What do you do when the future of your team or business is uncertain? We’ve seen plenty of volatility in markets, working environments, and leadership factors over the last few years. From the ebbs and flows of the pandemic to the sharp tech growth and now a new landscape for tech companies as they adjust to market changes, a changing funding landscape, and continued challenges with finding, hiring, and keeping people … it seems that the old adage is proving itself true every day: the only constant is change.
The rate at which businesses are undergoing change has never been higher, but according to a 2020 Gartner study, about half of all initiatives fail to deliver the success that was expected. So, what do we do?
As a leader, driving forward organizational change and adapting to environmental changes can feel like the storm that’s always rocking your team’s boat. I firmly believe that you can “ride the wave”, so to speak, to success with the proper preparation and mindset. From my experience – what I’ve seen, what I’ve done well, and what I’ve learned along the way – I’ve found that the way a leader shows up does more to maintain momentum and a clear-eyed focus for teams amidst the most tumultuous of times. On the biggest of waves.
Check out some of my tips for managing organizational change and staying ahead of the competition; how to create a culture of innovation that will help your business stay agile in times of uncertainty; and tips for maintaining stability, productivity, and sanity as a leader.
A note on assessing the current state of the market
In today’s business environment, market conditions are constantly changing. As a result, it is essential for organizations to regularly assess the market in order to identify new opportunities and threats. By understanding the market landscape, companies can make informed decisions about where to allocate resources and how to adapt their strategies. Additionally, market assessment can help organizations anticipate market trends and prepare for changes in customer demand. In short, assessing the market is essential for organizational success in an era of market uncertainty.
Take these initial four steps to get a clear picture of the state of the market.
Step 1: look at the overall state of the economy. Is it in a period of growth or decline?
Step 2: look at the state of your industry. Are there any significant changes happening that could impact your business?
Step 3: check on your competition. Are they laying off employees? Or are they hiring more people? How are they performing?
Step 4: assess your own company’s performance. How are sales and profits trending? Are you gaining or losing market share?
The future success of any organization hinges on the ability to navigate through significant changes effectively. Your organization’s success depends on how well it can preserve order during these tumultuous periods–whether due to mergers or acquisitions, leadership transitions; culture change (e.g., market fluctuations); pandemic outbreaks, Etc.
Why organizational change is necessary, plus a few tips on guiding your team through it.
Organizations must be able to acclimate quickly to changing market conditions. However, organizational change is not always easy. It can be disruptive to employees and may require new skills and processes.
Let’s just say it … change is hard. But leaders are responsible for identifying the change that’s needed, painting the vision, and then holding the team accountable for seeing it through.
So, how do you as a leader ensure that they are always moving forward by understanding the need for change and being proactive in its implementation?
Three reasons why organizational change fails and what you can do about it
Starting with a deep dive into the why change management and your role as a leader is important.
Because change is a necessary part of any organization’s growth and development, leaders often know how to identify and start change initiatives
However, change initiatives often fail to live up to their potential. A 2020 Gartner study reveals that businesses frequently undergo significant changes, about half of change initiatives fail, whereas only 34% report evident success. In addition, 16% of change initiatives report mixed results. The three most common reasons for failed change initiatives are a lack of alignment with the state of the market, poor leadership, and a resistant team.
If an organization implements a change that is not in line with the state of the market, it is doomed to fail. For example, if the market is moving towards more customer-centricity and an organization is trying to move in the opposite direction, it will quickly fall behind its competitors.
For change to be successful, strong and effective leaders must be holding the reins, in different ways, all the way through. Unfortunately, inexperienced, unsupported, or overextended leaders can shy away from making the hard decisions or take too long to make them. As a result, the team will become frustrated and resistant to change.
Some signs that you have a change-resistant culture:
- Little to no feedback when change is announced, but a lot of resistance when you begin to implement
- Minimal engagement from your leadership layer in ideating, challenging and scoping the final solution of the necessary changes or initiatives
- Inconsistent communication and talk tracks from the leaders and doers who are implementing the change
Finally, it’s crucial to have buy-in from the team affected by the change. If your team feels like they are being forced to change without any input or ownership, expect resistance.
Tips for maintaining productivity during times of upheaval.
As a leader, it’s essential to be productive to set the tone for your team. However, during times of upheaval, it’s easy to get caught up in the state of the market, and the internal workings of your leadership team’s reactions to these changes … which can lead to drops in your productivity levels. Here are some tips for maintaining leadership productivity during times of upheaval:
- First, remember that your team is looking to you for guidance. Whether you know it or not, you are the weathervane your team uses to read between the lines on how they should be feeling. If you’re not being productive, your team will likely follow suit.
- Second, focus on what you can control. Easier said than done. But I’ll say it again. Focus is the best way to serve yourself and make priorities clear with your actions.
- Third, take some time to reflect on your goals and what you’re hoping to achieve. Taking some time will help you stay focused and motivated.
- Lastly, remember to take breaks when needed. Trying to push yourself too hard will only lead to burnout. If you need to step away from work for a bit, know that it’s okay.
How to communicate organizational changes effectively (in 3 steps)
Any time there is a change in the marketplace, leadership needs to decide how that will affect their team and what changes will need to be made within the organization.
Number one: communicate the market’s state and how it affects the business. It will help the team understand why changes need to be made and give them a sense of ownership throughout the process.
Number two: leadership should develop a plan for how the team will implement the changes. It should include clear objectives, expectations, and a timeline for completion.
Number three: it is vital to provide ongoing support to the team throughout the process. It may include training on new systems or processes, regular updates on progress, and open communication channels so that team members can ask questions and provide feedback.
Following these steps, leadership can effectively communicate the organizational change to their team and ensure a successful transition.
How to keep your team motivated during turbulent times
A leader must stay positive and maintain a clear vision for the future. Your team will look to you for guidance—show them you’re confident despite the challenges.
Keep your team informed about what’s going on in the market. They’ll be more motivated if they understand your challenges and how you respond to them. In addition, regular communication will help build trust and unity within your team.
One way to motivate your team is by focusing on their individual strengths. Turbulent times can be stressful, so it’s important to make sure your team members feel appreciated for their unique contributions. When everyone feels part of something larger, they’ll be more likely to weather the storm successfully.
What it takes to be successful during times of market uncertainty
When it comes to business, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Even thriving companies can find themselves struggling during times of economic uncertainty. So what does it take to overcome these challenges and come out on top?
Market Awareness – One of the most critical factors is staying aware of the state of the market. This means constantly monitoring changes in your industry and being aware of more significant economic trends. By understanding the market, you can make intelligent decisions about where to allocate resources and how to adjust your business strategy
Leadership – Another key ingredient for success is strong leadership. During times of upheaval, it’s vital to have a leader who can keep everyone calm and focused. A good leader will also be able to inspire their leaders and their leaders’ teams team and rally them around a common goal.
A strong team – None of this would be possible without a strong team supporting you. At Sales Assembly, we preach that revenue organizations need to move both quickly, and with purpose. But you can’t move fast without a team that’s clear on their role and inspired to take action. Everyone must work together towards a common goal, from the front-line employees to the executive team. Good communication and collaboration are essential for weathering any storm.
While there is no guaranteed recipe for success, these ingredients can go a long way toward helping your business thrive during market uncertainty.
Becoming a Change-Maker
Riding the wave of organizational change and market uncertainty can be bumpy, but it’s also an opportunity to seize new ground. By being proactive and flexible in our approach, we can ensure that we come out on top. If you want to become the Change-Maker in your company and scale better, faster, and smarter— even in times of uncertainty, Sales Assembly can help. Let’s chat.