Even the smartest, most well-developed business initiatives sometimes fail, and change management efforts are no exception. While a push toward change can fail for any number of reasons, a lack of ownership among executives and employees is one of the most common.
How do you give either or both of these groups more ownership over the change process when they neither understand nor appreciate what’s at stake? The answer – and this may come as a surprise – is better communication.
The Deep Dive
When a large healthcare institution made a major change to its administrative support model, human resources personnel collaborated with consultants on a new organizational design to support the change. But when it was time to implement the designs, executives balked. They hadn’t been sufficiently involved in the process to understand why the new design needed to be pursued. In short, they lacked ownership in the project.
Have you encountered this sort of situation in your own work? It’s a common problem, especially when executives are compelled to approve a major initiative with little exposure to the work required to make that initiative a reality.
One way to solve this problem is the “deep dive,” an extension of the existing process in which all stakeholders advance ideas that will improve upon the status quo. In the example above, personnel invested in the project modified their approach to include the deep dive with executives. As a result, executives gained valuable exposure to the issues at stake and developed a better sense of the need for change. They became owners of the project and approved the design implementation.
Sometimes, having a simple conversation can give important people ownership over a change management initiative. Case in point: an energy company that needed management’s support for a productivity improvement program. This time, it wasn’t a specific division or a group of consultants trying to convince executives to embrace change – it was the senior executives themselves trying to show mid-level managers the wisdom behind their plan.
Executives needed their teams to move forward, so they held one-on-one conversations with each manager. Those on-on-ones focused on:
- program objectives
- the impact of change on employees
- why the company’s survival depended on the program
With the one-on-ones complete, the project gained traction and change managers were able to move forward. Once again, communication, not pressure and strong-arming, made all the difference.
Make everyone an owner
Change isn’t always popular, but it’s what makes companies innovative and profitable. When it’s time to embrace change and move in a new direction, change managers need support from decision makers and from those whose roles are about to evolve.
Talexes understands how difficult it can be to get buy-in for change from key people or divisions of your workforce. Let us help you push for – and achieve – changes that motivate your teams, increase productivity, and improve institutional effectiveness. Contact us today to learn how our process can help your organization move forward.