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Bring Out the Best in Your Employees – Part 2

A Client Story of Change

Read Part 1 of our story.

ACG and the CEO needed to understand where change was already happening because we knew somewhere in the organization it was! We met with groups of employees – individual contributors – to understand where they were successful and where they had challenges in getting the work done. We also asked about the type of manager who engaged them and helped them to be successful in the organization. Note we didn’t ask about their manager but rather their ideal manager. We learned a lot in the conversations by keeping the conversation informal. Our goal – we told those we spoke with – was to enable them to be more successful than they have been and to be sure they get what they need to continue to grow within the organization.

We started at the individual contributor level because we wanted them to be empowered and feel as if they have influence to make changes. Because they do! And they were supported by the new CEO who made it clear in an all-staff meeting that he wanted to engage everyone in the organization in upcoming changes that would impact how the work gets done to enable for organizational growth and better competition.
Initially, individual contributors were a bit standoffish. Maybe it was a setup one long term employee mentioned to a few others. Understandable. But as they saw others engaged and saw changes start to happen, others joined in! We started a change team led by individual contributors. Their objectives were to determine areas of business where goals were being achieved and changes would enable for supporting customers.

While the individual contributors were looking where improvements could happen and be impactful, we started to work with management (supervisors, managers, directors) in the organization. We wanted to understand their successes and, in particular, their challenges. We needed to understand what they needed to order to keep their team engaged and moving forward. We wanted this group to step it up. We believed many decisions could be made and problems solved at the individual contributor level – we needed this group to help their team – the individual contributors – take on these responsibilities. Of course we needed to help them be successful in solving problems and making decisions but putting processes in place, parameters and providing them training in doing so. By pushing problem solving and decision making down the ladder, this group could focus on strategy and moving their workgroups and departments forward. We wanted the management group to focus on what the company needed to do in order to increase revenue over the next year, increase market share and double profitability within two years. We wanted strategy from them. We also knew we had to support that effort; this was not something they had ever been tasked with before. Once that was set, we wanted the individual contributors to look at additional changes to be made in operations to support that strategy.

In Part 3, Working with the SVPs and VPs.

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