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By Paul Barton, ABC
Modern organizations need to respond and adapt quickly to survive. They continuously need to improve productivity and quality and do so increasingly faster to stay competitive.
At all six corporations where I worked, some change or another was always afoot. Organizations often find they must change the way they operate their business and do so in wide-sweeping ways. Maybe they’re trying to improve operational performance or customer service. They may need to change technologies or system processes. Maybe they’re trying to assimilate change as the result of a merger or acquisition. They may need to change to comply with new laws or regulations. Whatever the reason necessitating the change, organizations will find that engaged employees who are already bought-in to an organization’s business objectives and the company vision are much more prone to jump on board with that organization’s efforts to transform.
Because engaged employees can help influence other employees who are not yet aligned with a particular change effort, I refer to them as “Cultural Warriors.” These employees can be an important target audience to communicate with as part of a communication plan that includes change management. Notice the use of the term communicate with rather than communicate to.
Cultural Warriors need to be part of the change process by serving on focus groups or as part of task teams that help formulate the change strategy. Then, armed with communications that are credible, candid and complete, these Cultural Warriors can help persuade other employees to accept the change.
Think about it this way: if an organization can’t get its most engaged employees to support a change effort, it likely will have little success getting neutral employees on board and probably no chance whatsoever of getting skeptical employees to go along with the change.
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