In the beginning of March I will be traveling to Raleigh to participate in the Capital Associated Industries Conference “HR 20/20: Focus, Evolve, Lead, facilitating a breakout session on identifying waste in your organization. As I look around the HR space many conferences are including similar programs on change management. However the real question do HR managers really understand what change management means? In order to be involved in authentic change management, HR managers need to take three very distinct steps.
Every organization has problems. Each of these problems involves the failure to meet the demands of the stakeholders of the organization. The real difficulty is that we know they are there but we do not truly understand the implications of the process obstacles that we know are present. In order to fully understand the ramifications of the problems we need to get our of the office and see first hand where the problems occur. In two different books I recently read, the authors made reference to a manufacturing environment where they utilized 42 different pairs of gloves. Each of the pair’s was ordered from a different provider. Taiichi Ohno, from the Toyota Manufacturing Company, required his manager to stand in a circle for a minimum of twenty-five minutes to see what problems existed.
It is one thing to see the problem; it is an entirely different issue to feel the impact of the problem on the organization. Both management and the rank and file employees need to feel the impact of the issue at hand. They need to see what is in it for me if this problem continues. Rank and file will need to deal with the angry customer who did not get their order on time. Managers need to deal with stakeholders who are asking how the organization can operate by ignoring the issues at hand.
Of the three steps this is the most difficult. We can see the problem. We can feel the impact of the problem. But unless we change the new normal within the organization the previous steps are for naught. We can’t operate from a point of view that this is the way we have always done it. To successfully solve the operational problems we have to change the corporate culture. Every level of the organization needs to understand why we must change the way we do things. They need to understand the urgency of the moves that management is implementing.
It is only after we see the problem, feel its impact and change the corporate culture to the new normal that we can begin to resolve the issues confronting the organization and hindering its ability to be strategic, innovative and aligned to the mission and values of the organization.