Since I moved I have been walking to appointments and events close to my place. My new home is centrally located, making walking an attractive option – until I get one block from home. The sidewalks and traffic patterns are changed due to construction happening all around me. Wire fencing takes up many blocks of sidewalk, narrowing lanes and forcing pedestrians to find alternative, precarious routes.
During the week quiet streets become enveloped in a cacophony of heavy equipment excavating, jackhammering and pile-driving, drowning out all other sound. Cavernous foundations that were gaping at the sky one week are covered with a lattice of steel reaching up the next. Pretty soon the form and character of the new building is evident and beckoning inhabitants with banners announcing “Now Leasing,” forever changing the landscape. And then a new construction site appears less than a block away.
Portlanders can be heard grumbling about all the new construction and how it is altering the city. Not being part of the planning or even aware of the vision of the city when permitting this construction, local residents have turned against the changes. This friendly and welcoming city is getting the reputation of becoming unwelcoming to newcomers.
In business when rapid change happens, leaders sometimes experience the same closed-mindedness of the team members towards change.
According to John Kotter, author of Leading Change, being included in the guiding vision for change is important for getting company-wide acceptance of the change.
When companies get the vision right andinclude everyone by sharing the vision in ways that empower participation, they instill passion. Passion motivates people from their core. Get the vision right, says Kotter, and you can motivate people to embrace change and collaborate with you to achieve success. Get it wrong, for example, by having a vision that only serves the ego of the leaders, and the team members’ behavior will become resistive towards change and could lead to their leaving.
If you are interested in retaining your valuable employees, your vision has to be discussed at the beginning of change and re-visited throughout the process. This will ensure that no one is left behind or left out, thus preventing unintended consequences of people leaving your company.
Have a discussion about your vision with your team members and check in often to see if you are still all on the same page. Informed teams feel empowered and will stay to help drive change for you.