42 years is a long time.
The organization I was leading had been using the same basic recipe for success since the 60’s. It had been phenomenally fruitful, and though there had been varying degrees of success in the ensuing years, the trajectory of the organization always seemed to be going in the right direction. Until….
The World Changed
If you’re older than 30, you have lived through a tremendous amount of technological change. You have seen the creation and rise of entire industries, as well as the fall of commercial enterprises once though immune to the storms of change. Depending on your age, you’ve likely handled the necessary adjustments with excitement, ambivalence, grumbling. or even anger…but you’ve still changed with the times.
In our vocational settings, change is more complicated. It involves more people, more systems, more competition and honestly, more fear. Being intentional about strategically planning change management is essential to smoothly transition both the systems and the people well, and if you don’t do it well you can end up with chaos.
That’s what happened to me. I forgot that for over 40 years my staff knew exactly what they were supposed to do each day. When I initiated some necessary and long overdue sweeping changes in the business, I thought that my charisma and inspiration (insert sarcasm here) would carry the day. I thought they would figure it out.
I was wrong.
What I found out the hard way was that what my staff really needed was a clearly stated change management plan. They wanted to know where they fit in to the solution I was proposing, and frankly, they REALLY wanted an answer to this question:
“When I walk into the office every day, what am I supposed to DO?”
Our business, like yours, is facing change. It’s the 21st century…change is the key word! Whether it is being forced on us because of external economic developments, internal personnel needs or technological advancements, we’re all in change mode. I was doing a little research and come across a video that gives some insight into what we’re all facing. Take a look:
The article related to this video outlines 10 Principles of Leading Change Management. Understanding what your people need and how to lead them through it will be crucial to the success of your endeavor.
It took me two years to fully understand what my staff needed, and unfortunately, I lost some good people because I didn’t implement these principles early enough. Take some time and lay out a clear plan, involving key stakeholders, and own the process of the change you’re leading. You’ll be happier, your staff will be happier, and the change will “stick”!