By Cristan B. Filippi
In today’s fast-developing innovation environment, human interaction patterns are continuously shifting to adapt to an ever-changing business landscape, while traditional market erosion, acquisitions, and mergers are establishing a new business code.
While we all agree that change is the only constant, business leaders’ collective sight still needs to fully adjust to the kaleidoscopic modifications of nowadays business.
With organizational cultures facing remarkable challenges, financial institutions are more aware than ever that the new compass is pointing toward optimization of organizational efficiency and maximization of employees’ productivity.
Since changes come with profound uncertainty and, carry deep questions, credit unions are called to engage in organizational and cultural introspection if they wish to take their institutions to the next level.
To raise the bar, and achieve strategic goals such as providing reliable, best-in-class solutions to their members or fostering a thriving, team-oriented culture, credit unions must first start unraveling the complexity of change management from within.
Organizational Change Management
Since changes are everyday occurrences, change management is the new management. With this in mind, credit unions should establish a framework for managing and continuously monitoring the impact of new business processes, changes in organizational structure, and cultural changes. In this context, people are prominent. In fact, one of the main goals of change management is to help people ease through the changes, in this way maintaining communication, protecting business efficiency, and mitigating resistance and rejection.
Awareness and Desire
Leaders must be at the forefront of changes, building awareness around the motives for improvements among their members and employees. While the right information needs to be shared at the right time, and each audience requires a carefully calibrated message, transparency is a must. To translate awareness into desire, personal and organizational motivating reasons need to be factored in with strong involvement in creating better solutions.
Whether from informative, open communication or training, mentoring, or coaching, knowledge on both how to change and how to effectively perform in the new status quo needs to be shared. Easy access to information, troubleshooting guidance, job aids, user groups, and forums facilitate the morphing of uncertainty into certainty, while organizational guiding values and principles are conveyed within the more tactical messages.
Employees must feel empowered and safe to take the necessary risks of participating in the organizational change. Even more important, their pain in undertaking cultural quantum leaps while the environment is shifting, needs to be acknowledged. If leaders miss this critical step, employees will perceive their frustration as inconsequential.
Credit union leaders are accountable for their employees’ discomfort though changes. For this reason, they are called to listening and emphasizing, while maintaining a level of humility that allows their employees to candidly share impressions, concerns, and ideas.
Credit union leaders should foster learning opportunities for their employees that allow for continued growth of their skillsets. As technological capabilities and applications are growing at a tremendous pace, a culture of learning must correspondingly evolve to meet the rate of change. More and more people perceive learning as a portable value, and opportunities for continued education and training can be negotiated as part of a desirable career packet.
Remember, even the smartest business growth strategy is likely to fail without the right culture to support it. Creating real cultural change within any organization always begins with a full commitment from its leadership to model positive words, actions, and behaviors.
Cristan B. Filippi is the chief strategic operations officer at DEDAGROUP North America. DEDAGROUP is the majority owner of EPL, Inc. Cristan can be contacted at email@example.com.