In the hustle culture, very often there is a clash between organisational need for greater productivity and the employee capacity limitation. As organizations set ambitious goals, they often encounter the challenge of transforming their operations to operate at a higher gear collectively. This organisational transformation requires a shift in mindset, processes, and behaviors throughout the organization.
“My team leader left the whole team feeling burned out. He decided to bring in a new account manager to handle his job so he could focus on sales. This person was a fresher and he didn’t have time to educate her well enough. She was hounding us with all the wrong ideas and left us with no time to do our work. It was a mess for a whole six months and then she left as she felt stressed. The whole team took six more months to recover from it,” said an account manager from an agency in India.
While the manager’s idea to delegate his role to someone else so he could focus on other avenues was important, the approach was wrong. He didn’t take the time to lay a solid foundation and foresee objections. This led to backlash and issues for the whole team.
By fostering a culture of continuous improvement, embracing change, providing support and resources, and empowering employees, organizations can navigate this transformation successfully. Let us find out how:
Cultivate a Culture of Continuous Improvement
To shift to a higher gear collectively, organizations need to foster a culture of continuous improvement. This culture encourages employees at all levels to embrace change, seek growth opportunities, and challenge the status quo.
Key strategies to cultivate this culture include:
a. Communicate the vision: Communicate the organization’s vision and the rationale behind the aggressive goals. This ensures everyone understands the importance of the transformation and is aligned with the desired outcomes.
“It’s okay to have aggressive goals. It’s not okay to expect everyone to accept them unless they know why. Make sure they feel as driven and passionate as you to go the extra mile. Else, you are just working with people who resent you and can’t wait to go home,” said a sales executive from a company in India.
b. Encourage innovation and experimentation: Create an environment that encourages employees to think creatively, experiment with new ideas, and embrace calculated risks. Provide platforms for sharing and celebrating successes and lessons learned from innovative initiatives.
c. Recognize and reward progress: Acknowledge and celebrate individuals and teams who contribute to the organizational transformation. Publicly recognize their efforts and achievements, reinforcing the value of continuous improvement.
Embrace Change and Foster Adaptability
Moving to a higher gear requires a willingness to embrace change and adapt to new ways of working. One way to make this more seamless is to keep changing things subtly before the big reveal. Maybe switch the roles of different employees and client allocations to keep them on their toes.
“My boss would change clients for us every three months. It ensured that everyone knew how to handle every client’s needs and none of us got too comfy. If someone was on leave or had an emergency, nothing would change as anyone could take over. This doesn’t mean the person is replaceable — it just shows how prepared everyone is,” said a marketing team lead from an agency in the USA.
Here are strategies to foster adaptability and change readiness:
a. Develop change champions: Identify individuals within the organization who are early adopters and champions of change. Empower them to lead by example, share their experiences, and motivate others to embrace the transformation.
b. Communicate the benefits of change: Clearly articulate the benefits and opportunities that the aggressive goals and transformation will bring to the organization, its employees, and stakeholders. Help employees see the positive impact of the change on their professional growth, career opportunities, and overall success.
c. Provide training and development opportunities: Equip employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the new operating environment. Offer training programs, workshops, and resources that enhance their capabilities and enable them to adapt to new ways of working.
Provide Support and Resources
Organizational transformation requires adequate support and resources to ensure success. You can’t expect five people to do the jobs of seven without the right tools. You can’t get work done if the computers in your office are slow or keep crashing.
“My company had a serious shortage of content creators for our clients. Since we lacked a budget, we couldn’t hire anyone new. My boss helped us all upskill by teaching us how to use AI and automate tasks. We were getting the jobs of 20 people done using a team of 15. We all knew how to use AI and escape the tests of AI detectors online,” said a team lead from a marketing agency in India.
Consider the following strategies for success:
a. Clear goals and expectations: Set clear goals and expectations aligned with the aggressive targets. Provide employees with a roadmap for success, outlining specific milestones and metrics to track progress.
b. Allocate resources strategically: Allocate resources, such as budget, technology, and manpower, strategically to support the transformation efforts. Ensure that teams have access to the necessary tools, technology, and expertise to enable their success.
c. Foster collaboration and teamwork: Encourage cross-functional collaboration and teamwork to break down silos. It will help your team drive collective ownership of the transformation. Establish mechanisms for sharing knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned to foster a learning culture.
Empower Employees and Foster Ownership
Shifting to a higher gear collectively requires empowering employees and fostering a sense of ownership. You can’t focus on everything at the same time and share your opinions about everything. In such cases, you will end up all over the place and have no time for anything.
The best way to combat this is to make everyone a manager. Make everyone have the authority to make decisions and decide independently. Share your decision-making criteria so people know how to think like you and work in tandem. You can just conduct routine checks and build a whole new level of trust.
Consider the following strategies:
a. Delegate decision-making authority: Empower employees at all levels to make decisions within their areas of expertise. Delegate authority and encourage autonomy to foster a sense of ownership and accountability.
b. Provide growth opportunities: Offer growth opportunities, such as stretch assignments, mentorship programs, and leadership development initiatives, that allow employees to develop new skills and take on greater responsibilities.
c. Encourage feedback and open communication: Create a safe and open environment where employees feel comfortable providing feedback, expressing their ideas, and challenging the status quo. Actively listen to their perspectives and integrate their input into decision-making processes.
Organizational transformation and shifting to a higher gear collectively require a strategic approach. It encompasses culture, adaptability, support, and empowerment while working with a dedicated team.
Here are a few questions to gauge whether your organisation has attainable goals:
- Are the goals set by the organization aligned with the current market conditions, industry trends, and realistic expectations?
- Are the goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART), providing a clear roadmap for progress and success?
- Does the organization have a well-defined strategy and action plan in place to accomplish these goals, with allocated resources and responsibilities?
- Are employees at all levels aware of the organizational goals and do they understand their role in contributing to their achievement?
- Has the organization conducted a thorough analysis of potential obstacles, risks, and challenges that may impact the attainment of these goals, and have contingency plans been developed to address them?
It makes sense to go aggressive sometimes, but just keep your team in the loop and with the same motivation. It makes no sense to have a team that resents your shift, and you are the only one working for the cause. It is equally wrong to work without intention and to become aggressive just for the sake of speeding things up.
By aligning their people, processes, and systems towards aggressive goals, organizations can thrive in dynamic and competitive environments, achieving sustained growth and success. For tips on how you can transform your organisations, reach out to us for a session.