18 Ways To Survive Your Company's Major Change

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Offline Shamim Ansary

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18 Ways To Survive Your Company's Major Change
« on: December 10, 2011, 03:03:50 PM »
Many companies today are under intense economic pressure. Reorganizations, takeovers, mergers, downsizings, joint ventures, and other major changes are extremely common, as companies try to grow and survive.

These changes present new challenges and demands for everyone, from the C.E.O to the telephone receptionist. All members of the organization must therefore learn to cope with change or suffer consequences.

When change is not handled well, additional loss of jobs can occur. In addition, demoralization of the work force; increased worker turnover; decreased cooperation and teamwork; and increased levels of stress, anxiety, absenteeism, illness, and mistakes can follow.

The purpose of this Special Report is to highlight eighteen principles that are useful for coping with organizational change. While all eighteen of these principles may not apply to your situation, please read through the entire list to find those that do appeal to you.

1. BE PREPARED FOR CHANGE

Change is--and always has been--an inevitable part of life. In today's business climate, however, the pace of change has definitely increased.

Since most people normally hate to go through change, you can easily understand how today's pace of change can be stressful for many employees.

Most of us prefer established routines. We like to feel secure, stable, and familiar with our responsibilities. The one thing we hate most is uncertainty--uncertainty about our jobs, our future, our status in the organization, the role we are expected to play, and what other changes might be coming down the pike.

Unfortunately, most businesses are forced to make changes today just to survive. Global transformations require speedy adjustments. Local and national economic forces must be recognized and responded to promptly. New sources of competition and new technologies suddenly appear out of nowhere.

Like successful professional athletic teams, most businesses today must continually make changes to remain competitive.

Thus, instead of fearing change, resisting it, or hoping it won't ever happen to you, it's much better to prepare yourself mentally for the inevitable changes that are likely to occur.

Start today by imagining how you could cope with sudden, massive change. Think about likely scenarios and then brainstorm, on your own or with others, about how you might best respond.

Assume that the "rug could get pulled from beneath you" at any time. Then, if this happens, you won't be caught off guard. You'll already be psychologically and emotionally ready.

If the changes never come, you'll still be better off. Having prepared yourself in advance will enable you to feel much more confident and secure in your normal day- to-day activities.

2. EXPRESS SADNESS, LOSS, ANXIETY ABOUT THE FUTURE

When change does occur, don't pretend it isn't painful. Yes, change can bring new opportunities for personal growth, accomplishment, and organizational success. But it also causes feelings of sadness, loss, and anxiety about the future. These are normal human responses.

When people get laid off or fired, everybody hurts. We feel for our friends and coworkers. We empathize with their pain, anger, and sadness. In fact, we may have our own similar feelings to deal with, as new demands and responsibilities suddenly come our way.

When people get promoted, when organizational relationships change, or when our own job responsibilities become altered, there is a normal reaction of sadness, anxiety, and loss.

One of the worst things you can do when this happens is to pretend everything is "just fine." Even if you agree intellectually that the changes are necessary, emotionally you still may have some painful, negative reactions to deal with.

Unfortunately, today's business culture has little regard for honest human emotions. Expressing or even acknowledging negative feelings is considered "inappropriate." Workers are expected to be upbeat, positive, and "team players" all the time. While this is a laudable goal, there should also be room for people to express heart-felt negativity as well.

Truly enlightened business leaders know this. During times of significant change, they actively solicit negative feelings from their workers. They know that denying these feelings or trying to suppress their expression will only make things worse.

3. WATCH OUT FOR UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Unrealistic expectations can be a tremendous source of stress and unnecessary suffering. Unfortunately, when organizations undergo downsizings, restructurings, or other major changes, a whole host of unhealthy, unreasonable expectations frequently arise.

Upper management may expect, for example, that increased productivity will quickly occur, even though the work force has been seriously reduced. Or, management may expect they can impose any changes they want, without consider-ing how employees feel about them.

Employees, on the other hand, might expect that management should always act in a caring and compassionate manner. They might expect better communication from company leaders; more sensitivity to their feelings and needs; or more respect for their health, well-being, and family responsibilities.

While all of these things may be important for good employer-employee relationships, to expect them to be forthcoming from management (without encouragement from the rank-and-file) is to invite disappointment, resentment, and low morale.

4. DON'T LET YOURSELF OR OTHERS BE ABUSED

During times of change, it is common to let yourself and others be easily abused. When workers have been fired or laid off, there is a natural tendency to wonder if you might be next. This climate of fear might prevent you from speaking up forcefully when excessive or unreasonable demands are placed upon you. Anxiety quickly spreads throughout the entire workforce, making it even more difficult to obtain support for questioning unreasonable company policies.

But sometimes, questioning policies is healthy and appropriate. If you feel that you or fellow workers are being unfairly abused, try to tactfully broach this subject with your immediate superiors. Try to do this in a way that isn't offensive or that doesn't make you appear to be lazy, uncooperative, or unwilling to do your share. Yes, there is always a risk when you make such a move. You could easily get fired or be branded as a troublemaker. But if you truly have your company's interests at heart, you may be able to negotiate a more fair and humane work environment for all concerned.

After all, if the remaining workforce is angry and demoralized, how could this possibly be good for business?

5. ACKNOWLEDGE ANY INCREASED PRESSURES, DEMANDS, OR WORKLOADS

One of the biggest mistakes most companies make when they downsize or restructure is they fail to acknowledge the increased pressures, demands, and workloads that temporarily fall upon remaining employees.

Sometimes, retained workers are asked to do the work of two or three individuals with little appreciation or acknowledgement. Their salaries are not increased commensurately or perhaps even at all. The resources made available to them are often very lean or nonexistent. While at the very same time, the demands on their productivity might be significantly increased!

All of this could occur without even a word of thanks or gratitude from the company leaders who ultimately benefit from such an arrangement.

Whether your company realizes how short-sighted this failure of recognition is, you don't have to compound this mistake. Be sure to regularly acknowledge to yourself and to your coworkers if your responsibilities have been substantially increased. While it may take time for you to successfully readjust, always strive to acknowledge whatever is true for you at the moment.

Discuss your feelings with your family, friends, and loved ones. Consider discussing them with your superiors, if you think this would be appropriate. Just don't make the mistake of suppressing your feelings, denying them, or pretending they aren't really there.

6. PROTECT YOUR LEISURE TIME

When companies undergo change, there is usually plenty of extra work to be done. Suddenly, people begin working through their lunch times. They can't find time to play golf, take a vacation, or even travel to their local fitness club. They begin to come home later and later in the evening, and they often find themselves back in the office on weekends and holidays.

This is a very dangerous pattern to fall into. It can easily grow into a generally accepted mentality. Remember, just because everybody else in your organization starts acting insane, you don't have to go along.

Fight against this common trend by protecting your leisure time, as best you can. Realize that during times of change and increased stress, it's actually more important to get away from your job and have some time each day for yourself. That way, you'll be refreshed, energetic, and much more productive than all those people who spend all their time on the job.

7. DON'T IGNORE YOUR FAMILY

In addition to maintaining time for yourself, it's also important not to forget your family. Spouses, children, and other family members can be excellent sources of emotional support when times are tough at work. But they won't be in a very loving or supportive mood, if all you do is neglect them in favor of your job.

Sure work often takes priority, but you family should be elevated to an equal priority as well. If you put too much emphasis on just one of these areas, and neglect the other, you're eventually going to find yourself in trouble.

8. DON'T TURN TO ALCOHOL, DRUGS, FOOD OR OTHER CHEMICAL COPING STRATEGIES

During times of increased stress, people often look for rapid and easy means of symptom relief. Headaches, muscle aches, nervousness, irritability, and sleep disturbances can all be very disturbing.

Please avoid the temptation to use alcohol, drugs, or other chemical coping methods to obtain relief from these common symptoms. Also watch out for tendencies to overeat, skip meals, or drastically alter your diet in response to increased pressures or an expanded work load.

While most of these coping strategies can make you feel better in the short run, they each have serious (sometimes even fatal) long-term consequences.

It's always better to use natural, non-chemical coping methods. Try to exercise more, communicate more, and set time aside each day to relax. Don't deprive your body of sleep or proper nutrition. You'll need both of these to cope with the many new demands that you might face.

If your symptoms don't respond to these natural measures, or if you feel yourself turning toward alcohol, drugs, or other harmful behaviors, DON'T GIVE IN. Pick up the phone and make an appointment with your doctor or other trusted health professional. Be totally honest about your problems and listen carefully to what they recommend. If you don't have a family doctor, get one. Whatever you do, don't succumb to taking the easy way out.

9. REMAIN UPBEAT AND POSITIVE

Even though you may be feeling stressed, angry, or scared about your future, you still need to remain upbeat and positive in most things you do. When organiza-tions change, the climate should remain positive, even though individual members of the organization may be having all sorts of negative or uncertain feelings.

I know this sounds contradictory, but it's not. Acknowledging any negative feelings you might be harboring actually improves your ability to remain upbeat and optimistic! When you're willing to look at all sides of your company's reorganization or change, your ability to notice the positives, as well as the negatives, improves. Then you can choose to focus on the positives, rather than dwell on the negatives.

Please be clear about this very important point. I am not saying you should "pretend" you are upbeat when you are really feeling down. What I am saying is that if you force yourself to tell the whole truth, you'll see both the positive and negative aspects of any major change. This expanded perspective alone will almost always help you feel more positive and upbeat, without having to deny your feelings to the contrary.

You can then use your powers as a creative human being to focus on just the positives (and help others in your organization to do the same) because you know from past experiences that this is a wise thing to do.

If a few key people in each organization or department take on this role as a positive emotional leader, it will quickly spread to other employees as well. If nobody steps forward to remind people of the truth, it's easy for company employees to remain stuck in a chronic state of negativity.

10. GET CREATIVE

One of the best ways to cope with organizational change is to "rev up" your natural powers for creative intervention.

Most problems are amenable to creative, innovative solutions. The only thing that usually keeps these solutions from arising is our own internal barriers and self- imposed restrictions.

Creative problem solving always involves risks. Proposing a new idea invites criticism from others. What if the idea fails? What if business losses occur? What if things end up worse than before?

You've got to be willing to accept such risks if you're going to be free to think creatively. Trust yourself and others around you to recognize any really horrible idea before it gets implemented. Then give yourself permission to swing out and think creatively--allowing any and all ideas to come to mind. Many companies have regular "brainstorming" sessions for just this purpose. During times of reorganization and change, these creative sessions are very important. Time should be set aside to make them a common occurrence.

11. EXPAND YOUR VALUE TO THE COMPANY

When times get tough and people are being laid off, remaining workers become very fearful. Instead of worrying or losing sleep over the possibility you might be let go, why don't you go into action and stack the deck in your favor.

How? Very simple. Just make yourself incredibly valuable to your company. Offer to take charge of some problem or project that isn't working. Contribute creative ideas to appropriate people in the chain of command. Become very interested in the problems your boss and company owners are facing, and see how you can help them out. Stop worrying about yourself and your future and get busy helping your company grow and prosper.

What's the worst that can happen? You might still might lose your job, but look at the bright side. You can take all that energy, drive, commitment, and creativity to your next place of employment.

Who wouldn't be delighted to find an employee like that? It's a win-win situation for you, no matter what happens.

NOTE: Give serious thought to using this strategy even if times aren't tough and your company isn't downsizing. Then, when the first wave of employee cut backs occurs, hopefully you won't be among those let go.

12. CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In the business world today, most people tend to focus primarily on problems, mistakes, and obstacles to future company goals. We rarely take time to celebrate our accomplishments.

Sure, there's the Christmas party in December and the annual company picnic in the summer. But do we "throw a party" every time a new client is landed, a new deal is secured, or we reach one of our interim team or departmental goals?

Do we take time to celebrate the tremendous effort everyone is putting in? You'd be surprised how much of a difference this can make. You don't have to spend a lot of money or hold a gala event. You can have small, spontaneous celebrations any time you choose.

If you are creative, you can find all sorts of ways to acknowledge and uplift your co-workers. You could even throw a "party" every once in a while to celebrate and acknowledge your boss!

13. SEEK APPROPRIATE COMPENSATION OR RISK SHARE ARRANGEMENTS

This is a delicate subject, but it's an important one to consider. When companies downsize or reorganize, the overall payroll, including costs of employee benefits and other intangibles, are drastically reduced. At the same time, pressures on the remaining workers are significantly increased.

It is very tempting for company leaders to keep all these financial savings for themselves or for the future needs of the company. In so doing, however, they may be perceived as taking unfair advantage of their employees.

Employees know when they are being financially mistreated. They know they are doing the work of two or three people, yet they are only being paid as one. They know this and they tend to resent it.

If you feel this way, try to negotiate a more favorable system of remuneration for yourself and other employees. See if you can come up with a creative formula to earn more money for the increased work you are doing. Consider some type of bonus arrangement, or perhaps a salary increases that gets activated if the temporary manpower shortage lasts beyond a reasonable period of time. Or consider lobbying for a company-wide incentive program, so that if everybody works hard to turn things around, they share financially in the success of the entire company.

While it may be risky to propose such ideas, you should at least consider doing so.

14. IMPROVE LINES OF COMMUNICATION

In general, the more "crazy" and chaotic your work situation becomes, the more you need good lines of communication. In fact, much of this "craziness" is directly caused by ineffective communication.

Everyone must communicate more actively when organizations undergo change. This includes the boss, the CEO, and even the Board of Directors. It also includes middle managers, clerical staff, and other agents and employees.

More meetings, not fewer, will probably be needed. When employees and managers are nervous, worried, and pressured, they have increased information needs. They deserve to know what's really going on and what is being planned for the future. If you don't supply these answers to them, they will make up ones on their own. Often, they will imagine the worst, when in fact, there may be very good reasons for hope and optimism.

Evaluate your organization's communications needs and game plan. Talk to employees to see what communication needs they have. Find out what forms of communication they would find most helpful. Above all, realize how important and necessary good communication is in coping with the stress of major organizational change. But make sure communications are honest, sincere, respectful, and open- ended.

15. BECOME MORE EFFICIENT

In addition to increasing your value to the company, you'll need to find ways to become more efficient. As organizations change and evolve over time, improvements in efficiency almost always coincide.

After all, if you're going to take a leadership role, if you're going to handle bigger responsibilities, and if, at the same time, you're going to look for added ways to increase your value to your company, you are going to have to get more efficient or suffer a nervous breakdown.

Fortunately, efficiency can be learned. There's an almost endless capacity for human beings to improve upon the way they do things. Whoever said "necessity is the mother of invention" spoke the truth. When you have so much work to do that you can't handle it anymore by using your present strategies and routines, you will quickly become an innovator.

16. LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCES OF OTHERS

Two very common mistakes people make when undergoing organizational change are: 1) they try to cope on their own; and 2) they fail to benefit from the experiences of others.

With the rapid pace of organizational change today, thousands of people have faced circumstances similar to yours. Some of your friends, relatives, and other acquaintances have probably struggled with similar difficulties.

Talk to these experienced people. Pick their brains. Find out what other people in similar companies are doing to deal with downsizings or expansions. Read books and articles. Listen to audiotapes on coping with organizational change. Attend lectures and workshops given by prominent people locally or around the country.

Get involved. Get creative. Learn from others' mistakes and successful solutions. Don't just sit there and suffer quietly. Reach out for support and you will eventually find it.

17. RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

Instead of viewing your particular situation as a problem, see if you can view it as an exciting challenge instead. Remember, change is inevitable, but being stressed by change is not. It all depends on how you look at change and how you choose to respond to it.

In every organization undergoing change, some people rise to the challenge, while others don't and get left behind. Which group do you want to be in? Think about it seriously. You've got the power and ability to end up in either one.

18. NEVER BECOME COMPLACENT

Once you've survived and successfully adjusted to a major organizational change, avoid the trap of becoming complacent. Future changes will probably occur, and you should be prepared for them--emotionally, physically, and also financially.

Keep developing your skills and enhancing your value to the company. Learn to do as many jobs as you can. Take on a leadership role in having your company be successful. Take pride in helping others below you. And always let your superiors know you are ready and willing to help out whenever the need might arise.

If you try to follow most of these 18 steps and still lose your job, so be it. You will have gained many useful skills and derived much personal satisfaction in the process. Your next employer will certainly be grateful to add someone like you to their team.

By Morton C. Orman, M.D. Copyright © 1995-2010 M.C. Orman, MD, FLP
source: http://www.stresscure.com/jobstress/reorg.html
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: 18 Ways To Survive Your Company's Major Change
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 04:23:52 PM »
20 Ways to Create Positive, Passionate & Productive Corporate Cultures

1. Practice open communication. Poor communication, including poor listening skills, is one of the most common and significant corporate leadership weaknesses. Without question, inadequate communication around critical success factors and a general lack of trust are two of the most common and significant leadership short-comings. Are you doing everything possible to provide understanding and context through clear and constant two-way communication and reinforcement of corporate goals and objectives, strategic direction, critical success factors, mission, vision, and values? Corporate wide business metrics should be continually circulated and discussed to provide an ongoing clear sense of what needs to be done. Are you really listening to employees and taking appropriate action? Misunderstood and misinterpreted corporate values and goals lead to poor performance and poor morale. The frequency and quality of employee-leader interactions should be reinforcing and encouraging. What a leader says, and how she says it, establishes the subsequent context for direct reports to, in turn, say things that either encourage or discourage the productivity, effort, quality, and customer interactions of their employees/teams. It requires ample self-awareness on the leader’s part to know how they are impacting and affecting employee behavior. Once that knowledge is gained, it should be channeled for maximum positive influence. While parameters must be established for formal communication and interaction, never forget that all of a leader’s employee interactions and dialogues either reinforce or punish employee behaviors. You may even want to reinforce any common language or useful categories of speech, actions, and gestures that emerge in groups or throughout the organization in order to help employees and teams deal with conflict in cohesive and productive ways.
   
2. Develop and communicate values and norms that set the foundation of the organization’s culture. Values, while not physically observable, underlie and determine behavior. Underlying assumptions and beliefs that are taken for granted (and that may over time even drop out of awareness and be difficult to articulate) initially emanate from values and they form the deepest level of culture. Values and priorities are observed and felt through employee rewards and punishments, systems, and approaches and need to be consistent. Is there complete alignment between your organization’s written and actual operating values?  Your organizational values, its stated preferences for specific behaviors and outcomes, should not only address profit generation, but also should speak directly to the growth, development, and well-being of employees. Norms are the behaviors, approaches, and means of achieving goals that have been deemed to be culturally acceptable by others. A change in leadership certainly can bring about positive change in a company’s culture – new leadership, reprioritization, redefined and clearer expectations, and often new strategies, all for the better. But, it’s important for new leadership to understand that to the extent that old procedures, priorities, systems, and processes remain in place, they will continue to represent the past and have the “old influence” on employee behavior. Remember that when it comes to values, missions, and vision statements, how people/leaders act carries far more weight, and more directly affects your culture, than any written statements. What is leadership permitting, sanctioning, rewarding, applauding, praising, approving, and allowing to continue? What is leadership punishing, ignoring, terminating, and ending? All of these things should be in alignment with company stated values. 
   
3. Foster an openness to – even a welcoming of – change. Along with change can come challenge – and this is discomforting for many employees. If the acceptance and readiness for change is a problem in your organization, perhaps you can try helping people to understand that every single day in your organization requires that people be ready to change – make it clear that they are required to be better today than they were yesterday. Stretching and raising the bar is something that should happen every single day. Leaders can ask each and every employee, how were you better today than you were yesterday? Leaders have to constantly ensure that the proper levels of continual communication, coaching, learning, and development are present ensuring that people are comfortable with and ready for the change at hand, as well as the change on the horizon. They must understand all the ways that the change will be good not only for the organization, but also for them professionally (and even personally in terms of engaging/leveraging their strengths and passions and fostering their development). Help people to perceive change differently – change is needed in business for growth and overall betterment, not just for problem-solving. Leaders must be constantly evangelizing that change is a positive, that thriving organizations are constantly changing in the quest to be innovative market leaders. Products and processes must be ever-changing as the organization moves forward and grows. Communicate openly and frequently about change and solicit a consensus on how best to affect change within your team.

4. Create personal responsibility for results. One of a leader’s most basic duties is, obviously, to make sure that individual ability and skills meet specific organizational/role needs. And to the extent that your employees’ abilities/skills really tap into their passions and profound feelings of purposefulness, you will find them engaged in their jobs and compelled to meet objectives and exceed performance goals. To truly engage individual’s in their work requires that they feel empowered (not micro-managed or oppressed — it should be a given that general approaches, processes, systems are in place, including for communication and progress updates). Your employees will only be able to fully engage and identify with personal goals, as well as the overarching business goals, when they have a voice and some level of influence over process. They must fully understand and embrace the effects and impact that their contribution has on the whole – and have some degree of say over how they will get there. This is when they begin to feel responsibility for achieving results. (Leaders make a big mistake when they assume that employees already know and understand this.) Leaders should be routinely having conversations such as, without you we wouldn’t be able to achieve x-results – or, we need you to do x so that we can achieve y. Reinforce that the organization’s performance depends on each employee’s maximum daily contribution.

5. Encourage idea-sharing, debate, and dialogue. Sure, one leader or individual may ultimately have the best idea, answer, or resolution. But if you are trying to foster ongoing teamwork and camaraderie toward objectives, everyone should have a voice and be asked to contribute their ideas toward the achievement of goals and the plan to get there. The leader’s ideas should be saved until everyone else’s ideas have been solicited, shared, and taken into thoughtful consideration. The best environment is one in which an individual with a great idea freely comes forward and shares – and is subsequently made to feel that his/her contribution is valued and appreciated. Debate and exchange of opinions is encouraged – and is always done in productive and healthy ways. When employees work in such an inclusive, fear-free environment, they can more fully bring to bear the best of themselves – their most unique talents, ideas, and contributions – and are more likely to align in terms of shared values, efforts, teamwork, and execution. Effective leadership solicits feedback, is open to criticism, and always remains accountable for its actions.

6. Embrace and foster creativity, innovation and learning. An organization’s ability to learn and grow in today’s marketplace is perhaps its greatest strategic advantage. How does your team best learn? How are your ideas most effectively implemented – through your roll-up-the-sleeves example and role-modeling? Charisma? Confidence? What really sticks and seems to have the most positive, motivating influence over your team? Continually assess your approach to eliminate the ineffective and build upon the proven, effective methodologies. 

7. Display risk-tolerance and allowance for mistakes. If you are fostering the kind of environment that desires the fullest employee contribution and engagement in order to achieve the highest-performing results, then you are setting high-bars and asking employees to take on significant goals and challenges. If employees bite off more than they can chew occasionally in terms of process or goal, there must be some allowance and tolerance for mistakes or coming up short from time to time. This is particularly warranted when the circumstance provides learning opportunities or some other process or system improvement. While this is not to say that poor decisions, inattention, or carelessness should be disregarded – they should not. But it is to say that focused, smart, and committed employees should feel supported in their quest to be the best.

8. Examine the assumptions you are teaching your employees. Your own overt behavior has great value for communicating assumptions and values to others. Remember, in every corporate culture there exists a significant level of appropriate — and inappropriate — behavior that is purely “understood” – and, therefore, unwritten. Think about the norms in your company that are unwritten. Are these unwritten aspects completely in alignment with your formal policies and procedures? It’s worth taking a look at. If people are treated consistently in terms of certain basic assumptions, they come eventually to behave according to those assumptions in order to make their world more stable and predictable. So make sure these assumptions are in alignment with stated values and organizational goals.

9. Intentional role-modeling, coaching, mentoring, and teaching. Everything you do is role modeling for employees, like it or not. Do you truly and consistently “walk your talk?” You will not be perceived as a strong leader without walking your talk every day in every way. Consider the personal example you’re setting. Are you consistent and ethical? Walk your talk and then reinforce the desired values with coaching, mentoring, and teaching. Cultural transformation starts at the individual level and then snowballs into a larger group. As a leader, who can you recruit to be your first follower as you establish new approaches and behaviors? And where can you set an example as a follower for another leader in the organization? Leaders pulling together in this effort sets a powerful example.

10. What are you emphasizing, paying attention to, and measuring as a leader? That which leaders pay attention to communicates major beliefs. What kinds of questions do you ask? What do you consistently comment and remark on? How do prioritize and set meeting agendas? Are you consistent? Where do you have the strongest emotional reactions? How and where do you allocate scarce resources, and how do you explain the rationale? When it comes to company culture, it is without doubt a direct reflection of the morals, ethics, behaviors, actions, decisions, and values of leadership. Words – whether through emails, memos, or mission and value statements cannot and will not alone positively shift your culture. They must be directly linked to actions — and consistency — to affect culture. One of the worst mistakes leaders can make is to create confusion among employees by being unaware and inconsistent.

11. How are you reacting emotionally, particularly to crises and critical circumstances? Crises are especially important in culture creation. Crises heighten anxiety, which motivates new learning. Your reaction in times of stress and crisis speaks volumes about the company’s underlying core values, norms, and culture. Much credibility can be lost during these critical times when there is a disconnect between word and deed, and rhetoric becomes obvious. Do you consistently demonstrate for employees the appropriate actions to take under certain circumstances? You’re being observed and watched by your employees all the time. They are learning from you, and the accumulation of this shared learning over time impacts your culture. Your employees crave – and need – stability where reasoning, perception, and thought are concerned. Due to the high emotional involvement, how a crisis is handled can either strengthen the existing culture, or bring about change in the culture. A leader should never forget that inherent in crisis is the opportunity to impact and influence culture in positive or negative ways. Your reaction in crisis can create new norms, values, systems, and processes. You should also proactively provide emotional reassurances that help employees cope productively with job-induced emotion and stress. This can positively impact cohesion or camaraderie.

12. Accurately assess and analyze the company’s existing culture, evaluating it against the cultural attributes required to achieve strategic objectives. Positive and desired cultural change is possible when leaders possess a crystal-clear understanding of strategic goals enabling them to identify the values, actions, and approaches necessary to achieve objectives. Then you must analyze the company’s existing ideologies, values and norms. Leaders should assess whether existing beliefs, behaviors, and descriptions of cause and effect relationships are healthy, productive, and applicable to the achievement of strategic objectives. Are employees experiencing uncertainty and ambiguity about the external/competitive landscape as well as about internal strategy/approach issues that could be rectified through stronger, more present leadership? Identify in writing implicit and explicit standards and values. Closely observe behavior including language and rhetoric. How many people really know – and act in alignment with — the company’s stated mission? What is the climate of group and team interaction?  What are socialization patterns? What are the primary means for communication? What are the metaphors and symbols of success – and of failure? Assess your culture periodically through anonymous employee surveys – allow everyone to provide input. Include categories that will be needed as the organization moves forward and that are in alignment with approaches needed to achieve strategic objectives, such as the culture’s impact on self-actualization, trust, competition, power, honesty. You can undertake this informally yourself, or hire an outside firm to do this for you. However, you choose to do it, your goal should be to gain a greater sense for the optimal internal operating environment needed and what you could do better or differently to get where you need to go.
   
13. Examine the criteria for rewards, praise, and status. Reward and recognition approaches and practices affect other systems in your culture in significant ways. What rewards and consequences do you attach to the behaviors and outcomes of your employees/direct reports and their efforts? These are the values that are then circulated and proliferated throughout not only your company’s management hierarchy, but also through all ranks of employees. What you reward, ignore, and punish carries strong messages and significantly influences culture. Do you ignore or deride new ideas and those who propose them? If so, you may be perceived as threatened, and people will assume that you do not welcome new ideas, questions, or suggestions, and that coming forward with any of these things will put one in the doghouse. If this describes you, ask yourself what steps could be taken to modify the rewards, thereby changing this aspect of the culture? Employees learn through their own experience with promotions, performance appraisals, and discussions with the boss. Anything deemed worthy of learning should have a reward system attached to it to ensure it. ALL reward, recognition and incentive systems must be aligned with the type of culture you desire and organizational goals. Organizations that make a “big deal” out of non-compensation awards, rewards, and recognitions tend to have more positive cultures. Tie too much to money, and you will surely see the softer skills you desire usurped by cash rewards every time. Rewards should also be evaluated for the actual affect they have on employee engagement, decisions, teamwork, quality, integrity, and so on. Understand that formal reward, recognition, and incentive systems—while absolutely essential — can present obstacles to effective leadership. Formal, monetary rewards cannot be viewed as substitutes for the verbal, interactive encouragement and coaching of positive behaviors from a leader. Also, make sure that the rationale behind the distribution of power and status is clear. How are power and status distributed — earned or assigned? How are influence, power, and authority allocated? How does tenure affect power? How and why do certain roles or functions carry more power than others? Everyone needs to understand who grants the power, the limits of said power, and how it is assigned.
   
14.Impose real-time consequences that matter. There must be an understood system of support for goal-aligned actions and results, and sanctions for missing targets and disobeying rules. What actually happens has much greater impact than what is written or said. Too few leaders really understand the profound, performance-enhancing magic of positive reinforcement, recognition, and rewards. These things are seen as soft, nice-to-have, not-mission-critical approaches that can be doled out sparingly. But these are the very things that affect, shape, and drive employee behavior – what employees do, when they do it, whether they continue to do it, etc. Do you really understand the myriad ways that employee behavior is being influenced by your (written and unwritten) culture, priorities, expectations, consequences, systems, processes, physical environment, and employee/managerial rhetoric and attitudes? Leaders without this understanding and approach to the reinforcement of positive behaviors can be liabilities in and of themselves to the company.

15. Examine criteria for recruitment, promotion, and termination. The individuals you hire, retain, and promote send powerful messages about your values. These decisions begin to establish a desired cultural foundation through these individuals who possess the values you need and desire. Who you don’t promote also speaks volumes. A succession/career progression planning program should be created and implemented that clearly articulates corporate expectations and charts a course for employee development.

16. Understand and set group boundaries for inclusion or exclusion. What actually determines who is in and who is out? The leader should be determining this, but the broader team or group always tests it. Is it an inclusionary culture? Is it easy to go from outsider to insider? What are the criteria to do so? Tenure? Level? Department?  How important is consensus? How important is lack of consensus?  What instigates turf issues? What values are turf issues based upon?

17. Create an environment of trust and respect. Are you doing everything possible to engender trust from your employees? Are you working one-on-one to build relationships? Do all of your words and deeds reflect ideals such as accountability, integrity, truth, and honesty? To bring forth optimal employee passion, engagement, meaning, and purposefulness, they must trust you.
   
18. Utilize stories, rites, ceremonies, rituals, myths, legends, symbols, vocabulary, and gestures. Stories about important events and people can have significant effect on your culture. Stories define and set the organization’s identity. They reinforce assumptions, but don’t actually establish culture. The events and stories that leaders emphasize influence organizational identity. Stories and the use of symbols, humor, and traditions are powerful learning tools. They enhance collective learning, team-building, and camaraderie and are helpful in conveying new ways of behaving and acting that can be more practically internalized by individuals.
   
19. Review organizational design, structure, systems, and procedures. Systems provide a form of stability and consistency that employees utilize and provide a platform for your culture. As cultures change, processes and routines sometimes need to change. Are there any archaic routines in your organization that really are no longer necessary? Repetitive, redundant bureaucracy should be identified and eliminated. Bring to the forefront healthy ways to adapt or adjust the organization’s basic structure that can alter norms, enhance communication, and affect culture.
   
20. Consider the design and layout of the physical work environment. Whether your building includes an open layout, top floor executive offices, and other visible physical features that symbolize level, power and perquisites affects your culture. Make sure that whatever you choose to implement is in alignment with stated values

http://livingwithcertainty.com/2011/06/02/20-ways-to-create-positive-passionate-and-productive-corporate-cultures/
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline Shamim Ansary

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Re: 18 Ways To Survive Your Company's Major Change
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 04:29:43 PM »
How to Bring Positive Change to Your Business

To quote the great thinker Edward De Bono; standing still can be the fastest way of moving backwards. This is more applicable than ever to today’s business world, where change is often taking place at a faster rate than ever before.

Small businesses in particular need to have the willingness to embrace fresh ideas and opportunities to keep them innovating and developing their services so they can compete with larger players in their marketplace. Recent research from T-Mobile of over 2,000 small business owners found 20% of small business owners admit to worrying about change and 9% are prevented from making changes as they believe they won’t be welcomed by others in the company.

With an inability to cope with change being a psychological issue, here is my advice to help small business owners make positive changes for the benefit of the bottom line of their business, as well as for staff, their customers and, of course, themselves:

    Learn from the past

It is natural to fear change and risk taking. To address this, you should look back on the risks and decisions that you have made in the past and that have ultimately got you to where you are today. Assessing what has worked in the past should give you confidence in your ability to make positive change and teach you to trust your intuition, which may have served you well in the past.

    Be open to the possibility of failure

Positive change isn’t necessarily brought about by the ‘right’ decision, and it’s very rare that everything goes according to plan. Instead, take heart in the fact that, even if a decision doesn’t go initially as planned, it will likely provide some valuable lessons or opportunities for the future.

    Take a step back

When you’re too close to a subject your perception is bound to be warped, and your judgement can become clouded. Try removing yourself from the immediate situation, (sometimes physically) to overcome this. Take ten minutes out of the office or jot-down your thought process to distance yourself from what’s happening. A detached, objective viewpoint will lead to a more informed decision and could help you notice potential ‘blindspots’, which have prevented you from making effective changes.

    Share your enthusiasm with others

Optimism is contagious. Thankfully, 81% of small business owners describe themselves as naturally optimistic. As a leader, you should look to share this enthusiasm by connecting with staff as individuals – tailoring incentives and personalising communication and feedback. As staff become more engaged, they’ll be more willing to promote a culture of change and embrace new ideas in your business.

    Trust your gut

Whether you coin it ‘intuition’, your ‘gut instinct’ or just a ‘hunch’, the conviction that an idea could float or sink is something you should pay attention to. While gut instinct is closely linked to passion and commitment, which can lead to an inner clarity or decisiveness, it should always be counter-balanced with a sense of what’s realistic for your business.

    Increase your Vitamin D uptake

Scientists have proven that those with higher levels of serotonin are more optimistic and therefore more likely to take a positive approach to change. You can boost your own serotonin levels from Vitamin D by getting some sun and eating foods naturally high in this such as salmon. This will help put you in a different frame of mind – one more receptive to the positive potential of new ideas.

    Take the time to listen

Listening to those around you is not only a great source of inspiration, it’s also vital for sourcing how individuals can make a difference within the company going forward. Communal activities like a team day away from the office are invaluable in establishing a team ethos and getting a chance to hear from staff at all levels. If you get a sense that your staff are hungry for changes, this will help propel you to make them.

    Don’t assume the market will be against you

Rather than assuming the economy or marketplace is set against you, opening up your thinking to the possibility that there are lots of stakeholders out there who want you to succeed, including the Government, your local community and suppliers to small businesses. Look for new deals, offers, advice and services that suit your needs rather than sticking with the same old options.

    Communicate your situation

Just talking to an expert in your field, a business consultant or an old friend can help you gain the confidence to push your business forward. If you are facing a difficult time in your business, the fresh perspective can help highlight areas that need change.

    Don’t get complacent

Finally, according to T-Mobile’s research, 23% of business owners describe themselves as too busy to make positive changes to their business. However, avoiding change isn’t just a means of staying put; it’s a recipe for getting overtaken by the competition. Within today’s economy, those businesses pushing innovation and new ways of working will come out on top while the rest are left behind.

source: http://www.is4profit.com/business-advice/business-strategy/how-to-bring-positive-change-to-your-business.html
"Many thanks to Allah who gave us life after having given us death and (our) final return (on the Day of Qiyaamah (Judgement)) is to Him"

Offline sazirul

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Re: 18 Ways To Survive Your Company's Major Change
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 07:35:03 PM »
Great Post............!

Offline Mashud

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Re: 18 Ways To Survive Your Company's Major Change
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 12:03:33 PM »
Every one  should follow these.