Seeking Competitive Edge? Help Your People Embrace Change
As we move through the era of Amazon and Digital Transformation, more Distribution companies than ever are looking to a combination of Business Process Improvement and Technology to provide the necessary competitive edge that will secure their future.
In practical terms, this often equals tremendous change within a Distribution company, which if not properly prepared for can lead to a difficult transition vs a smooth one. The major point of impact, their people.
Issues relating to technology or even process change are relatively easy to resolve compared to issues relating to people, arguably the most important asset of a business. For a company implementing any type of major change, there are some simple steps they can take to help prepare their people and ensure the smoothest transition possible.
Lead – It can’t be overstated how important it is to have strong executive participation and support before, during and after major organizational change. Equally important is having various champions of change across the organization. By harnessing the personal capital of influencers within the company, peer to peer respect is positively leveraged for the benefit of all.
Listen – People tend to have a personal response to change. If strong objections are being raised to proposed changes, don’t immediately dismiss them or sweep them under the rug. Take care to understand the resistance and most importantly the underlying motivation for it. By acknowledging the root cause of an individual’s negative response, a two-fold win often occurs: a simple solution is found and they convert to one of the biggest champions of change.
Inform – Help people to feel included by putting out some positive internal press around the coming change. Be open about what is driving the decision for a transition and communicate the benefits, both long term and short term. This not only provides inclusion, but also security for your team because they are “in the know” about what is happening vs. being left to speculate.
Support – Even positive change typically requires an adjustment period. Plan for this by developing an appropriate enablement program that sets people up for success. This might include: formal training, lunch and learns, informal knowledge transfer sessions, etc. Keep it positive and create a safe environment for questions and feedback.
The Distribution industry is no stranger to change, however, never has it accelerated at the rate it does now. By taking the steps outlined above to prepare people for organizational change, not only is your transition smoother today, but a cultural shift can be made so that change will be more easily embraced and adopted the next time around.