A question that is regularly asked at Change Agent Bootcamps is, how do organizations get their message across and change people’s behaviors? The secret to doing so is explained within John Kotter’s eight-step change process. To engage your people in transformational change, it’s imperative to create a sense of urgency and a build a team to deliver a vision of the future that people buy into.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to the strategies and concepts of creating urgency, and building a guiding team. Finally, you’ll read about creating the vision that engages everyone in the process of transformational change and eliminates organizational complacency.
Urgency is the key to overcoming complacency and kick-starting change
Instead of conducting lengthy and expensive analysis and forcing transformational change upon a disinterested audience, create a sense of urgency for change. Usually, change is needed to adapt to market developments, changes in legislations, rising costs, and so on and so forth.
Taking an overly analytical approach to transformational change management will drive the project into a brick wall before it’s even got on the road. The urgency is the problem at hand, whether it be competitive pressures, unhappy customers, etc.
If you don’t create a sense of urgency, your people will not believe in the need for change. Take away that belief, and you destroy engagement in the transformational change process. Workplace complacency returns.
Why you need a guiding team
Transformatonal change must be led, and for successful leadership you need committed people. Once the sense of urgency has been established, you can start building a team to guide the change.
This team will need to confront issues that may be difficult or simply not discussed because of corporate culture and organizational complacency. Team members need to exhibit strong emotional intelligence, and not be fearful of expressing opinions. Transformatonal change is hindered by company politics and workplace complacency – what is needed is open and honest dialogue, in which conflict is used positively to build trust, collaboration, and project credibility.
Unfortunately, change projects are often hampered by the way in which their transformational management teams are selected: senior management approves the change project, and hands responsibility to a senior manager. That manager forms a project management team, and this team manages the work rather than leading the transformational change.
In this team, members may not be fully committed. They’ll have their own jobs and people to manage. Trust within the team degenerates, and so begins a culture of blame.
Vision: key weapon in fighting organizational complacency
Vision is the focal point that will bind your people to the transformational change. Creating a vision that is compelling and can be communicated within just a few minutes (or even moments) is one of the challenges faced. When successful, the vision is a prime motivator in combating complacency in the workplace.
A vision of the future that brings opportunities and benefits into clear focus will engage people with an organization that has a clear business plan and a budget to turn plans into reality. Most of your people won’t be interested in reams of analysis and tables full of crunched numbers. They’ll want to know what’s in it for them and for their team.
In his book, ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’, Patrick Lencioni makes the following observation:
“If you could get all the people in the organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”
Vision is what gets your people rowing in the same direction. Vision is what sustains transformational change.
To discover how a Change Agent Bootcamp and coaching in the process of Change will help to encourage employee engagement, contact Forward Focus today.