"Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." Laurence J. Peter
When you want to change something in your organization, but you keep encountering resistance, and there's no clear reason why beyond "that's the way we've always done it"... be careful.
That simple phrase is a big red flag that should not be underestimated. It has been the death knell for many a well-sponsored initiative, including multi-million dollar system implementations.
Overcoming the powerful tide of the status quo takes time and diligence. You have to get some of the resistors on board -- and not just the ones at the top. Here are five steps:
This process is not for appearance's sake, it's for real. You will develop a deeper understanding of why things really are the way they are, so you can address what is in the hearts and minds of your workforce. And then change has a chance.
Too frequently, I hear clients grumble: “We hire first-rate leaders, experienced people and expensive consultants… and then we don’t listen to them.” Sound familiar?
The problem is pervasive. Cultural mismatch is the most frequent reason outside executives fail to make it in their new gigs, says The Official Board.
You can curtail the adverse impact of senior talent turnover by dramatically improving one process: onboarding. Yes, it sounds boring, and often it is. Many people experience onboarding as a lackluster combination of HR handbooks, rote branding messages, awkward training videos, and a series of one-on-one meetings filled with conventional niceties.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If the real purpose of onboarding is to rapidly leverage new leaders, then give them a clear lay of the land, especially if you want them to shake things up. Here are a few things to consider for your leadership onboarding process:
1. Be real with them.
2. Be open to them.
3. Campaign for them.
High-level turnover is expensive and disruptive, so the stakes are high. This is not about assimilation, it’s about making the most of the talent you’ve hired... otherwise why hire them at all?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A well-traveled guide in a diverse array of organizational cultures, Emily Porter has a distinct POV marked by large doses of realism, empathy and outright humor. She has lived and worked in DC, NYC, Boston, Richmond, VA and now Minneapolis.