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Be Responsive to Change

Alongside death and taxes, you can be sure that in business you will be faced with a period of change. Some of which may be welcomed, and indeed planned, whilst other changes will be forced upon you through shifts in the economy, changes in the market or the result of a workforce change.

When change does occur, the senior team must lead by example and embrace the change and look forward. Even 50% of the workforce being made redundant can be seen as a positive change if it means that the organisation can continue to operate, and start a new growth plan.

The following three features of an organisation will enable it to respond positively to change:

Engaged Workforce

An engaged workforce will understand that change is sometimes needed for the good of the organisation and work together to ensure a smooth transition.  Engagement, that is being passionate, committed, and putting in maximum effort, can be encouraged through learning and developing. Certain skills can help at a time of change, such as communication skills, presentation skills and chairing meetings effectively. These skills may prove vital in communicating the change to the wider organisation and clients. A workforce that feels they are being invested in, and are equipped to do the job well, will remain engaged during the period of change.

Resilience and Mental Well-Being

Change does bring an increase in stress and pressure which results in its own challenges. Ensuring that your senior team are adequately trained to not only communicate effectively but to recognise signs of stress in their teams and act accordingly, will improve the response to change.  Resilience can be increased through having open communication, high levels of team support, work-life balance and an awareness of the importance of mental well-being. During periods of change, it is important to increase the opportunities for staff to raise their concerns, be updated on progress and be involved in decision making.

Systems and Methods

Having the procedures, methods and systems in place to enable timely and efficient response to change is vital. One such system is Agile.

Agile is aptly named. If being agile to you means having the ability to twist, turn, bend, change direction quickly without losing speed, and react to the environment sharply and with ease, then that is what Agile can do for your software development project management approach.

The main benefit of Agile over other project management principles and methodology is the ability to respond quickly and change priorities and workload in response to environmental changes. This makes it ideal to manage any change within an organisation and is used mainly in software/systems development projects. A process that encourages stakeholder involvement and feedback, which responds to change quickly and efficiently.

If you would like to learn more about Agile or discuss how we can support you through a period of change, please contact us. We offer performance improvement solutions to the people who deliver on your business goals, through first class training and development options all designed and delivered to you, our client and your outcome expectations at the forefront of what we do.



Why Train Your Leaders?

Employees are often promoted due to technical ability or operational requirements and find themselves in a position of people management, or leadership almost through default.  Whilst they may be technical experts and leaders in their field, being a leader of people, requires a different skill set: a skill set which needs to be taught, nurtured and developed.

If you have a hierarchy of supervisors, managers and leaders who lack the people and strategic skills required in those positions it can be disastrous for your organisation. The result may be talent loss, reduced productivity, increase in complaints and grievances and precious time is spent firefighting and resolving human resource crisis.

Being an expert in the field is not enough. The quicker you can train your leaders the better. This reduces the risk of developing poor habits and embedding a culture and approach that you do not want.  The result of training your leaders will be that not only will you have an engaged and empowered leadership team, but an engaged and well-managed team.  A great opportunity for succession planning and talent retention.

Developing a leadership training and development package can be daunting. Often persuading those who hold the purse strings that they would benefit from the development, and gaining their engagement in the process is a challenge.  We would advise a three step process.

The first step is to be clear on expectation. Validate what is required of your leaders and managers, and regularly monitor and measure the performance in formal appraisals and regular reviews. Communicate those expectations through the organisation so there is accountability for their behaviour. This may include Chairing skills, strategic business planning, dealing with grievances and challenging conversations, or understanding financial data.

Secondly, once you are clear on what is required, you can do a skill-gap analysis to identify where training and development may be needed. This may not be related to time in position. In fact, an employee who has been in a leadership position for twenty years may be in more need of updating their skill set than a newly appointed supervisor. Is there a need to improve communication skills? To review strategic planning? Or is it report writing and project management that needs to be improved?

Thirdly, think about how best to engage the participants to maximise the impact of the training. This may mean bite sized chunks over a series of months, an interactive workshop held off site, or a one-day seminar. It may dovetail with introducing a coaching or mentoring scheme, or train those not yet in supervisory positions to be able to recognise talent early. Once you have identified the skills that need developing, obtained the budget to fund it and agreed on a provider partner to work with you on the resolution, you need the individuals to turn up, participate and change their behaviour so engagement is key.

If you feel that your organisation would benefit from reviewing your senior team’s skillset and approach please get in touch.  We offer performance improvement solutions to the people who deliver on your business goals, through first class training and development options all designed and delivered with you, our client and your outcome expectations at the forefront of what we do.