In times of uncertainty, leaders face the challenge of keeping the heart and soul of an organization.

Globalization and technology have shifted companies focus and priorities.

The focus now is on new technology, innovation, higher share prices and profit margins, lower operating costs, along with exceeding customer and shareholders expectations in an uncertain world.

Uncertainty does have its benefits for it leads to infinite possibilities.

The World Economy Has Changed

Peter Drucker says that the world economy has already changed permanently as a result of three central movements:

  1. The primary economy, i.e. mining, agriculture, and fishing is now disconnected from the industrial economy.
  2. Production in the industrial economy is disconnected from employment.
  3. The world economy is dictated by capital flows, which refers to the movement of money related to investments, trade, or business production.

Organizational Change

Our world like our lives are changing every second, nothing remains the same.

When we are going through significant organizational changes, it is all about the strategies and the approach we choose to take.

Ultimately, we can achieve our organizational goals by preparing for the human aspect and communicating the benefits of the upcoming changes without destroying the ‘heart and soul‘ of the company.

Harvard Business School explains that organizations whom neglect to have a robust change plan for the human aspect are bound to fail fast.

1. Address the 5 P’s

The first step is to assess the 5 P’s of a business:

  1. People
  2. Performance
  3. Position (financials)
  4. Playground (work environment and culture)
  5. Processes and Systems

Change efforts must include every layer within the organization. Start by removing outdated processes, implementing new systems and ways of working, managing low performers, and identifying short and long-term strategies.

The best change management approach is to adopt a staged approach along with clearly communicating changes from the outset. Countless changes occurring at one time can negatively impact the culture, thus making it far more challenging for employees to understand and implement.

As an example, a well-known global company that has been in operation for over 100 years, implemented significant ongoing changes and various project teams minus the transparent communication.

Employees soon began to tire of the changes and miscommunication that saw members of their leadership team running out the door, the rumor mill accelerating with false information which created high levels of anxiety, fear and low levels of trust in management not to mention employee retention and engagement moving to an all-time low.

2. Innovative Ways Of Working

Take time to research what other innovative companies are doing in various industries. Innovative methods can be found by also looking outside of your industry.

Often organizations employ expensive management consultants to shake their business up and achieve the aggressive outcomes they are seeking. Unfortunately, many organizations are dissatisfied with the results resultant of a mismatch in communication and the desired outcomes.

A study conducted by Cranfield School of Management in the UK, reportedly found that of the 170 companies that worked with management consultants only 36% were satisfied with the outcome.

Connect with and reach out to an innovative entrepreneur such as the German Billionaire, Jost Stollman or a CEO who has created the results you want to achieve.

3. Restructure Your Leadership Team

An outstanding, agile leadership team is crucial particularly during times of change.

A team that is aligned and working towards the same goals and whom believe wholeheartedly in the vision can navigate and communicate challenges far more effectively than their dysfunctional counterparts that spectacularly fail.

A great example is PWC in Australia with the Chief Executive, Luke Sayers reducing the leadership team from 12 leaders to 7. The goal was to have a leadership team that is agile in decision-making and in terms of responding to market changes. Additionally, Sayers has successfully increased female representation from 25% to 43%.

4. Be Transparent

Employees are quick to lose trust and motivation to work in an organization that continually gives false information and make false promises. Those that fail to honestly communicate end up with endless rumors and a cynical culture.

It is a sure fire way to lose employees and increase employee turnover leading to higher costs and increased time and energy to replace excellent performers and knowledgable employees.

Actively engage employees in the change management process by giving them an opportunity to have their say and implement changes within the business. When employees have trust in the leadership team and know that they will listen and take action on their feedback, it reduces the impact to the culture with employees feeling less worried or anxious.

Guillermo Tagle, the Chairman of Credicorp Capital Chile says: ‘These days in this transparent world that we live in, there is no way of working other than with total transparency’.

5. Create A Legacy

Now more than ever, customers and employees want to work and do business with organizations that mean something and are making a significant difference to the wider community and the world.

Employees feel more connected and are more attracted to work in an organization that has a meaningful purpose. Havas Media group’s reported that the following companies made the meaningful brands list; Samsung, Google, Nestle, Dove, Visa and Microsoft.

In summary, Jay Banga the President and Chief Executive Officer of MasterCard in the US says it best: ‘You’ve got to run a company for profit, you’ve got to run it for revenue growth but you also have to run it to be around ten years from now doing the right things. That’s one of the biggest issues most CEOs face today‘.


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