For the past twenty plus years, I’ve worked with leaders looking to change their organization’s culture. During that time, I’ve always believed that there are consistently four steps to make almost any change successful. First, you need to assess the current situation. It’s almost impossible to know where you should take your organization next if you don’t know where you are right now. Second, once you have the data showing where you are, you can analyze that information to better understand the problems and where there are opportunities for improvement. Third, you can make some decisions on how to fix these problems. Fixes may include training, policy revisions, additional hiring, or role changes. And then finally, and likely the most important step, is the follow up and measurement of the fixes you’ve implemented. This is the step I want to focus on here.
Use Information From Your Employees Wisely
During the first three steps that you’ve taken to introduce change into your organization, you’ve probably collected information directly from your employees. This may include surveys or individual interviews. Whichever method you chose, your employees provided you with honest information and they are trusting that you will take action on some of the issues they shared or recommendations that they made. Do not overlook the importance of how difficult this process can be for your employees. When you are in that follow up phase, you need to make sure your employees understand that their input was critical and that their honesty was valued. While all suggestions may not be implemented, explain why. Help your employees understand why certain decisions were made and others were not. Organizations that implement change effectively do so by ensuring buy-in from their employees.
Make Sure Your Fixes Are Right For Your Organization
Characteristics of a good leader include being decisive but also recognizing when something isn’t working. If you are diligent about your follow up, you will track and measure how the new changes are impacting your organization. Some changes will make a positive impact and some will not. It’s critical to identify those changes, or fixes, that aren’t working out well and determining how to turn those around or just stop them completely. Organizational change can’t be done in a silo. Once you make the change, you have to monitor the results and the impact so that you can determine if that change is good for your organization in the long run.
Make Adjustments As Needed To Improve Your Organization
Remember, what works today may not work tomorrow. There are things that happen in the world that you can’t control and that may impact your organization’s culture. Right now, we are still dealing with a pandemic. Since 2020, this event has significantly changed how we interact with others in our organizations. As a leader, you need to be ready to make adjustments to any decisions, processes, or policies that have been created for your organization. This is why measurement is so important. You need to constantly be evaluating how certain changes are impacting your organization and be prepared to make the necessary adjustments. When you are dealing with human behavior, it’s very hard to be absolute. Be flexible and open to making adjustments when needed.
Leaders must be willing to follow up and assess any decisions they’ve made for their organizations. This can be difficult for a leader because you may have to completely change an initiative or a process that you worked hard to implement. But remember, it’s not just about you but rather it’s about what you can do to make sure your organization is the best for your employees. You have to be willing to have the tough conversations and make the tough decisions that ultimately lead to accountability and an assurance that the changes you implement are the right ones for your organization.