It’s rudimentary to think that we are unable to adapt to change. We embrace change each and every day so long as we can see the benefit. I purchased a new iPhone 5S because the technology makes my iPhone 3S seem like a rotary dial telephone; standing in line at the bank no longer seems necessary; wandering a mall aimlessly in search of Christmas gifts (no I haven’t started shopping yet) is a waste of time. Although these may seem like very simple examples of change to which we have become accustomed, consider some of the more predominant changes that have occurred during the past decade such as hybrid vehicles, bicycle sharing programs and crowd-sourcing.
No it’s not a challenge for us to adapt to change, it’s determining which changes we want to adapt too. Where should we focus our energy, attention and resources in order to improve our lives?
This same question exists when we consider influencing change in our business. As a business owner or executive we must decide what changes will have the most significant impact on the success of the business, and more importantly, how to engage our employees in adapting to this change. I recently worked with an organization in which the CEO felt he had an employee engagement problem. After some preliminary investigation it became apparent that engagement was not the problem, it was the lack of priorities that resulted in culture confusion. Each and every senior manager was assertively pursuing their own strategic objectives, resulting in a multitude of disjointed programs polluting the company communications. The result was analysis paralysis. There was so much information that employees were unsure of which to pursue. The HR Vice President was focused on employee recognition and rewards; the Vice President of Engineering was focused on policy compliance and improved process efficiency; the Supply Chain Vice President was focused on cost savings; and on it goes. All of this created the perception that the employees were unwilling to change. By focusing on fewer organizational objectives and positioning the objectives in a manner that employees could embrace, the velocity and results of change were realized.
If you want to engage employees and drive significant change, focus on fewer strategic objectives, positioning them in a manner that employees can connect with. There will be greater clarity and alignment across the business, delivering your desired results with greater velocity.
So don’t get caught up in the old adage that employees are unable to adapt to change; consider instead the focus and objectives of your organization and remember that the fewer the objectives the easier it is to engage employees and achieve results.
© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.