Convincing teams to abandon the status quo

Imagine you are a member of the c-suite at an organization that has been able to maintain adequate performance in the past few years. You have well-established supply chain relationships, and your market share has remained relatively constant despite new competition entering your niche. But to realize growth, you recognize that your organization will need to perform an overhaul of operations to increase efficiency and offer clients and trade partners a more streamlined experience. 

Your organization relies on the strength of its middle management, who have been very successful in maintaining the status quo and enjoy good working relationships with their teams. However, few professionals have any real experience with change efforts. Soon, you will have to pitch to these professionals your new vision for the company, and bring them on board with your plan for the future of the organization.

To accomplish this, there are two popular strategies. The first is to avoid discussing the changes in the market that are prompting change, and focus solely on how the new organizational structure will benefit productivity.

By focusing on only the positive aspects, you mitigate the risks of creating fear of change, which can later evolve into resistance. Through glossing over the most serious challenges that will be included in the effort as well as the most pressing motivations, you hope to increase buy-in and have teams view the change as an opportunity to prove their strength.

The other strategy is to focus on the risks involved in maintaining the current status quo. This requires earnestly discussing the motivations for the transition and stressing that change is not only for the benefit of the organization, but necessary for its survival. You express confidence in management's ability to bring about the desires results, but admit that success ill not come easily. 

While some may argue certain virtues for the first strategy, for an organization with a previously effective status quo the motivation for the change, even if it might seem intimidating.

When employees have little reason to believe that their current strategy won't be effective in the long term, teams become complacent and can be overtaken by more innovative competitors. In these cases, it is necessary to explain why change is not only the best way forward, but the only means of remaining competitive. Once teams understand the direness of remaining complacent, they are more likely to engage in change efforts with the needed sense of urgency.

By being up-front with your managers and providing a clear reason why change is necessary, you are actually able to decrease resistance to change and work together towards a shared vision. Change management consulting can help ensure that your organization begins its the new year on the right path.