… the rest of the time it takes patience, persistence and hard work!
Running a workshop recently with a number of managers, the discussion turned to embedding change. These managers had received training in implementing change, and have spent the last 12 months trying to get their supervisors to ‘step up’ and start managing rather than just doing. They have had mixed success.
Some supervisors have made a real effort and seen success. Some tried but (for various reasons) haven’t seen the same results. Some gave the whole thing lip service and used the fact that nothing changed as proof that the ‘new ways’ were destined to fail. Now, there are questions about how these supervisors were encouraged and held responsible, but that’s another debate.
Exploring the reasons for the differing rates of success, it became clear that there were four main factors:
- Belief – some Supervisors bought into the ‘new ways’ and wanted to make the change. Others wanted to stay in their comfort zone.
- Hard work – the supervisors who had success worked hard. They also asked for help and were willing to reflect on how they were doing so that they could adjust things if necessary.
- Persistence – even the less committed Supervisors had tried something new. The trouble is, they tried it once, didn’t see any benefit and so concluded that it was pointless. Now, anyone who’s ever been on a diet knows that if you weight yourself after one day, you won’t be any lighter. It’s easy to get demoralised, but you have to stick at something and give it time to make a difference.
- Luck – some supervisors did everything right yet still didn’t have the success of some of their colleagues. There is no real reason for this other than luck, timing and external factors beyond their control. Changes in requirements, team members, equipment failure, delays etc all prevented them from achieving the results that they SHOULD have. Some of these supervisors will understand that and keep trying, whilst others will get demoralised and give up.
So, making improvements at work, bringing about a change is only PARTLY down to training. Training can give people what, why and how, but that needs to be reinforced regularly over a long period of time. If you are planning to invest in management training next year, make sure you give as much thought to the long-term support required to actually apply that training as you do to the formal programme. THEN, you may see the change you are looking for.