How are You Handling Change?
As a workplace change management speaker and consultant, I am fascinated by how management “statistics” get perpetuated and become “truth.”
Back in that pre-pandemic golden era of 2015, McKinsey & Company published an article entitled Change in Change Management. As I am a national speaker on change, I was naturally anxious to read the piece. The authors listed five principles of monitoring and ensuring change in this new, digital era:
- Provide Just-in-Time feedback
- Personalize employee experience
- Sidestep corporate hierarchy
- Blend empathy and community into change decision
- Demonstrate the progress that has been made
The list of actions was impressive, with the article, once again evoking the magical “70% Change Failure” statistic that warned that the reason we need the new digital approach is to avoid change efforts from collapsing.
The Biggest Change?
A recent Gallup Workplace article reinforces a point I have long noted in my workplace change consultancy efforts. My observation has been that the hardest change for employees to overcome has been the upheaval in organizations when leadership changes or refuses to change.
The five points raised in the 2015 article I cite about are fine in a dry, business article sort of a way, but what often happens (especially with downright unresponsive, rotten bosses) are:
- Don’t or won’t provide supportive feedback
- React to the group effort, rather than respond to individual strengths and weaknesses.
- Maintain the hierarchy
- Believe empathy and authenticity are signs of softness
- Refuse to give credit for anything positive
The numbers don’t lie. Remember the pandemic? Between the first and second dates of the articles from above – and despite ever improving digital technologies, more than 4 million workers walked off jobs in the 2021-2022 period.
Why did they leave? Lousy bosses. The walkout wasn’t due to low pay or dismal benefits but to management who “embraced” some or all of the five tendencies of unresponsive bosses from immediately above.
In a nutshell, it explains why people who may work in threadbare offices in not-so-cool companies, stay and are loyal, while employees in sleek, gorgeous offices with health club benefits and meal allowances leave.
The Problem Worsens
The Gallup article not only underscores the difficulties of change in the modern organization, but the brutal fact that managers are caught in a terrible squeeze. The squeeze can make so-so managers worse or authentic managers better.
Among the points made in the survey:
“When Gallup asked managers what changes their organization made in 2023, 64% said ‘employees were given additional job responsibilities,’ 51% cited the ‘restructuring of teams’ and 42% reported ‘budget cuts.’ In short, managers now have more work to do on a tighter budget with new teams.”
The core issue, beyond the digital, the org charts and the new huddle rooms, is how are you handling change? In-person, virtual or hybrid, the 2024 question is how can the manager handle change without burning out themselves or their employees?
The 70% change failure rate, tossed about with abandon and certainty can be made worse or better. The key determinant is you. Change will always be with us, as will pressure and stress. It can overwhelm or be managed.
Don’t believe the statistics or the management gurus who live to create complex charts. Believe, instead, in yourself. You can adjust. In 2024, you can be a voice for positivity and transformation. I can help.
To contact Mike Hourigan, Workplace Change Motivational Speaker and Consultant, please call Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.