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Insights | 13.06.2019

How to get back to business as unusual

Change, transformation, disruption, agile, innovation, blah, blah, blah.

This isn’t a game of bullsh*t bingo. It’s just a few of the words that describe the workstreams, projects and strategic imperatives that surround people in businesses every day. If you could sum up these words in an emoji, it would almost definitely be the eye roll. 

Over the past month, we’ve been to a few events about change and communication and the conversations have been consistent. 

For so long we have treated change as something in isolation. One-off projects with a point A and point B and a dedicated team set up to manage the process; whether it’s implementing a new system, launching a workstream or carrying out a restructure. And so often there are multiple change projects going on at any one time. Inevitably, these are interdependent or contradictory to one another but are run by entirely different – and siloed – teams.

Sound about right? But if you think about it, can you remember a time when there hasn’t been a change project or transformation programme running in your organisation? 

We need to stop thinking of change as a series of projects and embrace that every day is a change day. It’s time to move away from change-specific communication and instead create a culture where people are ready, equipped and energised to embrace the unusual all the time.

How exactly?

The list is probably endless, but here’s our top 5:

1. Communicate brilliantly, all the time

We’re working in a fast-paced world where everything is moving all the time. Clear, regular and authentic communication will help your people feel informed and connected to their work and the organisation. Remove all the noise, strip out the complexity and establish a few very effective channels that allow for cascade, conversation and connection.

2. Support your line managers

Line managers are a very important group of people. They’re often promoted into a people management role with little support to develop the softer skills that are needed alongside their technical know-how. Confident line managers who can build trust, create belonging and manage confident teams will put you in a great place to embrace new challenges with resilience.

3. Celebrate curiosity and failure

I don’t know of an organisation that doesn’t want or need to be more innovative. Create an environment that celebrates people experimenting, failing and learning. Removing the fear of failure will help reduce the fear of doing something differently. Check out this article about the FuckUp night movement for some inspiration.

4. Connect your people to your purpose

Don’t just talk about your purpose. Find ways to help your people connect their everyday actions with it and have explicit links between your purpose and business objectives. If it’s clear and easy to understand, any change in direction will be easy to explain.

5. Bin the business bullshit!

Last but certainly not least, embargo the words ‘change’ and ‘transformation’ from your business. Get a swear jar if you need to. Start any sentence with these two words and cue the eye roll, fatigue and cynicism. Instead, talk about everything in the context of your strategy. It’s just business as unusual.

Need some help?

There are no downsides to a healthy company culture. Take a look at how we can help by working with you to discover, define and decide the right direction for your business.