Executing Organizational Change is neither simplistic nor easy. It requires we, as practitioners, not assume success. Whether the change is at the individual, group, department or enterprise level, no matter what the change is, there is always an underpinning of empathy and observation we must maintain as we address the health of the organization.
One of my clients asked that I build a Change Management strategy and plan, for a new product rollout that had been in the works for a while. Just build the plan. It should be straight forward.
As I attended various team meetings, as part of my engagement assessment, I found a whole new story. Teams and individuals talked freely and secretly to me about miscommunication between themselves and the senior executive team, and mis-direction between middle management and the teams on the ground. Digging deeper the level of trust between employees and management (their words) was very low due to the many mis-steps made by the executive team through, for example, a lack of effective, consistent and professional delegation and communication.
A lack of trust is bred as employees begin to see a lack of fairness and justice in the workplace based on their expectations and their realities. This lack of trust raises a number of concerns, for example:
.increases conflict among employees
.decreases engagement, loyalty, productivity and quality of work
In my little story I stopped my planning and worked with the organization to execute programs to improve trust, before, they started effecting change.
Some of many actions included:
.Improved communication at all levels – encouraging transparency and two way dialogue
.Ensured open policy and procedures were available to manage disputes thru facilitation, coaching and mediation
.Identified and modified the organizational process touchpoints ( from initial talent scouting, hiring and beyond) to ensure consistent messaging on engagement, leadership, communication and dialogue among all employees
With those actions in the works, my impossible mission became possible, though, admittedly, still not easy. Trust is critical.