8 Most Frequent Change Needs of Any Organization

For the past sixteen years, I have worked as a transformational business coach across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.

In that time, I have frequently experienced the eight change needs described below. I hope that, reflecting on my list, you might identify one or more needs for you, your team, or your organisation and respond accordingly.

The eight elements are offered in no particular priority, though you may see a logical sequencing of my description.

1. Strategic Focus

I never cease to be amazed by businesses and organisations that make some money, despite little or no strategic focus. Often, if they have a strategic focus, it resides in the minds of the principal actors in the business, rarely shared and certainly not captured anywhere in a document. However, a clear vision, mission, and aligned values serve some admirable purposes, not least enabling others to see your proposed ‘direction of travel.’

2. Annual Planning

To gain better traction within your organisation around thinking and to plan ahead, aligned to your strategic focus, I am a massive fan of yearly planning for all staff. However, I am not a fan of the monolithic, cumbersome, ‘door wedge’ variety of plans many organisations insist on producing. No more than six critical goals aligned to their annual contribution towards the ongoing vision and mission of the organisation gives a tight focus for staff, managers, and leaders.

3. Goal Setting

People still need help on writing SMARTER goals. It is a lost art to make them meaningful and valuable to the process of leading and managing any organisation. Invest a little time and training to help people understand what makes a compelling goal.

4. Performance Management

My experience tells me that there are two significant problems – using the data you collect effectively and managing individual performance. For the former, be more clear about what you collect and why. Do not collect data because you always have – it must have a purpose. When that is clear, adopt a regular and consistent approach to obtaining it, and then use it. For the latter, use data to help manage your staff efficiently and effectively. It helps them to stay focused on the goals they are pursuing. The two are inextricably linked. It is not reasonable to set goals if performance is not then managed.

5. Support and Supervision

All too often, I observe patchy, at best, supervision. More often than not, it is focused on business targets, not the whole person, including their growth and development, and the support a line manager can provide. Excellent support and supervision appear to be another lost art for what many would say is an organisation’s most excellent asset – its people. Insufficient time is often given as a barrier to focusing carefully on your team. Failure to do so, however, will inevitably come back to haunt you!

6. Becoming More Commercially Focused

Increasingly, in the public and not-for-profit sectors, they are required to be more commercially-focused as sustainability drives their agendas. Being able to manage costs and risks more effectively, to engage in ‘speculate to accumulate’ or building your earnings potential, and overall business development requires a different mindset to the professional discipline individuals might bring to their organisation. That mindset can be acquired, though that needs guidance, support, and training.

7. Responding Best to Customers, Users, and Beneficiaries

I still encounter individuals, teams, and organisations that have lost sight of why they exist. Their job, their work, their purpose is to meet the needs of others, not to have a role in and of itself. That is another personal reason of mine for regular and consistent support and supervision. It is also another reason for ensuring you gather adequate data – most notably to stay in touch with emerging needs, rather than assuming them.

8. Identifying Impact

Measuring individual, team, and organisational performance must describe the outcomes and impact you have for your customers. If not, why are you in business, especially for those in the public or not-for-profit sector?

I wish you good fortune in addressing frequent change issues in your organisation and in finding and working with an excellent transformational business coach!

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