Some Owners Cannot Let Go Part II

In part 1 I discussed Organizational Change and an owner’s lack of trust and inability to let go. Many organizations struggle with change: new management, training, and vision affect everyone from ownership to staff. Regardless of the model they use to guide the change; some will thrive, some survive and others will fail.

There is a common saying that every business owner and manager should know: the only constant thing is change. This basic concept eludes many in leadership positions. Inability to adapt will slow a business’ growth and limit its success.

Some basic rules for dealing with organizational change include:

  1. Listen to your staff—when they stop talking to you it means you will have big issues; stay engaged.
  2. Be flexible—change takes time and requires adaptability.
  3. Details count, but keep your eye on the bigger picture.
  4. Talk to your staff and leadership about why change is needed. It is very important to get them on board; you need them to advocate for you.
  5. Be visible during change; people need to see leadership.
  6. Do not micro-manage.

There are a number of models to chose from, depending on organizational type, needs, or the structure you wish to implement. Two Change Management Systems I suggest are The McKinsey 7-S model and the Bridges’ transition model.

The McKinsey 7-S model is great if you lack organizational structure. If you don’t already have change processes in place this system allows for structured change to occur in stages.

  • Strategy—what is your strategy to achieve the objectives?
  • Structure—what does your organizational structure look like? What is the communication style?
  • Systems—what rules and processes are used and what is tracked?
  • Shared Values—what is the corporate culture and what are its values?
  • Style—what is your leadership style? What is the teamwork and collaboration style?
  • Staff—what strengths does your organization have? Who are the people your company needs to be successful?
  • Skills—what skills do your staff need to be successful? How are you identifying them and what does it cost you to not have them?

The Bridges’ Transition model is for the type of owner I wrote about in my last post; the owner who was having a difficult time letting go, micro managing, and etc. This model has three distinctive stages:

First Stage—ending, losing, and letting go

This is a period of uncertainty.  This is the most difficult stage simply because you are giving way to a new system. In this stage the leader must begin to understand that change is a good thing. They must be open to feedback. Communication and listening are extremely important as leaders may experience a host of emotions during this transition period.

Second Stage—the neutral zone

This is the crossover between the first stage and the third stage. This is the stage where the organization makes a commitment to moving forward.  In this stage leaders should treat small wins as big victories. There are no actionable steps; change is more of a guideline at this point then a force within the organization. This stage in the model helps the owners’ overcome anxiety and trust issues.

Third Stage—new beginnings

At this stage you have crossed over to the changes you wanted to implement. The new objectives are clear and being effectively executed. The changes made are embraced and reinforced. This is a momentum stage, keep setting new goals and do not go back to old habits.

Final Note, for change management and organizational change to be effective you must understand that change is constant; you and your business need to evolve. Your ability to let go of unproductive habits is essential to your long-term success. The owner whose story I told could not take the advice given to him because of his trust issues. His company continues to have very high turnover of management and staff.

How would you implement change in your organization? How you would implement change management?  Please provide me with any examples you have. I would love to hear your comments.


Leave a Reply