Marketing, Motherhood, and Mayhem

Managing Change

January 10th, 2011 by Deb McLean

It’s a new year and a maybe it’s time to take a good look at your business.  But before you go off on a tangent, are all the employees of your company unified?  Does your business have a unified mission, vision and value statement?

If not, I recommend you pull together your employees with a unified mission, vision and values statement.

Part of the challenge will be working together so that employees embrace the new message without rolling their eyes or disagreeing with the final word choice.  It’s going to require care and extensive communication.

If you survey workers in advance, you can learn the best way to communicate the changes. In the end, the extra effort should pay off in better understanding.   Your goal should be to increase adoption and agreement.

Whether it’s tweaking a marketing slogan, downsizing to cut costs or acquiring a competitor, workers can count on the companies they work for to keep changing.  Yet only the really well run companies have been taught how to manage that process.

That’s one reason not all changes take hold. Ultimately, it’s up to the front-line employees to embrace the changes, and too often, companies underestimate the part of human nature that encourages workers to revert to the way they’ve been doing things.  Companies are first and foremost human beings and change to a person can be met with emotion and resistance.  .

In the book, “Change Better: Survive — and Thrive — During Change at Work and Throughout Life.”
LaMarsh provides tools to help employees manage personal change. It starts with understanding the three states of change: the current state, the desired state and the delta state, or path to get from current to desired state. By taking more control of the process, employees are less likely to feel like victims.  Workers tend to feel helpless when subjected to a change from the top without an opportunity for discussion.

LaMarsh provides a series of questions people should address in determining what their desired state looks like, such as: What do you know about the desired state? What do you like about it? If you need more information, where will you to get it?

Information is the key to successfully moving from the current state to the desired state. Information leads to understanding and insight, which leads to an informed choice to accept the change or resist it and accept the consequences,   Still, in the long run, failing to get with a new program can be detrimental to an employee’s career and the company’s future.

A recommendation is to update a company’s performance-evaluation process to include an evaluation of employees’ behavior on the company’s core values. For example, during the annual review process employees might be asked to tell how they demonstrated integrity on the job.  It drives home the behavior that is expected and that will make the company continue to grow in the future.

People are much more productive when they are working with a sense of purpose and when they understand what the organization is trying to do and how they contribute to it.

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