Leading through a Seismic Shift

As the pandemic fades, people are returning to a new, hybrid workplace—where some are working from home and others are back in the office. To guide leaders through in this unfamiliar territory, our company has been offering a series of free, helpful webinars. You can sign up for them here.

Whether we want to admit it or not, our organizational cultures have changed over the last 15 months. The old rules no longer apply and the new rules, it seems, are up for grabs.

Harnessing the Power of Your Organizational Culture

In the new, hybrid work environment, how do leaders get the support of their employees and return to pre-pandemic levels of performance?

New York Times bestselling author Stan Slap provides lots of great ideas in the first webinar of our five-part series, “Back to Better: How to Return Your People, Purpose, and Performance.”

“This is not a physical relocation issue,” says Stan. “This is a cultural commitment issue.” Stan is a lively and entertaining guy, so it’s fun to watch him explain how leaders must work with the existing organizational culture to create predictability, energy, and a sense of belonging and relevance.

He also expresses the importance of the human connection: “Be a human first and a manager second.” Great advice!

Taking Advantage of a Rare Opportunity

In the second seminar in our Return to the Workplace Series, “Vision & Execution: Making the Most of an Opportunity to Change Your Organization,” Scott Blanchard makes an important point: this moment in time presents a rare opportunity for leaders to influence their organizations.

“Right now, return-to-work is a critical strategic mission for almost every company out there,” Scott says. He stresses that now is the time for leaders to step up.

“Leaders might be underleading the return to work,” he continues. “Our company’s research reveals that up to 75 percent of people report needing more direction from their leaders, not less.”

Scott points out that good things rarely happen by accident. “When good things are happening in an organization—from a Girl Scout troop all the way up to a nation state—it’s always a leader who is responsible for creating that positive momentum. And whenever things are not going well, the leadership of the organization is a part of that situation.”

Creating an Engaging Picture of the Future

The world has changed in the past year and a half, and your organizational vision and return-to-work strategy need to reflect that.

Scott stresses how important it is for leaders to take concrete steps and pivot to the future. “Peter Drucker said that the only things that happen naturally in organizations are inefficiency, friction, and political mayhem. This is especially true in an environment where things are changing.”

So, what is the solution to the potential chaos in your organization?

“Success requires a vision, a plan, and the tenacity to stick with the plan,” says Scott. “First, create an engaging picture of the post-pandemic future that excites people and inspires them about your mission. Next, help people see how their current roles and responsibilities connect to that vision.”

Leading Successful Change Requires High Involvement

Leaders cannot pull off successful change strategies without the support of their people. That’s why it’s so important for leaders to be other focused rather than self-focused. What do your people need to deliver on the vision and plan? What are their concerns? Are you listening to their feedback, including them in decision-making, and staying involved as the plan moves forward?

Research shows that top-down change—where leaders do little more than set the strategy—is often doomed to failure. Yet more than 80 percent of organizations still manage change from the top down.

An Epic Shift

Transitioning to the hybrid workplace “is an epic shift of millions of people,” Scott concludes. Now more than ever, your behavior as a leader matters. Your people want to know: “Does my leader have my back?” If the answer is no, they will become disengaged, and your strategy is likely to get derailed. If the answer is yes, this can be an exciting new chapter for you and your organization.

Learn More in Our July 7 and July 21 Webinars

What’s the best way to communicate in the new, hybrid workplace? How do you regain people’s trust and support? Find out in our next two complimentary webinars. To register, use this link: https://www.kenblanchard.com/Events-Workshops/Returning-to-Workplace-Series.