Mack Chapman asked:
Managing in normal times is a challenging and arduous task at best. However, adding the turbulence of constantly changing environments, both internally and externally can be one of the greatest exercises in futility for most managers. Tempers get frayed, the rumor mill works overtime and productivity almost always suffers.
Change is one of the few constants that the global market economy knows. Products, services, and technology will come and go, but change will remain always. Organizations must have an effective change management plan with an emphasis in mitigating risk in order to remain competitive or even relevant.
How can a manager be expected to meet corporate objectives, keep employees happy, attend meetings, read countless e-mails, put out fires, and most important make a profit in constantly changing times? The answer is simple, if the manager knows how to implement two proven methods that I have termed the timely two for change management in turbulence times.
Communications is the first and most important of the timely two. Every aspect of human existence is dependent on effective communications. To begin, let’s clear up some misconceptions of what constitutes effective communications. Talking one-on-one, writing e-mails, meetings, dictating, seminars, and reading a document does not necessarily mean communications has been accomplished.
Far too often, managers mistakenly assume that when they have stated their position either verbally or through the written word they have communicated effectively. Nothing could be further from the truth. Communications in its truest form is the act of transmitting information in a common language from one party to another party and both parties understanding exactly what is expected of each side.
Many managers and scholars alike feel if leaders have a vast vocabulary then they are more likely to be a better communicator. The fallacy with this type of reasoning is that the only time communications is effective occurs when both parties understand the message unambiguously.
I know a manager that has an extremely high IQ with a vocabulary that would impress a Rhodes Scholar. However, his staff is not as fortunate to have developed an equal command of the English lexicon. This causes ambiguity and time lost. His staff collectively feels inferior and very seldom offers much need suggestions, due to the fear of feeling inferior.
Building bridges are easy when done in a common language. Speaking in terms that are understood only by one party leads to gulfs and mistakes. This is amplified when turbulence times are upon an organization or industry.
Managers in order to be effective must communicate what they are trying to accomplish. Equally as important managers must ensure their message is being communicated by having the party they are communicating to tell them exactly what’s expected of them. Both parties must understand the same goal to be accomplished and the same methodology of how to accomplish the stated goals in order for communications to be effective.
The second of the timely two is what I like to refer to is turbulence time management. All managers have their calendars and Outlook Express and other time management programs. However, managing in turbulent times requires an entire different approach of time management. A manager, not only needs to be quick and nimble, but must also be effective with limited amount of mistakes. A manager needs to make sure that he or she does not progress beyond each individual assignment. The reason for this is that in turbulent times any particular mistake on any assignment will multiply itself exponentially and take on a life of its own.
Most managers in turbulent times are in a panic mode. The salient point to understand; this is the time when managers must be slow and deliberate. Contrary to what most managers would believe during changing times, they must be slow in order to make the correct decisions. Managers must also be deliberate so that they know what is necessary for a successful outcome and what can be put on the back burner. Using these two techniques can have a calming effect on staff and management alike.