Gotta Start Somewhere: Getting Your People Geared Up for Transformation
Anyone who knows toys from the 1980s likely knows about Transformers.
The first Transformers, mecha toys made by Hasbro, had interchangeable parts that could be twisted and turned to change the robot action figure into something like a car, a device or an animal, and then back to its original form.
Transformers made their debut in 1984, and the toys have made an impressive transformation of their own. About 35 years later, the Transformers line has become a media franchise including a comic book and television series, a feature-length cartoon, a live-action film series and a fair share of video games.
Thirty-five years of growth surely presented plenty of ups and downs for the Hasbro company to endure. Especially since when it first started out, Transformers were simply a collection of 28 action figures, each standing about 10 inches tall, retailing for well under $20 a piece.
Becoming such a successful, prolific toy line and franchise took more than three decades strategic growth for Hasbro, but no matter how enduring the journey was, the fact of the matter is that the company had to start somewhere. And some may say getting started is the most difficult part of transformation.
Transformation must begin with the people, and the people strategy is the very core of making transformation possible for today’s businesses. Leaders must get employee buy-in to enable big change. Employees are the critical drivers of transformation -- so how can leaders bring them on board, get them emotionally invested and inspire employees to innovatively support change -- all from the get-go?
Preparation is critical in taking the very first steps of transformation, according to the management magazine, strategy+business (s+b).
Leaders must first keep their ears open and actively respond in new ways.
“When leaders listen, show curiosity and model emotional inspiration to their teams, they encourage employees to express themselves,” London Business School professor Dan Cable told the publication.
He said flexible behavior from managers gives employees space to adapt and learn rather than keep their efforts on existing procedures and processes. When employees have the safety of experimentation, they can be their best selves at work and their productivity will reflect their dedication.
Leaders should next look for and select their influencers, as these employees will act as change agents in transformation.
Influencers likely demonstrate leadership in their behavior at work and quality of work they produce. Think about the people who could be an ambassador for your products, who have emotional ties to your business, and who are socially connected and respected throughout the organization and community. The company’s influencers help begin transformation because they model what’s needed to get new processes started.
Experimentation, emotion and leadership are important when big change comes into perspective, but organizations must also help employees to personally invest in the unfamiliar; not financially, but through optimism, positive energy and acceptance.
Empathy is the winning way for leaders to help their people bond with changes ahead. Leaders should show people that they care about them as individuals - that they see and hear their needs just as much as they see and hear the business’s needs.
Personal investment from employees can be captured through communication. When leaders share their company’s visions for the future, their purpose and passions, and beliefs and motivations, people become more connected to the company and its success.
Being ready for transformation means authentically caring about the organization’s people. When people feel cared for and supported, they’ll be the most valuable players when the transformation game kicks off.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to crafting a people strategy for pulling off a successful transformation. Join us Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. EST, for a webcast with Kirsten Schreiter, Senior Director, Organizational Effectiveness and Transformation at Greenway Health. She’ll show attendees how to connect the business strategy to the people strategy, discuss the evolving role of talent acquisition, cover change management, and the importance of the prioritization and timing of people initiatives.
The webcast, “Creating a People Strategy to Support Business Transformation,” sponsored by PeopleFluent, is free to attend - register online to reserve your spot.