A recent survey of professionals, managers and executives titled “What’s Your Style of Change Management?” uncovered a significant discrepancy between how employees and executives perceive change in the workplace. While 37% of executives believe employees want to remain in the status quo, 63% of them believe their employees want to reach for something bigger and better. In contrast, 45% of frontline employees state they are likely to remain with the status quo, and only 55% of them want to reach for something bigger and better.

These statistics are not surprising considering most big business initiatives – initiatives that can change the landscape and daily operations of their business – are typically crafted in the executive board room and then filtered down to lower-level employees. It is no wonder frontline employees are more averse to change than those at the top of the corporate ladder. When employees have no say in how change strategy is developed or implemented, leaders are likely to meet resistance.

The complex socially- and technologically-dominated economy we live in has made needed transformation one of today’s greatest management challenges. Yet, on the flipside, individuals and organizations are naturally resistant to change – even when careers and business profit hang in the balance.

Businesses ascribing to traditional management style are particularly vulnerable in our time of rapid, consistent change. Traditional management largely defines value by external factors – how they are positioned in their industry and their short-term profits. While this often yields benefit in the short-term, long-term business viability is largely dictated by how a business defines itself from within – or rather, by its organizational culture.

So how can businesses adapt their culture to help executives, managers, AND employees embrace change and diversion from the status quo as an opportunity to develop their business? Organizations must integrate change itself as a part of their company’s culture – intentionally and consistently embracing change as an opportunity to grow and learn.

  1. Establish the purpose of this change and determine the appropriate metrics for measuring its success.
    Every change in business, small or large, needs a vision and a purpose. Will this change help you maintain your current level of success or is it intended to help your business grow beyond what it is today? Establishing the purpose behind the change will guide the metrics necessary to effectively execute the change and measure how successful it is.
  2. Develop your managers’ leadership skills so they are able to prioritize and effectively manage during times of change – helping them effectively guide their teams through uncertain times.
    Organizational success during change largely hinges on your leaders’ ability to effectively guide their teams through unknown territory. Leaders should translate new business strategy into tangible short- and long-term actions and goals and connect them to the larger vision of the change.
  3. Instill common language and shared values throughout your team to help guide best use of information, decision-making processes, and develop strong professional relationships.
    Developing a common language and shared values helps create a shared understanding of the vision and purpose of your team – guiding the actions and decisions your team members make to accomplish the established goal. When communicated through common language, shared values such as collaboration, innovation, and communication develop a community of workers striving for bigger and better.

It is imperative executives, leaders, and employees remember change and transformation is not a singular event – rather it is a constant process of evaluation and re-evaluation. If organizations do not integrate change management into their culture, this can prove a daunting reality. However, companies who embrace change, and communicate the purpose of change through common language and shared values, are already one step ahead of their competitors. Espousing change builds adaptable, resilient organizations, yielding short-term benefit and long-term viability.

Ready to build the foundation of a high-performance organization, but not sure where to start? Let the Engineering Leadership Institute help! ELI has created a dynamic duo – our Team Leader Guide (TLG) and Performance Certification System (PCS). When combined, the TLG and PCS delivers leadership development, team skill development, and improved organizational effectiveness. Moreover, daily team interaction guided by the TLG helps build and strengthen professional relationships while integrating the PCS trainings into your team’s daily routine.

If you are seeking to cultivate common language, shared values, and successful team and leadership development to build the foundation for organizational high-performance, contact ELI today!