A few years back, we have been engaged in a regional project to drive manufacturing excellence in 15 factories with a special focus on energy and how to create a better place for future generation. While this was a technical project with clear value targets, we also understood that this initiative will only be successful when we engage with the people, make them excited about the vision, and create opportunities to learn and progress.
Communicating was not enough - we knew that. Because we wanted to enable and facilitate the change from within, we established a group of change ambassadors who were working closely with the frontline people. We identified a cohort of 25 engineers who were driving the initiative in their respective sites. They became project ambassadors for one year in a full-time ambassador position.
How could we motivate them to join this role? How could we overcome their concerns that this assignment was hindering their career development?
We designed this ambassador program with two clear and distinct objectives in mind. First, we know that the group of ambassadors were vital to achieve the business objectives of the initiative. They were responsible in the identification of energy saving potential in their sites; and then responsible to execute this potential. With these goals we were able to save costs, reduce the environmental impact and increase the reputation of the business.
The second objective of the program was about developing future leaders. The engineers were identified talents and following a development path to potentially become plant managers. One important set of skill they had to learn for their future were leadership and people capabilities. As change facilitators they had tons of opportunities to learn, apply and experiment with different tools, skills and behaviours to engage with the frontline people and the management. As part of the program, we continuously evaluated them based on a change leadership skill framework.
In essence, while working together with human resources, the ambassador program was part of the talent management activities. And it was a huge success! All engineers improved their leadership skill scores while part of the program. And, all engineers joined back their career paths in higher positions than before. A fantastic achievement!
This is how we design our leadership programs at Hive17 Consulting. We always keep this dual objectives in mind: improving the business results and(!) improving the leadership qualities. We believe that in this way we can establish lasting success and drive the change from within.
The New Year has started; and we are all excited about the things we want to achieve in 2022. There are so many changes we want to realise; so many innovations we want to trigger. How can we be successful with that?
As leaders we have a strong impact with our actions and with our behaviour to nurture innovation; and to strangle creativity. What is the leader's role in innovation? Join Maurits van Tol, CTO of Johnson Matthey as guest speaker in our 'Innovate for Success' Networking Forum.
TTIP and Hive17 Consulting are jointly launching the 'Innovate for Success' Networking Forum in Asia. This program is tapping into the combined knowledge and experience of our global community of business & innovation leaders. In monthly, highly participative sessions we bring together business leaders around the current innovation topics.
The New Year has started - we refueled our energy and are excited what 2022 will bring for us? Let's get into it! Here in Singapore, one immediate topic: how to get the people back to the office! Government regulations allow to raise office space occupancy to 50%; let's fill up our physical workplace again!
Are these the right questions and intentions?
Owl Labs shares in their annual report 'State of Remote Work' that "1 in 3 would quit their job if they could no longer work remotely after the pandemic". This against the "39% of employers [that] are requiring employees to be in the office full-time post-pandemic". Friction is programmed.
This will be a change which requires a good conversation. Yes, as leaders we know that solid change management is based on listening to our employees, giving them flexibility, providing them a inspiring vision, etc. We intellectually know how to do this right. Why then, do we feel the urgency which is overruling the correct way of facilitating the change? Where do you think this falling back to old routines is coming from?
Adopting the right leadership behaviour is difficult, it takes time until it becomes second nature. Urgencies trigger a relapse to these behaviours which we know are creating dissatisfaction, irritation and frustration. We need a practice field for the leadership qualities we want to strengthen until they become our second nature. My suggestion, use the conversation around hybrid workplace for this! Take out the urgency, we have been working for almost two years in a sub-optimal environment. Let's go slowly back; any mix in hybrid working is better than what we had before (during and before the pandemic).
At Hive17 Consulting we offer a simple framework for leadership qualities that support success in your transformation. And we help to adopt them until they are second nature. This will help you to reach your results faster and to create more value for the people in the ecosystem. Let's get started!
Source: State of remote work 2021, Owl Labs
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Tim is a change practitioner in the area of innovation and excellence. He is working with teams to accelerate innovation, collaboration and agility.