Old Habits Die Hard: Organizational Changes for the New Year

It’s January, and we all know what that means—time for individuals and organizations alike to vow to do things differently. Exercise, eat better, take time for yourself… these are the common individual resolutions, but what should an organization do differently as it starts the year?

Say goodbye to boring team meetings. STOP having weekly team meetings where everyone reports out project status. Really… just stop. If you simply want to know what people are doing, use project management software. These “typical” team meetings can too easily turn into boring reports where people try to one-up each other and zone out when others are talking. Instead, turn team meetings into problem solving opportunities and barrier-removing meetings. By simply reframing the project discussion along the lines of “what have you learned in the last week while working on this project?” and “what do your teammates need to know which might benefit them and their work?” and “how does what you’re working on have the potential to affect the rest of us?” team meetings can be more interesting, productive, and synergistic.

Talk with your organization, not at them. STOP having boring “waterfall,” “all-hands,” “townhalls” or whatever your organization calls these meetings. I’m not suggesting the organization stop meeting, but these meetings should be re-designed to be engaging, two-way dialogues vs. information delivered from one talking head. Think that this isn’t possible with a large (e.g., 500 person) group? Not so. It just requires a professional facilitator to re-design these meetings in a way that takes into account personality dynamics, adult learning, and more.

With this design and focus, you can maximize the likelihood of action as a result of these meetings. Often organizations bristle at the “cost” of involving an outside expert and don’t think about the labor cost and opportunity cost of working sub-optimally with only internal resources. When you think about the person hours invested in your entire organization being present for even a one-hour townhall meeting, you want to be sure you’re doing everything you can to make that cost worthwhile.

Picture of Bruce Willis from Die HardSchedule with employees and don’t stand them up. Lastly (because three changes are more than enough to start a year), START having one-on-ones with your staff. Just like with your team meetings, make these sessions less about project updates and more about what barriers the person needs you to remove to make their projects more successful. Also include at least five minutes in each session for “re-recruiting,” i.e. reminding the person they are valuable, asking about developmental goals, checking on their level of engagement with the role and more. Most importantly, regardless of what you cover in the one-on-ones, DON’T cancel them. Too many workers report that their manager often cancels one-on-ones because “important work” comes up. As a leader, the most important work you do is leading. Cancelling on your employees sends them the message that they are an after-thought vs. a priority and ultimately creates a flight risk.

Making these three changes early in 2018 will definitely make a difference in your organization. And because accountability is a key component in resolutions, check in with us and let us know how the change went! P.S. Don’t forget to also exercise, eat better, and take time for yourself. That won’t hurt, either!

Magnet Consulting, a Certified Women-Owned strategic HR consulting firm that focuses on employee selection, leadership development, and organizational culture, also facilitates The Mettle Foundry Development Center. For more information on Magnet Consulting, visit www.magnetconsulting.com.

By |2018-03-14T12:40:55+00:00January 16th, 2018|