How Not to Approach Change

The reason we created wHolistic ChangeSM is because of personal, negative experiences with organizational change that was thrust upon us.

The differentiating factor of the wHolistic ChangeSM approach is that we offer practical ways to effect change in an organization, which directly engage the employees in the change that needs to happen. Our focus is setting the employees (and thus their companies) up for success.

The Case for Involving Employees in Change

My brother in law, Shane’s, second job out of college was working for a now defunct consulting firm. He describes this job as “steaks and margaritas.” Shane would fly to the client’s site and spend the first day meeting the management and finding out how the company was organized. That evening, he would take the managers out for dinner on the consulting firm’s expense account, for steaks and margaritas. The next morning, Shane would arrive early (the managers would inevitably sleep in, recovering from the festivities of the night before), and he would interview the employees about what was actually going on, and what needed to change.

Two weeks later, Shane would present his findings and proposal for change to the managers, nicely packaged in the templates of his consulting firm. The managers would hail him as a hero, and he would fly on to the next client, prepared to repeat the “steaks and margaritas” process there.

I surveyed numerous colleagues who worked in consulting, and except for those firms who specialize in one particular field, my colleagues confirmed the “steaks and margaritas” approach. One friend, Tom, was specifically hired by a middle manager for a two week engagement to put this manager’s proposal into the consulting firm’s letterhead. The manager’s ideas had been rejected for years, and he wanted an unbiased party to propose the change. Tom complied, the manager’s suggestions (nicely branded by Tom’s firm’s logo) were adopted wholly.

Your employees are the most important assets your company has: they are closest to your customers, understand your industry, and know first-hand what manual workarounds they have to live with in order to provide the best service possible. When it is time for your company to change, due to regulatory or market-driven need, your employees should be intimately engaged in the change process.

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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