One of the most challenging elements of change management is creating urgency. If people can’t understand “why now?” and “what’s in it for me”, change efforts can slow to a crawl. Take technological change, for example. Decades ago, companies moving to computerized accounting would run manual processes in parallel with their new software systems. Instead of the efficiency early adopters expected, productivity was halved as two accounting departments were necessary: one manual and one computerized. Sometimes the results of the two systems didn’t match and so a third department would be created to reconcile the differences. All in the name of efficiency. Madness. Today, the better practice in software implementation is to train people on the new system, let them play around with it for a set period of time, and then turn the old system off once the new one goes live. In other words, create artificial urgency that forces everyone to buy-in (ish).
Welcome to 2020, where the urgency is real, not manufactured, and everyone is experiencing the rake in the face that we must do things differently.
- Working from home, which seemed like a risky luxury that employees could abuse, is now essential.
- Job descriptions and performance metrics that seemed redundant (they know what they should do) are now essential expectation setting tools for ensuring productivity.
- Formal communication systems that seemed superfluous (I talk to them all the time anyway!) are now critical for maintaining operations in an emerging environment.
- Strategic planning and financial forecasting that used to be resisted (you can’t predict the future) are now important for managing risk.
What an opportunity for business today. To build it right the first time and leapfrog all the mistakes that were experienced when accounting software was introduced. Change management takes strong leadership, a solid plan, and the right tools. Make no mistake, the opportunity is here to hit a giant reset button for your entire business and emerge on the other end stronger, more profitable, and better to withstand any further turmoil that is sure to come again. And again.
We know you’re unsettled, scared even. Some businesses won’t be able to ride out this pandemic. But many will. And those that do will be transformed into efficient, well-structured machines. Or they will limp along and be swallowed by circumstance.
You can do this. You’re stronger than you think. Your organization is more resilient, your team is more loyal, and you have what it takes to be a great leader. What got you here won’t get you there, but you’ve got it in you. Believe in yourself, your team, and your community, and move forward. We believe in you.
For a limited time we’re offering Bellrock: Remarkable Leadership for Uncertain Times. You can join us (virtually) in April because this is the content you need right now. If you’re interested, register here.
We’re also offering the same implementation and change management programs we always have – the ones that strengthen your foundations. These, too, can be delivered remotely and qualify for grants. We debated posting this communique. Too soon? Too opportunistic? Then we talked to our clients and realized that they aren’t cancelling our programs, they’re doubling down. Plus, government grants exist to help with affordability in times like these. Our purpose is to create lifelong relationships and raving fans. How could we not help? Social distancing is imperative right now. Social isolation is not. We’re here for you, even just to talk about the strangeness of it all.
And when all else fails, John Lennon
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