I recently joined BNI – “Business Network International”.  I hadn’t heard of BNI until I started networking after founding Vos Voco – however there is a chapter near you, wherever you are in the world.  One area BNI has helped is to reset goals.  As a result I am targeting one or two hours of professional learning each week, usually facilitated by the BNI University.  Where it might be helpful; I’ll post a top “takeaway”.

This week I attended a webinar titled “Empowering Leaders to Tackle Today’s Biggest Business Challenges” delivered by Agnesia Agrella of Symetize.  A key point relating to Change stood out.

As a subject “Change” has more than it’s share of training courses and column inches in books.  Probably as most of us aren’t very good at it.

One simple point emerged from Agnesia’s content that managers can latch onto and is scalable – the need to tread “the new path” long enough for “the old path” to “become disused”.  It also brought to mind best practices observed over the years.

It’s no secret that people generally gravitate to what they’ve always done.  It takes management effort to communicate new ways of working, resolve issues, and bring people back into line when the old path is used.

What’s in it for managers?  Presumably a change is only introduced due to a business need – a new customer, a productivity/quality improvement, or in response to the market.  If the change was deemed important to introduce, why not see it through?

The best managers and businesses I’ve seen do the following for a number of weeks/months after introducing change.

1. Measure.  Have sufficient measures and reporting in place to know the new process is being sustained.

2. Follow-up.  Without follow-up staff will naturally think the change can’t be that important.  Simply ask questions.  Put it on the agenda.

3.  Go and See.  Walk the area.  It is much easier and quicker to find out if the new path is being followed with your own eyes.  This will naturally reinforce the change and allow issues to emerge so they can be overcome.  A previous manager had a mantra – “Don’t tell me, show me”.

4. Deal with Blockers.  Vocal people are to be welcomed as they expose issues that need addressing.  However blockers need to be challenged and dealt with as necessary for overall team morale.

No doubt the above sounds simple and straightforward however one reason companies fail to sustain change is lack of planning.  Put the change on the management and team meeting agendas.  Allow time for it – don’t allow it to be squeezed into AOB.  And diary the time to walk the area – of time spent – this will have the biggest payback.

Do this a few times and the business culture will change with benefits achieved and brought forward.

A simple takeaway for me – ensure the new path is followed long enough for the old path to be disused.

Posted on October 11, 2020