THE IMPORTANCE OF INVOLVING EMPLOYEES IN THE CHANGE CYCLE
Change is hard. We all know that. Changing a company is even harder. It is akin to steering a fully laden tanker on a totally different course while avoiding storms. But as hard as it is to make changes, the hardest decision of all is to acknowledge that change is needed and to start the journey.
Once the decision is made and the journey starts, there are certain guidelines which can be applied:
- You cannot plan a journey if you don’t know where you are and where you are going.
- Where is the journey taking you to? Do you have a roadmap?
- Do you have the right team for this journey?
- Do you have the right skillsets?
- Are you equipped for this journey?
- Why are you making this journey and what happens if you fail? Are you embarking on a journey without enough reserves to turn back?
It can be all very daunting and one of those difficult decisions which are easiest filed away for another day. But if you are at a stage where you considering change, you have a thorough understanding of your current position and you know where you would like to be, the time for change has come.
The journey is a difficult one and you need to break it down into different stages:
- Loss – you will feel lost. As simple as that. Once you remove what is familiar, a feeling of loss will creep in. This is normal. Be ready for it. Accept it. Embrace it. Use it to move forward rather than retreat.
- Skepticism – once you have overcome the feeling of loss and isolation, doubt will become the second ugly little twin that eats away at your confidence. Although it is unsettling, it is a blessing in disguise. You need to always question yourself if you are on the right track.
- Worry – have you made the right decision? Have you taken on too much? This is when you validate your decision and start to realize that you have a long journey ahead of you and you are concerned about having the right strategy.
- Breakthrough – this is when the exciting bit starts to kick in. You are committed, you are now beginning to see the changes that you are making and how they will help the business. The fog is starting to clear.
- Uncertainty – your old enemy comes back. You are unsure if you have made the right decision and whether the change cycle that you have committed to will work.
- Commitment – you are committed, there is no turning back, changes are implemented and new processes are integrated. There will be teething problems as the business adapts and gets ready for its next chapter.
How best to reduce the risk involved and improve your success rate?
Get the right team on board.
Such a transformation cannot be tackled without the proper team in place and getting every employee involved. The train is about to leave and you need every employee to be onboard. But they need to be the right people. People are your greatest asset but only if you have the right people on board.
A regulated approach will greatly increase the chance of success:
- Convey the reasons for the change and provide direction to all employees. The unknown breeds fear and uncertainty.
- Get everybody’s buy-in.
- Allow everybody to have input in the decision. They are all stakeholders.
- Set up teams with clear direction, tasks and authorization levels.
- Review the teams in terms of skillsets and tools to make it happen.
- Set a budget.
- Set a time. Draw a line in the sand.
- Instill a culture of discipline.
Entering a change cycle can be daunting but it is also a reflection of a company having reached crossroads in its growth and evolution. It is an exciting time. Live it to the full.