For many businesses it is the strategy, marketing vision, financial plans, customer alignment and future product development which set the pace and direction for success. However, what our findings illustrate is that other important areas also make a difference.
The way that individual managers are treated; a belief by a chief executive in the value of creating a high quality leadership team; whether people are a resource that the organisation invests in, as well as the way it deals with change.
None of these are likely to be at the top of the list for how an organisation is judged – it’s far more likely to be the strategy issues, financial acumen, etc., but nevertheless these are key aspects in improving efficiency, effectiveness and performance. And it is important to listen to different perspectives e.g:
- What do different groups of country managers think?
- Do the views of those at head office differ to other groups of staff or those at different levels?
- It is often revealing to find out such information, for example whether younger, more junior staff think top leaders are ‘in touch’, ‘out of touch’ or ‘on message’ or ‘off message’, or whether line managers believe they receive sufficient support for specific areas such as change initiatives they are involved with.
The importance of change
Although so many books and articles have been written and we all know so much about change, it still remains elusive, one of the hardest areas to get right in business. This is possibly because it is a complex area.
So much of the success also depends upon how engaged people are with the process of change – most of us have probably experienced a situation where everything in a new change programme seems to slow down, held back by those who disapprove or sometimes by individuals who feel they have most to lose by the new structures and initiatives.
- The good news in the survey is that most managers say their organisation achieves the business benefits anticipated for the change initiatives introduced. It is interesting to find that nearly all respondents say managing change is a significant part of their role. This sense of personal responsibility for change is important as often a lack of personal ‘buy-in’ waters down the chances of success.
- However, the survey findings also highlight areas where change might be improved. One issue is making sure that leaders have the skills needed to lead change well – nearly half of respondents say that this is not true in their organisation
Our Recommendation: It is important to communicate about change early – well before the start of any formal initiative – and on a regular basis to all staff.