Without a meaningful plan for implementing change, all your great ideas, big-hearted generosity, and positive intentions are going to waste. Organizational change management is a professional discipline that would greatly benefit leaders in the massage community.
Zeth is developing a course on Organizational Change Management for the Massage Profession. If you are interested in receiving updates, let us know.
In my experience schools of the healing arts and places where those big-hearted healers work after graduating all involve some pretty kindhearted people. This type of work attracts all kinds of people. They tend to share the core value of wanting to make the world a better place.
Those who rise to the ranks of managers, leaders, spa owners, and massage school owners don’t always have the advantage of traditional education or work experience. The intentions might be wholesome. The brainpower might be present. The resources needed may even be available.
Yet despite all of these things aligning, things don’t change in meaningful ways.
Organizations of all kinds struggle with change management. Programs fail to get implemented. Critical criteria were forgotten when choices were made. An important decision was made because of a personal relationship or kickback incentive. A project gets executed and becomes an expensive waste of money because the scope wasn’t defined appropriately.
Signs of Ineffective Change Management
The following signs of ineffective change management may be things you have thought, said, or heard others express.
- The company spends part of its limited resources (time, money) on improvement plans that have a pattern of poor returns on investment.
- Employee silencing is occurring. Few people share ideas, give feedback, point out errors, or take ownership of projects.
- Employees are not making referrals when job openings are available. (Or worse, warn their friends not to apply!)
- Current clients (massage clients, students, etc.) are not referring other prospective clients.
- Staff meetings are unproductive, frustrating, and expensive.
- Professional development is an afterthought.
- Leadership is optimistic about making changes, workers are cynical.
- Those who are in the trenches don’t feel like the organization is addressing the true issues.
- Rules and procedures have been explained countless times to individuals, but there is no consistency in follow-through as an organization.
- Each person who enters the organization has a different onboarding experience depending on the person training them, how much time their trainer has, the time of year they’re hired, and other competing projects.
- Faculty members seem to be enforcing rules based on the policies that existed when they were hired rather than those from the current day.
- Penalties for tardiness are undermined by a set of instructors that don’t take it seriously, don’t enforce the rules, or don’t remember to take attendance.
- Administration feels as though they are constantly underwater or putting out fires. The culture becomes reactive rather than responsive or proactive.
- The group of workers has not gone through the forming, storming, and norming stages so that they can get to the performing stage.
- Meetings might be mandatory, but some people will find a way to miss every single one of them.
- Levels of turnover, burnout, breakdowns, missed shifts, etc. are increasing.
- Much of the management and leadership efforts are pointless, uninspired, rote, or a burden.
- Too many people are consulted on matters that should be kept to a core work group or board of directors. Too few people are consulted about things that impact them.
What are signs of good change management?
- The leadership considers multiple stakeholders from start to finish. (Stakeholders are people who are impacted. In a massage school that includes the students, everyone who works for the school, the communities served by the student clinic, the landlord, and major service providers.)
- Problems are chosen strategically. Input is gathered from multiple sources.
- Communication flows to and from leadership regularly.
- Feedback is fair, consistent, and ongoing as appropriate to the roles. Everyone knows the mission, vision, and values of the company. Each person is accountable for enforcing the rules.
- Onboarding is done professionally, covers the same items for every new hire, and establishes team-member responsibility for keeping up to date with changes.
- Professional development is important to the company and is prioritized through purposeful training. Access to important information is available to all workers.
- Meetings have a clear agenda and are led or facilitated skillfully. Attendees walk away with clear action items. Little time is wasted.
- People understand the importance of their specific individual contribution to the company. They know how excellent performance, as well as a failure to perform, will impact the organization and its stakeholders.
- People take personal ownership of roles, projects, and priorities. They speak up when they notice an error. They try not to walk past trash on the ground that they could pick up.
- Multiple forms of communication are used to send clear, consistent messaging. Ensure that emails and memos sent contain critical written information. Post a flyer in the break area. Assign managers responsibility for talking to, training, and documenting the change with each direct report.
Massage-related businesses of all sizes can benefit from consulting with Zeth. 941-321-5311