Moving in different paces  

Moving in different paces
Foto: oneinchpunch / depositphotos.com

When a person is freshly joining a new company, he is not yet conditioned so much by the new collective he is working in. This is not in itself a problem, at the contrary; new people have a fresh look on the company and can therefore be very useful to consult, if the top management is ready for that.

Let’s speak about the challenge of different pace. The following example helps to illustrate that: A person is freshly appointed CEO coming from a different company to lead a transformation process. She wants to move forward fast because that was the style in her previous company. It may also be that she wants to prove quickly her added value. After some weeks resistance in the organization becomes stronger and conflicts pop up. The whole process of transformation is in danger and after another couple of months the CEO is forced to resign.

Indeed we are living in times of change and uncertainty. We all got it by now that we will have to challenge our comfort zone at work, if not it will be done by the circumstances. A first taste of that we got during COVID lockdowns. We also know that there are two basic forces in us, the preserving and the innovative, explorative one. Many archetypes we know from old myths are focused on the explorer, the discoverer and the warrior. Civilization and our material well-being has blured a bit the existence of the second one, we often have a false sense of security.

Therefore, it is a good thing to bring in a new guy to shake up a bit the organization, it is vital. Important however is the how. I have met challengers who are totally lacking emotional intelligence. This is the first crucial point. They move in and want to change everything fast. There is no need for them to really understand the culture and to sense into the organization, as I would call it. They miss the often hidden rules and cultural values that hold the company together and to which people are attached to. There is no openness to listen first to what the employees have to say. This is a big mistake. It is a common belief between reformers that listening and observing is a waste of time; it isn’t, it is a treasure that can prevent you from failing your mission.

If you appreciate what is and how people are at the moment, you may as a second crucial point define what of the change is feasable now and in what steps you may get to the final solution. Sometimes you cannot implement 100%, maybe only 80% but this percentage is solid. No change can be done without people, if your pace is too fast, you may lose them, also those whom you terribly need.

The third crucial point is how to involve the employees themselves. Do you spend sufficient time in convincing them? Do you explain well, what is in it for the employees themselves, what they may learn in such a change process? Have you identified your core group of movers and shakers in the company? These people are often called Ambassadors of change, because they help you to bring the message into the organization on all hierarchy levels. HR is also often the major driver and you better have a strong person here to go along with.

It is good to be faster than most people in the company you are serving. But it is not speed alone that counts. It is smartness and wisdom that will help you to find the right pace, for the good of the company and your own.

 

Dr. Michael Schroeder

michael.schroeder@linarson.com

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27 November 2021

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