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Two foundations to secure during change

We had some minor alterations done at home recently.

The first step was to lay the foundations. It is reassuring to know that the structure is unlikely to collapse under us, because care was taken over the foundations.

When change happens in our organisations, what are the foundations we should care about?

Two come to mind: while preoccupied with structures and systems, we so often forget the relationships that are fundamental to our success; and when communication shuts down, rumours and fake news take over.

As far as relationships are concerned, healthy employee relationships are critical for a healthy organisation. Employees should know that they matter and that their input matters. Dare to ask how they are coping. Dare to ask whether they have any suggestions. But ask yourself, ‘Am I asking in a way that shuts down debate or that encourages openness?’

Customer relationships cannot be compromised. Keep communicating, and check in with clients how they are experiencing the changes. 

Open communication. When things go wrong, we are tempted to restrict communication. Communication happens, even when we close it down (just ask the Chinese). Set the agenda yourself rather than open the door to fake news. Encourage employees to challenge assumptions, and allow engagement across silos and up and down the organisation. Employees are the ones who will implement or impede the changes and will interact (positively or negatively) with your customers. Communication helps ensure their interaction is positive.

How has your organisation worked on the foundations of relationships and communication?

What other foundations demand our attention?

Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people, people-management consulting and writing and editing.

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