We don't know what's next for business - but what we do know is how to help you be ready. This blog is all about anticipating the future and positioning you for success.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 - The Year of the Dragon, and AAPCIMAR?

Monday of this week we recognized the celebration of the Chinese Year of the Dragon. Many people are looking forward to what this year will bring, as the dragon is such a powerful symbol in Chinese astrology. Did you know that it’s the only animal in the Chinese zodiac year that is not real? It’s quite special and very much revered and is believed to get its power from being made up of parts of different animals such as a tiger, a fish, a snake and an eagle. Rather than threatening, the Chinese dragon is a symbol of power, superiority, wisdom and rule.
As most business community leaders and workers are looking for some signs of good news and confidence about the future – perhaps this is what we’ve been waiting for. The Economist posted the following interesting data on Monday:

This Chinese new year could bring good fortune to stock market investors.

Chinese people across the world ushered in their new year on January 23rd, which according to 3,000 year-old Chinese astrology is the year of the dragon. …Physignathus cocincinus, to give its Latin name, is associated with power, authority and good fortune.

For those looking for good news among the grim January headlines, this could bode well for stock market fortunes over the coming year. Between 1900 and 2011, the nine previous dragon years have seen America's Dow Jones Industrial Average price index increase by an average of 7.7% in real terms, the second-best historical record of the 12 zodiac animals. Such fortune may be short-lived however; next year's animal, the snake, has the second-worst historical record.

As organizations take steps to get their hands around what changes to implement in order to take advantage of an economic turnaround, whether brought on by the Year of the Dragon or something else, I thought it might be helpful to post a few tips for managing change successfully. Organized and planned change initiatives help leaders navigate the abundance of land mines strategically planted along the journey ready to blast and derail advancements towards change objects.

  • Be clear about where the organization is headed. This vision should be easy to articulate, understand and remember. It should be one that engages and excites stakeholders.
  • Fully understand the current and future environments. Recognize the benefit of working with an unbiased third-party to assess the AS IS and TO BE states to help identify gaps and the strategies necessary for closing them. It’s dangerous to build a change plan strictly based on assumptions of internal leadership; get confirmation first, then do your planning.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Be open about your interest in gathering opinions and making the changes required for the organization to continue to be competitive and survive. Help employees and other stakeholders understand how your plans will benefit them. Provide schedules, even if tentative, on how the change initiatives are expected to move forward. Provide multiple channels for communicating about change in all directions within and outside of the organization. Train leaders and managers as Change Leaders and strengthen their communication and presentation skills so they can properly address questions even when a clear answer still hasn’t been determined
  • Provide leaders of change with executive coaches to assist them with their own personal transitions while they lead others.
  • Construct a plan that provides opportunities for as much stakeholder involvement as possible. Understand how various stakeholder groups would like to be engaged and design those possibilities into the plan.
  • Be mindful that change doesn’t happen quickly, and be prepared with patience and realistic time lines.
  • Celebrate successes, as well as lessons learned from actions that didn’t hit the mark. Empower stakeholders to assist with the change strategies and acknowledge their journeys. Lots of great organizational stories will be available along this journey – don’t keep them to yourself.

So What’s Next?

I think what’s next is AAPCIMAR!   Never heard of it?   Read on.

We all know, unless you’ve been working under a rock, that to be successful in this "new, normal," "21st century," "whatever-you-want-to-call-it" economy we can’t approach business the way we did in the past. It doesn’t really matter what business function you’re responsible for – i.e., accounting, human resources, information technology, engineering and research, operations, etc. - expectations are that workflow and the people working within each system will be efficient, effective and produce results that support the value proposition the organization has with its stakeholders. Achieving that success requires: Assessing, Analyzing, Planning, Change Initiatives, Monitoring, Adjusting and Repeating…AAPCIMAR.

AAPCIMAR requires consistent attention to the external and internal environments in which an organization functions. It also involves a strategy for integrating changes into the organization’s strategic plans. More than ever, I believe our personal and organizational abilities will be tested for flexibility and agility. In the instantaneous world we now work in, leaders and employees will be evaluated differently. For example, we all need to be comfortable making decisions faster while working with changing boundaries: global rather than regional, and home-based rather than cubicle. Our expectations that colleagues will be down the hall and approach work "like us" has been transformed into virtual and global settings with peoples of all types of experiences, backgrounds, educations, nationalities and dreams. Skill sets and experiences associated with managing change will be mandatory; certainly for executive leaders, but also for those in management and supervisory positions. The more we can expand managing change techniques and awareness in the workforce, the faster our organizations will be able to respond.

It’s a different world and a different year. The year of the wise and powerful Dragon is here. What’s your next move?

I welcome your comments to my posting. Please click below. If you found this article to be interesting and helpful I’m very happy for you to pass it along to others. Have a great week.

This article was written for you by Deborah A. King, SPHR, CEO and Sr. Organizational Effectiveness Consultant with Evolution Management, Inc. Debbie and her team can help your organization navigate the challenging journey of individual, team and organizational change.   Contact us for more information: www.evolutionmgt.com or 770.587.9032.