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Change Management

Creating A Positive Culture

Examine your beliefs, goals and values to create a positive atmosphere in your business.

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Corporate culture is the sum total of everything that has been and continues to be ongoing in an organisation.

Knowing your culture can clearly guide you and your employees to a better understanding of your goals, visions and approaches to increased productivity. Culture influences the way we think, what we do, how we work, and what is acceptable in the company environment.

There are three groups of attributes of a corporate culture that stand out:

Group 1: Beliefs, stories & experiences

When a new employee begins, what are the stories he is told about the organisation? About the people? About past events? Who are the company heroes and what have they accomplished that garnered them such a positive reputation that it deserves to be respected? More importantly, can these behaviours be emulated by others?

Group 2: Goals, norms & history
“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else!” Anecdotal surveys show that the overwhelming majority of employees are clueless about their overall company goals. While it’s true that most know they should do a good job, many are unclear about the specifics and the nuances.

To help the employee better understand the culture, the entrepreneur and the employees all need to understand specifically where the organisation is going, how it will get there, by when, and with what degree of quality and success. Without this knowledge, the company is doomed to be an under performer or possibly to fail.

Norms define and describe what is acceptable: “the way things are done around here” from the simple to the complex. The former may include how early you have your staff come to work in the morning or how late they remain past 5pm.

The complex may involve whether to work as a highly productive individual or to work together as an accomplished team (collaboratively or competitively). Not knowing the difference can easily create problems for the individual and the work unit

History, like experience, provides a basis for behaviour. It helps employees distinguish between what has been tried and succeeded and those things that were attempted but failed; it allows workers to move beyond past failures through to innovation and achievement.

History can serve as a foundation or jumping off point to launch into new ventures or new procedures and policies. It helps the innovator deal with complainers who say, “We already tried that.” Supported by history, the employee can point out how this newest attempt will differ from and alter the past.

Group 3: Symbols, values & rituals
Symbols are icons or signs that tell visitors and employees something about the organisation. Nameplates and logos on doors, windows and stationery tell people  something about the company. These symbols can be as concrete as a name and as abstract as cleanliness, high tech, or quality.

Something as simple as names on cubicles says that even though we may be cubby-holed, the company believes that people are important. A sparkling floor says that the company takes pride in its appearance and providing a clean environment for all workers.

One reason many people choose to work in an organisation is because of its values: honesty, pride, concern for others, independence, positive reinforcement for a job well done or well begun. These values may be unwritten but, nevertheless, are still potent qualities that exist to inform employees about the company, especially when a clash of values occurs.

Is it more valuable to complete one polished product or many that are in great shape but dull in appearance? The confusion can lead to diminished performance.

Rituals are traditions or ceremonies that occur on a regular basis. Quite often, organisations miss opportunities to use rituals to improve morale. Honouring birthdays, anniversaries, successes, or positive announcements all serve as occasions for the company to say, “We value you and we want to acknowledge you and your accomplishments.”

These events can be acknowledged with lunches, cakes, coffee or cards. There are many low-cost methods of telling employees how important they are. The results can be very powerful.

By reviewing corporate culture, an empowering entrepreneur can assess the current status of an organisation with an eye to modifying or eliminating the parts that are dysfunctional or impractical, then replacing them with qualities that will improve your working environment, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Then your culture will be positive, too.

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Change Management

How Your Company Can Become A Champion Of Change

Take control of the change management see-saw to achieve your business objectives

Don Packett

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Constant change is a reality for business owners, but today that change is happening faster than ever before, both within businesses and across industries. Transformation has therefore become a strategic non-negotiable as companies must adapt to remain relevant in this era of unprecedented disruption.

Related: Business Leadership – Learn How To Embrace Change

Unfortunately people – your staff – are hardwired to resist change. It’s predominantly a subconscious psychological response to a fear of the unknown and the uncertainty this creates.

This is a major reason why few organisational transformation initiatives succeed (just 30-38% according to a commonly-cited McKinsey study) in achieving all of the project’s objectives.

However, there is an effective process that business owners can follow to successfully implement, manage and champion change to more effectively adapt to a modern marketplace that’s in constant flux.

Step 1: Define the objective

A business owner must first clearly define the new business objective that necessitates the change. We call this the Victory Condition.

It’s a company’s ultimate measure of success, and establishing this objective is vital to ensure that everyone in the business knows where the company is headed, particularly as this information will define their Path to Victory.

Step 2: Create buy-in

However, forcing to staff to follow this path without their input and consultation – important processes that make their buy-in more likely – can amplify their resistance to change.

Without buy-in there’s no shared common interest in the process or the objective. That’s when resistance usually manifests as inertia, petty meddling and sometimes, outright destructive behaviour.

Step 3: Tip the see-saw in your favour

The catalyst for disruption during periods of organisational change is usually negativity. Even the slightest negativity can tip the balance of the change management see-saw against business owners and company leadership when trying to implement and manage a transformation strategy.

That’s because most staff tend to sit in the middle, waiting to see which way the see-saw will tilt.

The fact that most people are tuned to gravitate towards negativity means the balance of forces can easily swing in that direction when there’s a groundswell of negativity within an organisation.

Related: 6 Timeless Strategies That Drive Successful Entrepreneurship

To tip the see-saw in your favour it’s crucial to identify and root out the ‘bad eggs’, as they’re the ones who draw staff to the negative side. It’s also vital to ensure that the company identifies and works to retain its good people. With this combined approach, leadership will greatly enhance the probability of success.

Step 4: Identify and create champions

The final step is to create champions for growth and impact within your company. This is the other reason why you need to retain your best staff. These are the people who will help to shift others within the organisation to the right side of the change management see-saw.

To do so requires empowering these champions to become catalysts for positivity, by letting them lead through demonstrable action according to the business’s Victory Condition.

However, to ensure that this is the kind of action that benefits the business, your champions need to clearly understand the objective, and the potential paths the business can take to get there.

Empowered with this information, it’s then up to them to communicate and share the Victory Condition with the rest of the staff, and ensure they understand it. This creates organisational cohesion and ensures that everyone is working towards the realisation of the Victory Condition.

Related:  7 Pieces Of Wise Advice For Start-Up Entrepreneurs From Successful Business Owners

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Change Management

Business Leadership – Learn How To Embrace Change

Embrace change! It is the new intelligence!

Dirk Coetsee

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“Embracing change is the new intelligence”

Initially your IQ was considered in most circles to be a key determining factor of your success as a business leader. Deeper research into the realm of emotional intelligence has revealed its potential as a catalyst to build meaningful and results driven relationships that can change the world.

Yet another highly interesting topic of conversation has been echoing in lecture halls, boardrooms, and the minds of entrepreneurs. Scary to some, very exciting to others, changes within an industry or business environment are always just around the corner. To get to intelligent, pragmatic and very useful answers it must begin with intelligent and practically orientated questions:

“Just how important has your ability to adapt to useful change, forced changes in the market place or industry, as a core leadership skill become??

The author shares the opinion of numerous modern thought leaders that identifying useful change, embracing it, and incorporating it as a part of the company culture has become a core skill. A skill that every entrepreneur and leader must possess or learn that is if they have a strong desire to build a sustainable ,thriving company and leave a lasting legacy. Your ability to embrace useful change is at the very least more important than your IQ and equal to if not more important than your level of emotional intelligence.

A successful change journey starts with a healthy view of useful change and the acceptance of as Robin Sharma says:

“Change is always hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end…”

Related: Entrepreneurship: How To Develop Your ‘Great Idea’

Understanding the real purpose of a change intervention and how it aligns with and serves the vision and goals of your company is the launching pad for a successful change intervention. I must point out at this stage that a wise performance coach once shared that:

The success of any transformation is highly dependent upon the internal state of the person or people driving the change journey’.

To clarify and simplify the above it can be applied to our daily lives. Our attempts to lose weight are often stymied by our need for the immediate gratification of tasty food and a full stomach and we fall in love with the warm feeling/s associated with that.

Losing weight poses another challenge to us. It pushes us outside that space of comfort that we love so much. The journey asks more from us. The willingness to sacrifice the known for the unknown is also a requirement that proves to be a bridge too far to cross for most.

If however you fully understood literally all the benefits of a weight loss journey and especially how it aligns with your life’s’ purpose and goals your willpower will be enhanced as well as your general attitude.

Lets’ say as an example that you are an entrepreneur whose purpose is to positively transform the lives of your clients through the use of your product. By losing weight in a healthy way you will not only look better, feel better, you will also have the energy to work harder at your goals of for example selling more products.

You will have more energy and willpower to coach and empower your team. Therefore weight loss and fitness  considered within a positive paradigm that is not only aligned with your personal health goals but also with your purpose as an entrepreneur will likely give you the necessary perseverance to succeed that is if you sincerely believe in your purpose and considered all benefits of the change intervention.

I recently facilitated a change intervention at a factory as a consultant. Initially most involved thought they were just going to receive orders to produce and sell more of a certain product. Instead their own purpose was revealed to them and how producing and selling more of the product could enhance their own skill set, performance, and self-development.

More importantly they realised that this change intervention could potentially enhance the income and experience of their customers vastly. According to the feedback received they felt more motivated and empowered than ever, and are achieving way more sales of the product range that they are focussing on than ever before.

Related: Leadership: The Principle Of Authenticity

When a change intervention is truly embraced by your team because they truly feel and understand the purpose of it and are excited about how it will positively affect their collective future and their internal state mostly positive powerful and lasting results can be achieved.

Another ‘insurance policy’ that goes a long way in ensuring sustainable success in business within a challenging and changing environment is to establish a learning culture within your business. Strongly encourage and create circumstances ideal to practical learning which also embraces the opportunity to learn from failures and apply solution driven thinking.

When your team members pursue learning and positive experimentation they will be more open minded and confident when useful change interventions can be exploited for further self-development and company growth. Embrace change! It is the new intelligence!

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Change Management

The Future Of Work: Creating Excellent Culture To Be An Employer Of Choice

Adri Dörnbrack

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Millennials already make up a significant percentage of the “new workforce”. They seem to flourish in work environments where the experience includes diversity, transparency, and collaborative work cultures, with flexible working conditions and work that contributes to positive social influence.

Why it is important to be “an employer of choice”

An employer of choice is not only in business for profit, but also to ensure that their people develop the potential, as humans. This is not only done for the good of the business, but to develop individuals who are responsible stewards working towards a common purpose of healing or refreshing fellow humans and the earth (fauna and flora).

If you are in business and you have people working with or for you, you want to attract a mix of employees. Some will have the best industry skills for example, and others will have exceptional leadership capacity. More importantly, you would want, regardless of skills, people with great positive attitudes.

Attracting employees with top-notch skills, outstanding character and great attitudes would require that you design a business with excellent character and culture.

Vision Led and Values Drive Employer Value Propositions (EVP)

The line “vision led, values driven” is well known. To be a successful business you have to have a meaningful and resilient vision to inspire your team, driven by robust and powerful values.

Related: 10 Examples Of Companies With Fantastic Cultures

It is crucial to communicate well with employees “why” and “what” they are part of achieving (i.e. vision). Vision needs to be externally focused; describing the desired impact to be made on the world, or how the business aspires to create a better society.

Having a vision to buy into and the values that support it, forms part of the Employer Value Proposition (EVP) – this is what employees are offered in return for their hours of work.

Research shows five elements that employers need to focus on when defining their EVP: Rewards, opportunity, organisation, people, and the work itself.

Creating an Employer of Choice culture

In short, listen, then listen a bit more, and then act accordingly.

Related: How to Intentionally Build Your Company Culture (Rather Than Leave It to Chance)

Start by serving your clients and your people, clearly understanding their needs, wants and desires. Then build a vision to fulfill the needs and always do business responsibly.

There are various ways to determine the needs of your clients and your employees. We focus on the needs of employees and have designed a culture assessment to understand the internal culture. It also measures some external elements, like customer service from an internal perspective.

We focus on elements relating to how we serve, bring harmony and patience, experience joy, being good and kind, building trust and having self-control. Once you understand how your culture looks, then you can define how you want it to look or what you believe it should be in terms of values.

Create an excellent culture that adds substance to your EVP, to be an Employer of Choice.

Related: Transform Your Corporate Culture In Six Steps

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