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Winning Traits to Lead Organizations Through Change in a VUCA World

Strategies to improve employee engagement and develop a culture of change

In the VUCA world, in which organizations must adapt to volatile, unpredictable, constant, and ambiguous markets, it is imperative that you adopt strategies to improve employee engagement. Only by doing so will you position yourself to excel against your competition and sector benchmarks. Business decisions are becoming increasingly fluid, as the pace of technological change shapes the way we all do things.

The pace of change can be disconcerting for many, and leaders must learn the skills necessary to motivate employees to work harder in a workplace where agility is key to survival.

To change your organization, change your people

Although it is correct to discuss change leadership in the context of organizational change, doing so can lead you to neglect where change really occurs – in your people. They are the key to the success of any change project – whether it is processes, practices, products, or services. If your employees aren’t engaged with the idea of change in the VUCA market, your organization won’t change. It will be left behind.

Leaders must engage employees effectively

The art of leading change is changing itself. No longer is change constricted to a single effort. It is a constant, continuous stream of adaptation to new markets and evolving customer personas. Such continuous change is stressful within an organization. Stress leads to resistance, which, in turn, leads to change failure.

In the battle to remain one step ahead in the modern marketplace, taking a project-by-project approach to change leadership is futile. Employees must be engaged constantly and continuously. You must encourage your people to discover new opportunities in a collaborative environment. Instead of controlling and managing employees, inspire them in an environment of collective collaboration. Help them to understand that their contribution is both valued and valuable.

Create innovation with strategies to improve employee engagement

Organizations don’t become innovation leaders by accident. They design hierarchies, practices, and processes that engage their employees. They actively seek to challenge their employees to make their world a better place. Consider Google’s policies of allowing its people to spend 20% of their time on project work. Or Steve Job’s call for all of Apple’s employees to become involved in the ideation of new products.

When was the last time you asked your employees for their views and opinions about their working environment, processes, and practices? How many of your production employees have you involved in the process of innovating new products, and designing the processes to make them?

To lead change in the VUCA market, lead change in culture

Consider how far a new culture of collaboration and innovation could take your organization. The questions thatwhich must be addressed are:

  • How do you change mindsets and engage your employees to change?
  • How do you encourage them to think more openly, and how do you evidence the new culture yourself?

Here’s a starting point from which to build effective employee engagement strategies to evolve a culture of continuous change:

  • When you see behavior that is no longer acceptable, make a detailed note of it.
  • Consider the why of the behavior. For example, why is it that your people don’t care about your customers?
  • Now, take this to your next team meeting. Speak openly and honestly. Ask people for their opinions. Be prepared to dig deep and reveal some truths that have remained hidden.

Through such a process, you will learn much about the current culture and the values and beliefs that have been shaped over years. You may also learn much about how people perceive your organization’s leadership and you.  Most importantly, you will have started the process of engagement, letting your people know that they are valued, and introducing them to a new culture of collaboration that will drive change and innovation in the VUCA market.

To discover how a Change Agent Bootcamp and coaching in consulting and facilitating will help your organization and leaders produce lasting change and embrace the VUCA market, contact Forward Focus today.

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