Most organizations, like most of the people who work in them, have a desire to do better.
If that’s your goal there needs to be a clear vision of what change would look like, what actions need to be taken, and what obstacles are getting in the way of progress. It is also essential to determine who is ready to engage with the process of transformation which will challenge people to go beyond their comfort zones and stay with the process even when it feels hard.
To make a better organization its imperative we help people be better at who they are, help them become better at their jobs, and add exceptional value to the organization to make it an outstanding success.
These lofty ideas are not just at the skill level, but on the interior level, analyzing the behaviors and motivations that are currently working against their best interests, and create barriers to achievement.
When leaders focus on their own growth and development to become more self-aware, communicate more effectively, and make decisions that are constructive, they are in a more powerful position to influence the people they work with and help them do the same.
For an organization to succeed at making changes that accelerate growth there are essential questions to be asked:
- Where do we get caught in the weeds of oppositional behavior, shutting down ideas before they have had an opportunity to flourish, or to see if they are viable?
- Where do we get caught up in dependency where decisions are passed from one to another because no one wants to take responsibility for them?
- Where do we get caught in approval mode, begging to be seen and noticed, and making sure we keep everyone happy because we are uncertain about how we will be perceived?
- Where do we operate through fear, and uncertainty because there is no clarity of vision and expectations?
These are some of the behaviors that keep people working below par, and which do not support growth in the organization.
When an organization is invested in helping individuals be the best, they set a clear set of expectations, and deliberate focus and engagement on what matters across all dimensions of the organizations in order to build a transformational culture change.
Unfortunately, far too many companies leave the process of change to the individuals who are making the day to day decisions, and forget that to change a company you must also take a close look at the behaviors that don’t serve the best interests of founders and the employees who support them.
Many companies experience change of ownership, change of leadership, large percentage of layoffs, manager burnout and lack of appreciation leading to apathy and under-performance are some of the issues. There may also be inconsistent expectations, and a great deal of uncertainty, which leads to a culture of keep your head down so you don’t lose it! When this happens, we get stagnation and frustration. This results in lowered motivation to drive meaningful change and good people who are invested in the success of the company play it safe instead of taking more risks to stretch and achieve more.
Some of the issues can be remedied by considering the following:
Articulation of Mission: A widely shared philosophy that provides employees with an understanding of the direction the company is going in, and a clarification of objectives and priorities that are easily understood.
Empowerment: Employees have the authority and influence needed to carry out responsibilities. Are encouraged to share ideas and work together to meet objectives. Consideration is given to opinions, and a willingness to listen to problems. Are actively engaged in improving the organization.
Training and Development: Organization is interested in growth of its people. Members are actively encouraged to pursue opportunities for learning and individual development. Training is offered in communication and coaching skills.
Respect for People: Employees feel they are treated with respect and dignity. Decisions are made that are considerate of people. People are treated well, regardless of rank, sex, age or ethnicity.
Appreciation: Supervisors notice good work. Failures are met with support to correct the problem. Criticism is handled fairly.
Decision Making: Employees are invited to participate in decision making and are given permission to plan work accordingly and delegate. Micromanaging is discouraged.
Job Security and Role Conflict: People want to know that their job is secure. They need to feel good when they are at work. Expectations on roles must be clarified and there must be a good fit with the organization. They need consistent messages across all dimensions.
There must be a willingness to examine the habits and behaviors that are undermining success. Leaders must spend time with the people who are doing the work and learn to listen to what’s going on and what’s needed. Actions must speak louder than words to build the trust factor that will facilitate strong growth and development across all dimensions of the organization.
To make significant changes there must be a commitment from the top down that everyone is working toward the same end game. Senior leadership must model the way. Good intentions are not enough.
Change takes time and effort if it is to be meaningful. There are no quick fixes, or magic bullets. There is simply the willingness and the ability to do things differently, take more risks, and watch your organization improve things beyond measure.