Thinking about people and companies undergoing change, I find that some things seem to repeat themselves. People are in essence driven to change by the belief that they will benefit from it in some way. Even if it’s for a “greater good,” the personal benefit still has to be there. Few people will contribute to change if it means that they have to “stand back” in some way.
Another strong drive for people to change the way they do things is curiosity.
What will happen if I do this instead of that? Curious people will try it out as long as the possible benefit overweigh the possible negative outcome.
Curiosity is what has brought us humans this far – without exploring new land areas, travelling over the high seas, engaging in other tribes and trying out new kinds of foods, we wouldn’t have been able to develop the way we have.
Old news, perhaps, but it’s still relevant to think about this base of curiosity and strive for benefits when we talk about change – even when it concerns organisational matters.
Thus, if you need to make big changes in your life or workplace, the first thing to do is to look at what makes the people tick.
What makes them curious?
How far will they be able to go if they find that there’s something intriguing and hopefully beneficial around the corner?
How can you offer this in a way that makes them see the benefits and makes them curious to try it out?
Once they start moving to conquer this new area, you can draw a new map – a new organisation – to help them stay on track and find their way forward.
Having been subjected to change for a longer period of time, I think I have identified some important lessons that I would like to share 🙂
One is definetly to always make sure everybody knows where to go for answers. If they don’t have the power to take action themselves, they need to know who to go to.
Another one is to instill faith in leadership. If people have faith that their leaders have their backs, and that their opinions are valued and taken into account, they will be more likely to stay on and do the work.
A third one is to not let people go without trying to hold on to them. Show people that they are important. That everybody counts. That each and every person is unique and not replaceable.
This third point is important. I find companies mistakenly think that having employees believe that they are not important is a good way to instill work ethics. Instead, they are instilling useless and undermining fear.
Like “if you don’t do this job, someone else can do it – there are people lining up to do what you are doing.”
Saying that to your empolyees is, in my opinion, the same as saying that whatever they do or bring to the company, there is always someone else who can do just the same. Thus you take away all intitative from that person and get unengaged employees who will fulfill excactly what you told them – and not stay on longer than necessary.
People will go where they feel valued and wanted. People will go where they can satisfy their curiosity and where they are allowed to excel. They will go where they can benefit from being the best version of themselves.
I truly believe that if you want change to happen, you need to let people soar towards the sky, back them up, show them the treasure at the end of the rainbow and get that feeling of “everything is possible” in there.
With that kind of culture – everybody is important, valuable, non-replaceable and we all need to stay curious to become the best version of ourselves – there’s no limit to how much you can change.
And you will only be able to do it with those unique and special people who have signed up to be part of this particular company. Take care of them, and they will take care of you.