Who says change needs to be hard? Organizational change expert Jim Hemerling thinks adapting your business in today’s constantly-evolving world can be invigorating instead of exhausting. He outlines five imperatives, centered around putting people first, for turning company reorganization into an empowering, energizing task for all.

Read the full article at: www.ted.com

Everyone knows that trying to transform a company is hard work that may ultimately prove to be unsuccessful. Now Jim Hemerling is saying that transformation also causes dread and exhaustion for employees.  Which may be more to the point.  Who wants to work hard, be miserable and fail – all at the same time?  Hardly fun.

But Hemerling notes that people don’t avoid all transformations.  Personal, self- transformation projects, like training for a marathon or picking up an old hobby, “occupy a positive emotional space” and can be rewarding and exciting.   Yet, people see organizational transformations in a “very different emotional space” and view them in terms of layoffs and changes imposed on them by their leaders.  (Leaders often make transformation even harder by waiting too long to act – creating crises, focusing on short term goals or taking superficial, one-off approaches to change.)

How can we fix this?  Hemerling’s answer is “putting people first.” In an era of what he calls “always-on transformation,” leaders need to follow “five strategic imperatives” that focus on putting people first.  If leaders follow these imperatives, people can become energized and empowered – excited to be a part of and work toward transformation.

Hemerling’s imperatives include “inspire through purpose” so that employees can connect to “a deeper sense of purpose” and be motivated, like Lego’s purpose to “inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.”  Also, he says leaders must “go all in” to win.  Transformation is not just about headcount reduction and cutting costs, but it’s about initiatives to drive growth, actions that change the way the company operates, and investments in talent and leadership.

 The five imperatives also include:

  • Enabling people with capabilities to succeed along the way
  • Instilling a culture of continuous learning (Microsoft’s shift from fixed mindsets to growth mindsets)
  • Inclusive leadership that wins hearts and minds.

Leaders would be wise to listen to Jim Hemerling.

Contact us and we can help you “put people first” in your transformation efforts.