Culture Change: Necessity, possibility and flexibility
Although every business needs to constantly evaluate and reassess itself, managing change in the workplace can be a difficult task for even the most experienced managers. However important the process of culture change is for your organisation, reaching your goals means working closely with every member of your team – after all, culture change only really happens if an entire organisation comes together with a common goal. So how can you facilitate change by bringing people together? For managing change in the workplace, always communicate the necessity, possibility and flexibility of your targets.
Culture Change: Managing change in the workplace with effective communication
First, ask yourself if the other members of your organisation really understand the necessity of culture change. As in our lives away from the workplace, change can be a stressful process and, even though your people may never ask you directly, the biggest question of all is ‘Why bother?’ It is important that you educate your team as to the importance of change. Whether you are responding to new competition, decreasing budgets or low morale, your organisation needs to get to grips with the problem that you are facing.
On the other hand, avoid becoming obsessed with the problem. While it’s vital that everybody knows why change has become necessary in your business, discussing failings and weaknesses has a tendency to leave people feeling defeated! Summarise the problem that your team is facing and keep your summary short, clear and concise.
After the problem comes the solution, and this is your opportunity to really inspire your people with clear, actionable goals. Effectively managing change in the workplace means developing small, achievable targets that begin the process of gradual, incremental change. I often talk about 1 degree of change – small steps that are manageable and create significant ripples. No culture change has occurred overnight, and asking for an immediate overhaul is a certain way to lose the confidence of your team. What is the very first step that your organisation needs to take? This is your first goal.
Culture Change: Managing change in the workplace, whenever it happens
Finally, recognise that culture change is never predictable. If you were to plot the process of change on a graph, you would see a line with ups, downs and sudden changes of direction. Effective communication when facilitating change goes both ways, and you should always be prepared to listen to feedback. Most significantly, it is no good to listen passively – proactively take comments and feedback on board, and consider how your goals may need to change.
Communication is the single most important factor in the success of your culture change, but it is by focusing your communication around certain key areas that you can address concerns, reassure staff, and inspire significant culture change that lasts for the long-term. As you plan your goals and begin the process of change, it is by discussing necessity, possibility and flexibility that you can make culture change in the workplace as natural and effective as possible.
You can hear me talking more about my views on Culture Change on our Youtube channel. Perhaps take a look at our website and read more about how we help you develop the most extraordinary Leaders that are ready and able to tackle Culture Change.