Course is change, course is strength
Why many organizations can’t change!
In times of adversity, in times of crisis, the true nature of people emerges. One becomes more sociable, looks around and tries to help. The other puts the focus onto himself and is only concerned with that. Self-interest over group interest. We now see this human character trait magnified in our environment. Organizations in themselves have no character, but they take on the character of their people. As a result, we also see an enlargement of the human characteristics.
When an organization wants to change direction, we often notice that no vision is shared. Whether this is a profit or a non-profit organization. Whether it has a stock market listing or a political interest. It lacks a clear purpose. By this I mean that one wanders aimlessly. Yes, there are. But even in organizations that do have a goal, there is often a lack of a picture of what the employees can expect. An image of where one is working towards. This goes beyond the proverbial dot on the horizon.
Where are you working towards?
If you draw a parallel with the communication around Covid-19, with those about a change within an organization, I see some similarities. A global reason is given as to the reason for the change. “There is corona, which is why we need to take some measures.” The impact of the measures is hardly mentioned. That’s still some kind of black box. Why are we doing it? What’s the point? What influence do we, the citizens, have? These are questions that people have to understand what their influence can be on the solution of the problem. It is necessary that there is some form of meaning.
A second observation is the communication of borders, but one-sided. For example, it is stated that when we cross a certain (lower or upper) border, certain measures must be taken. That in itself is clear. But what is lacking is the consequence of crossing the border in reverse. Such as. The figure is now 8.7, but when the figure exceeds 10, we have to wear a mouth mask on the street. Okay, that’s clear. But if the figure falls below 10 again, will the duty expire again? And if the weather rises above 10, should we put the mask back on? These are clear rules that are very easy to communicate. People understand this and can act on it.
Even better is to tell them with what behaviour they influence the figure. “If I do this, I’ll jeopardize the grade.” Or “if I do this, we’re going in the right direction.” I’m doing my part.
Explain it understandably
The calculations are easy to make and communicate. Compare it to the rule when we’re talking about a heat wave. “A heat wave is a series of at least 5 summer days (25 degrees or more), of which there are at least 3 tropical (30 degrees or more). For us, there is little difference if every day is 1 degree less, 3 days of 24 degrees and 2 of 29 degrees. It may remain very hot, but it’s not a heat wave. We leave the feeling but stick a clear formula on it. For everyone clear and understandable.
Fortunately, we have no influence on the weather, but we can influence our behaviour. When we indicate the impact of the result, when we change, it is also much clearer what the organisation (or society) expects of you. Then your influence is clear, and you can be addressed to it. No more arguing whether you think something makes sense or not.
In this situation, I assume the responsibility of all people. Not from a government or management that knows best what is good for the people (paternalistic approach). But when it is clear to everyone what their contribution is, you can also appeal to responsibility. Many organizations are still run by the grey good house fathers who have the best with us. Hello, it’s 2020, the world is totally different. The structures of the baby boomers who are still in key positions no longer work. Those organisations that are structured differently,
Personal responsibility? We don’t see a lot of people behaving responsibly at all.
If people don’t have a good idea of what their contribution to the whole is or what their influence is, people start behaving according to what suits them. On the other hand, if you make it clear what the situation is now and what the situation will be and what we expect from everyone, then everyone can take responsibility.
Successful are not the strongest organizations, but those that can best adapt.
It is up to those who guide the change to share the right information at the right time. Look at people’s own responsibility and use it. It’s different from the fact that we’re used to business, but in our households and with the kids we’ve been doing it for years. Why would that change when you find yourself in a business environment? A strong organization is not one with a strong leadership, but with total strength across the board.
Be successful and stay credible?
If you want to make a change successfully, make sure you do so very thoughtfully. Provide a clear picture of each step. Indicate what people can contribute to the change. Speak to people who contribute, but who do not (yet) contribute. Provide continuous feedback on where you stand and what the next steps (and expectations) are. Keep the steps simple and clear. Show the logical connections. Make connections between all the steps. Make connections between all people. Whether you want to call them stakeholders or not, it’s all about stakeholders. Celebrate your milestones, but a milestone isn’t just a time management item. It’s a moment in time with an experience, a step forward.
When you follow these steps consistently and show that you take the people with you as a guide, you build your credibility. And you desperately need it in all the next steps.
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