The consultant point of view: Managing everything but change
Pain is the only reason why people and organization change but we are like frogs in boiling waters. We wait until it is too late…
Now, why do some companies change while others just cannot do it? It is all about feeling pain. If the current situation is not painful or unpleasant enough then companies stay where they are. Think of those frogs that are put alive in a pot of water. The cook increases the temperature until the water boils. The frog remains in the water because it does not feel the temperature increase, the pain. It will only react at the last moment but it is too late. The frog has no more energy to escape. This frog syndrome takes place in companies too. They are boiling in their own water. Some consultants outside the pot see it coming and try to alert the company. It does not listen because it is so comfortable. They know their pot very well and do not care about finding another one. They do not suffer. In companies, you need very alert and sensitive employees that cannot stand the increase in temperature. You need pessimist frogs. The one that jump out as soon as something is wrong. The one that see the danger coming and alert you. First of all you need to listen to them. If you are not ready to listen. Do not come later and complain about a failure.
Metrics as an alarm system to avoid the frog syndrome…
Let’s get out of the frog comparison for a moment. How do you know that the situation you are in, is one that endangers your company? Let’s look at some metrics because decisions without data is like Bungee jumping without a rope, deadly. You can ask your employees through interviews or questionnaire about their repetitive difficulties. You can use the rich picture methodology to help you visual processes. You can also analyse the employee turnover rate, the satisfaction level or the employee engagement. If those numbers are going in the wrong direction, you must think about the frog.
Alarm system & intervention crew
Putting an alarm system in place is a first step. The next one is to create a change intervention crew because why have an alarm system if it is not linked with a police station? The crew can be made of current employees at different level of the company or organizational development professionals. They will help recognize critical signs while understanding your company and how it ticks. This group should be responsible for the problem analysis and change implementation. The most important is to listen to your employees and develop a solution with them. Communicate about the planned change. Reuse the same metrics to evaluate the evolution. It should help you decide if you have still something to improve.