Talking to one of our clients I was informed of major changes in their organization. Changes such as: promotions, moving staff between different locations etc. One of the supervisors I was talking to just managed to achieve major improvement in his area of responsibility and asked me if I saw as much difficulty in change as he did. I shared thoughts with him and explored reasons why, generally speaking, people resist change. Then we explored reasons that would justify change and turn it into challenge rather than looking at obstacles. One of the factors naturally involves: people.
Managing a new team, welcoming a new supervisor includes major changes in group-dynamics. I explained that teams working together over a longer period might also face hindering factors like 'unproductive relationships'. There are two distinctive examples: Firstly too close manager-employee relations: both have become more than part of the same organization, buddies till the bitter end. This makes correcting undesirable behaviour difficult and might also take away objectivity. I have noticed covering up of each other's mistakes one more than one occasion. This might be nice for the relationship but turns out to be costly for the organization. Secondly relationships can lack warmth; they just seem to be based on achievement of targets and objectives only. A sound mix of business approach and 'personal touch' is needed to achieve the desired results. Changing just for the sake of it doesn't make sense. Change might involve allocation of resources, planning, implementation and a lot of communication before it brings the gold from the mine. Nobody likes change just like that. Most people want to have the feeling they have a certain control over their destiny and create a comfort zone that they are prepared to defend with their life. The described two situations in employee-manager relationships can be a solid reason for changing group dynamics. There are however mandatory ingredients that we need to add here: a sound information flow - buy in from everybody involved in the process and regular feedback before, during and after the change. If people have the idea that they are part of the change process they are likely to cooperate and contribute to the process. Reasons for change need to be communicated clearly because everybody would like to know What Is In It For Me, the so-called WIFM factor.
Benefits could be perceived as a sound pay of for the effort needed while getting used to the new situation. My client deals in High Tech solutions and is therefore part of a fast changing environment. Technology changes and improves continuously and clients are becoming more knowledgeable due to better availability of information. It is not an option to develop faster than our environment. It is a matter of survival and demonstrated leadership. It doesn't make a real difference whether we are dealing with high-tech solutions or simple products or services: we cannot deny the fact that the world is changing constantly and we need to be part of the global overall change-process. Local markets become global markets; distances between countries, nations and business partnerships are closer than ever. We need to demonstrate leadership and help our people understanding the needs, benefits and necessity of change. Make them stretch their comfort zone little by little until they start enjoying the mechanism of change and become initiators of change in their own right. It will make your results better, wouldn't that be nice for a change.

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