There are many types of company change initiatives, but the reasons for change are typically driven by one or the combination of the following 3 objectives:
- Increase revenues
- Decrease costs
- Comply with regulatory or legal requirements
When faced with implementing significant change in a culture, leaders can benefit from having an HR leader-coach to help them to navigate a challenging terrain and create a higher probability of success. (Trust me, I know.) I have experienced living in at least three types of culture change. Let me share with you what I learned.
Culture of simultaneous growth and cost cutting
Yes, it is as confusing as it sounds. Coaching in this environment is challenging as people are feeling overly stretched to take on more to meet aggressive growth targets while the company is reducing headcount in other areas that can affect their ability to meet these commitments.
Leaders are having to increasingly figure out ways to keep the “survivors” focused on growth as other colleagues lose their jobs. Employees may spend lots of work time wondering if (or when) a job loss may happen to them. The leader has to continue to find creative ways to maintain trust, motivate performance and retain these remaining team members.
In coaching a leader in this environment, there is a heightened need to be a good listener as the stress of the leader is compounded. Much empathy is required from the coach and assurance that the leader has a safe (confidential) environment in which to share openly about their own frustrations, fears and self-doubt about the competing challenges.
The key is NOT to share in the frustration discussion with the leader – instead, listen with empathy, allow time for leader to vent and then begin asking the leader powerful, thought-provoking questions that focus the leader on positive approaches to the change.
A coach can help the leader identify the unintended impact any negative feelings may have on his performance as well as on the team’s. Once the leader awakens to this understanding, he can begin role modeling alternative ways of thinking and behaving that will inspire the team to move forward into the new reality.
Stay tuned for our next post when I speak to a culture of company mergers and of employee disengagement.
Want to learn more about Change Coaching and if it’s right for you or your business? Learn more here.
For Shelle, coaching is not just her job…it is her passion. With over 25 years of experience in leading and creating meaningful change in high performance organizations, Shelle has collaborated with leaders across a wide spectrum. From CEOs and C-suite executives to developing leaders to aspiring or future leaders, Shelle uses her diverse background to instill change with her clients to achieve desired results.