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Three Tips for Transformative Change in the Workplace

Change is never easy, particularly in the workplace. It’s not a groundbreaking concept, yet many organizations struggle to remedy it. 

According to Chron.com:

“Transformative change involves an organization making a radical move in its business or strategic model, often requiring changes in company structure, culture, and management.”

While organizational change is intended to help companies adapt to changing markets, improve workplace efficiencies and boost employee morale, it can sometimes have the opposite effect. Here are a few tips for organizational leaders to successfully introduce transformative change in the workplace:

Create Realistic Goals for Workplace Change

Transformative change leaders are charged with challenging their workforce to move beyond the status quo. Unfortunately, asking too much from employees can lead to a decline in productivity. Identifying a “sweet spot”, where employees feel challenged but are able to rise to the occasion by utilizing skills and knowledge that they possess (or can readily access), ultimately results in maximum performance and employee satisfaction.

Make the Case for Transformative Change

Getting buy-in from both leadership and employees is incredibly important to successfully implement transformative change. A strategy can make perfect sense to the person suggesting the change but employees directly impacted by those decisions may struggle to understand and accept them. Dr. Mitch Kusy, professor in the Graduate School of Leadership & Change at Antioch University, shares that “Explaining WHY the proposed changes are necessary goes a long way in helping individuals realize and appreciate the necessity for change. Sharing solid evidence, like benchmarking what other successful organizations have done, provides clarity and justification.”

Introducing Workplace Change… It Takes a Village

Unfortunately in most cases, proposed changes are shared exclusively with the leadership team for input and feedback, which can create a top-down and inefficient model. Sharing proposed workplace changes in real-time with relevant employees is key. Seeking input and allowing for potential co-design of the change increases buy-in, leading to more successful results.

As Dr. Mitch Kusy has shared with his students and organizational clients, “Rolling out a transformative change without this input is a recipe for disaster. While there are certainly some changes that do occur without this engagement, those circumstances are rare and should be approached with caution.” Red flag: When you hear the term “roll out,” stop and seek understanding if crucial input opportunities have been encouraged. Employees don’t (and in some cases, can’t) always know everything about the change process but involving them as early and as much as possible will increase buy-in and lead to a strong sense of commitment sooner rather than later.

Transformative change doesn’t need to be a painful experience. Leaders that are strategic and thoughtful can make the case for change and help employees and organizations navigate the process to emerge stronger and more committed than ever.

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