It’s the look. The facial expressions give it away every time.
I’ve spent the past few months traveling the globe presenting our newest CEC study “Building a Change-Ready Organization” and as I talk to communicators around the world, I’ve personally witnessed the rapid change in expressions as virtually everyone simultaneously reaches the same three conclusions:
- In the decade ahead, the biggest difference between success and failure for most companies is the ability of their employees to adapt to change. (Yeah, I kinda knew that was true)
- The most important quality required to be change-ready is agility. (Sure, that only makes sense)
- Most companies are not really that agile. (I was kinda thinking we’re agile, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, we’ve actually got a-ways to go).
But rather than just taking my word for it — decide for yourself. We’ve come up with (and by “we,” of course, I mean our excellent senior research analyst Kayleigh O’Keefe doing all the hard work, with me just making a bunch of annoying word-suggestions) a brand-new CEC Agility Quiz.
Play along. Your job is to respond to the following eight statements — on a scale of “that’s totally true at our company” to “we’re not even in the ballpark on that one.” See how you rate your company:
- At your company, leaders set the strategy, but then relinquish control to managers and employees to make decisions about how best to implement that strategy.
- Employees at all levels feel comfortable raising concerns and issues with their managers and leaders.
- Employees across all roles and functions are encouraged to regularly question the status quo and seek alternative solutions.
- Employees from different geographies and businesses get together in-person or virtually on a regular basis to share their ideas and best practices with one another.
- Coaching and communication skills are explicit competencies for all managers and are regularly measured and reported.
- Managers are expected to help their direct reports network more effectively and meet new people across the organization who can help them to do their job better.
- Senior leaders use employee-facing appearances to share information about the risks and opportunities your company faces in the market, as well as what your competitors are doing well.
- Senior leaders spend a significant portion of time embedded in the business with the explicit goal of empowering employees to become more effective independent problem-solvers.
Lemme take a look at your face. Hmmmmmm. I’ve seen that look before. Please understand, there’s no judgment here. No one’s trying to make you feel bad about where your company stands today — our only goal is to help arm you with a few short-cuts and accelerants to help you get to a state of agility and change-readiness a little faster (faster than your competitors!).
Turns out that while there is a myriad of things the company can/should do differently to help employees become more agile, there are a few very important things we communicators can/must do to make that outcome much more likely. The research points to three:
- Help employees understand the full context of what’s going on in your industry, your competitive environment, and with your stakeholders.
The more that people recognize that the whole world is changing very rapidly (at CEC we believe change is happening faster than ever before!) the more likely they are to lean in and become drivers of change, rather than “objects of change.”
- Help employees network and connect better with each other at all levels of the company.
The more people rely on each other for support, best-practice ideas and knowledge-sharing (and the less reliant they are on “bosses” as the primary source) the better able they are at becoming independent problem-solvers. This is a hallmark of agility.
- Help managers become better at empowering employees, as opposed to being “command-and-control” leaders.
See a) and b) above.
HOW ABOUT YOU? How agile is your company, and what do you think Communications can do to increase agility?
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