From digital disruption to a global pandemic to the potential for a recession, managing change is a challenge. When you lead with innovation and an unwavering willingness to adapt, you’re always prepared for and better set to manage change.
4 Elements of a Healthy Company Culture
- Defined values
- Low turnover
- Minimal office politics
- Consistently positive employee morale
The ability to innovate and transform often makes the difference between success and failure. An organization that fosters culture of engagement, innovation and belonging has a leg up when it comes to managing change.
Foster a Healthy Company Culture
In today’s work environment, culture is no longer defined as “that’s just the way it is” or “this is the way things are done.” Innovation and evolution through company culture involves understanding the values your team and company hold near.
Remember, though, that “company culture” is a neutral term. There are both healthy and toxic cultures, so understanding the difference is critical to managing change.
A healthy company culture has defined values, low turnover, minimal office politics and consistently positive employee morale. Conversely, a toxic culture is bogged down by high turnover, negative employee morale, office gossip, no direction from management and a lack of core values.
Additionally, unpacking the common sets of behaviors, beliefs and underlying mindsets determines how your team interacts and collaborates. These factors ultimately separate high-performing teams from those avoiding innovation.
Even with the best intentions and protocols in place, some people are good at accepting the need for change, while others resist. To best combat resistance, get key stakeholders, such as executives, to take a more active, forward-facing role. Other employees are more likely to follow suit when stakeholders act as ambassadors and advocates.
Company culture is not static when it comes to change. Due to internal and external circumstances, from employee turnover to an industry evolution, change accepted today may not be accepted tomorrow.
Think of Innovation as an Everyday Thing
Many companies discuss innovation and transformation but never take action because they lack a bold vision. They assume that innovation has to be associated with new, large-scale, disruptive high-tech products.
In reality, innovation can occur anywhere, at any time and by any employee. Being innovative with the goal of transformation often comes down to getting into the right frame of mind. The best ideas come about by challenging the status quo and addressing the question: “Is there a better way?”
It can be as simple as HR employees altering how they collect onboarding documents or sales managers adjusting how they communicate with their teams.
Think about it this way. Innovation is nothing more than a new way of tackling a problem or carrying out a process. Some of the most valuable transformations revolve around incremental innovation. Even a minor innovation, when repeated by multiple users over multiple projects over a year, will create value at scale.
Communicate Openly and Consistently
Persuading every member of your team to accept change starts at the top. As noted above, the actions of key stakeholders are critical to getting every employee on the same page. When calm and confident, others will naturally take on the same attitude.
The best strategy is to communicate openly and consistently. The more you explain, the more you can keep team members abreast of what’s happening now, what you’re expecting in the future, and the impact the impending change will have on their daily work.
When communicating change, your first instinct is to start with the “what.” For example, let’s say that economic uncertainty has led you to trim your product offerings.
Before you explain the “what,” focus on the “why.” Sticking with the example above, you’re trimming your product line to:
- Reduce expenses
- Focus more attention on top-selling products
- Eliminate tedious tasks that don’t move the needle
Focusing on the outcome of the work allows your team to feel better about the change. Grab their attention with the why and then let the what fall into place.
Above All, Be Honest
When change comes about, honesty and transparency are a must. It’s not optional. Business leaders have the responsibility of communicating both good and bad news. Don’t shelter your team from the facts; tell them what’s happening openly and honestly. Also, make yourself available to answer questions and address concerns. Sharing news and then going quiet will lead to more stress and anxiety amongst your staff.
A lack of transparency and hiding from the truth will catch up to you. When you explain the “why” and then touch on the “what,” you set yourself up for an honest and transparent conversation that gives your team a clear idea of where things stand.
As your business, industry and the world evolves, innovation and transformation are essential. Incremental innovation, the willingness to transform processes, and the right culture will help your company maintain stability even in the most trying times. Make innovative thinking your routine thinking and part of your company culture. This prepares your organization for change and creates value at scale.