Managing change in the workplace

Three lessons that successful CEOs have adopted into their management styles to manage change

Leaders say values are at the core of a change management plan. Employees look for leadership and executive sponsorship in their beliefs and practices.

Developing some simple rules can help teams work cohesively and communicate seamlessly. For example, there is enormous value in putting on paper the tasks at hand — and following each item through to completion.

Be honest, transparent and fair when managing change

A CEO recently conducted a series of town hall meetings and was asked a specific question to which the CEO did not have a ready answer. He provided a hypothetical response. A week later another employee asked a similar question at another town hall. His previous response had slipped his mind and his response was different from the previous one. The employee said, “well, your response at the other town hall was different.” The lesson is to be honest and transparent. If you don’t have an answer, don’t fabricate one. Just say you don’t know and will get back to the person.


Be disciplined

Employees crave predictability. Change generally makes people uncomfortable. Creating a peer context to problems provides the impetus for employees to take action. A tool used by a CEO is a case in point. She would establish a points system where staff who were late for meetings accumulated points. After they reached 10 points, they had to buy pizza for the entire group of senior staff. It was a fun way to promote change and instill some discipline among staff. The CEO led by example, she agreed to accumulate double the points when she was late for a meeting!  Being real provides a sense of comfort to employees. They realise that the CEO is committed to guiding behaviour by leading by example.


360 reviews are powerful tools

360 reviews help to facilitate conversations among team members. One CEO would share 360s in team meetings and ask the team to offer guidance to address gaps in performance. The approach built a high trust environment where employees became comfortable sharing some of the challenges they faced in their departments. It fostered communication and creativity by encouraging teams to think collectively about problems and how to resolve them.
If you are interested in discussing a change management project that could transform your organization, please contact our managing partner, Merril Mascarenhas, by phone at +1 (416) 710-2727 or Email.

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