Over the years as an executive director, I have found change is inevitable, costly and difficult. You absolutely can not get around it. Change is waiting to sneak up and pin you. When you expect it most, it happens. When you are not paying attention, it happens. It just happens.
If the change is enevitable and costly, it seems to me I should make change work for the organization and not against it. How do I make sure the change that is coming our way helps the culture in the organization? Here are a few tips.
1. Impress on your organization that change is costly, inevitable and difficult. Preach flexibility over and over again. Let people know that you are not afraid (though you might be) of change.
2. Impress on your organization there are many reasons for change: staff reduction, staff additions, new projects and market shortfalls/gains (to name a few). Each one of these change agents give the organization an opportunity to become better.
3. Communicate and communicate so more. Reassure affected areas and people that you are willing to listen to suggestions that help the organization grow, cause the culture to be reinforced and values to be maintained.
4. Talk about the values of your organization over and over again. Give the reason for the change and your determination to handle the repercussions based on the values that make your organization distinct.
5. Progressive Excellence. Encourage your team: “Today we have accomplished the impossible, tamed the difficult and exceeded all expectations. Celebrating our accomplishments today will give us reason to believe we can do it better tomorrow.”
Change is costly, inevitable and difficult. If you must go through change, make it count. Let it be fuel for a better organization that changes lives for the better.
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