Change Management During Uncertain Times
By Grant Ian Gamble | April 17, 2020
Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, executive coach, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.
I first experienced the joy of sailing as a cadet at the Royal Australian Naval College. Harnessing the power of the wind was both challenging and exhilarating. Since those days of sailing Bosun’s Dinghies around Jervis Bay, I’ve sailed everything from windsurfers and kiteboards all the way up to a 48-foot catamaran on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
The one indelible constant in sailing is the ever-changing conditions that demand continuous course corrections and adjustments to the sails and rigging. The wind constantly shifts direction or speed, demanding ongoing course corrections. Currents and tides under the boat influence its path and again demand regular adjustments from the skipper.
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Constant Change & Mindful Communication
This volatility very much reminds me of the current state of the world. As information regardig COVID streams in from hundreds of countries across the globe, the ever changing trajectory, path and profile of this crisis demand constant adjustments to our course.
So how do we approach the ebb and flow of information and the constantly shifting parameters we’re faced with today?
As with the sailing analogy, this is an inexact process.
It requires trial and error and the ability to adjust course or expectations constantly. It may even require many companies to pivot in directions that they would have never contemplated.
Managing change at this rate is incredibly stressful and difficult. More than ever, it demands great communications between your team, customers, the community and stakeholders.
In times of turmoil developing and maintaining regular, relevant and rhythmic communications with your communities will bring many benefits:
1. Routine and rhythm will help establish a sense of trust with your constituencies.
2. These communication rhythms will bring awareness around issues and will help develop solutions and facilitate change.
3. These rhythmic communications give you opportunities to recognize your team and simultaneously better understand the challenges that they are facing in this new world order.
NOTE: Communications should not be limited to work and professional issues. It helps for your team and constituencies to discuss the personal and sometimes unique circumstances they’re facing.
4. Given that many of your team members may be working remotely for the first time, these regular communication opportunities may reduce a feeling of isolation and keep those team members more in touch.
5. Sharing of information and knowledge through regular conversations and briefings can also enhance relationships between teams and creating a variety of groups and forums will help solidify your team and company in these turbulent times.
Constant Change & Clarity
Beyond collaborative communications are the strategic elements of navigating these treacherous waters. Much like Jack Sparrow on “Pirates of the Caribbean,” you need a compass that points toward that which you desire to accomplish.
My point is that you really need to have clarity about where you’re headed. And I don’t mean those rocks that appear all around you! I mean what is the ultimate destination you seek when this crisis resolves itself?
Regaining clarity around your ultimate destination beyond this crisis will inform the course corrections you need to make now. As information comes to hand and options appear and disappear, you will need to maintain clarity around your final destination in order to navigate the many challenges that stand between where you are today and where you want to be at the end of this crisis.
Constant Change & Strategy Adjustments
In order to redefine the goal/s for your company in the face of these turbulent times, I recommend engaging your stakeholders in the conversation. It also makes sense to engage thought leaders in this dialogue. By bringing in talented third parties that have helped companies navigate crises and re-births, you improve your chance of weathering this storm.
There will be a level of attrition in business that occurs as a function of this pandemic. There will also be opportunities that are inevitably a by-product of chaos. If you beef up the depth and rhythm of your communications and develop and maintain clarity around what you want to achieve at the end of this mess, you stand a much higher likelihood of coming out the other end intact.
I wish you clear skies and an open ocean . . .
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