Successful change is challenging for most organizations. But the reasons most change efforts fail aren’t mysterious. They are predictable and almost always preventable.
There are three major types of organizational change that organizations ask us to help facilitate:
- Changing Processes and Systems -involving new or redesigned work flows, systems and/or technologies. Although they appear simple, this type of change is still a challenge for many organizations. Because the changes seem largely technical, the “people” dimension is often overlooked and poorly addressed. Employees and managers with little involvement and investment in the change process are expected to just automatically “get with the program.” Usually an invitation to low adoption and disappointing results.
- Improving Collaborative Performance – this may involve strengthening coordination and alignment within specific teams, between “warring factions” (managers, teams or departments) or across an entire organization. The focus is generally on building or rebuilding trust and accountability; establishing new, shared collaborative practices that reduce defensive behaviors; and, showing people how to have “real” conversations about important issues that have been avoided or inadequately addressed in the past.
- “Culture Change” – the most complex and challenging type of organizational change. When an organization’s goals, strategies and/or competitive environment changes significantly, then the way people behave, interact and “are” must also change. This type of change touches almost every dimension of organizational life, including organizational structures, business processes, communications, HR policies and programs, education, technologies, systems and collaborative practices. Properly focused and managed, culture change is one of leadership’s most potent performance factors.
Many change initiatives involve all three of these types of change.
In facilitating the change process, we work with clients to ensure that…
- The right problems are being solved—so that the change effort will actually generate the desired organizational future (and not inadvertently create new problems and a different future).
- All of the right people are effectively engaged in the change process—so that the change isn’t just handed down to them by “someone else.” So that people can actually be a part of the change process, investing and contributing to its success. This generally happens through a designed flow of conversations, workshops, meetings, communications, training, coaching and other activities, tailored for the different participants in the change process.
- Managers know how to relate, with respect and dignity, to the strong emotions and behaviors (often termed “resistance” by others) that always arise amidst change.
- Possible conflicts or “mixed messages” are identified that the change initiative may introduce with pre-existing personal and organizational commitments, objectives, policies, metrics, processes and expectations. Identifying and working through these conflicting forces is essential for new thinking and behaviors to take hold.
- The change is guided by a healthy sense of urgency, but isn’t rushed. This ensures that people can focus on and integrate what they need to be changing in the short term without losing sight of the bigger picture, the longer-term view. It also enables people throughout the organization to engage in the kind of ongoing assessment, learning and course-correction that sustains successful change.
- The individuals and teams involved in leading and managing the change are well supported through coaching, education, and facilitation of the critical meetings, workshops and other activities in the change process.
We understand that almost everything we do in organizations is conversational in nature—the way we solve problems and approach opportunities; the way we interact, manage differences and learn; the way we coordinate our actions to get things done together, and the way we manage our promises to one another … It all happens in conversation. Organizations are defined by their conversations, which is why successful organizational change, regardless of the type or scale, always involves changing conversations.
Grayson James Consultants specializes in facilitating organizational change by helping executives and their teams to transform their organizations’ conversations. We build new conversational competencies that let people listen, think and learn together better. We help them manage their commitments with greater clarity and alignment. And, through real-world “performance practices,” we help them learn to lead and support change with more grace, ease and power.
To learn more about our approach to organizational change, or to discuss a change initiative in your organization, e-mail or call us at 888-851-3747.
“I engaged Grayson James Consultants to support me and my team with a major transformation happening at company and in my marketing team. We needed to build entirely new programs, systems, and processes to support our new growth targets and execute on our marketing plan. We needed to have a bigger and better impact on the business. This was complex and overwhelming for many in the organization. GJC, through a set of workshops with the entire team, helped us build a framework for improved performance and accountability. By improving our communication, being clear about the promises we make in our day to day interactions, and setting aggressive but realistic expectations, we were able to create an environment where people felt ownership of their destiny at work versus being victims of all the change happening around them. The end result is that we have a team that is well respected in the company, is motivated, and is delivering a measurable impact on the business that well exceeds industry benchmarks. GJC was instrumental in helping us get there.”