Four ways to create educational stability during times of change

Four Ways to Create Educational Stability During Times of Change

In Uncategorized by Roger Lewis

Are you wondering how to create educational stability in your organisation? Learn why a new strategic direction may be the answer for you.

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Cheryl is CMO of Promethean, an education technology company focused on transforming the way the world learns and collaborates.

I recently changed my organisational structure from a long-standing, traditional marketing team focused on in-person events and outbound marketing to that of a digital-first, modern inbound organisation. As basic as that might sound in the Covid-19 virtual era, it drastically upset the apple cart and created a domino effect in attrition. The bar for an employee to leave and take a new role elsewhere was lowered because the current norm was changed. What they knew as the status quo is now different, so why not look outside? As a marketing leader, I know high attrition can consume a tremendous amount of time as you recruit, hire and replace talent that you did not want to lose. But when the balance is disrupted, change is inevitable. Over the years, I have learned some valuable lessons that I needed to dig deep and apply during a time of change. 

1. Don’t lose sight of the end goal. Executing a strategy, especially one that involves a new strategic direction, is difficult. The original reason to make the change must have been so profound that it warranted the risk of changing the status quo. Do not forget this. In order to succeed, stay laser-focused on the goal and stay true to the overall strategy. Be patient with the journey and timeline to get there. Give yourself the mental space to go through the change-management process. 

2. Embrace your team. Make sure your boss, peers and management team are all on board and aligned with the end goal, strategy, changes and risks. If the majority of the company believes in what you as a leader are trying to accomplish, then change will happen more organically. Getting people into the boat is the first step in driving change. Embrace those who believe in the new direction and want to get in the boat with you. Make sure they know you appreciate their support. In my experience, the ones who were your biggest opponents at the beginning often become your biggest advocates at the end. It is important to hear and listen to those who might initially have a different view, as they can also help you yield better outcomes. 

3. Stay connected. In times of change, nurturing relationships is super-important. As a leader, you are trying to bring people along on a journey, and they need to feel connected to the goal, to you and to the new path. Providing them with this purpose should be a part of your day-to-day until things stabilize. Spend a few moments each day reaching out to different people on the team through text, chat or email, or set up skip levels and career conversations. Nurture the employees and relationships that you want to embrace and retain.

4. Remember, it isn’t personal. As a leader, you have to separate the emotion from the business, and you should be prepared for the employee to take things personally. The understanding you have as a leader and the way the business operates will be different. The employee might not know how complex these processes are and could therefore take them personally. After their manager of four years left, one of my employees tendered their resignation on the same day that I negotiated a 40% increase for them. They were frustrated that this hadn’t been done previously and was leaving. They took it personally. Unfortunately, corporations can take time to pull things together. I remember one of the executives I reported to after my manager left telling me to be “patiently impatient” as he worked to figure out what my new role was worth. I wasn’t happy to wait, but the end result was positive. Now, as a leader, I too need to remember not to take things personally.

My journey with our new marketing organisation and strategy is far from over, but I have seen the team become aligned and excited as we move forward. There is no quick win during organisational change or change management, but incorporating these four lessons can help stabilize a team in transition.

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