Friday, July 1, 2016

Creating Development Opportunities During Change

During my change in careers - I had the chance to co-lead a NYC SHRM event on creating development opportunities during change. And then they asked me to write about it! Check out my guest blog post: 

Change can be scary, intimidating and frustrating to employees.   But it can also be exciting, rewarding and full of opportunity.  Recently, the Talent Development and Org Dev & Change SIG’s came together to share several case studies where companies found opportunities to develop employees during change initiatives. Below are some of the key learnings from the event.

            1) Know People's Career Goals - Whether it is because there is a change in leadership, an M&A event or a reorganization of a department, there will be opportunities for your strong performers.  It is extremely helpful to know ahead of time the career goals of those individuals so you can proactively work with them to help them find opportunities during the change.  Finding the right role or learning opportunity for an employee internally will boost engagement, performance and overall morale for the broader population.  It shows the company wants to invest in their people and not lose them to an external opportunity.  The best way to do this is through talent planning.  A program like talent planning will help avoid only listening to the loudest voice or being too reactive to a request before you know the full picture.  

             2) Be Willing to Think Outside the Box - The perfect answer is not going to be there during significant change.  One must be willing to take a risk both organizationally and with individuals.  If you have several hiring gaps, you may have to create an interim structure.  As long as everyone knows this is just a temporary solution, people will be less likely to think something is "being taken away from them" if the new responsibilities are reassigned once the environment settles.  Often you may find that something you didn't think would work long term, does, and you have added new value to the business.  Additionally, you may want to consider a stretch opportunity for an individual.  Especially during change, a team will look to people they trust and respect for leadership.  You may have someone who has never managed, but is interested in leading a team.  This is the time to give them that opportunity to spread their wings and take on more sooner than you would have normally planned.  It will either work out, and they are able to stay in the larger role, or if it doesn’t, it was only a temporary solution so it will feel like less of a failure.

              3) Watch for Burn Out...and Recognize Employees Who Thrived - Hopefully you have a team of people that are willing to do whatever it takes to make it through the change.  However, often people will lose sight of their own limitations and burn out.   Make sure their manager, or a trusted mentor, is keeping an eye on their stress levels.  The team may need to reprioritize projects or bring in temp support so you don't burn people out, and create more change through turnover.  And then don’t forget to recognize the people who stepped up once you have made it through the change!  It may be a promotion, a bonus or just a public form of recognition.  When you know what motivates your employees, you will know the most impactful way to reward them.

              4) Align Training and Opportunities with Strategic and Cultural Change - During change, a company's culture and/or values is even more important to people.  They see it as the foundation of the organization they love, so change will be less intimidating or less foreign if you can root it in some current values or cultural elements.  

If culture change itself is the goal (think less bureaucracy or silo thinking to become more customer focused and results driven), then training and development opportunities should reflect the new culture. In other words, it’s ok if that feels somewhat uncomfortable for employees and management to reinforce other behavior, especially if it is aligned with business needs.

Whether in a sales transformation, acquisition, departmental disruption, it’s important to relate the changing culture to the business strategy.  Most of us work in a for profit business and need to think about the needs of the business, strategy, markets, and shareholders first.  The rest will follow in providing development opportunities that match the culture.  

Lastly, focus on the positive and acknowledge that there are things that went well in the past that will remain important. If it is an M&A situation, find common language that ties the two companies together.  When changing a process, tie it to a successful change in the past.  In training on a new product or process, align the delivery of the training with your culture (live, webinar, follow up group work, etc).  
Additional take aways for this workshop can be found in a post by Ray Vollmer in the Organization Development and Change Management section of the blog.

If you would like to hear more about the cases or any of the specific take aways, please feel free to reach out to Karen Weeks, Jen White, Anita van Burken or Ray Vollmer.

Original Post Can Be Found Here:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Year, New Goals, No Disappointment

Like most people, I have been reflecting on the last year and thinking about my goals for 2016.  But as I looked through my notes from 2015, I found myself getting frustrated and disappointed.  Instead of celebrating the things I did accomplish, I only saw all the unchecked to do's.  All I did was obsess about how I was not as close as I hoped to be to my career goal.

But then I took a breath and happens.  It happens every year.  Family situations come up that you can't anticipate.  Work throws you another curveball.  But the rollercoaster of life shouldn't distract from what I was able to get accomplished this year.  Those unexpected work obstacles actually gave me the chance to breakthrough and really show my strengths.  Though the unexpected loss of the family member was extremely sad, it reminded me of the importance to enjoy every moment of life and not take anything for granted.  Plus, to top it off, I am actually ahead of one of my career goals.  I got to teach my first semester as an adjunct faculty member, something I wasn't expecting to happen for a few years.  Plus, I was asked to be the chair of a special interest group with the local HR organization, which comes with the opportunity to be on their board.   That was something that wasn't even on the road map!

So when I started to think about 2016, I realized I needed to broaden my goals.  They still need to be SMART goals (scroll to the bottom of this post if you aren't familiar with that acronym).  They still need to challenge and push me to keep me on the path towards the future.  But they also don't have to be so detailed that it doesn't me up for disappointment when I can't check every box.  

With that in mind, and the promise to always share with my audience, below are my 2016 goals!  As always, thank you for taking the time to read my posts.  I hope they help you in some form or another.  Feel free to comment below or reach out to me directly.  If you don't follow me on other forms of social media, check out my "About" section.   And stay tuned for upcoming announcements in the coming year :)

Weeks' 2016 Goals

1. Always be Present.  This is applicable in all areas of life.   I want to be present in every interaction, moment, adventure, conversation, breath.  I promise to put down the phone when walking the dog.  I will close the computer during a meeting and take notes in a notebook.  I want to turn off the tv during dinner.  Whatever it takes to make sure I am living in the moment.

2.  Make Time to Write.  Last year I focused too much on goals that might have been too lofty considering I am not a full time writer!  So instead of saying that I am going to get published in a magazine or finish my book in 2016, I am just going to make sure that I carve out more time to write.  If I have more blog posts in 2016 than 2015, that is a win.  If I have more chapters written at the end of 2016 than I do now, that's a win.  Maybe I can find a way to contribute to an article instead of spending the time doing blind submissions.  Either way, I need to make sure I am finding the time to write more.

3.  Build my Network.  As I work towards my longer term goal, I need to get out of my comfort zone and meet people in the speaking circuit, attend more events (especially events where I could present one day), meet potential clients at conferences, etc.  Again, last year this was too detailed (speak here, present there).  This can be accomplished by volunteering, my new board position, or through people I meet while teaching.  It can even come through commenting on LinkedIn conversations, Twitter chats, or blog posts where people can see my name.  I need to focus on increasing my footprint in the areas where my future clients can be found.  

4.  Remember that I am the Expert.  My husband always jokes when we go to a fancy store or a high class restaurant, "Act like you belong here."  I need to do that with my HR expertise as well.  I sometimes act like I did when I first started out, "There are people here with way more experience.  Or they are an executive, they know better."  I forget that I am now that person I was referring to years ago.  Many people turn to me every day and ask for my advice and counsel and I don't bat an eye.  I need to remember that when I step out of my comfort zone and do more writing or build my network, I belong there!

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Actionable
R - Relevant
T - Timely