Change can be painful—but it doesn’t have to be! An often under-appreciated key to organizational change.

We’ve all gotten those emails from Human Resources, accounting, managers, etc. notifying us of a new process or a new change. Immediately, we jump to: I have to do my timesheets how, now? Wait, expense reporting is moving to another system? We’re not using SharePoint anymore…where do I put my stuff? What was wrong with the old way, the good way?

This is an all-too-familiar feeling in many organizations in the modern workplace. As a leader for change, how do you avoid this response? When changes roll out, how do you ensure end-users understand the change and the reasoning?

I would argue that an often overlooked key to the equation is vision.

To demonstrate, let’s talk about two fictional organizations, FlipPhone Inc. and CallQuick Corp. Both of these organizations serve the mobile phone needs of end-users residing in America.

CallQuick is booming, taking over market share from FlipPhone Inc. at a historically unprecedented rate. FlipPhone Inc., on the other hand, is losing customers to CallQuick at an average of 3% over the last three years. Within the last five years, CallQuick has obtained and rolled-out both new accounting and payroll software, as well as new CRM software, and has furthermore overhauled its call center process completely. The call center process rework took two years due to the scale of the organization and was finished at the end of 2017. CallQuick set clear and precise goals for financial performance and employee happiness, backed by well-defined metrics. Their vision statement is on the walls in every office, in every training manual, and is all-around well-unified.

FlipPhone Inc., on the other hand, has placed most of its focus on customer retention. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is the running joke that can be heard around the workplace. Their dated accounting and payroll software lack a variety of features that modern systems have, so they are losing insight on where their money goes and missing patterns that could potentially be observed if they were to update. They spend relatively little from an R&D standpoint and have seen process reworks but very little implementation. It just seems like the changes never want to stick, people revert to the old ways of doing things, and change is neither well-communicated nor enforced. There are no employee satisfaction surveys, no clear direction, and no set vision. The company seems to be doing just enough to stay afloat.

What’s the difference? Why are these companies experiencing such a different rate of change? There are many factors, but the main one I want to focus on is the vision. It is obvious that CallQuick knows the direction that the company wants to go, and they have a very specific intention on how to get there.

FlipPhone has been stagnant for years, and they are experiencing loss, not growth. They have no direction, no vision, no dispersal of company mission to employees. With FlipPhone, there is no desire to change. Management may want to enact change, but employees are so poorly motivated due to what appears to them as corporate apathy that no changes stick.

If you want to make a change stick in your organization, bring your people closer to and get them personally involved with the vision you establish. Put in action processes that show your organization has a desire to grow and change and that your people are integral to that change. Satisfaction surveys with tangible results and actions that come from them; unified policies that deliver a consistent message; an effective, thorough, and interactive training and onboarding process—these are all things that your organization can work toward to help make those changes stick.

The key to change is the vision, and the key to vision is the people. Here at netlogx, we have a team of experts well-versed in managing change. If your organization finds itself in a situation where change just won’t stick, we can show you how to make it work for you. Contact us today.