It doesn’t matter what industry we’re in, how traditional or how agile, we’re all existing within a culture of constant change. The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to reevaluate practices we took for granted as ‘the way things had to be.’ The things we were doing ‘because that’s the way they’ve always been done’ – we can’t do them the same way anymore.
Inertia is a powerful force in businesses that have been established for several years or more and can staunch the flow of innovation.
Now all of us have an opportunity to question our unquestioned business practices. We’ve been liberated (a much nicer word than forced) to explore different, often more efficient ways of doing things.
This is no small task. Doing nothing and simply “getting back to normal” is the path of least resistance. However, the fact that we’re still in a highly changeable moment makes the old normal nearly impossible, and instead invites us to define the New Normal for ourselves, and our companies.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Some of the most valuable insights into what to change, and how to change it, are at your fingertips — they can be found in your own workforce.Ask employees for their ideas, and create a culture that absorbs change and is conducive to innovation.
Your employees know best where your processes lack efficiency, but unless you ask them, they won’t tell you what has frustrated them for years, or the solutions they’ve wanted to suggest but knew the answer would be “no.” In many ways, suddenly having to switch to remote work has brought employees and management into closer, more open communication, and more leaders are asking their employees for input and taking it.
And when you ask for feedback and act on it – you create even more employee engagement. That’s the phenomenon we’ve been seeing in our clients’ organizations. Higher levels of engagement than ever before. Part of that is that we are all – every single one of us – together in fighting for our economic survival (and literal survival). If you didn’t have a defined purpose for employees to rally around before, you do now – it’s just not about your business. But to keep those engagement gains, you’re going to have to maintain the new culture. The culture of constant change.
You might also call it a culture of constant innovation.
Sometimes kicking and screaming, all of us have become more agile. Fast change has become our new normal. And we’re learning how to adjust faster, work “lean” with fewer resources, and finding that the quality and quantity of the work isn’t suffering for it. Quite the opposite.
Now we have an opportunity to continue that culture and benefit from it.
Webinar – Start Your Culture Journey
A related challenge lurking for leaders that can impact everything from employee engagement to culture to success in change is the Leadership Perception Gap.
The Leadership Perception Gap is the difference between the perception company executives have of the effectiveness of their organization’s leaders, and the perception of their employees. When the perceptions differ too greatly, the resulting gap represents a real impediment to the successful the execution of company initiatives.
Take a deeper dive into the Leadership Perception Gap below.