Life begins at the end of your comfort zone – Change

… and that is what people need to realize, which in my opinion is the hardest step towards the beginning phase of a change management process. But every individual can only overcome this step on his own.

During several of my internships I experienced various changes taking place. This could be IT implementations that affect and simplify employess business processes, and it could be complete restructuring processes of entire companies which result in a decreased amount of employees after implementation.

Both scenarios I have experienced myself, while being in the role of an intern, which provided me with the advantageous role of being a „neutral“ third person who was not directly affected. Additionally, I was both times only employed on a temporary basis and did not have years of experience with the current/ „old“ processes and procedures which my colleagues had.

What I experienced the most was, that changes are made on a high and strategic level, as they in both cases either had an effect on several locations or even the whole company. So far, so good. But, are members of the management board in the position and are they equipped with the required knowledge of the actual operational processes, that they can make such drastic decisions without any support? In my opinion, NO! This will only lead to frustrated employees who do not feel understood neither taken serious. Employees want to be involved and want their opinions to be valued. Obviously not each opinion and point of view can be looked at in such decision making processes. Nonetheless, I am convinced that providing people with a role, with a responsibility within the change processes will keep them motivated and open for change.

On the same way how board members are searching for advantages for the company (or themselves), employees want to know which advantage is in for them during and after the change process? What and how will their new role be? Will there actually be a role for everyone afterwards? Because otherwise ordinary change processes might turn into serious and sensitive emotional experiences where people are unable to make rational choices anymore.

Applying my experiences on the change management process that would need to take place in order to implement a control tower concept, I would always recommend to first clearly identify the motivation behind the decision: Why is a control tower concept necessary? Which problems will be solved afterwards? Possibly then first employees will already recognize an overlap with problems they have experienced on their own during daily tasks, which could be solved. This already creates motivation for change.

Next to that decision making needs to be transparent at all time during the change processes and relevant information needs to either be shared with everyone or only with the responsible ones in case of classified information. This guarantees that everybod feels involved and is not left behind and remains stkc in old working procedures.

Overall, the employees need to be respected as an equal partner in the change process, as they provide valuable information about the operational and tactical level of business processes. It needs to be clear to everyone which role and responsibilities will be taken over by whom. And if there are employees that do not match with the new strategy plans of a company or which are not aligning with the values of a company anymore, there will always be other employment possibilities in the market. As in my opinion respecting and treating employees fairly does not necessarily result in a life long employment at the same firm, if it doesn’t contribute to the growth of the company neither the employee anymore.

 

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6 thoughts on “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone – Change

  1. I really recognize the fact that management is changing while not knowing what they are change due to the fact that they missing the operational knowledges of processes. It can de-motivate people as you stated. How do you think the management board can get a better view of what they are actually changing and the consequences of it for the employees?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for your feedback Robin! In my opinion, also board members should take the time to actually help out in the operation several times during the year. It does not need to be often, but it is handy in relation to the problem you’ve stated and it creates a more personal relationship to their employees. It shows the interest and actually supports decision making processes afterwards, in my opinion.
    I hope this could help you further?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Corne, nice to get the discussion going !

      ‘How the management should act if the change does not go according to their wishes?’
      Well if that happens, the employees who are dealing with the changed process are most likely not happy with the change. Therefore, Franca gave the answer that the person should reconsider if he/she still in the right company or job. Totally agree. Another option is that it doesn’t have to come that far. Which means that when you are changing are proces, you really need to be transparant what the goal is for changing the proces? and to get everybody on the same page trying to achieve that goal. This probably is, when making a change, one of the biggest challenges.
      However, even when you did this in front and people are still not happy with it, an idea is showing them facts and figures before the change and after. Which should be positive of course, to give them a feeling that they are doing a good job. So that they hopefully can enjoy their job again.

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  3. Hi Franca and Robin, first of all, i really like your posts so far, extremely interesting. Even when the management board is around sometimes, how do you think they should react when the change does not according to their wishes? Or do you think this will generally positively influence the change process enough? I know the answer will be highly dependent on the situation, but i’m extremely interested in your opinion on this matter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In this case, I firstly want to agree with you that it is very situation related. However, I do think that decisions need to be made and the management board or your next boss will always be the one to blame. So as I already mentioned in my blogpost, I think in those situation it should be time for an employee to also rethink his position. I he/ she still in the right job and the right company?
      I think as long as the decision is based on real life experiences of the management board, can be quantified and is aligning with the overall company values it should be executed even if it doesn’t match all employee wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

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