Monday, April 13, 2015

Dealing With Continuous Change - part #1

In this economy, recruiting and retaining the right people, creating the right organizational structure, and building the right culture has become mission critical to implementing strategy throughout the organization. However many are struggling with the above because they have to do it in the midst of constant change.

Here are a few observations of why this is happening. First, many leaders are not managing the intensity of change. Right now, employees feel overwhelmed. Change just keeps coming and coming. And before one thing is finished we have to start all over again due to a variety of factors, like an upgrade in software or a change in regulations. At the same time, we also may need to start some new project given pressing demands by senior management, customers or employees. As I noted at the Fall 2014 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable, change has shifted from being episodic to continuous even though we have continued to frame it up as episodic. While many frame change as a “one and done,” most recognize that organizational change is now dynamic and continuous now. It truly is the trough of chaos within a sideways cyclone.

Next, employees are emotionally exhausted by the amount of unknowns. The outcome of there being too many variables to process and too few people to share their feelings and thoughts with about them is a singular focus on operational compliance. Routinely now, I am seeing more and more leaders who just need time to think. Some have told me the structured unstructured time during executive coaching sessions where they can share, reflect and think is essential to their success right now.

At the same time, employees are afraid of change and even more afraid of transformation. While change is about doing things better, and transformation is about doing things new and different, many people are afraid of all of it, because it is messy and often involves loosing control. 

Furthermore, many leaders have lost their ability to inspire others. This is happening because employees have been offered false optimism with little realism in the past. They have been pushed without support. And they have seen their leaders act with little, if any, authenticity or genuine respect. 

This week reflect on these observations and make sure your natural impulses for control, order and predictability don’t shut people down who are dealing with continual change or transformation.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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