Are you still sheep-dipping leaders and managers in the hope that some collective get-together, either in-person or virtually, will engage them sufficiently to deliver your organisational change effort?
If you are: Stop. Now.
Think about the employee experience (EX) of such an ordeal: pouring stewed coffee from one of those tall silver flasks (assuming there was any left by the time you made it to the front of the line), munching down on beige food at the lunch break and listening to a long line of senior people from your business whose names you only vaguely recall, encouraging you to take the challenge of this new change effort and deliver it for the good of the future of the business. If you are lucky, you’ll get to see an ex-Olympian, whose arthritic knees complain bitterly as they climb onto the stage to tell you to “embrace the grind” and “raise the bar,” positioning the extended effort you will be required to bring to the forthcoming transformation.
Or it could, of course, be yet another multi-hundred-person MS Teams call. Breakout rooms full of people you don’t know and don’t want to spend time with, even virtually. Your eyes roll as one more keynote speaker apologises for the poor quality of sound, “We’ve got builders in,” or loses connectivity, yet again, which you see as a mixed blessing.
General vs individual support
No wonder research suggests that such approaches rarely bring about the kind of results that change programmes have been charged with delivering. The Law of the 3-Day High* is important to understand here: The bigger a generalised fanfare, the quicker the effects wear off: usually after about three days of being back to work faced with the current long list of priorities.
Large events may create lots of warm fuzzy feelings immediately, but research suggests that the effects rarely last long enough to translate into deeply-understood motivations for the changes, let alone acting on them in a consistent, culture-aligned way. Think old-school team building. Great fun making a bridge that could carry a small kitten but practically hopeless at transferring to real, sustained leadership and management back at base.
There are adult learning theories to back up these assertions about why large-scale methods to engage employees are not very effective.
Why leaders of change want to be treated as individuals
These same theories also point to another way to help your leaders and managers that is not simply personalised, but deeply individualised.
Such an approach enables leaders to get support on demand. Leaders can bring their real, current challenges that they are experiencing with the change effort to a discussion that focuses on them, their situation and helps them create appropriate solutions to execute.
Employing this solution means leaders can share, in confidence, their concerns and fears, in a space where they will not be judged but will be heard. They will be challenged to be better and do better, whilst, at the same time, feel they have someone in their corner to help them resolve the situation for themselves in a thoughtful way, aligned to the aims of the change programme itself.
The result of such an approach? Greater engagement, greater productivity, improved wellbeing, greater impacts across the business, role modelling exceptional leadership and many more, which all roll up to deliver the change programme your organisation needs.
Individualisation at scale in organisational change
So, how can you provide genuinely-individualised support for leaders and managers over the life of the transformation?
By providing one-to-one leadership coaching for all those who have a key role in delivering the change and who interact with all front-line employees, who need both to understand the changes being made and be helped in embedding the changes on the ground.
Coaching, when done well, delivers all these benefits and more. It is the ultimate in individualised learning and development and the antithesis to one-too-many modus operandi. It helps overwhelmed leaders and managers across the organisation feel supported as individuals and assured that they and their situations are being heard.
All you need to do is provide one-to-one coaching for each and every manager involved in delivering the change you require, if you want them to feel valued, to improve the EX dramatically, and to increase your chances of transformation success by ensuring everyone understands what is required, how to do it and positions themselves clearly aligned with the desired organisational outcomes.
Affordable, accessible and scalable solutions through organisational change
I can guess what you might be thinking: “How can I possibly provide coaching to all 300 of my leaders?” The good news is that there is plenty of increasingly-good technology that can go some way to helping leaders at scale. Although, at this stage, most AI driven solutions provide support at a personalised level rather than in an individualised way which, as we have already established, is an important distinction.
Individualising digital solutions remains something we ourselves continue to work hard at resolving with our own AI voice-enabled coach we call Integra. So, that just leaves coaching conversations that happen for the leader with a real person… preferably someone who is exceptional at coaching and can help in a time-efficient way, and who also understand what your organisation is working towards.
In December 2021 we brought Concise Coaching to the marketplace to provide an effective alternative to traditional coaching in large-scale, time-poor and cost-stretched situations. Already we are helping leaders, like yours, who are going through team and/or organisation-level change. It is simple. Individualised. Effective.
And it's your best bet for delivering transformational change, baaa-none!
*The Law of the 3-Day High is not really a Law but something our experiences tell us has a good degree of validity.
Exigence works with organisations to deliver full-stack HR leadership development solutions, from Executive and senior team coaching to group and AI coaching. If you would like to discuss how we can help you deliver quantifiable impacts for your organisation, we'd love to hear from you - just contact us here.