackle and exploit any and all mega trends or perfect storms you encounter.

Mastering business agility not only requires your integration of ideas, people and departments, but also your own thoughts words and actions. The more integrated you become, the more agile you will be, ready to tackle and exploit any and all mega trends or perfect storms you encounter.

Tackling the Greatest Inhibitors to Business Agility

Your attempts at business agility are doomed unless you tackle the most important inhibitors to change. Each of the four greatest inhibitors to lasting business change are enough to sink your corporate ship. Combined you face an overwhelming challenge. What are these forces and what can you do about them? Business as usual and looking…

Your attempts at business agility are doomed unless you tackle the most important inhibitors to change. Each of the four greatest inhibitors to lasting business change are enough to sink your corporate ship. Combined you face an overwhelming challenge. What are these forces and what can you do about them? Business as usual and looking back at your achievements is not an effective strategy. Looking forward and taking a step out of your business as usual will go a long way towards your goal of building a successful and agile company.

Superbosses – Wanting the Best!

There are many articles, books, and countless conversations of what paths create a great leader or what we're calling a SuperBoss. So what makes a SuperBoss? My research on Superbosses led me to a well-known academic and writer named Sydney Finkelstein, a professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. In essence, a SuperBoss has a…

There are many articles, books, and countless conversations of what paths create a great leader or what we're calling a SuperBoss.

So what makes a SuperBoss? My research on Superbosses led me to a well-known academic and writer named Sydney Finkelstein, a professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. In essence, a SuperBoss has a unique charter with, a limited ego and surrounds him or herself with the best talent, even if this talent is more refined or advanced than that of the boss. For the SuperBoss, the recruitment process starts by seeking out people with the highest intelligence, creativity, and flexibility. Creating a team of winners is the only priority. The Superboss job is to coordinate the team and create a spirit of camaraderie towards the same goals. A team's success does not necessarily mean a commitment towards each other but towards the project at hand. It is also important to understand the teams competitiveness is not a bad thing, if managed effectively which can create better results.

There are also many studies of what not to do as a boss, and I'm sure we all have our opinions. To list some simple adjectives of bad bosses; incompetent, controlling delegate, indecisive type, always thinking they're right, stubborn managers, talking change but are stagnant, micromanaging, fear tactics, lack of vision, favoritism, just to name a few.

To summarize horrible bosses are driven by emotions versus the facts, and these leads to low morale, reduced productivity, the inability to achieve goals, and the loss of good employees ..

A great leader makes decisions by using data to back up his or her decisions. Bosses who fail to conduct a comprehensive review are running on emotions, which lead to poor decisions.

Workplaces talk about improvements, innovation, expansion, and profitability, but many can not change the inner workings to achieve greater success. To generate results poor bosses may take an ax to management, staffing, policies and procedures but no matter what strategies are attempted, results continue, to spiral downward. There is no excuse for mediocre results. Tolerating mediocrity is an admission of failure.

Superbosses understand that smart, creative, flexible people tend to have fast-paced careers, your typical boss may say he or she is overqualified and would soon want to move on. A Superboss would overlap these individuals maximizing his or her knowledge and talent.

Mr. Finkelstein has categorized Superbosses into three styles of management. The first is the glorious bastard who cares only about winning but realizes the need to develop the best people. The second type is the Nurturer. This individual is the coach, teacher, and the mentor. This individual takes pride in bringing others along and cares deeply about the success of others. Lastly the Iconoclasts, This individual operates in creative fields where his or her inner passion inspires others. The fundamental character of all three categories is each is not afraid to recruit and hire individual that have great wealth or talent.

As with any boss, it requires hands-on-leadership, but Superbosses have a distinct quality of having people do what they thought was impossible. Superbosses are masters and extremely efficient delegates. They have this ability chose smart, ambitious, adaptable people and offer them a vision and trust. Superbosses encourage and create steps for change and personal growth. They provide advancement opportunities far beyond those found in traditional organizations by customizing career paths. Lastly, they stay connected, even after team members move on, they continue networking and maintaining communications, giving advice and direction.

A SuperBoss has the personal confidence to recruit the best and understand a leap of faith is required. To the bosses that can not move forward with hiring and retention of the best, it may be time to hire a third party consultant who can analyzes and articulates the pitfalls and bottlenecks within the organization. A fresh eye deep mussel comprehensive inner looking of the organization is just what may be required. As with any review or audit, how it is presented is important and should never be punitive but a step towards improvement.

The simplest way to describe a SuperBoss is a leader that does not have a strict management style, has the ability to adapt to situations, and does not allow personal insecurities to get in the way of making a good business decisions. Superbosses understand no matter the talent nurturing and stimulating is an essential requirement with surrounding yourself with the best team. They are always seeking the best people and keeping staff focused and engaged.

Master Business Agility Now Or Face The Consequences Of Business As Usual

Mastering business agility should now be the primary goal of any serious management team. Powerful Mega trends and the gathering of a perfect storm will shortly sink any corporate ship with a crew still stuck in “business as usual”. Learn what is necessary for effective change management going forward. Learn simple practical tools that will…

Mastering business agility should now be the primary goal of any serious management team. Powerful Mega trends and the gathering of a perfect storm will shortly sink any corporate ship with a crew still stuck in “business as usual”. Learn what is necessary for effective change management going forward. Learn simple practical tools that will help keep you on the path of business mastery.

Leading (And Following) Through Change

Leading through an organizational change is a great balancing act that appears to be more of an art than a science. This act requires of leaders to have a sound skill and a strong will. Each organization has their distinct culture and history, and there is no definitive prescription to successfully lead through change. The…

Leading through an organizational change is a great balancing act that appears to be more of an art than a science. This act requires of leaders to have a sound skill and a strong will. Each organization has their distinct culture and history, and there is no definitive prescription to successfully lead through change. The key is to remember that as leaders we cannot tell people stop feeling what they feel. On the contrary, fighting resistance directly will just bring in more resistance. However, several time and experience proven approaches can guide us in an effective change management while embracing resistance as a part of the process.

3 Steps to Driving Cultural Change

Any program designed to change an organization’s culture must be based on an understanding that culture is made up of the collective behavior of an organization’s individual members and the process used to get work done. Organizations that are effective at achieving cultural change ensure 3 critical elements are in place.

Any program designed to change an organization’s culture must be based on an understanding that culture is made up of the collective behavior of an organization’s individual members and the process used to get work done. Organizations that are effective at achieving cultural change ensure 3 critical elements are in place.

Managing Change: Lessons Learned From Top Companies

Profitable companies must keep changing for continued success. Sometimes it is unexpected, sometimes it is necessary. To maintain normalcy during periods of change, employees look to their leaders for guidance. The key is to get leadership on board with the change and establish methods for helping their teams handle the change. Leaders must possess certain…

Profitable companies must keep changing for continued success. Sometimes it is unexpected, sometimes it is necessary. To maintain normalcy during periods of change, employees look to their leaders for guidance. The key is to get leadership on board with the change and establish methods for helping their teams handle the change. Leaders must possess certain qualities for a smooth transition and to keep momentum in the workplace.

Navigating change is difficult; even the best ideas will fail if they are not adapted correctly. Here are the top three companies that implemented major changes and what we can learn from their successes and failures.

Alphabet

Alphabet is now the parent company of Google and is run by Google's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The structure came so that the Google search engine could still focus on its original mission to organize the world's information. The companies now under Alphabet are the collection of ventures Brin and Page have delved into, including Google, Calico (their quest to cure death) and Nest Labs.

Given that this was a restructuring of a major organization, leaders should have minimized uncertainty among their employees. Instead, they shocked their employees and the world at the same time when Larry Page published a blog post on Google+. They did not give their employees much warning, and it bought the workday to a halt as everyone from interns to senior engineers reeled at the news.

The blog post addressed many of the questions leaders should answer during a time of change, including why the change was necessary and where they are in the process. However, it took employees by surprise when leadership could have been upfront about the changes and how it would affect their teams. As the situation unfolds, we will continue to learn how Alphabet is managing the transition and how its employees are adjusting.

Amazon

When you're a great retailer like Amazon, your name is synonymous with change. Staying competitive is no easy task, because, because you are up against other innovative retail giants. Without a solid strategy in place to ensure your company is ready for change, failure is inevitable.

Such was the case with the Amazon Fire phone launch. The online shopping company made its for into the smartphone realm, which seemed to be a smart decision. But one detail was missing: The phone did not offer enough reasons for smartphone owners to switch from their Apples or Androids. The phone boasted some intriguing features, but lacked a competitive price for what it had to offer and was sold in limited locations.

Was Amazon ready for this step? Perhaps not. What at first was considered a great idea may now require “many iterations” and “some number of years to get it right,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Change readiness is a process that prepares your company to shift directions, even if it is still keeping the same overall strategic focus. Having these discussions with employees can result in an even better product.

Nike

To successfully navigate change, leaders should initiate and encourage change talk- discussion within companies that represent positive reasons for supporting change. When change talk is used well, it can prevent the “commitment dip” that often occurs when employees lose sight of the goal and revert back to old behaviors. This may have been a factor in Nike's struggled over the years to maintain a favorable image after its factories in Asia were exposed for their abusive labor practices in the early 1990s.

Those in power at Nike did not act on the need to implement a more ethical supply chain until they were called out by activists, college students and consumer protisers-until customers boycotting their products hit the company's bottom line. Their substandard work practices were a way to cut corners on costs to increase profit, which ultimately ended up costing Nike its reputation in the court of public opinion. Since then Nike has made positive changes, but it took time for the company to acknowledge all that it needed to do to improve working conditions. By working closely with employees and having ongoing conversations about what actions would be necessary to make changing changes, Nike could have improved its supply chain practices before they made headlines.

In each of these examples, ideally preparing employees for changes and thoroughly discussing how the plans should play out could have solidified strategy execution efforts and led to a profitable innovation.