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Look at Change Positively

Look at Change PositivelyI was talking with a client (COO of a national organization) the other day who was complaining that he needed to talk to his management team again about an upcoming change initiative. He was putting off the conversation because it was such an effort for the management team to engage their staff in the change initiative. No matter what they tried, employees were disengaged and unmotivated to implement any changes.

I asked my client if he ever tried talking about change in a more positive light. In other words, not when something was happening and the company needed to react, but rather more focused on thinking about the future? He hadn’t. We handled this particular change initiative, and then immediately began engaging the employees in conversations about opportunities – a positive approach to change discussions.

Competition is heating up in my client’s industry and he is worried about how to stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, he would love to take the company global. These are both areas that will introduce significant change into the organization, but also are great opportunities for planning ahead and discussing the issues a bit more positively. We decided to start with the issue of increased competition and how to move the company ahead and stay ahead. We gathered the employees together for an all staff meeting in the main location (NYC). We told them the purpose of the meeting was to do a bit of brainstorming around the following question:

It is the year 2020. We are number one in our industry.
What have we done between now and then to get to this point?

We asked participants to come to the meeting prepared to share some ideas about what the organization would need to do in order to be number one in the industry by the year 2020. I should note (because someone will ask!) they were currently in the top five in their industry in revenue and customers.

This approach really engaged people! The all-staff meeting was scheduled for 3 weeks from the date we sent the email to all and the COO noted that he had more individuals accept to attend than ever before. Additionally, he received significant emails and phone calls from staff at all levels telling him this was exciting and they had great ideas to share!

This is still all about change! All we are doing is looking at change from a different angle. Rather than waiting until the company is losing market share, is thinking about laying off employees or feel as if they need to react right now to a situation, they were taking a proactive approach. This is looking at change in a more positive light. It engages people and gets them thinking about the possibilities.

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