5. Embrace, it is time to connect!
ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT: EMBRACE
This is the moment you feel vulnerable. You are no longer in control of what people think about the new strategic themes, whether the why of the transformation is clear, and if your people really understand what is expected from them. It is perfect and understandable, or is another round of insights needed?
Once you have asked people to embrace it, it is out of your hands.
This vulnerability you are experiencing is good. The way you act upon this vulnerability makes the difference in growth for your organization. Do you push the new purpose and strategic initiative into your organization or do you create a pull for your people?
When you have determined the importance, diagnosed what the key drivers are and what to do, you are ready to bring it a step further and scale up. At that point, it is up to your organization. Do people really want it and are they passionate to embrace this new strategic initiative? You could invite them to take ownership to translate these themes into smaller items or pieces of added value for your business and customers. Their insights and ideas and willingness to add value may surprise you.
Embrace: building trust, fulfill people’s needs, let them feel supported, focus on the team effort and you are ready for growth
Where do you start when letting people embrace the transformation? It all starts with trust and your willingness to open up to the organization and understand people’s needs.
Start fulfilling their basic needs by sharing clear expectations and supporting materials about the why of this transformation, translated in benefits and urgency, what the expected objectives are and what the results should be. Clearly invite them to bring in their expertise to get there.
When these basic needs are covered, people feel supported and recognized for their expertise. They feel like the organization cares about them, and they will start sharing development opportunities.
Make it a team effort by letting them experience the purpose/strategic initiatives, ask for their opinion and ask people to take accountability.
Now you are ready for growth. Take it a step further, start making progress and learn from each other by sharing successes and mistakes.
Growth often starts with awareness and emerges via smaller initiatives
Think about which type of roll-out you need to be successful.
Do you want people to start instantly or is awareness-level enough for now? Do you first test it in a smaller group through a pilot and then gradually roll-it out? Your choice of course depends on the strategic intention.
Transformation for growth often starts with awareness-level and emerges through smaller initiatives or pops-up at different locations in your organization.
A great form to let people embrace it is to let them experience and experiment with the new situation. This approach makes people understand the need to transform and makes it easier for them to understand what it is all about.
If people cannot connect with your strategy the report ends up in the desk drawer
In my role as strategic change and development consultant I am often invited to work together with organizations and leadership teams to discuss how they can further grow their business. I advise in developing their strategy, business model, positioning and unique selling points, their culture and aligned way of working.
The embrace element has become more and more important to me over time. I was often involved in creating a good focus and design when I worked for and with different advisory firms. When this was achieved, it felt like a logical moment to leave the organization and let them take over and implement themselves (independently or via another external advisor).
It really bothered me when afterwards, that new initiative was not seen as a success. When I started working at InContext, I started to understand more and more why this happens. A great strategy and design do not always lead to success. If people cannot connect with it, do not understand what is expected from them or are not invited to challenge or contribute their opinions or ideas, it leads to resistance or, even worse, the report ends up in the drawer of the CEO or leadership team. This is not the aim and is a waste of time and effort.
Try to create a pull in your organization by being vulnerable and opening up. Translate the focus and design in embraced and scaled up growth.
Three practical tips to embrace
Involve your employees
What is their personal commitment and contribution to realize the strategy?
Do they really understand the why and what is expected from them?
If you involve them, this will give you fuel for growth. The sooner you involve them the better!
Open to be challenged and ready to adapt
The framework is in place.
Now let it go and invite your people to challenge you. These challenges can lead to better or more effective or creative solutions.
Invite them to share new ideas, opinions and to continuously improve.
Create speed in delivery
Are you focusing on action or on further discussions?
At this point, it is time to deliver what is minimally viable or to pilot/test in select areas. Further discussion to get it fully right the first time is limiting your competitive value.
Go for it!