How does it happen that when an organisation intends to change, and with that its employees, that this is often so difficult? Is ‘changing’ an organisation and its employees possible? And if yes, what are the minimum success factors? To realise a smooth transition for collective change? The top management talks about Change. Return needs to be increased. Shareholders’ value needs to increase. And as soon as increases are involved, change will unavoidably be on the agenda. Managers and employees are requested to change their behaviour. ‘But, we have been doing that for ages?’ en; ‘Is it not good enough as it is?’.
5th P for Personnel
For a couple of years, the P for Personnel has earned its place among the 4 marketing P’s: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. As streamlining processes, cost-cutting, high-tech ICT and advertising no longer offer enough solutions, the pressure to get more out of People is growing. To start and complete people-focused change processes, four minimum required success factors can be distinguished. This generates much energy to make this journey together successfully and satisfactorily.
‘Time’ is an essential factor for managing change. Without agreements and deadlines, there will not be any output. Setting deadlines gives something to hold on to during the commotion of the working day. The advantage of planning in meetings is that you actually sit together at the time on that day. Speed, timing and momentum in actions is paramount to hold the attention of the changers and changes focused on the change topic; it increases awareness. Whether it involves topics, analyses or implementation; we are inclined to postpone or forget matters when busy at work. Managing on time should have the most attention over the other matters.
One of the success factors of change continues to be consciously letting management go. Research shows that 40% of problems solve themselves. The energy source, the mission, needs to be formulated clearly for top management. However, words for external use such as ‘We are powerful and client-focused’ are expressions that refer more to Winnie de Pooh’s wishful thinking than to some sort of awareness of the reality. It is therefore important to set the parameters within which each member of staff in the organisation can decide for himself/herself what needs to be done to achieve the objectives set. Involvement and success are not achieved by statements that are too unfamiliar for the employee to connect with. Tapping into self-management is most often a more effective method to change on a long-term and sustainable basis. In addition to the external mission, there should be an internal drive and generator.
Working in teams respects the need to book results together. The word ‘Team’ stands therefore for ‘Together Everybody Achieves More’. Teams, and the composition thereof, and interaction between individuals, appear to be a powerful drive and friend of change in a changing world. By creating a learning environment, focused on mutual understanding and results, a team can achieve a lot. The energy is created in the interaction. Everyone who has operated in a top performing team recognises the existence of natural powers which seem to be inexhaustible. The right combination of individuals, with the right parameters and (minimum of) management will reach the top effortlessly.
Where are we heading? A question that we ask ourselves in our life, so also at work! Requesting actions from managers and staff in the area of change is unrealistic when not also presenting an outlook for the future. How concise that picture may be, an expected outcome of the change must be communicated. It is essential that people can attach individual value to the collective focus or dream presented. In this way, the personal added value can be measured and valued (by that employee personally of course).