The only constant is change. Even in business. We even change the way we manage change! It’s not any easy thing to handle for most individuals, so is there any hope for successfully implementing change within a large group of (very different) people?
What he’s learned? It all comes down to the individual components playing well with each other.
When he first “brought” change into the company, there was a lot of hesitation. Pretty typical seeing as change tends to bring uncertainty. It’s just natural that people really need to understand the change you’re hoping to implement and have time to digest it before they potentially buy-in.
But there was something he learned during this time: as the leader of the company, he needed to focus more on helping people cope with the change vs actually implementing it. His managers would handle the implementation, but as the leader, he needed to help people cope with it.
Implementing Change vs. Helping Cope with Change
Implementing the change obviously an important part of the equation, but helping someone cope with the change gets to the personal side. Everyone is so different, so they’re going to cope with the change very differently. That’s why it’s critical to try and understand that person as an individual.
When you can walk with them and hold their hand through the change, you’re much more likely to get their buy-in. That’s been a real driver for Dave and Mecco no matter the kind of change they introduce.
Building a good, solid culture is the foundation to helping team members understand and be comfortable with change. When they have a foundation to fall back on, it reminds them why they’re there and how they need to behave to be successful. The people on your team are reflective of how you operate business. So, it’s critical, especially for those coming into the company from one with a different culture, that they’re made aware of how the team behaves and acts. This allows everyone to grow in the same direction.
Before they starting building their culture, they went out and spoke with their customers. They wanted to gather customer feedback to learn what they were saying about then. Working backwards this way would help them identify their core values and put that into a definition they could market internally.
They called it “Align with Nine” because with the customer feedback, they identified nine major core values. But they were intentional about making values living, action values. Ones you could do.
They’re things like” Design for Success, Create Win-Wins, Build Open and Honest Communication, etc. Then it was time to introduce them to the company. But that wasn’t enough.
They now ritualize their values. Every Friday, they get together to review how they’re doing as a company, but they also talk about one of the core values, what that means to them as a team, and what it means to the individual. They do that every single week.
Once they’ve reached the ninth core value, they go back and start at the first one all over again. They’ve been doing that for eight years now! Sounds crazy, but it helps remind everyone of their core values and how they should respond to certain situations, like when change comes up. It’s even more beneficial for new employees who are just learning them.
But to get people in your company who actually uphold the culture is another story. Thankfully, Dave knows all about finding the right people who will fit into your culture:
Once you establish your culture, you have to be committed to hiring for that culture. In Mecco’s interviewing process, they tailored the interview questions to investigate if the person would fit in with their culture. They might be talented, but they won’t be successful at the company if they don’t fit the culture.
They’re big believers in the Predictive Index, a behavior assessment tool. They use this particular tool because it doesn’t tell them whether or not a person can actually do the particular job, that’s not what they’re looking for here. Instead, it looks at whether the person will be energized for a long period of time in that position. So they’re looking to see how that role is going to be successful within the company and then they determine what the best candidate would look like so that they know exactly what to look for. Everyone is wired differently, they want to make sure to put the right people in the right roles.
Finally, you have to invest time into your people because everyone is different. You can’t treat everyone the same. For example, your employees motivated by different things, so it’s your job to try and understand what those things are so that they feel valued. You have to pay close attention to retention because we all know the cost of departures in terms of time, money, and recruiting.
Change management will never be an easy 3-step process, but we can make transitions more smooth when we focus on the individual. Start by hiring the right people for your culture, and when change occurs, as the leader of your business, help the individuals cope in the way they cope, not the way you expect them to.
Listen in on the full interview on iTunes (or anywhere else you get your podcasts).
Topics: Industrial Executive