I want to share an article from the Food Manufacturing category that I think is relevant for any industry. It’s titled Managing Change For Improving Operational Performance, and it gives very practical advice to managers in the context of workplace change.
And the advice is really quite simple: LISTEN.
When change comes to an organization – especially change that has the potential to be unpopular – it’s easy for managers to just implement it and not even ask what employees think.
But I can tell you from personal experience that giving people in the organization the opportunity to voice their opinions and ask questions is valuable for two reasons (assuming you are TRULY listening!):
- They’ll know that you value their opinion and will at least consider their thoughts.
- You might get some really insightful feedback that you can utilize for the betterment of everyone.
This article reminded of a time when I was President of a non-profit organization. I advised my board not to become defensive when we asked members for feedback at our yearly retreat. We knew an open forum for feedback had the potential to get ugly, so all we did was take down the suggestions and criticism. We were then able to walk away and address a few concerns that we had already been working on, as well as more improvements the team suggested. As a result, the members felt that we were listening – because we were! We gained more in creating change for the organization because we frankly just listened.