Organizations around the world have been forced to change the way they do business. The worldwide recession, downsized workforces, and value-conscious customers have created a new set of expectations. A just-released white paper from The Ken Blanchard Companies identifies key strategies for leaders. Here are four of my favorites to get you started on positioning your company for success.
- Change the organizational mindset. In many companies people have been hunkered down and focused on the short term for almost two years. The emphasis has been on cutting costs, holding down expenses, and weathering the storm. Now that the worst is over, how do you let people know that it’s okay to lift your head, look around a little bit, and cautiously make new plans for the future? One thing that leaders can do is share a vision for the road ahead, indicate that growth is a goal again, and let people know that they can try new things that have some risk involved. You want people to start thinking about stepping out again, but they have to feel safe in order to make that leap.
- Give people behavioral examples. What does “try new things that have some risk involved” really mean? The best organizations define the values, attitudes, and practices they desire in clear behavioral terms. People have gotten pretty clear about what they shouldn’t be doing over the past 18 months; make sure they are just as clear about what they should be doing now. The more specific and granular the examples are the better.
- Stay open to change. Constant adaptation is a key for thriving in the new business reality. Pay attention to customers’ expectations and competitors’ innovations. Especially after an extended time of downsizing it’s important for organizations to embrace new ways of thinking to breathe new life into old practices and generate innovative new ideas.
- Involve everyone. Smart leaders look for good ideas everywhere. This means checking in with people who are informal leaders in the organization as well as the people who are in formal positions. By listening to everyone—including people with divergent points of view, you increase the odds that the organization will be more responsive, adaptive, and successful in the face of change.
By sharing power and expanding influence, leaders can create an organization with a strong overall capacity to change and succeed. The new business reality demands that organizations find new ways to address old problems. To learn more ways to increase your organization’s ability to succeed, be sure to check out the complete white paper, Thriving in the New Business Reality from the Blanchard website.