The advent and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting need for many people to work remotely has accelerated the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve business problems. Whether it has been the use of ever advancing technology like ZOOMSM or Microsoft® TEAMS or the fast-tracking of more complex technological processes like Telehealth, businesses are radically re-thinking how they are using technology, people and processes to survive and thrive in the current economy.
With COVID-19 restrictions and work-from-home orders lifting, executives are working toward shared workplace reentry. Some organizations are planning a phased return to the workplace, starting with senior leadership. Others are focused on critical functions, like R&D. Still others feel it’s a bad idea to shift people who can work from home back to the office before a vaccine is in place.
While organizations are diligently addressing systemic and process requirements, leaders are thinking about how they will lead to achieve a smooth transition.
We are facing times of true uncertainty, and that means leaders, their organizations, and the people within them are faced with enormous challenges. Most people have a hard time dealing with unknowns, and this can be exacerbated by a relative lack of information, or, as is the case in the current situation, an abundance of information that causes fear and concern. People have questions, and leaders find they don’t have all the answers. As more information becomes available, leaders must realize that their decisions are now much more than just business decisions. What leaders say and do next can ultimately have significant implications for their people and affect individual lives and careers.
New Year’s resolutions: the age-old annual practice most commonly associated with failed attempts to change personal habits. Despite our best intentions at the start of the January, it’s widely known that over 75% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.
Most articles on the topic endlessly rehash “how to really make it stick this time” or “why we should stop making resolutions in the first place.” But we’re overlooking a valuable lesson these failures teach us about organizational change.
How to love. How to live. How to fix anything. How to lose weight. How to stop worrying. How to train your dog, bird, cat or dragon. How to manage projects. How to manage time. How to set goals. How to influence people. How to negotiate anything with anybody. How to survive the zombie apocalypse.
We live in a "how-to” world. A quick search of “how to” in Amazon.com yields over 800,000 books and videos with the phrase in the title. The popular For Dummies series has over 2,500 titles and the Idiot’s Guide series has nearly as many. And take a look at your local newsstand and you’ll see covers littered with articles telling you the 5 things you must know, the 3 insider secrets that will guarantee success, or the 7 steps to improved performance.
A marketing exec friend of mine gave me a call the other day to catch up. After swapping stories about families and our current work, he finally asked after years of knowing me, “What exactly is change management anyway?”
The other day I was explaining the results of a change readiness assessment to an executive and shared a piece of news he found disturbing. He believed that everyone wanted the change that he was leading because when he spoke with others in the organization about it, they all told him it was a great idea.
Emperor . . . you have no clothes, I explained.