Easing Organizational Changes

Photo of a team in an open-office workspace

The business press, B-schools, and analysts view mergers and acquisitions only in strategic terms. Yet the people who implement these deals, and those affected by them, know that effects range from macro-strategic to micro-tactical. Who gets parking? Which parking space? What do we do about entire product lines that overlap? At any level, the majority of changes affect people and processes. That’s where 5 Dynamics can contribute.

If you’re involved in change, and you’re considering people and how they must get things done, it simplifies a lot of complexity to view the challenge through three lenses: individuals, relationships, and processes. 5 Dynamics‘ tools and methodology can be used to accelerate and ease people’s transition through change.

Individuals

The change curve is better known than the Pledge of Allegiance. Every change manger’s toolkit must contain an understanding of the range of emotional reactions through which people pass when exposed to mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations. Almost none of these change models, however, customize the message to the learning style of the employee. A dry financial presentation won’t likely win a majority of hearts and minds, but that’s often what people see. There’s a better way to do it.

If the goal is to get buy-in—both emotionally and rationally—this approach offers an opportunity too valuable to be left at the door. For many people, emotions can block objective assessment of change. Customizing the message to a person’s learning style improves the odds of cutting through the noise. Fortunately, 5 Dynamics uses only four flavors of learning styles. This presents a manageable number for change managers to “mass customize” their messages. It’s a smarter way to communicate.

Relationships

Change often involves new lateral and vertical working relationships. A former boss might report to his or her prior employee. New faces appear. The deck is reshuffled. The “feeling-out” process takes valuable time and is prone to failure, miscommunication, and conflict. It can also be inconsistent and idiosyncratic. Instead, a structured program using 5 Dynamics Leadership and Peer to Peer reports can provide a clear itinerary for moving forward together.

Teams need to look inward—how they do things—and outward: how they manage inbound and outbound dependencies. This also requires looking at roles and activities. If the point of the change event is to do new things or to do old things differently, then the team must alter how it allocates its finite resources, including time, energy, and focus. Happily, this is the heart of the 5 Dynamics methodology. Savvy companies implement it after getting data from the Starting Point assessment to wring maximum return from their investment in us.

Processes

“Process” is the unifying thread that runs through all of this. It simply means “how things get done,” with an emphasis on “done.” As a company, our end purpose is not awareness. It is results. Business results are outcomes of iterative processes that are more or less effective. Unless you’re looking at a robotic assembly lines, the results are hostages to the vagaries, idiosyncrasies, biases, and seeming randomness of people. Change managers do well to map business process with an overlay that considers the makeup of the human actors at every way station. This too is a core part of our methodology.

These activities are surprisingly simple to implement if you give managers the tools for the job. These tools and change methods must be easy to use, scalable, and repeatable, requiring minimal intervention from outside.

It seems almost every new customer we support is going through change, sooner rather than later. If M&A or reorganization is in your cards, please give us a call. We’d love to assist you through it.

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