with Jean Filion
From supply chain issues to workers quitting and economic fluctuations, companies today face plenty of uncertainty. Rising prices from inflation and the increasing acceleration of new technologies further signal the need to adapt. For organizations in nearly every industry, it will become even more important to maximize resources to remain competitive.
There’s just one problem. Change is hard. Look no further than weight-loss attempts to see how difficult it can be to get lasting results. Research suggests that 80% of individuals who lose a significant portion of their body fat will not maintain that degree for 12 months. Most will regain as they shift back into familiar behaviors and pre-diet lifestyles.
The same often plays out in the business world. While it’s easy to find examples of improvement methodologies and theories, it’s much harder to shift operating performance. Studies commonly suggest that 70% of transformation efforts fail. Technology integrations might not improve the quality of information. Process reengineering may not boost productivity. Management training programs often fail to change management behavior.
Adopting a New Mindset
At the root of these disappointing outcomes lies the approach. Change generally requires a new mindset to make it sustainable. A person who wants to lose weight and keep it off will typically need to adjust their daily habits. For companies, leaders and managers must change their way of thinking to carry out and maintain large scale improvements.
Addressing the Right Components
To achieve lasting results from an improvement initiative, leaders and managers need to account for three essential elements: process, performance, and people. A process consists of two or more value-added steps in which material or information is passed to create a finished product or service. Performance involves the system that provides management with information, with the objective of aligning financial and operating indicators and all levels of management. The component of people refers primarily to the effectiveness of the time that managers spend planning, communicating, following up, and problem-solving.
CEO of Nellson LLC, a leading full-service nutritional bar and powder provider, Jean Filion, offers leadership perspectives on change management.
“Change requires Change” is such a simple sentence but without change, there can be no gains.
Sustainability has always been a concern for me. Why deploy resources, effort and time if the gain is unsustainable? The three-pronged approach is extremely relevant, and these elements are often not at the same level of maturity so “planning” the change is vital for sustainability. Process and performance are key. Changing people’s behavior is challenging to say the least. Supervisors and managers often lack knowledge on how best to manage people. The good news is, they can learn, but not solely from training.
The first step is understanding how and what they manage during the day. Not surprisingly, most will weigh the time spent on various management tasks totally differently than what they truly do. The main gap is often in “active” management, for active management is far too often misunderstood, yet it is the key to linking Process and Performance together by using one of the most vital resources of companies – People. Employees who engage with their supervisors and managers daily feel appreciated and valued for the work they perform and are more prone to wanting to exceed expectations.
Acting on all three fronts, engaging employees through active supervision and incentivizing leaders for the new way of working leads to sustainable improvement. Change takes time, however. If one is serious about game-changing change, best settle in for 6 months of working differently so the change becomes… the new way of working.
Dynamic Management is Needed
The three components of process, performance, and people are interdependent. If you make modifications to one area, you need to modify the other two as well. They all need to work together to realize sustainable improvements.
When change initiatives fail, it’s often because the focus is on one of the three components.
A new process might be implemented, but underlying systems and behaviors are no longer suited. A software program might provide better technology but doesn’t improve the underlying process involved. Managers could learn a new technique but not have the environment where they can put it into action. All these breakdowns stem from addressing one component and not the others.
Despite the changes occurring in today’s hyper-competitive markets, the one constant is a need to continuously improve. Higher levels of productivity help an organization realize and maintain a competitive edge. Better processes streamline workflows and well-trained managers are vital to creating a high-performance organization. Employees who believe they are contributing and can see the results are more motivated and more productive.
Nearly any business operation, when examined with the right tools and mindset, can be improved. It all begins with recognizing that change requires change. A new approach that holistically accounts for process, performance, and people can lead to positive, lasting outcomes.