Change is here to stay; there’s no doubt about it. But in today’s empowered workplace, leading organizational change has, well, changed. What was once the role of senior management is now the day-to-day responsibility of individuals throughout the organization, from the execs at the top of the pyramid to the frontline employees at the base.
And that’s good news. Why? Because studies show that leading organizational change efforts are more successful when they’re implemented by the people they impact most. Regardless of authority or position, the ability to champion change has become a key factor in professional and organizational performance. Leading Change at Every Level is the combination self-assessment and training workshop that measures skill level and develops the five behaviors of effective change leaders: modeling the change, communicating about the change, involving others in the change, helping others break from the past, and creating a supportive environment for change.
Alberta Lloyd co-founded and was Vice President of Coleman Management Consultants, Inc., (CMC), based in Atlanta, Georgia from 1980 until August 2013. The firm worked with organizations to assist in utilizing their human resources to their full potential. Over the years Ms. Lloyd provided services such as specialized training for women and/or minority professionals, diversity awareness and skills training, and personal empowerment training for executives, managers and the general employee population. She conducted employee opinion surveys, worked with Diversity Councils and Affinity groups within organizations. As needed, she completed Mediation services and was trained in the facilitation of Coaching and Learning Circles to teach the skills of Peer Coaching. She also provided individual and group coaching for over one hundred high potential employees in one organization.
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Announcer: Broadcast is now starting. All attendees are in listen only mode.
Sarah: Hi, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, Leading Change at every Level, hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Alberta Lloyd. My name is Sarah, and I’ll moderate today’s webinar. It’ll last about an hour, and if you have any questions, you can always type them into the chat box. And I’ll answer those live as we go along, or at the end of the presentation, if we have some time for a Q&A, we’ll do that. And, if not, any unanswered questions, you can check out our blog afterwards, we’ll have written out the questions with the answers over there. And we’ll send you a link to that, as well.
Sarah: So, let’s go ahead and get started here. Our presenter today is Alberta Lloyd. She is Vice-President and co-founded the Coleman Management Consultants based in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1980 until August 2013. And the firm worked with organizations to assist in utilizing their Human Resources to their full potential.
Sarah: Over the years, Alberta has provided services such as specialized training for women and/ or minority professionals, diversity awareness and skills training, personal empowerment training for executives, managers, and the general employee population. She has conducted employee opinion surveys, worked with diversity councils and affinity groups within organizations, as well.
Sarah: And she’s also provided individual and peer group coaching for over a hundred high potential employees in one organization. So, we really welcome you today, Alberta, and thank you for sharing your expertise.
Alberta: Thank you, Sarah. I’m delighted to be here. And certainly, appreciate the fact that all of you have decided to spend at least an hour talking about something that as much as we might want to get away from, we can’t. And that’s change.
Alberta: Firstly, I do hope I have everybody here of their own free will. And I know sometimes that’s the case. But, other times, it’s not. So, hopefully, we’ll just make the best out of it, and I’ll try to make this an hour where you learn something, as well as enjoy it. First off, we’re going to take a look at those objectives that are on the … that you see on your screen, and figure out why is change, why are the initiatives such a challenge for us. Why do we fail many times? Or not meet the objectives that we want. And then, look at how we might ensure their success.
Alberta: I read a book several years ago called, Poke the Box. And, by an author named Seth Gordon. Golden, I’m sorry. And his premise is that what we tend to do is we talk about it, we think about it, we discuss it, we analyze, we interpret, we evaluate, we just never do it. So, hopefully, we can push it off that stuck point, and move it into another area.
Alberta: We need to also begin to take a look at what kinds of steps do we need to take in order to actively lead? Who’s responsibility is it? Is it up to one group versus another? Or is it up to everybody, and what’s the role that we need to follow. Change is not viewed the same way by everybody. If you think less, even if we take something like technology. Technology I think, we have three groups.
Alberta: We have one group when a new piece of technology or a new element of technology comes to the foreground, you have one group of people that’s going to get it no matter what. They don’t know what it does, they don’t care how much it costs, but they gotta have it first. There’s another group of people that says, “Well, I’ll wait until it gets cheaper. I see the value and I see I could use it, but I’m not paying that kind of money for it.” And, of course, what happens by the time they do make the decision is that there are two more generations of the same technology that’s out. And, the third group finally says, “You know what, I know it’s there, I don’t like it, don’t want it, don’t need it, not gonna get it.”
Alberta: And, sometimes we have those same kinds of attitudes that are inside our workplace, and we need to figure out how do we then best adjust and work with those attitudes in order to move people in the same direction, that’s our goal.
Alberta: Finally, we need to take a look at techniques and ways for us to … how do we get buy in? How do we get the commitment? How do you get people to have an investment in the change? We recognize that change occurs not only from the professional level. But it’s the personal level. And, when you really think about it, up until a number of years ago, maybe 20 years ago, we weren’t experiencing as much change inside the workplace as we did on a daily basis. Because see, we’ve always been used to change. We know once we left that workplace and got home, life could be upside down in a split second.
Alberta: And we were prepared for it. We would do whatever we needed to do, we would adjust whenever we needed to, we would try hard to fix it, and move on. Fix it fast and move on. And then, somehow, we thought that maybe, I believe part of our thought process was that often we could go to work.
Alberta: And when we went to work, in a strange way, we could rest. Because business did not change that quickly on the inside. And, inside as it did in our personal life. Well, technology is really a big driver and that has now … that case is no longer in place. Changes occur all of the time there. If you take a look, there is a comment made by W. Edward Deming, who said, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” Edward Deming was a quality expert in the ’50s, I guess in the ’60s, when he could not sell the quality idea in this country, he went to parts of Europe and was able to successfully get it in there.
Alberta: And, certainly the biggest one is the work that he did in Japan, which showed us how absolutely essential quality was at that point. But, it took us a while to accept it. It took us a while to figure out that we needed to do things differently. A number of companies opted not to change, and unfortunately, did not survive. If you take a look at the Fortune 500, or the Fortune 100 list, now look at, compared to 10 years ago, compared to five years ago.
Alberta: Just in the like two years, we’re able to see that they’re less of companies that no longer exist as an organization. And many of them, were around most of our lifetimes. But they no longer exist because they did not shift quickly enough in terms of it.
Alberta: Recognize that change is going to happen. We don’t have to like it, we don’t have to want it, but it’s going to happen anyway. And, what we wind up doing is we have to see that there are reasons for change. Because, if you don’t, you gotta stay at a point where you’re useful. Your organizations, all of our organizations have to remain relevant. We have to make sure that we’re meeting our customer needs. We have to make sure that we’re meeting the product … the marketplace area that we’re used to.
Alberta: Our employees, we have to remain relevant enough and on target enough, that they not only want to come with us, they want to grow with us, and then finally, they want to stay with us, at least for some period of time. All of those things allow us then to remain competitive in our chosen marketplaces. Both inside the organization, and that’s healthy competition, as well as a competitive marketplace on the outside of the business arena.
Alberta: If we don’t stay in a mode of continuously adjusting and improving, then we don’t stay in business. Clearly, one of the main objectives is to stay in business, is to make money, make the organization successful, and that takes a lot of individual effort, as well as taking group effort at all levels.
Alberta: Why do we change? Gosh, all of the needs assessments I’ve done over the years, communication has been one of the top five if not the top three issues that has clearly come to the forefront. That people don’t feel enough information is provided, so that individuals are kept informed as to what’s going to happen, what their role is, and realize that the change is not from the macro level that people look. People want to know, “Okay, so what does this got to do with me? How does it involve me?”
Alberta: And, unfortunately, we have not involved a lot of people in many of the decisions that directly affect them. And, as a result, we don’t get buy in from individuals. We don’t get people who are willing to invest their energy and their time into the direction we want to go. Not because, they don’t want to, but because they need more time to think it through. They are worried or concerned that they’re not going to look as smart and as capable. So, we have another line or another area of change that needs to be evaluated, as well.
Alberta: That lack of agreement or acceptance, we determine as obstinate or they’re anti, they’re resistant to change. Sometimes that’s true, sometimes that’s not true. Sometimes, it’s not understanding it, sometimes, they realize, well, same stuff, different day, you know, we’re gonna go ahead, we’ll decide that we’re going to do it, but nobody’s gonna back you if you try the change.
Alberta: We don’t often set our environments, our culture, or business cultures, we don’t normally always set them up, not normally. We don’t always set them up so that they are able to support whatever the new change happens to be. This is a big one. When risks are not rewarded, when they don’t work, that’s a big flag. If someone is taking a risk and they go out and they’re trying to implement a change, but whatever it is that they’ve done has not worked or did not hit the mark. If there is punishment for that, you have lots of other people who are going to back up.
Alberta: Because, if I’m not rewarded for sticking my neck out, I’m not going to stick it out. I am not willing to be punished for doing something if I don’t at least get acknowledgement that I tried. The other element, or one of the other things we tend to do, is that we try to do too many changes or implement too many changes at one time. That we haven’t finished the last one, so now we’ve got another one that’s coming. And, people get very, very tired of that, because it becomes now, the “flavor of the month.”
Alberta: Okay, somebody went to a seminar. Okay, somebody read a book. Alright, there was a white paper, or had lunch with a person and came back with this idea that we need to shift. The idea that we need to begin to do things differently in our environment. So, unfortunately, when we get to the point where change, efforts when they do fail, we realize that there are some descriptions that we could use concerning change.
Alberta: And something of those descriptions are, the fact that it is scary, it’s hard, it’s bothersome, it can be fun. It’s easy. There’s one in here that needs to be in giant letters, and that is lost. Change represents a loss of something to somebody. Even if that something did not work, it was a comfort level, it was a way it was always done. It was a way to make people feel that they understood how to be successful. When we shifted into a new direction, when we move into a new direction, we realize that we put people at a what they may perceive individually as a disadvantage.
Alberta: They don’t feel as smart, they don’t feel as capable, they don’t feel as useful in the workplace as they were in the past based on it. I’m sure that you can come up with lots of other terms that is awful, or that has progress, it’s freedom, it’s risky. It’s an adventure or could be a nightmare to some people. And you could keep going on and on and on. One of the elements that I didn’t, that’s not added up here is that sometimes, it can be slightly embarrassed. And, technology, we have a slightly embarrassing comes in.
Alberta: A quick side story, I was visiting a niece and I was sitting in a room, reading a newspaper. And, out of somewhere, she showed me, she put three remotes in front of me, and said, “Oh, you can watch TV, if you like.” Okay, so I’m sitting there, and of course now, I am taking the adult road, so I am analyzing which one of these is gonna turn on the TV. That’s all I want; I just wanted the television on.
Alberta: So, I’m sitting there looking, not touching anything, just looking. In the room, saunters my two-and-a-half-year-old great nephew who takes a look, sees the TV off, immediately walks over, picks up a remote, hits the button, and before I know it, I’m watching Paw Patrol. Now, I know a lot of you are chuckling out there. If I could see you, I’d give you the eye. But, I know, you’ve been there before. It’s just an extension of the blinking VCRs with the tape on top. We now have babies who can work technology faster and more efficiently and more effectively sometimes than many of the adults can, as well.
Alberta: I’m certain that now, as children learn to talk, I’ve seen more and more examples of it, as children learn to talk within their first 50 words, they’re going to be Alexa, Echo, and Google. It’s my understanding that they can order things. I know I’ve heard stories of children ordering lots of movies, so that’s why remote controls are now hidden. They are usually not as obvious when you go into home now, because they’re up on a shelf behind the vase, so some little folks can’t get it.
Alberta: Change, many times when we look at this and that and while we get over the slightly embarrassing, because after a while, you just figure, okay, I am not going to do it. They can do it. I will allow them to get that task completed for me, and I’m not upset about it at all. The biggest issue though, is really the loss. And the loss and the sense of you being capable. Capable and successful at what you’ve been doing for very long time.
Alberta: I had the opportunity to talk to a lady who is over 100 years old, and she was moving into her daughter’s home from her own. And, she said to me, she said, “This is all painful.” Because, when you think about it, at the end of your life, you give up everything that you had, basically, so that you’re now fully dependent on somebody else, with that. So, that pain and that loss, not only deal with us from a personal perspective, I think, but it also comes into the workplace.
Alberta: Letting go is hard. Letting go of a system that used to work, whether it’s working or not doesn’t matter. Letting it go is difficult. We find that in a … and again, on the other track, the personal track, letting go, think about cleaning out your closet, think about letting go of all the sentimental things that we hold onto. It is not an easy task for us to do. The dilemma that we face is identified in this statement by Sydney Harris. And, he said, “Our dilemma is that we both hate change and love at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but to get better.”
Alberta: And I can’t think of a more succinct way of putting that. It’s a case of wanting our cake and eating it, too. Which, who wouldn’t like that? That would be wonderful in our lifetime, if we had that ability, but we know that that’s not always the case. However, JFK said, “Change is the law of life. And those who only look to the past, or the present are certain to miss the future.” And, when we do take a look at that, we realize that the past is comfortable. The past is known, the past is a habit, some emotional disconnect may follow us into the future. Into the present, I’m sorry.
Alberta: Because it’s just about this moment, but we’re holding on to that past part. We don’t plan for the future. Because it’s unknown, it’s the risk. And risks we know, are not something that all of us engage in with the same kind of energy. Maybe there’s the desire to say, “Oh, I’d like to see that.” But the reality is, that if I’m in an organization where I am not rewarded for sticking my neck out, then chances are I will talk the talk, but I won’t walk the talk … as we look at that.
Alberta: Who’s involved in change? Everybody. Everybody is a part of change. There used to be a time when we had the executive. We blame them, we said, “Okay, if they do it, we’ll do it.” While in part that’s true, we do need to have the mirror, we do need to have the executives on board, and showing us through their actions and their deeds and their behaviors. And their word. We do need that done. The reality is, that all of us, at all levels inside the organization are responsible for the change. It is not going to happen.
Alberta: The days of things being dictated from the top, and heard the same way, interpreted the same way, and done the same way, implemented the same way, doesn’t exist. We used to have organizations like that. And, of course, we had a lot of organizations where you know, the boss said it, you did it, no questions. Now, we just complain about ’em a lot in the bars, but nevertheless, in the organizations we tended to do what they said. And that’s no longer the case. If I am a first line supervisor, if I am a team lead, if I am the entry level employee, I have a vested interest in making the company successful.
Alberta: But you have to help me see what that interest is, otherwise, it’s just a job. It’s just a paycheck that’s there. Because, I have a position, I or any individual, you have a formal position, and given a line of authority based on the org chart. Just because it’s there, we all know that that is not always what gets it done. A formal position is helpful. It’s the informal, where you make connections and where you are working along with others is the getting the buy in from the whole team rather than one person saying it and everybody doing it.
Alberta: If we all jump on board, and we’re able to develop the skill set, because, you know, the interesting note that we need to keep in our minds, as professionals, is, that’s a skill set many of us were hired to deliver to the organizations we’re in, if we have remained for any amount of time. While, they are still good, they’re just a base. It’s not the same skill set that we need today. Our job, therefore, is to increase our own skill base. Our career is our responsibility. But, making sure we’re on a successful team, is our responsibility, as well.
Alberta: Everybody has a stake in this. No one person is going to make it happen. We have challenges, do we have challenges now in the workplace? Absolutely. We’ve got multiple generations, and everyone generation thinks the one before it doesn’t know what they’re doing. Or they’re stuck in the mud. And then, ones that have been there, think the newer ones are wet behind the ears and don’t have an idea of what’s going on. We have to blend all of those.
Alberta: We have to blend all of those behaviors, because we’re all in this bucket together. The reality is, we’re going to succeed as a team and as a business as an organization in the marketplace, or we’re not. There is no luxury to be a part of the team when it wins, and not a part of the team when it loses. We all need to pull our weight and recognize that sometimes we’ve got to do somethings we’re not as excited about.
Alberta: We no longer, we used to live under an environment or in an environment where the attitude was, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But now, I think we’re in a … if we were to adjust that statement, “If it ain’t broke, let’s examine it and try to pull it apart and see if we can make it better.” Is where we are now.
Alberta: We want to be able to change, to shift. And meet the needs as the needs change, and they are changing very, very quickly. When we look at change from a personal perspective, change can be viewed as an opportunity, it can be viewed as something that’s enjoyable. It can be perceived as something that’s exciting. At the same time, it could be a threat, where it’s depressing and feared by a lot of people. That’s a choice. We decide which one we want it to be.
Alberta: And, based on what we decide, our behaviors, our actions, our values, our beliefs, and to support whatever those change views might be for us. But it’s an individual choice. Why is it hard? Chip and Dan, he said, “Change is hard because people wear themselves out. What might look like laziness or resistance may just be exhaustion.” How many changes do we need? How do we get our people, where do we get them pumped back up? How do we re-energize them? What do we do to make sure that they are ready to deal with the change?
Alberta: What’s blocking the resistance? Rather than labeling people as lazy or not interested or people who are just obstinate. That is not always the case that we do. They wrote a book called, Chip and Dan, he’s wrote a book called Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard. And one of the things that they did is that they looked for the bright spots. In our organizations, we need to take a look and see what is working. All too often, we focus only on what’s not working. But, if we turn it around and say, “Okay, how do we figure out if it’s working well? How do we do more of that?”
Alberta: What makes it work? And how do we apply it, adjust it? Make it flexible so that we can share it with other parts of the organization in order to receive, or in order to achieve the objectives that we want to achieve.
Alberta: And, if it’s not working, why not? All too often, it’s not that the whole idea is not working, there are some parts of the implementation of the idea that may need to be tweaked. And, if that tweaking can help, maybe we’re able to salvage the rest of it. But we need to, we don’t always have to go back to the drawing board and start all over again. We don’t need to do that.
Alberta: When we now take a look, “If you don’t like something,” Maya Angelou said, “Change it. And, if you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Easier said than done. But attitude is a choice. Attitude is every day you wake up and you can decide it’s going to be a good day or a bad day. And frankly I don’t know many people that wake up and say, “I want to have a miserable day today.”
Alberta: I don’t know of a lot of people who wake up and say they’d want to make the day bad for everybody else. I’m sure there are a few, you know, we can’t do anything 100%, so I’m sure there are a few people that stay up late at night, trying to figure out how to worry the rest of the folks. But, for the most part, we have choices. So, if you can’t … we have to deal with the changes that we deal with. I can affect my boss, my direct boss. I can influence him or her. I can maybe have some indirect influence on the next level up. However, if the Board of Directors or the Chairman and the Executive Committee have made a decision, then chances are great I can’t affect that, in terms of change.
Alberta: So, I have to figure out, how do I deal with it? What does it come down to? What is my role in helping this change occur? Because, if I can’t make it go away`, and I choose to stay, then I’ve got to figure out the best way to operate, in order to be successful with that. And, every choice carries consequences, we know that. If I choose to go along with the program, I need to understand what consequences are there. If I choose not to, there are often consequences in that. And I may self-eliminate from the team based on my choice. And that’s what exactly it will be, my choice. Not anybody else’s, but mine. And that’s a whole other webinar that you can go through and talk about choices with consequences.
Alberta: Because I believe that that’s where a lot of us get stuck. We want to make our choices, we want to have some control, but the control we do have, we don’t want to exercise without control, without consequence. And that’s not possible. That is absolutely not possible to occur.
Alberta: HRDQ has done a great job in setting up their assessments and looking at different types of areas, the buckets, several buckets, or areas where we can look at it. Much of what we’ve already discussed can fit under each one of these. Because each one of these you recognize could be a course in itself. Individuals have, we have the opportunity to communicate at all different levels with people.
Alberta: It’s five basic areas that we’re gonna go over, at this point, I’d like to review with you, has to do with the following. Modeling the change and modeling the change that simply means that you are … that’s one of the challenges. You have to show the behavior before anybody else. And that’s a challenge. Because everybody’s looking at you.
Alberta: And we’ll go into some of the challenges there. The other areas in terms of leading the change, has to do with involving others in the change, the second thing. Helping other people get comfortable with the change. Communicating about the change and creating an environment in order to be supportive of the changes that you do have. So, the first one, some of the challenges under modeling the change, has to do with being first. That’s a challenge, you don’t know what’s going to happen when you jump out there, you’re not really sure. You know that first step is a big one, and everybody is looking at you.
Alberta: And, because everybody is looking at you, you don’t want to make a mistake. You are the role model, they are looking up to you, everybody is, fair or unfair, they are looking at you. And you’re walking a fine line, because you sometimes want to deal with or overcome, do as I say to, not as I do. Or, do as I say, not as I say. Hard, hard to do. How do you overcome it? Here are some thoughts that we might be able to utilize that will allow us to address some of those issues.
Alberta: And it’s not certainly an end all be all. I recognize that and also a lot of you already have change programs. You have other solutions that you’ve been able to use, and perhaps these could match up with it, or add to your list. Try to incorporate the changes in your daily responsibilities. Whatever it is, don’t put it off so that, next week I’ll start, I’ll start Monday. That’s kinda like diets, that we’re going to do, or going to the gym. Ah, I’ll do it next Sunday. But we need to recognize that you can’t do it all at once. Or maybe one or two little things you can incorporate into your activities. That others are certainly watching whether you know it or not.
Alberta: Or, whether you like it or not. Think before you act. Yup. How many times has that cause us issues? And it takes a split second. The difficult thing about communication, is that once you say it, you can’t take it back. Once it’s shown, those nonverbal behaviors, those actions, people don’t unsee those. And it’s very hard to overcome them. What have your past actions been? Are you overcoming a reputation of missteps, perhaps? That you had to correct.
Alberta: And so, that individuals are able to see you in a different light, they’re able to see you in a manner that you want them to see you in now, as a leader towards the change, towards the direction.
Alberta: When you take a … trust somebody enough to give you feedback. That’s enlist a shadow. Somebody next to you, somebody around you that basically says, “Okay, here’s what I saw, here’s what was done.” And they’re able to give you some feedback. Because none of us change or grow without feedback, we really don’t.
Alberta: It’s tough, but many times, if you don’t have the feedback, you begin to believe your own press. And, that becomes very, very dangerous for all of us when you think about it. There are cues, and these subtle cues … a look, a stance, a pause, a comment. All of those, all under the non-verbal areas, but recognize that they send messages loud and clear. Whether it says, “I’m open and talk to me. No, I don’t agree with you. Yes, I’m onboard, but I’m skeptical,” you cannot not communicate through those subtle cues. And everybody sees them.
Alberta: We are all experts in those areas, when it comes down to it, we are experts in being able to read the non-verbal from other people. As much as we reject the idea that we are, we definitely are wonderful experts in that. Modeling the change, when we look at the challenges, that … I’m sorry, when we are modeling the change, we see the tangible approaches that we work with when we carry that over to the communication area.
Alberta: And now, we see some challenges under that communication. We don’t know how to communicate. We don’t know which way is the best way to communicate. Is it email, is it in person, is it town hall, is it focus groups, what are we doing? How do we figure out that, to get the word out? Preventing hopes from being raised unrealistically.
Alberta: I think hope is always a wonderful promise. But, when it’s unrealistic, that’s when we have some difficulty. So, you want to get people involved, but you want to temper it with some of the ability that’s required to implement the change in a manner that benefits all. Unfavorable information. People don’t like it if you’re going out, you know, that’s a challenge. It’s like, “Why are we doing this? Who said we should do this? There’s no need to do it, we’re already successful, we’re making money. The system works for us.” How do you begin to deal with all of those comments and work with them, and get individual again, to make a personal investment so that he or she will get onboard with what you want?
Alberta: And then, repetition of the same message. That’s a challenge. People get tired and they go, “Okay, we heard that before.” But again, it’s a matter of whether or not we have been … it’s some of the walking the talk issues that’s coming up again. So, with communicating, how do we do it? What are the ideas for communication? Because, you know what? We don’t run out of ideas for this communication area, we don’t run out of them at all.
Alberta: Communicating, use all kinds of modes. If you got banners, use banners. If you have flyers, put flyers. I work with an organization who decided that they wanted to … they couldn’t figure out other ways to get the word out on something that they were doing, so they posted them in the restrooms, all over the places. So it’s … and unexpected places, on the signs going into the building. The electronics signs leading to the plant environment that were able to communicate in every kind of way that you think, and a couple of them you haven’t thought of yet.
Alberta: Sometimes, it means going outside of the boundaries. Going outside of the box. It’s not always something that you have to do it the way we’ve always done it. We’re at a time now, where there are, with podcasts, and webinars, blogs, you’ve got all of these kinds of mechanisms where you can turn some of them within and be able to keep the message going. Because you want reinforcement constantly.
Alberta: This one is really important, if you have possible outcomes, what are your desired outcomes? And make sure they are shared. All too often, people are not aware of what it’s supposed to look like when it’s done. And, many times, we don’t either because what we don’t do is, when we plan, we don’t plan and look at that desired outcome. We kinda wing along, and then all of a sudden, it’s a surprise, what the outcome is going to be.
Alberta: But if you share what the possible outcomes are, and again, where do they fit? How do others fit into what this outcome is? And, how likely is it to happen? Is it going to happen in 30 days? Is it going to happen in a year? Will it happen five years from now? But, how likely, if we do all of this stuff, how likely is it that success, that end of this particular journey?
Alberta: Empathize, understand, and recognize that people feel the way they feel. While it may not make any sense to you, while it may not be agreed upon by you. Understand that people feel the way they feel, and we cannot dictate what they ought to be feeling. Or what they should be feeling, or you know, words like grateful and thankful and all of that. We don’t have the right to do that. And that shuts people down, very frankly, it shuts them down to a point where they don’t want to communicate at all.
Alberta: They will then tell you what you want to hear, rather than what they are really thinking. The challenges involving others, when you involve others in the change that we’re about to pull off, it really does, the challenges that take way too much time. It’s easier for you to figure it out, it’s easier for you to put all this together, it’s easy for you to guide it, you, whoever the you is, whether it’s the team or whether it’s an individual.
Alberta: You got too many opinions, and you don’t know what to do with them. Based on that, that alone, that’s an overwhelming challenge. You have opinion surveys, you have employee studies, but you don’t know what to do with all that information because it’s overwhelming. Another challenge is that it’s too distracting. Not only is it pulling your time away, now you gotta go off in different directions to try to put out little fires, if you will, because individuals are upset about this over here, and that could get out of control. And you’ve gotta go someplace else.
Alberta: So, it takes you away from what your desire is, what the desired change is for the organization. What are some approaches? What can you do about it? How can you handle it? Well, problem-finding is one way, and goodness knows, we’ve got a lot of people that can help us find problems. Extending this to also problem solution. You’re not gonna follow everybody’s opinion, but the consideration is important for other people. Not only hearing their ideas, because you know, I think one of the big things that we have in the workplace is that people don’t listen. Everybody’s got their own agenda. So, if you listen to the idea, some of them will work, some of them won’t.
Alberta: But at least the courtesy of letting them know what happened to their ideas. Yes, they were recognized. Yes, we did receive it. Yes, we discussed it. And here are the reasons why the idea could not or was not incorporated. Feedback loop is really important, completing it. That’s one of the reasons why it’s difficult sometimes, to get employees to complete opinion surveys or any little survey, because we don’t ever go back and let them know what happened to the information or what was thought of the information that they provided.
Alberta: And, they keep saying the same thing. Listen without trying to talk them out of it. When we listen with empathy, when we listen in a manner that’s not defensive, you hear an awful lot of things. You’re able to take in an awful lot more information. You may have an answer, and that’s true, but that’s not the time for you to share the answer with the individual.
Alberta: Ask effective questions. You do more listening there than you do talking. Then you’re talking with it. Challenges when we look at breaking from the past. Everybody thinks everything thing is fine. Yeah, we’re gonna upset the apple cart now. We’re gonna cause problems, we’re gonna make it all a mess and create confusion. Status quo was working, we don’t have a … there’s no reason to change. And, you know what? We’ve got some sacred cows.
Alberta: Some things that we just have to keep in mind. We just have to keep in mind in order to make sure that the company stays whole. Sometimes, we need to challenge. Those particular ideas. The next one, when we look at tangible approaches, how do you fix it? Pick at them. Look at them, identify those sacred cows. Figure out some way to kind of sever the past.
Alberta: And it might be a fun way that you come up with in the organization or allow employees to come up with it, as well. Because, you know, they know what’s not working. While at the senior level, we can plan and we can put it on paper, the day-to-day folks who have our bottom line in their hands, know what’s working and what’s not working.
Alberta: I often look at organizations and gave feedback that said, “You’re not training your bottom-line people who have your bottom line in their hands. As an example, I worked with a grocery chain. They train managers, they train store managers and assistant managers, but not the cashiers. The cashiers are the ones who can send you out of the store screaming. That’s your bottom line. So, we need to look at it.
Alberta: Play devil’s advocate, what about training some of the other people that you’ve not trained with before. What about getting some opinions you’ve never gotten? What about sponsoring something wild, some crazy idea? That certainly doesn’t throw the company into complete turmoil, but something that is imaginative and outside of the boundary.
Alberta: And then, constantly look for improvement. Ask for improvement. Ask for ideas, ask for individuals to provide these thoughts with you on a consistent basis, even when you’re not contemplating a brand-new change.
Alberta: Creating the environment is a critical one, and the challenges there have to do with the trying something new. Each organization has a culture. And every culture is made up of lots and lots of things. Obviously, lots of people. Try something new in an environment. It might shake everybody up, just a little bit.
Alberta: Knowing that making mistakes, when you make stupid mistakes, that means you knew better, and you did it anyway. That probably needs to be punished at some point, because it might be like a difficult child. But, when you make a venture mistake, when you stick your neck out, and somebody tries and it didn’t work, reward that. Think about rewarding it, because that’s the kind of ones, those are the ones you want, you want those kinds of errors to be made so that you’re able to see it.
Alberta: If you stay results focused, you’re not gonna have the time to do a lot of other things. If it’s only about the numbers, it’s only a matter of time before people realize that and they drop whatever it is you wanted them to do. Because, they don’t have time to do everything else. How do you overcome that? Looking at some other approaches we can use, look at problem correction at some point, make sure that the organization is moving toward the direction where you can indeed correct the problem, correct the situation.
Alberta: Admit to what you know, and what you don’t know. There is nothing wrong with I don’t know. Sometimes the most powerful phrase you can use in the language because we don’t know it all. If we … and we learn more when we come out with that kind of a refrain.
Alberta: Support your time, if you want your people to be trained, if you want people to be trained, make time for it. And support the time. The immediate boss needs to know, the supervisor needs to know, the colleagues and everybody else needs to know that it is all moving towards a direction that is going to make the change stick. Going to make the change work in the environment. And, that you have given your permission, if you’re at the senior level, or at a level where you can, at the managerial level, support your employees as they are going through the changes or trying to implement the changes that are there.
Alberta: When we take a look at all five of the changes, we look at all of them and you realize, again, as I said, they could be courses in themselves. Whenever you use an assessment, it allows you an opportunity to gain one more glimmer of information. One more piece of information that provides objective opportunities for discussion. Not finger pointing, not blaming, but allows individual people to figure out how they feel, and then apply it to how it might work within the environments that they are a part of.
Alberta: In closing, the last one is that we have to show, and that’s we, everybody. We have to, “Bet the change we wish to see in the world.” And, no, we’re not going to hold hands in the parking lot in a minute, for it, but I think it’s just something that is absolutely critical for us to think about. Change is not everybody else’s problem, or everybody else’s [inaudible 00:52:57]. Change is good and often we think, change is good as long as you have to do it and I don’t. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Alberta: What we need to do is recognize that all of us are a part of it. Inside the organization, we have a role. As long as you commit to working, I commit to working, too, within an organization, I have a role in its success. And, I now have a role in my feeling successful within their success, as well. It starts out with individual; they bring themselves together into teams. The teams then build, collect, and that’s the company or the business or the organization. And it’s those, that group that then interfaces with the marketplace, with the greater marketplace.
Alberta: And the greater business environment. It works on all level. It’s not easy, and we barrel through an awful lot of stuff in a very short period of time without a two-way dialogue. So, I do hope that if you had any questions or comments, that you were able to send them to Sarah. But recognize that if we all pull together and we look at the change. And we all pull together and view the direction, because it’s critical also to understand that once the change is there, once it’s being implemented, we get on board.
Alberta: The train is moving; we need to be a passenger. We can no longer stand and stop the train; we need to recognize we need to be an active passenger on that particular train. It’s not easy, but the journey sure is worth it. Thanks for your time, I’m gonna let … toss it back to you, Sarah.
Sarah: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Alberta. We’ve received some really great feedback, we are short on time here for questions but, go ahead and send any in that you have, and Alberta will respond to those. We’ve put them up on our blog, and you get an email notification when those are posted within a day or so here. So that, you can go ahead and check out the questions that have come in, and Alberta’s answers to those.
Sarah: Great session today. And, I know we have some customers on the line already, who are using Leading Change at Every Level. I have one gentleman who’s actually running it next week, and he was eager to hear another spin on those five dimensions, which is really neat.
Sarah: But, if you aren’t quite using this workshop yet, you can get the facilitator set at 25% off with the coupon code that’ll also get emailed to you. LCE, L25, that’s good through the end of December here. But this is a self-assessment, with a classroom workshop full with the PowerPoint presentation, as well, so that you can run this training internally for your groups. You also have options if you need health with the delivery. HRDQ has expert consultants, like Alberta, that can come on site, and deliver the training session for you, or provide a train the trainer internally for your learning and development staff it change training is something you’re looking to implement.
Sarah: So, definitely take a look at HRDQ for your product and service needs. And keep sending in those questions, I’ll stay live here on the line to capture those, and we’ll get those back in the blog.
Sarah: And, Alberta, thank you so much for a really engaging and lively interaction today. We definitely appreciate your expertise.
Alberta: My pleasure.
Sarah: Thanks, everyone, and we’ll see you next week.
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