Your organization's greatest
enemy is NOT in the Marketplace. Investing in the latest technologies, new faces,
and ineffective management strategies cannot turn around the numbing bottom-line
crises found in many of today's organizations. Just because you're not hearing
employee whining doesn't mean resistance to change isn't affecting your organization.
Failing to get a real grip
on what can and cannot be controlled keeps your employees unproductive. In order
to relieve the crisis stress and paralysis, your managers need to develop a
passion for whining and an ability to handle this whining and resistance effectively.
Many managers ignore whining hoping the resistance or the people whining will
go away. A different approach is for managers to begin to understand that the
agency will only succeed if they can uncover and break through the resistance
and whining as it occurs.
Consider the magnitude of
change in our work world today: mergers and acquisitions continue at an unabated
pace, technology and the impact of electronic commerce and the internet is completely
restructuring several industries. Most organizations are pushing to do more
with less, an average employee recieves an astounding average of 190 messages
per day, and in a recent study of the changing workforce, 71% of workers feel
used up at the end of the day.
The impact of such significant
and profound change can result in employee whining because people are experiencing
several types of loss and pain. Employees may grapple with one or several of
1. Evaluating Skills
and Conditioning: Perhaps an employee used to be a "franchise player", now
they wonder if they have the skills to succeed in the new world of technology
and the new ways of doing business? It's hard for people to admit they don't
know how to do something or that they lack the skills to succeed on the team.
They may be asking themselves, "Has the game passed me by?"
2. Position: There
is an uncertain feeling about the position they will play or whether or not
they have any job security. Many employees tend to protect their turf and territory
and not contribute to team play. Some staff are concerned about a change in
their percieved status when their position title is changed (although their
job has not). A critical question for your staff to consider is, "Am I more
concerned with my own statistics or the team/agency's success?"
3. Game Plan: When
a new coach comes to a team, the players often question what the direction is
and where they are going. This is equally true in the workplace today. Many
new bosses or leaders don't ask for the employees' input because they were hired
to turn the organization around. How do the long-term employees fit on this
new team? Employees may begin questioning their own abilities and wonder, "Does
the new boss recognize my skills and talents? Will I get the opportunity to
4. Team Unity: Oftentimes,
new employees can be overlooked because they lack a proven track record. Long-tenured
employees worry because their skills may be diminishing and they are not recognized
as the star they once were. Staff worry when positions are combined and they
are made into "generalists" versus "specialists". They also may be questioning
why their work hours need to change while other staff wonder why other departments
worked the same hours all these years. All people want to feel significant and
like they have value on the team. They may be asking themselves, "How can
I contribute value to my team and how do I fit in?"
5. Making the Playoffs:
Will the organization be successful? Even if the team succeeds with all these
changes, will I be cut from the team and put on waivers? You don't feel like
you are in control and you don't know where you stand on the team or within
Perhaps you have asked yourself
these questions as you've experienced change. They are gut-wrenching questions
which can be painful to consider. It is important for employees to really FEEL
the pain that change is causing them before they can begin the healing process.
I believe that if you can feel the employees' pain, you can heal the organizational
pain of change. On the other hand, if you ignore the pain or an injury and don't
take the time to understand what caused it, you won't know what and how to begin
the healing process. Remember the old adage, "No pain, no gain!". That is true
of organizations in change as well -- there will be employee pain before there
is organizational gain.