We’re all tired of hearing how much has changed in the last 12 months and are ready to embrace the “normalcy” of the new year. However, we can rarely move on from change until we have acknowledged its impact – and as businesses return to more normal operations and environments, the impact of last year’s changes will become very apparent.
Regardless of the type of change your organisation has experienced – whether a major restructure or simply a move to remote working – we’re all going to notice differences as we return. Employees will need their leaders’ support, and organisational performance will rely on a strong start to this new period.
Those who expect to step straight back into the rhythm of pre-2020 and aren’t prepared to adapt will get a shock. Many businesses will find their employees are just not on the same page anymore – and they’ll need to act to change it. Success in 2021 will mean unifying leadership styles and strategies to business goals and ensuring that everyone is aligned.
Time & events change things – it can be as ‘big’ as a restructure or as ‘small’ as remote working
After any change or disruption, it is rare to find things the same as we left them – dynamics, structures, teams and goals can all be different. Major restructures often leave businesses with more or fewer employees, merged teams or departments, new responsibilities, and new ideas.
Even a change as simple as a break from the normal work environment (like 12 months of remote working), can shift attitudes and opinions within teams. This makes getting back to expected performance and aligned working a difficult task.
When returning to “normal” working after a big change, it’s not uncommon to see:
- Loss of consistency in delivery, or between teams
- Underperformance in certain areas of the business
- A fall in support and guidance from leadership teams
- A “let’s not stick our neck out” mentality
- A lack of collaboration as remote working has broken working relationships
It’s common not to want to innovate or branch out after times of disruption – but failure to optimise and transform in the face of new environments can result in resoundingly negative results.
An organisation that isn’t supportive doesn’t show innovation or leadership, has lost Its collaborative skills or is not open to new ideas or change is not a place people want to be. A drop in talent retention and reputation can easily result from a poorly managed change recovery.
Ask the right questions – and search for the right answers
Even organisations who think they’ve done a phenomenal job at managing change need to be aware of the potential challenges of a new start or re-start. The best approach is to anticipate problems and look out for them from the get-go – rather than waiting for them to crop up.
Take the time to assess the situation and the bigger picture; take a step back and recognise what has changed and what is no longer working, and why. Some good questions to ask are:
- What are we trying to achieve, and what is currently in the way of those goals?
- What bigger impact are the small issues having on our business?
- How are our managers and leaders coping with change?
- How is our team functioning?
- How is the team and business collaborating?
Recognising and understanding these roadblocks will help you keep business moving forward and show employees (and future employees) that you’re focused on building a progressive and growth-focused business.
Saying this, it’s not always easy to immediately find the answers to these questions. Especially in large organisations, knowing exactly what is and isn’t working at different levels of business or in different teams can be hidden from higher-ups.
Here are some tips:
- Get feedback – asking for employee feedback to determine the overall feeling is a good place to start
- Look at trends – information like staff turnover, loss of customers or contracts, and level of complaints can help you identify the presence of internal issues
- Monitor development – management style can sometimes impact culture. Consider how long leaders have been in roles, if their styles have adapted with the organisation, and how recently they’ve undertaken formal development or coaching.
Unity starts at the top: Unifying leaders
To realign and reinvigorate employees after change, you need to start with your leaders. Leadership unity and continuous executive leadership coaching are the cornerstones of encouraging good organisational culture, achieving set goals, and recovering previous performance levels faster.
When executive leaders are supported to do their job, they can better support employees and build an environment where their teams can succeed – because they know where they stand, what they’re working towards, and what they’re part of.
Morale and productivity lift, innovation increases, job satisfaction leads to improved staff retention and development of future leaders – all of which contribute to overall growth.
While prioritising leadership unity after an organisational change is key, it is not always easy to initiate internally. True leadership unity is multifaceted, and should ensure each leader is aligned with:
- Organisational goals and culture
- Fellow leaders and senior managers
- The needs of their teams and employees
The best way to achieve this is with a customised executive leadership coaching and development program that will successfully unite leaders by building organisational goals, working on team development, and uplifting individual skills and strengths.
For those who recognise the benefit of leadership unity, and prioritise support and progression for their employees, the opportunities for success could be endless in 2021 and beyond.
Where to start: Equipping your team with leadership coaching and career development
More than basic training, leadership and executive development and coaching should be about steering leaders to a cohesive approach and value-set and allowing each individual to play to their strengths and recognise their ability to contribute.
Choice has been helping organisations unite and develop their leaders for over 20 years. Our highly qualified coaches have specific expertise in building leadership unity after change. We’ll work with your organisation to create a customised program, and then individually with teams and leaders to meet their specific needs and goals.