Leading Through Change: Prioritizing Culture & Employee Engagement
Change can be the scariest word or the most exciting. In some cases, it can be both. However, change can frighten people to the point of analysis paralysis, where nothing gets done or creates a culture of activity rather than productivity, where nothing is efficient. In order to successfully see your way through change, you must prioritize your company’s culture and employee engagement.
Building a Change Culture
Change involves a transformation, which people need to visually see happen to fully believe in it. Building this type of culture starts with taking a hard look at your current organizational structure. What are the strengths? Where are there weaknesses? Until you are willing to pinpoint the root of problems, they will always fester beneath the surface, inhibiting your ability to change.
Many companies try to build upon a shaky foundation that doesn’t include a strong culture or employee engagement, only to realize it was a waste of time and resources. Nothing else can be built and no change will occur if they aren’t prioritized as the foundation of your company. As a result, it creates poor morale and lack of trust which can kill change before it even begins.
Pillars of Change
Trust and accountability are two pillars of a change culture that must be aligned. They must always be present if you desire productivity and profitability within your organization. They can be difficult to achieve, especially if your company has gone through a reorg, layoffs, or have grown too fast too soon. Remember, though, difficult doesn’t mean impossible.
Change happens so frequently in growing organizations that you would think it’d be something to get used to, but with every change comes the inevitable dragging of the feet. Knowing this in advance, you and your leadership team must have a transformation mindset.
Building a change culture starts from the top. The leaders of your organization must embody the two change pillars and share their importance with their teams. The “front line” of your company must believe and back the culture you want to build.
Winning the Change Fight
Once you have the vision for transformation, communicate early, often, and always. 70% of organizational transformation efforts fall short due to cultures that don’t match well, leadership mindset that doesn’t align, and low accountability. Even early adopters can regress back and experience “change battle fatigue” and get distracted by competing priorities. Here is where you build resilience.
Hold your leadership team accountable. If there is resistance, communicate. Ask your teams where their challenges lie. Encourage them to share solutions. Continue building a strong culture mentality from the top. This may include sitting down individually with those on your leadership team, in addition to talking through problems as a group.
Change is not an immediate concept, but it is one that is forward moving. Build on even the smallest wins to strengthen confidence, earn trust, and gain employee engagement a little at a time.
Productivity, revenue, ROI, none of these goals can be met without a strong company culture. In the long run, it costs more time, money, and energy to aim for these types of business goals without it. To make a difference and a real change within your organization, audit your employee engagement and reflect on cultural changes you wish to make. That is where change begins and ends.
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