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We are living in a golden age of innovation. Every year, new technologies are introduced that completely alter the industries we operate within. Changes that come at rapid speed can potentially lead to chaos and confusion — sparking internal conflict within teams trying to navigate these shifting tides. It’s up to us as leaders to create a precedent with how we respond to these changes to set the right tone within our organization.
A healthy work culture starts from the top. Leaders who adapt to industry changes and steer the company forward during these uncertain times can empower their employees with the confidence that all systems and processes are in order. To model that desired behavior from your team members, you must establish the proper protocols for implementing change in the company to reinforce the idea that the organization is thriving amidst this evolving technology.
1. Transparent communication among teams before implementing changes
The age of change will inevitably create new technologies that your organization will eventually aim to benefit from. However, leadership and planning teams must strengthen communication channels to keep all affected departments in the loop. During the ideation phase, the ability to properly communicate to all stakeholders and affected parties on what changes and processes are soon to come, as well as the proper timeline of implementation, reduces anxiety around these changes and helps employees feel like they are a part of the change as opposed to looking from the outside in. Proper communication allows your organization adequate time to prepare and adapt its workflows.
2. Leveraging expertise before committing
I’ve been in IT for 12 years, and I’m all too familiar with the anxiety of implementing a new platform. You can’t rely on what these companies say about their products, as they will only cherry-pick their successes. It is important to find people who’ve used the platform and who don’t have a hidden agenda. Often, the platform’s most trustworthy and honest reviews are from those who had a middle-of-the-road experience with the product.
This process applies to any new technology you implement into your business. While it’s tempting to jump on the hype train of any new software or hardware system that’s making the waves, be sure to do your due diligence before investing thousands of dollars in implementing a platform that potentially comes with its own set of problems. There is no free lunch when it comes to new technology. New systems require learning curves, troubleshooting, and trial-and-error before they can serve to increase productivity and workflows. That said, you can accelerate the breaking-in process by finding your own references and getting into the meat and potatoes of what the new technology entails.
3. Invest in ongoing training for employees
As your business evolves and begins implementing new systems, it’s important that you leave no employee behind. Ongoing training will help cultivate trust because team members gain confidence that they’ll have technical expertise in their role. Additionally, as you nurture employees to increase their skills through these training programs, you are also investing in the future of your company.
Training programs can identify and cultivate potential leaders within the organization, thus preparing employees for upper management roles and succession planning. There will come a day when an essential member of your team decides to move on to something else. However, if you’re constantly building the skills of your employees, you can more easily transition a promising team member into a leadership role and thereby maintain stability within the organization.
Training also fosters a culture of innovation. Passionate employees who get exposed to new ideas and different methods are more likely to think outside of the box and creatively contribute to improving your organization by introducing new products, services and solutions. This also inspires colleagues to seek the best out of each other and creates a standard of excellence within a foundation of ongoing support.
4. Following up on implemented changes
Let’s say you’ve input a new IT system and have been running the program for three months. You’ve done all the troubleshooting to work out the bugs, and your team has been brought up to speed. Now, ask yourself: is the system adequately addressing the pain points you attempted to solve?
In an age of change, you must be reaping the benefits of the new systems you put into place. Following up on those changes is important if you expect a certain program to correct a specific issue you and your team have been dealing with for some time. If it’s not, you have to figure out why and move forward. If it is, it’s important to communicate the successes of the new platform to your team members so that when the time comes to implement another change, your staff is confident that these changes will benefit the whole company.
To sum up, it’s ultimately up to you as a leader to establish the proper protocols and processes to allow your company to adapt to changes accordingly. While this is a golden age of innovation, it’s up to you to determine whether your company glitters from that gold.