It’s ludicrous to think that employees are unable to adapt to change. As individuals we are familiar and quite comfortable in change, just consider our adaptation and integration of more recent dramatic changes such as live streaming videos and music; cars that self park; and our obsession with connecting through social media. As a society we are more comfortable with change than ever before… as long as the change is something we have the ability to influence and engage in.
Herein lies the challenge with organizational change. As our willingness and ability to deal with change has evolved, so too has our desire to be involved. Any organizational change that is thrust upon employees without their specific involvement falls upon deaf ears.
[Tweet “Successful organizational change begins and ends with employees.”]
In order to effectively introduce and sustain momentum in change, consider integration of the following in your approach:
1. Innovative ideas:
The best ideas can most often be found within the walls of your business. In order to identify and capture these ideas it’s important that employees are consistently solicited for their thoughts on business and process improvement. Use opportunities like team meetings, quarterly business reviews and even everyday interactions to ask employees (collectively or individually) “what are your thoughts on how we should approach this?” My best clients have found that some of the most creative and effective ideas have come from their employees.
2. Collaborative solutions:
Soliciting ideas from employees not only improves engagement, but also provides an opportunity to present ideas or solutions as being originated from employees. By using language such as “you gave us the idea to” or “one of the ideas you suggested we introduce was” we create an entirely different perception from employees as to the origin of a new change. By presenting change that is formulated around employee input we increase the likelihood that employees will be committed to seeing the idea through to fruition.
3. Positive reinforcement:
Even mistakes offer ideas on how we can improve. Post it notes were the result of a failed experiment by a scientist at 3M to create a super strong adhesive. Can you imagine the frustration when the exact opposite was developed? If you have employees engaged in offering up new solutions and ideas, consistent and positive reinforcement is the only way to ensure ideas are continually presented. Remember, we learn even from our mistakes, so take every opportunity to encourage ongoing support.
If you consistently involve and engage employees in your change initiatives, your chances (and degree) of success will dramatically improve. If you’re still unsure of this approach, ask your employees for their thoughts.
© Shawn Casemore 2014. All rights reserved.
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