Organizational Reflections: Lean In and Learn Forward
The experience of a global pandemic has pushed leaders and workers alike well outside their comfort zone, both personally and professionally. Change is uncomfortable and it’s natural to want to rush back to “how things used to be” and desire to “get back to normal”. However, now is the time to critically reflect on the changes that have occurred in your business. Take some time to identify the positive shifts worth embracing and use them as a springboard into the “new normal” for your business.
- In what areas has your business continued to thrive?
- What positive changes came from the use of technology?
- What changes did you make that failed or were cumbersome to adopt?
- What communication methods worked well? Conversely, what didn’t work well?
- In what aspects did remote working increase or decrease productivity?
- What did you learn about your employee’s resiliency and ability to adapt to change?
- How did you create connection and community among your team during this trying time?
You are not alone in this! Consider harnessing the power of your team and debriefing with your employees to solicit their input to the questions above. The great advantage of working as a team is that you pool the resources and perspectives of several individuals to identify opportunities and create solutions. A strong team can achieve more than one individual could.
As leaders search for ways to do more with less, here is an easy-to-use framework to help think through where you might have hidden capacity or smarter ways to work. People, Process, Technology (PPT) is a framework for achieving organizational efficiency. Research suggests that organizations need to balance all three and maintain good relationships among them in order to achieve optimal performance and drive strategy into action. You can also think of the PPT methodology as a three-legged stool - if one leg is out of balance, the stool wobbles.
The methodology in short: people perform a specific type of work for an organization by following processes and use technology to streamline and improve those processes.
As business strategy and processes have shifted over these last several months, let’s reflect on what we know to be true about our current state of business from the PPT lens:
- Stress management and mental health support is critical to maintaining a productive workforce.
- Employees need connection and community in times of change. With intention and purpose, humanize your interactions with your employees and lead with empathy.
- Communication is the backbone to a remote workforce. Create an intentional, multi-method communication strategy and maximize different forms of technology to implement it.
- Worker priorities have shifted, and work/life balance has never been so intertwined. To maximize employee productivity and commitment, construct a work environment that meets them where they are at and continues to evolve.
- Resilience and adaptability are core competencies – focus on building these competencies within your organization.
- Leaders must focus on managing their energy and eliminating stress behaviors. Practicing self-care is an imperative leadership strategy and necessary to creating a loyal, engaged workforce.
- Employee and consumer safety are foundational to your business success. If employees and consumers don’t feel safe, they will go elsewhere.
- Clear direction will keep your employees engaged and focused. Provide realistic and motivating goals so your team can confidently go about their work.
- Develop a feedback/learning loop. Establish an expectation that everyone is working to identify what is working and what we can make better.
- Celebrate and recognize to boost people’s energy! Reinforce desired behaviors and provide an opportunity to feel good about the great work the team has accomplished during these challenging times.
- Defined processes create consistency in how employees work. If you want consistent outcomes, implement consistent processes.
- Processes that worked in an office environment may not work in a remote working environment. Quickly adapting is a must.
- Inefficient processes or lack of processes are killing your employees’ productivity.
- Make it a priority to document and consistently review your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
- Ensure the people doing the work receive proper training on the respective processes.
- Consider using a model like RACI to determine where pinch points might exist and streamline documenting processes.
- Technology is critical to pivoting your business model and launching a remote workforce.
- Explore the strengths and weaknesses in your technology and systems platform by soliciting input from your employees.
- Maximize technology to create employee connections that replace hallway and water cooler chit-chat. Personal connections create engagement!
- Reach more employees through a variety of technology platforms including instant messaging, Slack channels, video messaging and more.
- Use technology to assure customers they are safe doing business with you.
- What leg of the stool is weakest in your organization?
- How can you use these learnings and insights to come out a stronger leader, team and organization?
We would love to hear more about the organizational reflections that have inspired your business learnings and growth. Leave us a comment!
In case you missed Part One of the Leadership Reflections series, Self-Reflections: Fueling Your Learnings Into Action, you can read it here.
About The Authors:
Reagan Freed, owner/founder of Solvere HR Consulting, brings over 20 years of experience developing people strategies that support organizational goals. Her broad knowledge of HR and business disciplines enable her to develop unique people strategies designed to contribute to overall strategy and directly impact bottom line results.
Reagan uses her experience to support small business and nonprofit organizations. She specializes in HR strategy, employee engagement, HR compliance and refining employment structures to meet the ongoing and evolving needs of each unique business.
Reagan earned her Bachelor's from the University of Colorado, Denver and is a certified SHRM-SCP. Reagan serves on the Board of Directors for the Boulder HR Association (BAHRA) and the Colorado State HR Council (COSHRM).
Erin Greilick is the founder of Core Consulting and Coaching, a boutique firm specializing in strategic change and executive development. She earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Claremont Graduate University and her MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Erin is a systems-thinker, working quickly to understand complex issues, identifying root causes, and bringing smart, integrated solutions to organizations. She has a long-proven track record of being a trusted advisor, working with executives and senior leaders in both the Private and Public sectors, in industries ranging from Food Service to Health Care.
Erin and her husband are devoted parents to their son, and she enjoys traveling, eating, and cooking (and takes all opportunities to combine these three joys!).