Even though it spoke primarily to minimizing medical costs, the article, The Hot Spotters, by Atul Gawande in the January 24, 2011 issue of The New Yorker had much relevancy to effecting change. It covered five tactics to do so and crystallized many of my experiences. This post covers the second tactic. Three future posts will cover the remainders.
The second tactic is strengthening relationships with employees. If change management were painting, then this tactic would be prepping and priming the surface. Just as the outcome of painting is largely determined by the prepping and priming of the underlying surface, the success of change initiatives is largely determined by the relationships management teams have with their employees.
This relationship building is best done through approaches that influence employees on an intuitive level, making emotional connections. Here are five approaches discussed in other postings:
- Remembering and using employees’ names
- Thanking employees for doing their job every 3-6 months
- Shaking employees’ hands every 3-6 months
- Learning to use compliments effectively
- Tapping the power of personality in executives and senior managers
None of these requires any expense. However, they require a disciplined and well-coached management team. Ideally, these are happening on an ongoing basis not just when a change initiative is happening.
Some personality styles will be more comfortable with these, especially those with greater empathy, sensitivity or emotional intelligence. Managerial and executive assistants can help their bosses by scheduling and prepping them for these activities. They can even encourage their more reticent bosses.
Initially, if these approaches are new, employees might be suspicious so they will need some reassurance. However, regardless of the manager’s or executive’s interpersonal skills, employees will eventually appreciate them. The keys are consistently applying them and not expecting quick fixes.
- Change Management – Tactic #1: Pick the Right Moment
- Change Management – Tactic #2: Strengthen Relationships
- Change Management – Tactic #3: Break Into Small, Simple Steps
- Change Management – Tactic #4: Repetitiveness
- Change Management – Tactic #5: Request Demonstration
- Change Management – Tactic #6: Guard Employees’ Time
- Change Management – Tactic #7: Setting the Mood
- Change Management – Tactic #8: Management by Walking Around
- How to Succeed at Culture Change Management