“Communicating change by email, for instance, is a big no-no.” – Bryan Miles
No one likes change but a baby. So therefore, navigating change in your organization is a skill all successful leaders must master. This is why I want to share with you the thoughts of MAG Bookkeeping’s owner and CEO Bryan Miles on the topic. MAG Bookkeeping helps both churches and businesses with virtual bookkeeping assistance. I cannot recommend this organization enough. They do amazing work and Bryan is an incredible. Check out his thoughts below:
My wife Shannon and I have lead our team through some exciting evolutions since we started our company back in 2010. Many of our changes have happened organically as we have grown, but others have been intentional changes spurred by big dreams.
We are in the midst of a big change now (more on that later), and while any kind of change is hard, intentional change is the hardest. In fact, some experts say that 70% of these kinds of change initiatives fail.
I know of only two ways to avoid failure (1) keep climbing, no matter what (2) avoid common pitfalls. I can’t help other leaders with the first one, but I’ll share what I’ve learned about the second.
Here are 5 common barriers that will hijack your company’s ability to see organizational change.
- A Company Culture That Doesn’t Support Change
As leaders, we need to create a culture that allows anyone to initiate change, beta-test and suggest solutions. If we create a culture that values hierarchy and routine over innovation, chances are change isn’t going to stick. A culture that allows anyone to effect change is more open to change and actually quite a bit more innovative.
- Lack of Planning for Shifting Sands
Lasting change is about more than operational changes and new org charts. Planned changes affect our people. It’s important to take into account the emotional response to change. We have to plan for, and take the time to listen to our team as they process changes … and have the tough conversations where needed to level-set expectations. Otherwise, we risk a growing resentment from our team.
- No Feedback Loop
At some point, you have to make decisions … however, the more you can involve your employees in a change initiative, the more likely it is to stick. Even the most loyal team members can get turned off when they feel their input isn’t valued. Create a feedback loop to allow employees to feel involved in the process. This also allows us a chance as leaders to provide more information and resources supporting change.
- No Awareness of Current State
This is a big one. It’s impossible to make big change stick without a current health assessment of your organization. If your team suffers from a lack of morale, inspiration or work-overload, you must first understand and address those problems before rolling out a big change. If you don’t do this, expect a hot mess.
- A Narrow Communication Plan
How you debut an organizational change is key. Communicating change by email, for instance, is a big no-no. Communicating big change has to allow for discussion. Your people will want to understand why a change is being made. Make a point to share key information about what’s driving the change, ideally in person. The more they know, the less they will fear … and the easier it is for them to hop on board.
Do you see the common thread? Organizational change is about more than a step-by-step process… it’s about our team. It’s about our people. Leaders must lead with both confidence and empathy.
Thoughts? Let me know on Twitter – @bryanmiles
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