Prosci ADKAR Method

Managing the Change Caused by COVID-19 – Part 1

"This change in doing business and managing employees is likely to remain in a semblance of this form for years to come.  It may change business management forever. "

By Donald Pagel, CEO of Pagel Consulting Group, LLC

To say “we are in trying times” is most likely the most rapidly matured cliche in history.  We are all looking for new ways to do business and trying to empower employees to work from home (who are all dealing with personal change issues themselves)….all at the same time.  It is a stressful time for all of us.

In short, we are all thrust into the most dramatic and rapid change in history thanks to our spiky friend, COVID-19.  This change in doing business and managing employees is likely to remain in a semblance of this form for years to come.  It may change business management forever. 

In a recent article, Forbes contributory Jack Kelly made this point, “Now that companies recognize that employees can relatively easily work from home, executives are likely to encourage this behavior….[to the extent that]…It will be hard to bring everyone back from home once they’ve tasted freedom from the shackles of a commute and sitting in a cubicle for eight hours each day.”

And it isn’t just about business. Our whole way of life is changing. Politico Magazine recently surveyed more than 30 smart, macro thinkers and points out that community interactions, entertainment, government, elections, parks, dining, equality, mass consumption, child and elder care, healthcare and worship are all going to be different….and, as happens with any change, not all for our good.

So….are we already thinking about how to manage this?  If not, your business will not only suffer but may cease to exist.

The tenants of Organizational Change Management (OCM) still apply, even in this dramatic time. Prosci, the global leader in OCM education and certification promotes the ADKAR method to determine an organization’s ability to change.

Awareness

Is there an awareness of the need for change?  The simple answer to this is “oh yhea!!”.  Probably more than at any other time in history, we realize we must change the way we do business AND be aware of how our employees are dealing with this change that has been forced upon them.

Desire

Is there a desire to support the change?  We don’t have a choice.  We can’t try to force old models on this situation.  

I was recently contacted by a consulting company that is frankly still in the 1970’s of running a consulting firm. They use high-pressure sales tactics, require full-time onsite consulting, and burn and add hours to customer agreements.  They only promote from within which creates an incestuous culture that continues to propogate an ancient marketing and business model.  Will they survive this change?  My answer is NO.

This example is obviously extreme but every company has cultural issues, policies and procedures that need to be reevaluated now.

Knowledge

Do you know HOW to change? This takes a very open and honest management style as well as extremely creative ideas.  If you have people in your organization that think this way, promote them immediately!  If you don’t, then hire professionals to help you through this process. Most likely it will affect every aspect of your business.

Far too many organizations mistakenly believe that they can issue an edict to their employees in the form of policy and it will just magically be followed!  Nothing can be further from the truth.

I address the HOW in my next blog post.

Ability

Ability is not a “Yes/No” answer.  It is a range of capabilities within your organization.  Is your organization (not just the company, but maybe your department or division) like a speedboat on a large lake, or is it the proverbial Queen Mary II in a small pond?  How easy will it be for your organization to make changes?

Reinforcement

OCM is not a one-time event.  It requires a commitment.  If there is one thing we know, change is the only constant in the universe and the sooner you realize that and commit your organization to continually dealing with it and supporting it, the more healthy and adaptive your organization will be.  Is it time to have a COCMO, Chief Organizational Change Management Officer?  Or, at least a team built up and educated with the support of the C-Suite to reinforce this massive change as well as all other changes in the future.

We only have a short period of time to adjust to the “new reality”.  The chaos going on at all management levels right now may be drowning out the calls for policy, procedure and culture change that is bubbling (or boiling) up from your employees and customers.  Take time to listen and then take control and plan for it. Please, don’t think that “everything will go back to normal” when this is over.  It won’t.

Managing the Change Caused by COVID-19 Part 2

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