At best it was fast, at worst it left scars: 2019 the year that changed
Leadership and change emerged strongly throughout the year from surveys, engagement sessions, facilitated workshops, water cooler and coffee conversations as strong themes causing concern and needing attention.
It also became clear that the sheer rate of change, propelled by public opinion, machinery of government and economics required significant organsiational attention to safeguard people.
Alignment of organisatonals objectives with the people part just didn't cut it, in a year it became apparent that for many, organsiational strategy, objectives and leadership weren't defined.
A focus on people and culture will be critical
Achieving alignment will take time and commitment, driven by commited leadership at all levels. A focus on peole and culture is critical. We must harness the goodwill of emlpoyees, leverage their experience and expterise and maximise their drive and commitment. At the same time, genuine collaboration and communications at all levels are vital. The critical factor will be clarity of direction and purpose, followed by the implementation of systems that will enable people to do their jobs more effectively and productively.
This will drive the collaborative, creative and innovative behaviours that every organsiation seeks to develop in people.
Play to your strengths
Know what truly matters to your organsiation, because this is where true value lies. Moving organisations away from dollars and time-based ROI thinking takes alot of work and persuasion, but organisations who have these conversations begin to recognise value in so many different ways, such as the rate of innovation, customer satisfaction, customer usage and intent, and customer retention.
Tips for delivering value:
1. Avoid Hippos - Highest paid persons opinion
2. Keep tabs on risks to decrease uncertainty
3. Realise value early - build shippable product increments during each phase
Knowing what matters to stakeholders and the community means organisations can shift their customer service style.
One organisation we worked with last year, lets call it Reg, undertook a massive alignment of groups, all with differing functions, relationships, chiefs, reporting lines and metrics. The forced marriage didn't make any sense on paper, and less when the highly professional staff couldn't get any answers out of the executive for eight months. In fact, at the end of the eight months, the new head of the organisation had formally communicated three times, and all access was through her office chief and senior advisor - a hierarchy that made staff feel disempowered and unable to influence.
So what happened? Hot spots and black spots everywhere. Bullying, risk of flight, stress leave and feelings of helplessness rose to serious levels, the dysfunction so complete that the HR Director publicaly declared the org was in a state of emergency.
We formed a People & Culture committee, asking staff to tell us, no holds barred, what was going on. What they told us was very worrying. So we asked them what to do and then worked with them to write down a three-year plan of action, with priorities to move quickly from the crisis that had emerged.
It wasn't surprising that a basic internal and leadership shift was required, a message delivered to the chief by the group as a non-negotiable, made palatable by the reasoning, intent and strong action plan focussed on 'working with', rather than 'doing to'. It stands to reason that the development of a customer service charter follow a similar philosophy, playing an important role in building the organsiation's new identity internally and externally.