By Chip Madera, MS, CSP
When we believe a lie, it becomes our truth. The longer we keep telling ourselves that lie, the more we become certain that IT is the only truth. One lie leaders often perpetuate is that enacting change within an organization takes years to accomplish, not in months. If there is one thing that the COVID19 pandemic has taught us is that change, when necessary for safety, survival and health, can be launched, implemented and successfully executed within weeks and days.
Many Change Guru’s would have you believe that the solution to your intended organizational change can take upwards of 3 to 5 years. Curiously, they will show you their long, drawn out blueprint of incremental changes you can take each year to achieve often only a portion of the results you desire. I know this extended timeline is a lie because I have worked with organizations who have created and developed colossal culture shifts and achieved outsized results in just 90 days.
The concept of bringing the entire workforce along for across-the-board improvements may seem hard to imagine at first but it is manageable. I know it is possible as a reality because I have guided hundreds of organizations through positive change and they have seen triple digit growth in cornerstone outcomes, while advancing customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
Another common myth of organizational change is that the success of the initiative is conditional upon employee buy-in. Change only works if everyone gets on board, right? Remember that the role of your employees is to help the organization meet its goals, improve and increase production and further advance it’s market share. Leaders can avoid significant drama in the midst of change if they make buy-in to the new organizational directive a condition of employment, rather than trying to force employee participation from those who are unwilling to move forward with new protocols.
Accelerated change is possible with focused leaders at the helm; fearless resolve from leadership is required to attain uncompromising results. When executed properly, sustained outcomes can increase by as high as 100-300% in just 90 days. Organizations often produce less than impressive results because leaders lack the key skillsets required to inform, educate, inspire and motivate staff.
Employees need crystal clear expectations to achieve consistent follow-through on new organizational mandates. Fundamentally, intensive training and ongoing feedback from leadership is essential to accelerate culture change. When launching organizational change, leadership must resolve to fulfill all three of these employees’ needs: 1) crystal clear expectations; 2) intensive training, and; 3) ongoing feedback from leadership. When all three needs are met, employees will perform at a level one could never have imagined.
Leadership personnel are the most significant players for creating lasting organizational change. They have the longevity and the experience to know what the company could achieve at its full potential. Invest company resources to equip managers with the tools necessary to meet the new challenges of leadership and the positive ripple effects on the organization’s employees will promote growth and performance at its highest levels. With the right brand of leadership and the right pieces in place, organizations can leverage employee engagement to produce sustainable outcomes.
Higher performance is expected but consistent performance is what creates ongoing success. Success essentially boils down to the attitudes of every individual on the team and the consistency at which they deliver quality. From the part-time employee or contractor to the highest level of leadership, showing up every day fully engaged, committed to reaching corporate objectives and a passion for the work they do should be a normal occurrence.
Always, not usually or sometimes, demonstrating behaviors and attitudes must be the new standard employees meet that create excellence. Would you eat at a restaurant where the kitchen staff usually washes their hands before preparing the food? How about shop at a local store where they sometimes stock what you need? Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who usually is one of the best in their field? It’s unnerving to think that the people and places we rely on could be inconsistent—it certainly falls short of fostering consumer confidence in your products and services. It is imperative as you move forward in your organizational change to stay focused on continually setting the bar higher. It is not enough just to do better than your competitors. Unparalleled results can be achieved by delivering excellence in every way at every opportunity. Every employee and every leader in the organization impacts the bottom line in the way each one thinks, believes, behaves and performs at work.
Stop believing the big lie. Stop settling for incremental changes over years when your organization is poised for accelerated change and profound growth. Significant, accelerated organizational change is possible if you believe it is essential and in the best interest of your organization.
Side Note: Chip Madera will be the keynote speaker for ‘Turn Off the Labor Shortage Alarm’ regional tour in Sharon (June 14), DuBois (June 16), and Titusville (June 21). The event from 9am-12noon is free, but registration is required. See details at nwirc.org/alarm.