You've heard the stories, read the reports, and know the trends. It's undeniable that how we work is changing dramatically and that most companies need to reconsider their current strategies to set themselves up for future success. So why isn't your company changing?
It could be the cost or time involved, or perhaps the manpower to lead such a charge. But in those cases, the benefits easily outweigh the costs. Most often, the biggest barrier to change comes down to a mental roadblock.
We've been taught to do things a certain way for so long, it can seem counterintuitive to change. Business school grads can discuss the need for a solid business strategy and five- and ten-year business plans, but forward-thinking business need to be able to adapt quickly and experiment with new ideas, which can go against everything you've learned. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth doing. We have the strategies, tactics, and proof that changing to a more modern organizational structure is the way to go. Now it just comes down to putting those plans into action.
How do you overcome the mental barriers to essentially throw everything you know about running an organization out the window and start something new? It starts at the top. Companies that are the most successful at implementing change have people in positions of power who see the importance of change. Your organization can have a passionate team member in HR, but unless you have someone with power on your side, it can be difficult to make anything happen.
Change doesn't have to be overwhelming, and it doesn't all need to happen at once. With the right people in place, focus on these three key areas to foster an environment of change:
Create a culture shift. Successful, future-thinking companies have unique cultures where employees are valued and empowered. While the exact culture varies depending on the needs of the company, some similarities run through, including open communication, embracing new technology, employee reward and input programs, and engaging morale boosters. Creating a culture where experimentation thrives can be a major shift for some organizations, and it often takes a push from management to really make it happen.
Focus on experimentation. In order to compete in today's world, businesses need to be able to adapt and pivot quickly. If you're a late adapter to a new idea, you're likely out of business. Organizations that focus on experimentation embrace new ideas for their company and consider all the possibilities of what their product or service could become. There's a variety of ways to put this into action, from empowering employees with innovation academies to giving teams the power to collaborate and test a new idea. Find a way that works for your organization and see what great ideas come out.
Work in a new way. Organizations prepared for the future are more fluid and collaborative. Instead of everyone working 9-5 at their desk, new organizations embrace flexible work schedules and mobile technology to work from anywhere in the world. In some organizations, managers work alongside employees with constant communication, and organization charts look completely different and are much flatter. It may take an overhaul in your organization, or it could happen through small changes, but be prepared to shake things up and try working in a new way.
We've come to the point in the future of work where organizations need to choose to change proactively or be forced to change reactively. If an organization can't adapt to a changing workplace, it will likely suffer and fade away.
Take your company into the future by overcoming mental barriers and leading powerful, meaningful change.