Imagine if your boss or some project manager hired by your company who has only spent two hours in your department told you: “Some­where, someone is changing something that will change the way you do your work. We want you to forget about the last process we asked you to embrace without having first requested your input and replace it with a bigger and better process about which you also had no input. It will make your job harder, but it’s what we think we need. We’ll let you know when it is time to disown this new process and embrace the next new process we create for you, again without your input. Thank you for all of your hard work.” These, of course, weren’t the words I used as I stood in front of numerous employees to talk about changes in their work area, but it is what a lot of them heard me say and also what they experienced.

Organizations need to be able to change efficiently and effectively to stay ahead of their competition and maintain their viability. This also means employees need to be able to change efficiently and effectively. This can be especially difficult and frustrating since the vast majority of people never get the opportunity to formally (or informally) learn how to create change. Not understanding how to create change, espe­cially when there is more change occurring at a faster pace than ever before, can leave employees feeling like they are hanging onto the end of a rope that is being swung around in many different directions. Re­search shows that even the most successful organizations fail in their change efforts 50 to 80 percent of the time, which is neither efficient or effective.

I have led nor been a part of many change projects throughout my professional career, including one-on-one instruction with patients at their bedsides to create new, healthier habits and adapt to new physical changes; leading staff and departments in creating better ways of work­ing and adapting to new regulations and standards; and even facilitat­ing massive system redesign projects with multi-million-dollar bud­gets. Every one of these change projects involved people and processes.

When the people and the processes were both performing at their best, outcomes were consistently good. Even when the process was bad, en­gaged employees could catch the errors and fix them. However, when the people weren’t engaged with their work and performing at their best, it didn’t matter how awesome, perfect, or phenomenal the process was; it was still going to fail. Every process that involves people is only going to be as good as any one person involved.

So how do organizations help their employees to be at their best so the organization can perform at its best?

This isn’t a new question, but it is a more complicated question now than it was fifty years ago. Employees want more than a discount at the local gym and a chance to be in a weight-loss challenge with their co­workers; they want to be valued and included. When employees can be included in the changes going on in the work area, they can feel includ­ed. When employees develop the skills to create successful change, they are learning Emotional Intelligence skills along with Change Manage­ment skills so they can improve their own wellbeing and create the changes they want to see in their lives to reach their goals. People create the culture of any organization, and when they are in the habit of con­tinual growth, the organization is in the habit of continual growth. It’s a lot like the old adage of, “Give someone a fish and they eat for the day; teach them to fish and they can eat for a lifetime.” Teaching an employ­ee to deal with the changes in their work area will only teach the em­ployee how to deal with the new changes, but teach an employee how to create successful change and they can create possibilities throughout their lifetime (which happens to include work).

So I ask you…why choose or when you can choose and when it comes to employee development, empathy training, process improvement training, project management training, change management training, decreasing employee healthcare-related costs, decreasing absenteeism, increasing performance and productivity, decreasing employee turn­over and related costs, and developing effective employee health and wellbeing life skills training and education?

Is your team ready to start changing better together? Contact Toie for more information on classes, workshops, and speaking events. www.toiemartin.com

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