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  • Writer's pictureJerry Manas

Mastering Organizational Change: 50 Common Sense Tips – Part 3

Originally posted on December 5, 2016

This is the third in a series of ten posts on 50 common sense tips on mastering organizational change.

Starting with point 11, this batch is part of the Planning phase in a three-step process I refer to as Planning, Selling, and Engaging.

11. Think Small – Sometimes, minor things can get people excited about your initiative or make a statement about your culture. Try to think of small, easy things that will generate a buzz. At its theme parks, Disney encourages its employees (called “cast members”) to aim for little wows at every customer touch point—those small things that aren’t “needed” or “asked for,” but are inexpensive to deliver and serve to generate excitement (e.g. housekeepers shaping guests’ towels in the form of Disney characters, random cast members asking guests where they’re from, and so on). What small practices can your team employ to reinforce your desired culture or make people look twice?

12. Build a Compass – At Southwest Airlines, all employees know the overarching priority is to be the low cost airline. At Zappos, the employee culture comes first, then the customer, and then efficiency. At all Disney theme parks, they’ve instituted prioritized service standards (four, to be precise, in descending sequence: safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency—each one can be trumped by the ones above it). In all these cases, employees have a small set of priorities that serve as a compass when making decisions and taking daily actions. This also serves to avoid micromanagement. Try to think of just a few guiding priorities to unify your people toward a common cause and guide their daily activities.

13. Throw a Process Party – An end-to-end implementation process has many role players, each with their own focus and interests. This can lead to redundant or overlapping processes and other inefficiencies. To assure a lean, efficient process, it’s well worth the time to gather representatives of each party in a room and map out the overall process on the wall. Often, it’s an eye-opener, and great improvements can be made. Consider including customers and suppliers as well, at least toward the end, as it can help boost everyone’s understanding of the end-to-end process requirements.

14. Be Inclusive – Forward-thinking organizations find ways to include the voices of all their employees, even those whose role might seem unrelated to the task at hand. Some organizations have daily or weekly brainstorming sessions on different topics, rotating attendees from throughout the company from all levels.

This not only helps people feel they’re being heard and makes them feel a part of something; it also serves to bring in new ideas from fresh perspectives. Plus it raises their performance to peak levels because of the psychological impacts of being paid attention to. This is known as the Hawthorne Effect, based on experiments at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works that demonstrated that positive involvement, recognition, and a sense of belonging were central to worker productivity.

15. Think Glocal – Glocalization is a concept that encourages consideration of local and regional nuances while still remaining aligned with global themes and drivers. Experts now suggest going one step further—to delegate development of local or regional themes and practices that speak to that geographic or functional culture, yet support the overall global initiative and allow for global communication. The idea is to leverage the domain experts as much as possible instead of making assumptions that may not be accurate for that region. Sharing of good ideas across regions is vital as well. Once again, as the saying goes, “A rising tide raises all ships.”

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