An unedifying habit is creeping into the world of people support and HR. It relates to the perception of expectation when newly appointed managers and leaders take over the reins in any role. It is that people in new management roles MUST be seen to be doing something – anything!? Well, it seems so. Centralised becomes decentralised, decentralised becomes centralised, hierarchy to matrix by degree and vice-versa. The easiest way to make an immediate impact is to re-organise the structure. It can open the door to bring in new people (perhaps old colleagues) and enable an energy to be felt throughout the organisation.
But, is it right? Is the intent in line with a genuine organisation need? Could we all accept someone coming in and simply making more of what they have? The demonstrating of value by leaving things much as they are but bringing greater influence and impact by use of their leadership skills?
I was made aware last week of a large organisation who have restructured their administration team three times in the last three years with three new Operation directors, each having conducted a ‘review.’ Each felt the need to put all the administrators ‘at risk.’ Each defaulting to their preferred organisation design model. Each ignoring key issues i.e. the quality of management and the lack of clarity in what really matters. Job descriptions of high complexity that do not help to define priorities and weak managers are tinkered with. None of the changes have had the time to settle or work, and with each re-draw, the largest team (administration) gets further detached and disengaged. And, the challenge for this change is greater!
And with and through all of this – what of the HR team? As members of the organisation executive management team we can only presume that in each instant HR believed the proposals to be necessary, and a good idea. OR did they? Were they playing the role of equal or of simply the ‘order taker.’ Who is taking responsibility for making restructures work? The previous two Operations Heads had left before the potential consequences, whether positive or negative, had had time to work through. The extent to which every previous change had been committed to may also have been somewhat inconsistent. How had HR gained the commitment of the executive and all stakeholders?
[bctt tweet=”With an Informed, Integrated, Collaborative, and Coordinated leadership, management and operational connectiveness then the change will be one embraced.” via=”no”]
The extent of these changes (not uncommon) are costly. It is time to ensure that the measures of change are monitored and managed, with the time to achieve new levels of intended performance agreed. Time that is realistic. ALL are responsible for making it work and should new appointments within the structure be made then their initial responsibility is to make what they have, and the current initiative work better. Make it work so that the next change is one that is a logical development and lift for the whole organisation to move to new levels of productivity and performance. With an Informed, Integrated, Collaborative, and Coordinated leadership, management and operational connectiveness then the change will be one embraced. In contrast to the exasperating sigh of change currently being felt at that local company and beyond.
Time for HR to speak up, take responsibility for being part of the business rather than playing an observing role, and question any seemingly ‘crazy’ change. Time for HR to guide towards change that matters for the company, not simply for the individual(s) wanting to impress.
When recruiting, be clear on what matters most for the organisation in the context of itself, not to fashion. When onboarding, open the mind to the agenda of the whole, and allow the value brought in to excel within the current context. Ensure your culture is understood. Recommendations for change may then be in that context of making the existing priorities and intent work.
Time to break the cycle of change with the new – ‘Good’ really is not to be doing something – anything – but be busy to impress. Good is taking stock and making things work better, improving the performance and productivity of all, ensuring aligned objectives and integrated activity. Good is improving efficiency and effectiveness of effort. Good is making an impact that matters, beyond one that purely pleases.
Neville is the Founder and Chair of People in Flow and HR in Flow.
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