Every two weeks we bring you opinion, news and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Organisational Performance, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

Editorial: The Power of the Positive

I came across an interesting article today, entitled “Why Change Doesn’t Happen, and What to Do About It.” It contained a number of useful points and some good tips, but what caught my attention was its negative positioning. What I mean by that is the way it focused on the negative (starting with the title), followed by ideas for correcting the negative.

For example, the article highlights “lack of buy-in from key influencers.” I recognise that that is a problem and would almost certainly lead to a failed change implementation; but its very language makes a negative assumption. Exactly the same point could be made by starting positively: “First, get key influencers on board.”

It might sound like semantics, but we must never underestimate the power of language to influence not only learning but also behaviour. There is no shortage of research in this area, showing for example that we understand positive statements 30–40% times faster than if they are phrased negatively, and respond more favourable to positively focused suggestions.

When leading change in organisations, the same principles are at work. People are more likely to accept, adopt and assimilate change when the positive benefits of doing so are clear; it is more attractive to move towards a reward than away from a threat.

Therefore, alongside using a robust tool for Adoption Change Management (ACM), such as the Prosci ADKAR® framework, every change leader/manager can make a significant impact on the successful implantation, with a change of focus from negative to positive. And this costs nothing.

Steve Short – Emenex

‘Major change initiatives fail because of no clarity on objectives’

Rudy Afandi is the Human Resource Director with General Electric. He has broad experience across HR functions including remuneration and reward, capability building, recruitment, performance management, employee relation, change management, and organizational development.

In a candid conversation with People Matters, Afandi shares some interesting insights on change management, why new change initiatives fail, and how should CEOs and CHROs collaborate when it comes to change management.  Starting with… Nearly 75% of organizations, according to Gartner, expect to multiply the types of major change initiatives they will undertake in the next three years. Yet half of the change initiatives fail. Your take on this.

Why Culture Change is One of the Most Important Challenges in Business Today

Is your business changing at least as fast as its environment, asks Christopher Smith at Blessing White? If not, you are going backwards. If you hope to both respond to market change and shape it, then continually realigning your strategy, culture, and leadership is essential for business survival and success. The biggest challenge facing most businesses now is transformational change in the context of the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. We know that most acquisitions and mergers fail to achieve in full their intended goals and that organisation culture is the most significant obstacle.

Given this, you might expect that business leaders and their advisors would be well versed in changing your organisational culture. Our experience is that this is rarely the case. Why is business culture change so hard? There are many reasons, but a few of the common themes cited by Smith are:

  • It is hard to see your own culture fully when you are working in it.
  • Corporate culture is not consistent; it varies between functions, geographies, etc.
  • Our “mental models” of both organization and change limit our capacity for leadership.

So, for a ‘new mindset for changing cultures’, Smith offers the following advice.

Employee Engagement: One-size-fits-all does not work anymore

In today’s competitive world, employee engagement is a key objective for many organisations, especially for HR professionals. However, many companies still overlook this in favour of other factors that are also equally important such as revenue generation.

In a panel discussion, five HR experts discussed how new age employee engagement has evolved and why one-size-fits-all no more work in a competitive environment when it comes to employee engagement.

Here – from People Matters once again –  are the excerpts from the discussion.

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