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Tip 50 – During Change, Keep Focus on the Day Job

In any change, life goes on, so ensure you and your people retain focus whilst change is progressing.

When your people are implicated in changes you are making, it can be a challenge to keep them focused on keeping their output up. It’s your vital role to help keep them focused on the day job, whatever else is going on.

Change is challenging. And when individuals are affected, it can be a huge challenge to maintain focus, morale and engagement, because of the personalized implications they may feel concerned about. It can be a tough call for them to make.

Managers need to have the ability to manage the attention of the employees in their team, even when there are the significant distractions that come when change impacts on them.

At a time where focusing on managing change effectively is at the top of their own agenda, the best managers are taking the time to make sure that the performance of their team remains focused on the day-job.

They do this by being all the more visible than usual and by taking the time to engage with their people like never before. This is time-consuming and challenging in itself. And it’s a vital role for the more diligent managers to play.

There’s a spin-off too. Where a team are in the thick of change, with all its implications – real or simply perceived – making concentration all the more difficult, there’s a need to get grounded and back to normality.

Where a manager is able to combine change management with their normal role in managing and leading their team effectively – and be seen to do so – it will have a beneficial effect on team energy, focus and keep excitability at least a little under control.

Managers who take off the change manager hat for some or even most of their time and show that they are focusing on their normal role, will be demonstrating a resilience during times of change that will impress model for their people too.

This ‘normalizing’ behavior will slowly and surely percolate into the way their people do their job and help calm down the excitement that so often bubbles under when circumstances are changing.

Good managers focus on the day-to-day requirements of the organization and with that, instigate a normality that can so easily get out of hand if allowed to.

Change management is not simply about delivering a change program, it’s about taking your people with you and helping them see that for most of their work, change is an insignificance that can get out of proportion.

Managers who are managing change this way, will be showing that they care about their priorities effectively and, with that, their people will most likely keep engaged where they add value best.

This is an expanded version of Tip 50 (of 102!), from the ‘Managing Change’ Super-Simple Success Tips e-book you can get free, today! Just click the link above, or the button in the right hand sidebar!

© 2011 Resilience in Change

Tip 89 – Finding Valuable Opportunities to Change

Last year’s ‘givens’ can make way for growth and improvement, when you take the time to challenge old performances and beliefs.

Change management can often be seen as delivering discrete activities towards a defined outcome. A series of changes in any organization requires a plan of action for delivery, which once complete, means we can get back to the day job.

Yet that’s just the time to think of change again.

The principle of change is one that can mean concern and worry for anyone. However grounded, confident and flexible we are, the thought of change – especially where it’s imposed on us – can be daunting.

Because of the inadequate manner in which change has so often been imposed, many employees see change management as one of those activities managers and leaders get involved in that can only bring distress and pain.

Good managers know that the clichéd ‘change is a constant’ is the best attitude and that there are ways to embody the spirit of change in a positive and developmental way. Thus changing the perception of change almost entirely for their fortunate people. The way it can be.

By taking active steps to deliver change management initially on just one single occasion to be inclusive, flexible and open, whilst retaining the outcome goal required, managers can change the reality of change to be a fun, engaging and empowering activity for their people.

So, once a manager has become much better at managing change and their people come to trust them and where they are going, a whole new opportunity comes along.

You see employees like best to be challenged in their work. They like to learn new stuff; they enjoy being stretched; they love to take new risks. Indeed they want to come to their work to enjoy their day and be fulfilled in what they do.

This does not come from delivering exactly the same stuff each day. The sausage-machine mentality doesn’t work well for most employees.

A manager good at helping change become a fun and exciting activity, where risk is minimized and the edginess of fear removed, can bring the two together.

Engaging a team in seeking change that will make a difference makes for exciting workplace. It makes individuals work much more effectively and enables outcomes to be extraordinary.

Where the status quo is the safer option, these amazing teams will actively hunt out change opportunities to create even better results than before well, just because it’s a fun and creative thing to do. ‘What can we change for the better?’, will become their mantra, every day in every way.

By leveraging the energy that change can precipitate when change management is delivered in a good way, a manager will be able to radically magnify the performance of any team.

Not only will results be exceptional and out of the box, but their people will be engaged and love to stay, contribute and do even more of this stuff. And as manager who is captaining this ship, what a testament to their capabilities too.

This is an expanded version of Tip 89 (of 102!), from the ‘Managing Change’ Super-Simple Success Tips e-book you can get free, today! Just click the link above, or the button in the right hand sidebar!

© 2011 Resilience in Change

Tip 29 – Managing Change By Listening Hard to Feedback

Managing change brings moments of challenge, that’s for sure. And it can be tough trying to get it right each step of the way. Remembering that your people are an asset that can be utilized – in more ways than one – is an opportunity not to be missed.

Think of your employees as the extended eyes and ears of your business or organization. They can supplement your role as a manager in so many ways – when you are relaxed enough to let them. Indeed, having such an array of support is a marvellous resource for any manager.

One of the biggest challenges you will have as their leader, is to let them help you; to be prepared to ask for their input. By doing so you enhance their sense of contribution. When you do so and use encouraging language to recognize their efforts, you meld a real team together, often with outcomes that will create amazing possibilities.

By using them to help you get it right, change management becomes so much easier.

There are many opportunities to get others involved. Whilst it may be some way down the track, asking your people what needs to change to enhance the team performance is the ultimate goal. On the path to that there are many opportunities to get them used to contributing actively.

Apart from seeking advice, ideas and support in the ‘how’ of delivering change – the actual mechanics where your people really can make the difference – one of the best ways to ensure that you are directing them appropriately is to ask for feedback.

‘Appropriately’ here is that you are wanting to be sure that the activities you propose will actually work; that as the change program progresses, there will be few problems; that actions taken are likely to provide the outcomes that you want – indeed expect.

Feedback is a gift they give you when you are open for it. By asking for feedback, openly and respectfully, you will have five, ten or a hundred eyes and ears that will help you ensure success when managing change.

For it to be successful, it’s vital for you to take the time to listen and take in feedback without criticism or argument. The key is to seek and use feedback as a fact-finding exercise. A sense-checking of your ideas where they can tell you what they think.

of course, there will be a plethora of information, ideas, opinions and attitudes that you will have to sift through to get to the bottom of what is real and objective. Asking for a hundred lots of feedback will, inevitably, mean they will be very varied.

Yet the value of feedback, once they are clear how you want it given – objective, honest, realistic and open – is immeasurable.

Of course how you choose to use it during your creation and implementation of change management programs and activities really is up to you.

This is an expanded version of Tip 29 (of 102!), from the ‘Managing Change’ Super-Simple Success Tips e-book you can get free, today! Just click the link above, or the button in the right hand sidebar!

© 2011 Resilience in Change

Tip 56 – Managing Change? Involve Everyone in the Plan

By encouraging the involvement of the whole team, they will focus their energies on what they can contribute, rather than fret about what’s happening.

Change can be a very uncomfortable place to be. Particularly for employees, there are many times where imposed change can make them feel powerless, out of control and ultimately, this causes fear, resentment and lots of other negative emotions.

There is a way to make them feel much better and keep onside the positive asset they already are.

The most challenging element that comes when managing change – especially where you’ve taken the time to build lasting relationships with your people – is to see them suffer with the new challenges they will face.

In fact, it’s even more basic than that. It’s that they struggle with what they don’t yet know and the personal consequences for them as individuals.

Because the nature of change – especially in larger organizations – is to take a step by step communication process, managers usually know more than individuals and yet have to hold back, because of the processes involved. This makes fo even more discomfort, because every employee is anxious for their personal bottom line.

Nebulous and generalized statements regarding impacts will not hold much sway with an individual unless they are able to appreciate exactly how it will affect them personally – and imparting that level of knowledge is not always possible to start with.

Yet there’s a way to enable them to have less time to focus on the unknowns and to constructively contribute to what’s going on. When your people are enageged in valuable activities, they will quickly get absorbed in where they are able to contribute and spend less of their time dwelling on what (only) might be coming their way.

There are many ways employees can become engaged in change.

A key to making this work best is the upfront investment you have personally made to engage your people, well before change has been even hinted at. Do not miss opportunities in your everyday work to create powerful relationships with your people in as many ways as you can – even informallly – because this will be a big lever that will work in your favour in the future, when times might not be quite so simple.

Sometimes, they will be enthusiastically engaged where you have a ‘what’ to deliver as an outcome – or series of outcomes – of changes, by using their skills and experience to come up with some creative – and often unexpected – ‘hows’ of the mechanics of delivery. They will have great ideas – if you involve them openly and honestly.

There will be opportunities for them to collaborate together, to negotiate between them changes they are going to have to deliver which can impact on their personal circumstances.

Where improvements to operational procedures and deliverables are needed, you will be amazed at how varied their approaches can be. After all, even though you’re the boss, you don’t have every answer – and those that you do have will more often than not be the best. (This concept can take a little getting used to for many bosses!).

Where you are able to communicate more fully, their contributions from questions they have will add to the mix for everyone, where you see it as an opportunity to explain and explore answers with a whole group of people. Creating a series of FAQs fromn your teams’ queries will very often prevent you wasting time saying the same thing over and over to many people.

And why stop with change activities utilizing your whole team this way. In a world of wikis and open source solutions, the smart organizations are already leveraging the knowledge, ontribution and ultimately the raw power of the many to solve problems.

One day, imposed change might well be the last way we solve problems. Our people will, in an enlightened business world, have fixed things before they become a problem in a rolling, ultra-inclusive process where all are involved and – deep breath required – bosses simply keep the plates spinning.

This is an expanded version of Tip 56 (of 102!), from the ‘Managing Change’ Super-Simple Success Tips e-book you can get free, today! Just click the link above, or the button in the right hand sidebar!

© 2011 Resilience in Change

The Bigger Picture of Change

Sometimes, when change for the better happens, there can be consquences that you can’t forsee, if you fail to look closely enough.

A manager I worked with recently resolved a long-standing recruitment issue. One of the Team Leader vancancies had been left unfilled for over a year.

One of the members of the team had heroically filled in and because of the requirements of the Team Leader’s role (requiring specific technical skills) could not be given the position permanently.

The position became filled and the Department Manager decided that he would reward the team member by moving them to a different team where they could be promoted eventually.

It was seen (by the Department Manager), as a positive step for the team member.

The Department Manager did not feel the need to fully appreciate whether the team member wanted to move – or indeed, get that promotion.

Indeed they were very happy in that technical area they hade been holding the fort for, for so long!

Three months down the track, the team member decided to leave. They had not wanted to move, but their concerns were poo-pooed by the Departmental Manager who belived they were helping out the team member by forcing them to develop.

Two further months later, the Team Leader whose arrival had precipitated the movement of the team member decided that they weren’t right for the job either, so they left too.

The Department Manager was left with no Team Leader and no effective team member either, such that the team struggled to deliver anything like the performance required, bringing a sizeable chunk of the Department under a lot of pressuire.

The moral of the story?

  • Never assume anything about people, especially where it involves them in changes they might not want to undertake
  • Never think that a solution to one thing will be without ripples outwards
  • Consider the implications of change much more than superficially!

Martin

© 2011 Resilience in Change