I recently returned from a Brains On the Beach, or BoB, event in Shanghai. BoB is a program which brings together some of the brightest minds from learning and development, consulting, coaching and marketing from around the globe to compete in formulating a solution for a real client with a real problem in 2 days. What I brought back from this is further validation that no matter what the region, many business issues follow common themes.
Once again, I had the good fortune to be working with a stellar team. Once again, our client was a very successful multinational who was looking for global solutions. Once again, the solution, when all the layers of data were peeled away, followed some common themes. The challenge our client was facing was a massive change management initiative that would be trial run in China and then serve as the template for their operations across the rest of the planet. Delicious!
While confidentiality prevents me from sharing specific details, I was blown away with how absolutely common the fundamentals for effective change management are across the globe. Here are some of my observations:
- Glocalization leads to success. Glocalization is a blend of globalization and localization. It refers to the concept that any product, service or process must reflect not only a global standard but also local ones.
- External or foreign-made solutions will fail if they do not segue with the specific conditions, trends and habits of existing local markets.
- Buy-in is paramount. If there is no buy-in at the regional, or local levels, effective and lasting change is doomed. Buy-in is best acheived via local input along the way. Straight and simple.
- Benefit must be demonstrated. People will buy into change if it makes strategic sense to their bottom lines. Business unit heads must clearly see how any change process will produce specific benefit to their operations.
- Change processes should always be beta-tested first in a relevant market. This is critical not only for buy-in but for the ultimate success of any initiative. Kinks can then be worked out before application to the wider set of a company’s operations.
- Company’s need to walk their talk. Rather than simply saying they listen to and value their employee’s expertise, they need to demonstrate it via any process that they take on.
- People are not cogs. They need and deserve to have a plausible rationale for any change process. Top down pronouncements, or edicts, do not engage.
- People need the right tools, resources and support. No matter how great a new system may be, for it to be successful, leaders on the front line need to have ready access to the resources that will help them and their teams make the transition.
- Change will always be difficult for some. No matter what the benefit, or how well people have been enlisted along the way, some employees simply do not like change. This will always be the case. This does not excuse a company though from developing a change process that reflects input from the ground up.
Change processes will always be part of the lasting success of any business or organization. How does your company measure up when it comes to change management? Does it feel as though it’s been rammed through against local or frontline expertise or does it feel like you’ve had a voice?