by Svetlana Vityugova
Some learnings and tips on how to overcome the challenges and support your teams.
Are we in transition to a new beginning and if yes, what changes will it bring for people?
How do we support them on the journey? What opportunities will open?
Without any doubt we are experiencing one of the most challenging times and keeping a pragmatic but optimistic outlook is very important to avoid deepening the negative impact.
This is the time when empathy and listening become very critical, collaboration is more and more important; when resilience and agility are key qualities needed for our personal and professional success. This can be also the time of new opportunities.
It is an opportunity for all of us to learn more and embrace new ways of working together. It is an opportunity to show my support and care for friends and colleagues, an opportunity to start using more collaborative tools and spend more time at home with loved ones focusing on our health, relationships and well-being. We can choose to see this time as an inconvenience or as an opportunity to learn, to see new things and to reflect. This is also an opportunity for businesses to challenge their operating models and explore accelerating digital solutions. There are already plenty of successful examples to learn from.
I would like to share here few change management learnings from my personal experience on how to best navigate through this challenging time:
Communication is essential. Get your people involved as early as possible, keep consistent and regular messaging. We all get stressed from the lack of information and from information overload, so it is important to find a right a balance and keep people well informed to help them feel more comfortable. Open, honest and direct communication is always the best approach for leaders during these times.
Consider using agile approach that involve rapid, cross function and non-hierarchical problem solving that effectively listens to “front line” employee and helps to adjust to a highly dynamic situation.
Engage people in the problem-solving process, give them opportunity to provide valuable input how to improve the situation. The more people are involved in the problem the more likely they will be able to adopt and support the solutions.
Create highly empowered working groups who can take fast decisions and manage cross-functionally. Consider distributed response teams with coordinated front line leaders rather than traditional committees made up of senior executives.
Active listening. Allow people to share their fears, struggles and concerns in peer groups and address them instantly. Management should provide maximum support to the well of employees and their families.
Effective personal support, empathy and line management are crucial in understanding how deeply an individual are impacted by change. People may face other challenges and react to situation differently. It is critical that line managers keep close personal contact with people and understand each case and situation to effectively support specially to those who don’t have personal support systems.
Create learning environment and learning groups where people can try new ways of working and be flexible in experimenting. This is a wonderful opportunity to accelerate the use of remote collaboration and learning technologies. Make sure your teams have the tools they need for the new reality.
Finding temp solution, adaptations and innovations like remote working, changing service offering. Be flexible and take risks to explore new solutions to bring people together.
It can be a lonely time. Encourage people to connect more intentionally with others and there are so many collaborative tools available on the market (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, Webex, FaceTime)
Setting up temporary feedback and communication systems, helplines, adding counselling and coaching support for teams to build psychology safety during a time of fear and stress.
Create a compelling picture of the future for the organizaiton and enroll others in the shared vision of how it will look like so they can see that problem solving and decision making is happening and if possible, show them the important role they play.