It’s not rocket science to understand that a happy, positive work environment is more pleasant than one filled with gloom, doom and negativity. It’s also not a stretch to think that a positive workplace can help the bottom line. How does a manager implement positive change to create this upbeat corporate culture if it’s not in place now?
“First start with a simple mission and vision statement which integrates joint accountability between leadership and organizational members. The mission states “Who We Are?” and the vision statement identifies “Who We Want to Become?” Build a business strategy which is in alignment with the mission and the vision,” said Dr. Wanda Corner, Ph.D., NCU School of Business and Technology Management.
With a strategy in place, it’s time to implement programs that foster innovation and support the well-being of employees. According to Corner, the following six examples of positive change can have a big impact:
- Mentoring programs (peer-to-peer or mentor-to-protégé).
- Innovation Laboratories to facilitate business competitiveness and sustainability (including people, products, technology, and processes).
- Joint leadership and organizational member facilitated workshops such as: strategic planning, appreciative inquiry, professional development, etc. Use these workshops as an opportunity to build trust in a safe environment for both leadership and the organizational members.
- Identify a short or long-term community or charity project in which team members may contribute to the organization’s corporate/business local community social responsibility (i.e. Habitat for Humanity, cancer awareness, CARE, or other).
- Health and wellness initiatives for employees (fitness, nutrition, or other).
- Document and celebrate success! Monitor incremental goals for progress and the attainment of major milestones. Include rewards and recognition at regular intervals. Without celebration, it is easy for organizational members to view positive change initiatives as disingenuous and non-productive.
Whenever organizations rock the status quo, there’s always someone on the team who resists the change.
Here are Corner’s five tips to get buy-in from everyone in the group:
- Create a communication plan before implementing change strategies.
- Build processes where each team member can measure their own success, as well as success of the overall team. This builds a climate of accountability, fairness and equity.
- Identify objections of team members to determine whether the resistance is rooted in misunderstanding or unwillingness.
- Ask for their help with specific examples of their needed contribution.
- Be prepared emotionally for resistance. For example, people may state “that’s not the way that we used to do it.” Anticipate and prepare for the resistance with a positive response. If they still resist to the point of disruption to the overall team’s productivity, make sure you have prepared responses that are in alignment with the mission and vision statements, and address the individual accountability of each member to the overall success of the team.