FRIDAY, MAY 30TH, 2008
What scares us most? What do employees, managers, owners and even customers fear the most in your business? No it’s not public speaking, although I understand that leads the parade of most feared things personally. Rather it is change! Apparitions, Biblical passages of the Apocalypse, terrorist attacks, global warming, death and even gas prices are probably not as fearful to our business as the word change. Who Moved My Cheese described this and offered many ideas on why change is good and why we need to embrace and be proactive in supporting change.
Last week one of my clients initiated the Two Day Rockefeller Habits Workshop with his executive management team. In advance of this he sent to his staff an employee survey that they were asked to complete prior to our meeting. The majority [68%] of his staff completed the survey before the short deadline, a pretty good indication of their involvement with the company, and that was only the start of the good news. Most of them took this opportunity to provide input to the company very seriously; in fact several mentioned they should be asked for this kind of information more frequently. The surveys I reviewed were insightful, compelling and truly provided good ideas that should be considered and in time implemented. What was most compelling was how dedicated and passionate the staff was in presenting their cases. The survey was just three short questions and yet several answers were up to three pages long. I don’t have to tell you that if you spend that kind of time answering something like this that you have a deep interest in the business you work for and feel that by giving your opinion on things your voice will be heard. Perhaps that was the most positive aspect of this. It really indicated that my client has a staff that is devoted to the business succeeding. Furthermore it speaks to the kind of culture he’s been able to create that his employees feel so willing to provide feedback when asked.
In my May newsletter I discussed the value of customer feedback and doing customer surveys. In Fred Reichheld’s The Ultimate Question he offers that customer and employee feedback are two of the most critical areas for a business to learn and develop to become a growth company. The very best company’s in the world have superior customer loyalty as well as employee loyalty. His book is filled with examples from Southwest Airlines, Enterprise Rent A Car, Chick-fil-A and others that prove the value of customer loyalty and can be observed in the ratings he posts on his website: www.netpromoter.com.
If you are considering change in your organization and fear the fallout from it, imagine the response you will receive if the change comes from within, from the very people who are most invested in the business and have the most to gain as well as know where the bodies are buried that need to be unearthed in order to make change permanent.
Change is something most of us fear. It’s generally gets more difficult to change the older we are and the longer your company has been doing things in a consistent pattern. Working with businesses often times the most difficult process in the coaching process is initiating change with their people. The old culture is hard to break, yet in order to establish new innovative patterns and routines the old has to go.
When change comes from within, when employees participate and provide feedback for that change your resistance to change can be virtually eliminated. We are all well aware at which the speed of change is impacting our businesses. Your people are one of the greatest resources you have to harness change and deliver those changes to the places in your business it is needed the most. They work and breathe in the bowels of your business where they see the need for change first hand.
Tap into that resource. Speak to your employees regularly; take one employee to lunch a week. Survey them, find out what they know. It can change the horror of forcing change into a positive and rewarding experience.
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