Change is an inevitable phenomenon in life and if we are capable of embracing, and manoeuvring through it, we are usually equipped for the journey. Perhaps John F. Kennedy best captured this when he stated ‘Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.’
Like life, organisations change just as much, often and quickly. We have all experienced it, you arrive at work and receive the news; business is reorganising, restructuring, or another title that fits the analogy for change. The immediate thought is ‘what’s in it for me?’. Which leads to a myriad of other thoughts that generally result in some form of resistance.
It is widely acknowledged that successful change, aka change management, is about the people. Many of the discussions I have with various levels of management within organisations present a common sentiment of a broad lack of engagement from the frontline staff. The crucial step for change lies not with the Board, the CEO or the senior leadership team; it rests directly with the line management and supervisors. Why? They have the capability to drive the change with buy in from the staff. Therefore it is crucial this level of staff is equipped with the right characteristics to carry the organisational requirements and needs. Simply recruiting or promoting on technical capability will ensure there will be no capacity to influence change. On the flip side, an emotionally intelligent line manager or supervisor will understand the needs of their reports and be able to deliver the change outcome required. They will be able to exert the right method of influence to ensure front line staff feel engaged, validated and willing to take on the change.
Recruit and promote well, and consider not just technical capability. Look for staff with a high level of Emotional Intelligence. Then when it comes to change management your line managers and supervisors will have genuine open and frank discussions with staff to create buy in. You may just find that change management will be brought about faster and the usual resistance will not be evident, therefore creating a better overall return on investment.