Change management really starts with communication. You cannot underestimate its importance. It starts with a top-down vision that the senior leadership needs to communicate clearly, succinctly, and pragmatically to their team. Its essential to create transparency around “where are we now?” “where do we want to go?” and “here’s how we need to do it”. That transparency mobilizes the workforce and ensures that that alignment and accountability is there.
However, a lot of organizations underestimate the power of communication, which can be a pitfall to success, especially in turbulent times.
A large transformation cannot fall on the shoulders of the few. Communicating that vision at the beginning gives the team empowerment to execute daily and creates accountability to get from point A to point B. This drastically improves the change management and sustainability of the transformation. Employees must feel connected to the vision in their day-to-day activities and see where their roles fit into the transformation.
Managing a team through a transformational change comes down to having an open channel of communication throughout the transformation and a team committed to achieving a shared vision. This ensures that the transformation is not only successful, but scalable, and sustainable.
The challenge with the remote workforce is a lack of opportunity to connect, share ideas and ask questions in a supportive way. Now, everything needs to be a Zoom call, which in the time of Zoom fatigue, can cause things to drag and fester. When everyone was in the same office, it was easy to pop by someone’s desk to ask a question. And you could get information a lot quicker than having to go through the motions of setting up a meeting.
Ultimately, it is driving meeting fatigue, which can also have an impact on organizational morale and culture. However, I think we are all finding a way to adapt to the new normal. We’re finding ways to adjust the way we work and the way we consume information and share information. It will just take a little bit more time before we reach the efficiency we might have had before.
It comes down to a shared vision and values which serve as the foundation for strengthening cultural alignment.
Hiring and Growing your Team
When developing a team, while diverse perspectives and experiences are essential, its important to bring people on who share the same foundational values – such as a focus on innovation, an openness for feedback and improvement, a drive towards excellence, a motivation to continuously learn etc.
Having shared values makes it much easier to get that alignment to go forward because everyone believes in the same cause and the way to get there. Employees are open to challenging each other in the interest of improvement, while understanding that everyone is in it together and wants the group to improve. This is something that leadership teams need to focus on and communicate more effectively.
Strengthening Existing Corporate Culture
Create opportunities for professional engagement and connection. This should be a combination of both company-wide virtual meetings to discuss strategy and organizational success, supplemented with social gatherings (e.g., like virtual games) to connect more casually. These points of connection strengthen culture and aid in creating alignment for a vision or strategy.
I think it’s clear that we’re never going back to “pre-COVID” days where team members are going to work from a cubicle in an office five days a week; commuting across cities in cars or public transit as we used to. I think now we are going to see technology help drive change to all work smarter. Cloud technology is really going to allow everyone to continue to work effectively and efficiently from their homes. It will allow them to have access to information quickly, and accurately, to do their jobs a lot more effectively.
Automation and the integration of systems are also becoming more popular. This will enable more efficient work by generating the amount and type of data needed at the right time, generating presentations that need to be shared and driving communication across an organization. While these things were in place before, what is happening now is an investment to accelerate it. That is what is going to continue to evolve our workforce and the way we work much more effectively going forward.
The next year and beyond is going to be an exciting time. While it might not go as smoothly as we like, it’s certainly going to offer exciting opportunities for organizations to reinvest capital in different ways than they would have looked to do prior to COVID. Further, technology improvements will give employees working from home a better work-life balance. Overall, I think we will see positive changes coming as a result.
Tell me a little about your career path. What made you get into consulting?
“I have about 20 years of experience, both in industry and in consulting. For me, I really enjoy the variety that comes with consulting, different clients, different teams, different challenges, and it seems to turn over every few months. It is literally like getting a new job every three months. I really thrive on the excitement that the variety brings.
In those 20 years, I’ve either worked within consulting firms, or as part of internal consulting, within CPG, or retail. It’s given me that opportunity to really tackle business issues that a lot of organizations face, regardless of the industry. And to me, really focusing on the value chain of an organization allows myself as well as The Poirier Group to be a lot nimbler when it comes to addressing organizational challenges.”
What is something you are passionate about outside of your job role?
“I enjoy having a creative side. I think it’s always important to challenge your brain in different ways. For me, photography has been a big part of my life as a creative outlet. I also have a passion for motorcycles. And every now and then I’ll combine my passion for photography with getting out on the open road and taking my camera with me. So those have been two driving forces in my life. I also love animals, and I’ve been able to leverage that into a passion, along with The Poirier Group’s Purpose Beyond Profit initiative to become a board member with the Toronto Humane Society.”
What initially drew you to TPG? And why do you still like working here?
“I think I was the 12th, maybe 15th person that came on board with The Poirier Group. When I met with David and really understood what his values were and what the vision for The Poirier Group was, it really resonated with me and in the four years or so that I’ve been here, it hasn’t wavered. We’ve continued to hire people that align with our values, that positively challenge our clients, and that challenge me on a day-to-day basis, as well.
More than that, it’s just a fun place to work. It has been challenging with COVID, as every organization has had to go through. But the fact that my interest and my devotion to TPG hasn’t wavered during that time means that we’re doing something right. It really comes down to the support and the drive that David exhibits, and the trust he has in all of us to execute well. Since then, we’ve really grown to the point now that we’re getting noticed as a trusted consulting partner and collaborator, one that will effectively impact your organization. We’re getting clients that are coming to us because they have heard about the great work we’ve done. And I believe we’re on our way to becoming a top-tier consulting firm. It’s just a matter of time until we get there.”