In part four of our Change Management blog series, we are looking at leadership. It goes without saying that great leadership can enhance the success of any organization. However, effective leadership can be especially important when your organization is having a cultural change.
We have been somewhat conditioned to concentrate on the short term. We are always looking at the most recent monthly or quarterly financial reports. Asking ourselves how did we do this quarter? How did we do over the past year? What might be more important though is how are we going to do over the next 5-10 years? What change, if any, do we need to implement in the short term to meet our long term goals. What investments do we need to make now to ensure our long term health and vibrancy?
As leaders we need to make sure that we are giving our staff the necessary tools for them to work through and manage the change. In this regard, Welch LLP created an internal business school called APEX. APEX is designed to give our staff all the tools and skills required to be successful in our changing environment. Providing this in house education alternative allowed us to customize the training and help to fill the gap between their traditional education and the education they need to be successful in an ever changing profession. An example of this customized training includes our internal Toastmasters Group. We determined that the changes we were making would require our staff to be out in the community representing Welch. This Toastmasters Group provides our people the tools they need to go to these events and speak confidently.
Change brings resistance. We are all creatures of habit. You can expect members of your staff to be skeptical and in some instances uncooperative. Typically, this comes from more senior staff. If you have been doing something one way for 20 years, you might be reluctant to change now. In this instance, it is often best to simply garner their silent support. It is essential that they support the initiatives and not interfere with the program, even if they don’t get fully on board.
Change can bring out the best in people. It can also be stressful and lead to staff turnover. Not everyone will be able to make the transition and you have to plan for that. These can be difficult times. It is incumbent on the leaders of the organization to show resolve and support the change and to encourage the staff and help them adapt.
In the final analysis, it all comes down to the people in an organization. The focus of a leader should be to find the right people, set the direction, show the positive attributes of that direction, nurture the talent and make sure the lines of communication are open.
Stay tuned for the last installment of our Change Management series on investment to learn how investing in your company as well as investing in your employees is a recipe for success. To listen to our entire Change Management webinar, click here.
Micheal Burch, CPA, CA
Managing Partner, Welch LLP
Founder & CEO , Expertfile