How To Get Your Team To Rally Around Organizational Change

October 17, 2018

Posted by Jim Stenner

Change Management, ERP, Manufacturing, Leadership

 

It seems like every business is undergoing major change, with most organizations experiencing as many as five enterprise changes in the last three years, according to research by CEB.

Many of these changes, such as implementing advanced technology, can lead to increased productivity, increased revenue, and optimized manufacturing performance. But leading change isn’t always easy, with competing priorities and a flurry of adjustments often frustrating the front-line workers charged with implementing them.

Success depends on team members understanding the objectives and appreciating the results. A great example of this was the United States’ mission to land a man on the moon in the 1960s. Let’s look at three lessons we can learn from the Apollo space program.

Create a Vision

It’s important to develop a clear, consistent message that can be told in a shared story for the entire enterprise. This story should paint a compelling view of the future and set realistic expectations of what will happen along the way, helping to explain why the change is happening. President John F. Kennedy did this in 1961, comparing a burgeoning space race with the Soviet Union to a battle between freedom and tyranny while talking about space as a new frontier.

Communicate

Following up on your vision is just as important as developing it. The communication plan is the visible representation of the change program. It should encourage employee engagement and allow for honest input. Think of this phase in the way NASA orchestrated live broadcasts from space during a number of Apollo missions. These were among the most-watched television programs at the time, securing widespread public support for the missions to continue.

Help Employees Develop a Personal Stake

Although change can be intimidating, most employees will support enterprise goals when they understand what needs to be done and can take the first few steps. Communication fuels curiosity, creating a forward momentum. Once employees begin to take action, they develop a personal stake in the change.

There were plenty of skeptics of NASA’s ability to reach the moon in the 1960s, too, but through countless missions, employees and contractors understood the significance of their mission and worked tirelessly to achieve their objectives. The challenge for many companies is how to get this commitment deep into the organization. One solution is peer advocates. Early adopters of change have the ability to leverage their relationships and influence successful organizational change.

Successful change hinges on process, acceptance and new behavior. By creating understanding, piquing interest, and building commitment, your employees are more likely to embrace the future state of their organization.

For more tips on successfully leading organizational change, read Jim Stenner’s article in Manufacturing Business Technology.