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The leader’s voice #4

While preparing for our book Osez la transformation d’entreprise, I had the privilege of interviewing transformation leaders about their lessons learned. Here is some of what they had to say:

What are your main lessons learned with respect to your employees ?

  • Casting. It is important to understand that it is not always natural for people in the organization to find themselves in transformation/project mode. Cultivating an attitude of team spirit and a willingness for self-examination and asking questions is just as important as finding the right expertise.
  • Mindset. I want to be able to count on people who can operate in multidisciplinary mode, who are willing to do what it takes for a successful transformation, who see a bigger picture than just their role, and who are ready to step out of their comfort zone.
  • Questions. During a transformation in particular, we face a lot of complacency from people who have been living with the same processes, tools and habits for years. It is important to know how to challenge, to question the “why”, to seek the reasons behind existing practices, opinions and beliefs. 
  • Face-to-face meetings. Although we often use tele- or video-conferencing for meetings, we regularly take the time to bring stakeholders together in face-to-face meetings that build team spirit, strengthen relationships and develop a shared understanding of issues and solutions.
  • Education. We must educate employees on the context, the “why” of the transformation, the reasons for what we want to introduce and how it will work. We must give people time to adopt new ways of thinking and acting.
  • Executives in the field. It is essential that senior management get out there and communicate, repeat the messages of transformation, get involved in the field, listen, and show their active support for those involved in and affected by the transformation.
  • Executives who ask questions and engage. Executives also have an active role to play in management committee meetings by asking questions, challenging the ideas presented, engaging in discussions and showing solidarity with the decisions taken  even when they get push-back from their teams.

Space for reflection and action

Take a few moments to consider these three questions:

  • Do those involved in the transformation generally have an attitude of openness, team spirit, being part of a project that is bigger than just their own personal interests ?
  • Do the members of the management committee demonstrate openness, engagement, active participation in meetings and solidarity with decisions ?
  • When was the last time you had a face-to-face meeting with your transformation’s key stakeholders ? Would they be due for an update and strengthening of their team connections ?

Marcel Auclair,
Cofounder, Vice President and Strategic Consultant
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