Effecting change in any organization can be tricky, particularly when it comes to company culture. After all, part of the lifeblood of any good company is its culture. So whether you have a successful company that could use some improvements or one that has some serious issues, there are some basic rules you should follow.
First, it’s essential to understand that nobody likes the way things are – until you try and change them. People tend to be creatures of habit; they don’t like change, so that is an obstacle you will need to overcome.
Keep in mind that whether your the owner of the company or are in a leadership position, your business doesn’t exist without the individuals it employs. Their talents are essential in bringing your leadership to fruition. Avoid making change for the sake of change. It’s vital to understand your team. Incorporating their thoughts as the agent of change is essential for employee buy-in, or you run the risk of breaking the culture and your team.
Layout your thoughts for your team and allow them to respond. When they give you feedback, listen with an open mind. See if you can build a consensus around your ideas. If, on the other hand, their feedback is negative, don’t just brush it off. Consider whether you can you factually refute their concerns, or are their concerns valid?
Once you have a well thought out implementation plan, you can assign team members to implement all or parts of the plan. As they do so, make sure to validate their efforts and offer positive comments as warranted. Remember, everyone likes some recognition.
Unfortunately, there’s always the chance that the change you seek will be met with resistance, even if you’ve done your best to involve the team. If you have a team member(s) that can’t get behind the change, you will need to counsel them immediately and be prepared to sever the relationship if needed.
If this happens, remember never to make it personal. The remaining team members may like the person that is the issue but being liked and being a productive team member are often two different things. Avoid getting in a war of words with any team member; you will never win those wars, and the collateral damage can derail your efforts.
You can effect change in your organization if you focus on the desired improvements, lead from the front, and continually interact with your team at all levels. By doing so, you will often win the respect of your team and accomplish the mission.