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Via CMS Wire : How to Approach Change Management in the Digital Workplace

At last year’s ReIimagineHR conference, Garnter estimated that the average organization has undergone five enterprise changes in the past three years. Seventy-three percent of organizations expect more change initiatives in the next few years, and only a small minority expects the pace of change to decelerate. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to implement change effectively. In fact, only a third of change efforts are a success, 16% show mixed results, and half are clear failures.

The rate of change is impressive. The conference also revealed that, on average, employees now experience three major changes each year, compared to just 1.75 in 2012. To help employees, many enterprises have turned to change management.

Change Management Enables Work

Change management plays an essential role in driving the individual behavioral changes required to realize the potential of the digital workplace. Change management in itself changes the legacy work mindset because it approaches the employee as a stakeholder in the process of transformation instead of merely a resource that is affected.

Effective change management programs seek to proactively engage employees in the process of transformation, according to David Verhaag, the founder of Olifano. It does this by creating awareness and a desire to change, empowering the employee with the knowledge and capabilities to effect the change and reinforcing the employee’s value in the process to ensure the change is enduring. This is a dramatic change from a legacy way of working where leaders would simply make changes and expect employees to adapt and adopt new processes and technology.

Bill Kirst, a senior manager of the operations excellence practice with West Monroe Partners, a consulting firm focused on organizational change management for technology-driven change, said by adopting a growth mindset and letting go of a fixed mindset teams will appreciate the role modeling done by IT leaders to seek and understand wider perspectives to bring about growth. Challenge the status quo by inviting ideas shared through innovation channels for continuous feedback and encourage creativity and experimentation. But how to begin? There are three main steps.

1. Digital Strategy

Organizations should start first by experimenting with defining your digital strategy and any approach to digital transformation partnerships in order to determine a criteria list. The asked-and-answered criteria will likely shift in importance depending on which step of the digital transformation process they are in.

2. Test-and-Learn

They should then focus on moving your culture toward one that celebrates “test-and-learn,” to allow for adaptation without turning operations into lab experiments.

3. Customer-centric Approach

Make sure to take a customer-centric approach to using technology and use digital transformation to solve true business problems, delivering actual outcomes and not just delivering a new technology. In practical terms, this means focusing on a few key projects. “In the business, pick a few key projects that align to your digital vision and pilot new capabilities, new technologies and new ways of working. Tap leaders and influencers (change agents) to demonstrate the power of achieving a digital growth mindset. Celebrate idea generation and experimentation that contributes to employee engagement and enterprise learning,” Kirst said.

Innovation Across Multiple Dimensions

It’s a good bet that most organizations leaders would agree that business model transformation demands innovation across multiple dimensions. Orchestrating the interplay of people, process and technology to continually bring new value to customers is an immense challenge, both strategically and operationally, said Camille Nicita, the CEO and president of consumer intelligence agency Gongos.

A core reason why customer-centricity has traditionally been difficult to systematize is because no single organizational functional area has had ownership of it. The recent rise of the chief customer officer is a significant step toward the cultural transformation required to orient corporate teams such as marketing, innovation, product development and operations around the customer. However, the larger and more established an organization is, the more it is weighted down by its legacy structure.

The results that these organizations embark on are fragmented approaches to understand and engage with their customers. It’s not surprising, then, that they engage partners in a similarly disjointed fashion.

Data analytics firms provide the expertise and bandwidth to address big data challenges. Consumer insights companies bring forth understanding and market knowledge. Management consulting firms address strategic and organizational design needs. Creative agencies support corporate and brand communications. Customer experience companies provide “voice of the customer” platforms for measuring the customer journey and experience. “At the end of the day, however, this scattershot approach hinders decision-making power, and takes a significant toll on organizations both financially and operationally,” she said.

The most effective intelligence business model brings the disciplines of data science, communication design, consumer insights and analytics, strategic consulting, customer experience, change management and innovation consulting under one roof. By weaving these often-isolated disciplines together, organizations can engage with one firm to consult, execute and drive organizational change to fuel growth and ultimately create a more reciprocal relationship with consumers.

The Evolving Digital Workplace

The digital workplace is constantly evolving and we’ve reached a point where the number of tools and resources for employees to get their jobs done is at an all-time high. On top of that, the number of remote and deskless workers continues to grow. As a result, organizations are faced with constant change. In fact, Brian McDowell of SocialChorus pointed out that change management teams are forced to spend a lot of time figuring out how to implement the “soft side” of organizational changes, going over the goals and objectives, strategy and tactics, and basic changes to roles and processes.

When approaching a major organizational change, however, it is crucial to have all employees and stakeholders on the same page. This comes down to having the right technology in place to effectively communicate what the change will be, why the change is necessary, and the impact both within and outside of the organization.

“Rather than keeping employees in the dark, leaders need to be transparent about why the change is essential and how it will affect employees’ roles and lives. This is even more critical in today’s digital workplace where how we work is constantly changing,” he said.

Via The Seattle Times : A mini-guide to making friends at work

Working with people you can call friends is wonderful.

For one thing, your daily labor is lots more fun. You may also be inspired to greater engagement and creativity, which could be good for your career. You may even willingly put in longer hours, which is also good for your career.

Most of all, work colleagues — the only people who truly “get” what you do all day — can keep you sane, watch your back, act as sounding boards and sometimes make a terrible job bearable.

You will therefore want to make and keep strong, positive relationships at work.

It starts with simply introducing yourself, learning people’s names and participating in a certain amount of small talk. Hate small talk? Well, it’s the lubricating oil of human relationships so you’d be wise to become proficient at it. Everyone can master this skill.

More tips: If your employer is large enough or organized enough to sponsor groups (like a basketball team or book club), join the one that interests you most. Or start one. Occasionally invite co-workers out for coffee or even lunch.

Please don’t skip the annual company picnic or holiday party. Always look for ways to do small favors or random acts of kindness. Be inclusive (i.e., avoid cliques). Seek out common ground by asking open-ended questions and really listening to the answers.

It sounds like a lot but you don’t have to do all of these things, or even most of them. Human friendships tend to form naturally as the result of prolonged togetherness. So relax, remembering to select your at-work friends wisely, just as you do the private-life ones, steering clear of the conniving, the false and the untrustworthy.

At the same time, set good boundaries. Don’t share information about yourself that could later be used against you — because work friendships are not really like other friendships. They may feel like the real thing, but most of the time they’re no more than relationships of convenience, based on proximity and mutual self-interest. When the job ends, the job friendships usually fade away.

Not always, of course. Sometimes the buddy you make at work turns into a treasured lifelong confidant. In general, though, just focus on enjoying every friendship as long as it lasts.

Via Global Banking & Finance : Times change, it’s time the workplace did too

Workplace culture is a hot topic and one that never fails to raise a reaction. In November 2018, tens of thousands of Google employees conducted a worldwide walkout targeting workplace culture less than a year after the internet giant topped Fortune magazine’s list of best companies to work for the sixth year running. The protestors’ main issue was how the company was treating women, but this wasn’t their only concern.

Following the protests, media reports cited Google saying it would increase transparency and improve its harassment policies, but it shouldn’t have taken a revolt of this scale for the issues to be acknowledged. Jose Mourinho, former manager of Manchester United, who was unceremoniously sacked in December, may have the answer to Google’s problems.

Speaking to the media in January, Mourinho, one of the most successful football managers of the last two decades, said: “Nowadays you have to be very smart in the way you read your players”. He then went on to compare current players with players from previous generations and spoke about the increased need to have the right structure in the club to support the players and the manager. Like football, employee demographics in the corporate world have changed significantly over the past decade. According to a recent study by Deloitte, 75 per cent of the global workforce will be millennials by 2025. And therein lies the problem. In the same way as Mourinho believed Manchester United was not reading its players correctly, neither, if recent events are taken into account, are many businesses.

The expectation of flexibility is neither misplaced nor impossible

In addition to having been born and grown up in an online age, there are several characteristics that differentiate millennials from previous generations. Whilst they consider themselves equally as hardworking and as ambitious, if not more so, than generation x and baby boomers, they also require more flexibility, faster results and care more about their personal well-being. According to a report in US news magazine INC., more than half of all millennial workers would like the option to work remotely, while up to 87 per cent want to work on their own schedules.

They also perceive themselves to be more socially aware and eco-friendly and expect these traits from their employers too. Luckily, with the significant improvements in technology over the past decade, this expectation is neither misplaced nor impossible to achieve, as long as employers are prepared to innovate.

Technological improvements make remote working an easy option

Take flexibility, eco-friendliness and well-being for example. With massive improvements in communication-related technology, it is now possible to work remotely without any loss of productivity. Providing flexible working options not only reduces real-estate costs and lowers the firm’s carbon footprint but can also help increase employee motivation.

So, if done correctly, one single action or statement, such as allowing employees to start work earlier or later, or to take longer lunch breaks to facilitate participation in sporting activities, can lead to a chain of events that significantly improves the attractiveness of an employer.

But, the reverse is also true. What if a telecommuting employee needs to come into the office for a face-to-face meeting and realises that he/she doesn’t have a desk to work from? The obvious impact is a decrease in efficiency. However, research shows that not knowing whether you have a desk space can also lead to lack of motivation and stress and can in turn, have a serious impact on an employee’s overall well-being. In addition, it can create an environment of unhealthy competition due to a lack of information, in this case, related to desk space and employee whereabouts. Unlike employees from previous generations, millennials don’t tend to feel the same connection to their company and as a result will not stay somewhere they are not happy.

It’s all about work-life balance

As a result, it may be worth managers considering the way in which a flexible work schedule provides a stronger sense of work-life balance – a quality that is reported to attract millennial employees to a workplace in droves and keep them happier for longer than the two-year stint that has become the norm.

Typically, desk space is the responsibility of real-estate management teams and doesn’t list as a top priority for senior operational managers. Desk allocations are usually managed on spreadsheets or similar static data-storage tools, which don’t allow for the constant monitoring required for effective desk-space allocation. Technology can again rectify this situation, with tools (such as HotDeskPlus, a new workplace optimisation tool and app powered by Brickendon Digital) that use mobile apps, sensors and QR codes to allow employees to view, reserve and check-in-and-out of specific desk spaces at a specific time.

Millennials may require more recognition and faster routes to promotion

Equally important is to foresee the problems that may arise as time evolves and millennials move through the ranks and take up senior positions. They may require more recognition and therefore faster routes to promotion. At the same time, incoming employees may prefer a more informal and non-hierarchical structure. This will require a shift in the organisational model and a willingness to embrace change in a way not seen before.

A quick look at the last couple of years reveals that many CEOs were either asked to leave their positions or forced to deal with discontented employees. These non-unionised breeds of relatively new organisations, such as Google, Microsoft and Uber, were expected to be torch bearers for the next generation of working practices, but their actions have largely been reactive. There is no doubt that what is thought to be an isolated incident can very quickly gain momentum and become a global phenomenon.

So, when it comes to millennials, you may want to count (and listen to) your chickens before they tweet, otherwise they may leave your roost sooner than you expect.

Via Forbes : The Response To Workplace Burnout Is Compassionate Leadership

Uvinie Lubecki created a leadership curriculum based on the teachings of the Dalai Lama. She and I met on LinkedIn and have been able to transform a social media connection into an authentic friendship and collaboration. This post is an interview that goes deeper into her unique story while providing insights from one of the thought-leaders in the compassionate workplace movement.

Our journey began about six months ago with her reaching out after my first Forbes.com post while I was being impressed with her thoughtfulness in her Wisdom 2.0 talk. Our direct messaging shifted to bi-coastal Zoom conversations and now, we are working experimentally and deliberately on a podcast called the Buddhist and the Pagan.

Why compassionate leadership? Why now?

If we do not look at our humanity – what we’re doing to ourselves and to the people we work with and for, we’re looking at a bleak future. Our economic growth is not going to come from producing more, but from creativity and innovation to rethink how we live and work. This cannot come about by treating ourselves and employees like machines. We’re seeing the impact of that. We are burning out, so much so that even the WHO has now recognized it as an occupational phenomenon. Depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide. Increasing incentives and adding more perks will not solve this challenge. We need a new model of leadership, one that enhances our innate human potential while honoring our human limitations. This will require a paradigm shift. To make this change toward a new way of working and leading, we’re going to have to look at our underlying fears and beliefs that keep us stuck in old patterns and worldviews. Our generation has grown up with a worldview steeped in striving, individual performance, succeeding at all costs, and that looks like more money, more power, more status. It is a mindset based on fear and scarcity. To shift this mindset to a new way of leading, we need to transform these fears and reconnect to what gives us meaning and purpose. This is where compassion comes in. Compassion provides the space to understand and recognize our own suffering in order to be of more benefit to ourselves and others. Only by cultivating compassion can we lead sustainable organizations and build workplaces that nurture and cherish true innovation and creativity.

How do you go about doing that in an organization?

We need to start by redefining compassion in leadership. In a survey we conducted, over 80% of leaders misunderstood compassion to mean “being nice or soft” or “loving everyone.” This is not true. Compassion can look fierce or gentle, but it always has an intention to benefit oneself and others. We define compassionate leadership as understanding what you and others are going through, feeling for yourself and others in a genuine way, and taking action to help you and others to be successful. Unless we redefine what compassion means for leaders, bringing it into organizations will be difficult because leaders will misunderstand compassion to be counterproductive to getting things done.

Once we redefine compassion, we can start to apply it in our leadership. Thankfully, we now have scientific research that shows strengthening compassion is not only possible but trainable. In addition, there are evidence-based practices that we can incorporate in our daily lives that can enhance our compassion, resulting in improved wellbeing, resilience, and connection to others. We need more tools and methods to translate compassion into applied leadership behaviors and study their impact over time on business performance. This needs to happen in the real world in order to be impactful. The first step is for leadership teams to cultivate compassion for themselves so that it becomes embodied. When it is embodied, I’ve seen how leaders transform and recognize and define for themselves how compassion can shift their own thinking and way of leading. This is crucial work before we can scale compassionate leadership across organizations. If leaders do not walk the talk and shift how they treat themselves, they do not provide the safety or permission for the rest of the organization to change. Once leaders are able to cultivate and embody compassion for themselves, then it becomes possible to bring these practices in a scalable way to teams and individuals.

How did you become a compassionate leadership expert/trainer? What is your background?

I was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Ithaca, New York when I was two years old. When I was six, we moved to Lagos, Nigeria. At the time, Nigeria was facing massive civilian unrest and political instability. It was the first time I had seen abject poverty. Amidst such suffering, compassion was the only way to stay sane. I didn’t understand that at the time. More than two decades later, I joined the executive team for a business unit within McKesson. I suddenly had everything I thought I had wanted – a loving husband, a home in San Francisco, and a leadership position at a Fortune 10 company transforming health care.

Yet, after some time, I was surprised to find myself absolutely miserable. I was burning out and the leadership model I was being groomed in didn’t show a way out. I became obsessed with a question – how do leaders, with all of the demands made on them, all of the responsibility they hold, and all of the decisions they need to make, stay connected to each other and the people they serve? One day, I was driving over the Bay Bridge and a voice in my head said that I needed to leave to find the answer. After a circuitous path involving going to South India to receive teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, creating a leadership curriculum based on mindfulness and compassion for a leadership development organization called Dalai Lama Fellows, and extensive periods of meditation, I rediscovered the power of compassion. I learned how you can use compassion not just to face suffering from poverty or illness, but to overcome the kind of intense mental suffering leaders undergo today. Much of what keeps leaders in a cycle of suffering is the responsibility they feel they need to individually hold and the personal sacrifices they feel they need to make to ensure their organizations thrive. In addition, leaders are often shamed and blamed because they are noticed most when they mess up. I started developing a compassionate leadership curriculum for leaders because I believe genuine compassion for leaders is rare and needed. A few years later, I founded Leading Through Connection.

What is one action we can take to start leading with compassion?

The first step to compassion is self-compassion. The lens through which we see ourselves is the same lens through which we see others. If we can extend kindness toward ourselves as leaders and recognize when things get tough that we’re doing our best and that our intention is to be of benefit, this can be a powerful practice. This practice can bring space, take us out of fear and judgment, and over time, it can transform our views of ourselves. Ironically, this small habit of self-compassion will do as much for others as for oneself. As the Dalai Lama loves to say, “If you want to be happy, practice compassion. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.”

Take her advice and think about one specific thing you can do in the next seven days to be more self-compassionate. It can be fierce such as standing up to a critic or more gentle, like taking more time to to be in nature.

Via Gallup : 3 Leadership Rules That Separate the ‘Good’ From the ‘Best

Do you ever wonder why success is seemingly effortless for some business leaders?

It’s especially perplexing considering the challenges posed by the future of work (which is here, by the way).

Yet for leaders with the right rulebook, building a best-in-class workplace is as simple as 1-2-3. Their thriving organizations have over 70% of their workers ready to outperform the competition.

What’s their secret? Leaders who tackle the excessive demands of today’s workplace do so by following best practices that stand up to decades of rigorous scientific scrutiny.

These leaders live and breathe their playbook of precepts because they know that their leadership approach will determine whether their organization simply survives or slaughters the competition.

1. Treat your workplace culture like a powerful, competitive differentiator.

By now, most business leaders know that culture matters. They might use basic culture survey tools or offer perks designed to create a fun atmosphere.

Still, only 27% of employees strongly believe in their company’s values, according to Gallup data.

Exemplary leaders view their culture as a baseline requirement and ongoing priority — not a “one-and-done” initiative. They use analytics to determine what makes their culture unique and how to make it stronger.

Further, they ensure their culture comes to life — every single day — in their employee experience. This requires consistent metrics and leadership commitment.

Ultimately, leaders who are culture champions help their company consistently win — for instance, by attracting the top 20% of candidates.

2. Don’t simply measure employee engagement; create a culture of high performance by focusing on development.

Many leaders have given employee engagement surveys a try. So why are only 15% of global employees engaged at work?

One underlying problem is that many leaders view employee engagement as the goal — an end in itself.

Excellent leaders recognize that engagement data are only the beginning. They consider engagement an ongoing, methodical exercise — one component of a holistic strategy for optimizing their culture.

The best leaders don’t collect data for data’s sake. They ask questions like, “What pressing problems do I need to address? What challenges are my customers facing?”

To this end, winning leaders enable their managers (who make or break engagement) to serve as coaches who use engagement insights to develop their team members for the future.

Great leaders also know that engagement surveys are a dime a dozen. They take the time to find scientifically and experientially validated approaches to engagement — interventions that are empirically connected to performance gains.

It’s an investment that pays off (and then some). With extraordinary engagement, organizations achieve top-shelf performance in crucial outcomes such as profitability, turnover and sales.

3. Become a data-driven decision-maker.

In today’s marketplace, simply having data isn’t enough. You need cutting-edge analytics to glean breakthroughs and discoveries from your data.

So it’s troubling that 85% of executives say they don’t know how to analyze the data they’ve collected, according to one KPMG study.

The best leaders don’t collect data for data’s sake. They ask questions like, “What pressing problems do I need to address? What challenges are my customers facing?”

That is, smart leaders are hypothesis-driven: They pinpoint their goals and run targeted analyses that address specific problems and objectives. With those insights, they recalibrate their vision and make razor-sharp decisions — in everything from succession planning to performance development.

As a result, their companies boast enviable agility. Data-driven leaders fuel outcomes with every action they take because they are empowered with predictive, forward-looking insights.

There is no magic wand for business excellence. Leaders must demonstrate persistence and courage. The courage to take risks. The courage to admit when you don’t have all the answers.

It’s a tall order, but leaders who are willing to go out on a limb will find that it’s worth it.