Managing transformation: how to get teams on board
- When the company is undergoing transformation projects, it is essential to get teams on board if the project is to succeed.
- To do this, 6 levers must be put in place: trust, inclusion, belonging, importance, meaning and self-worth.
- Among these levers, self-worth is becoming increasingly important with the new generations, who are looking for what the project can bring them.
- One of the most fundamental levers is the production of meaning, because it allows to give a clear vision for the future that guides the team members.
- Today, if 80% of companies undertake transformation projects, 70% fail: these 6 levers are therefore essential.
Between technological evolutions, different approaches to working methods or the energy transition, the business world is increasingly subject to major changes. Such situations imply numerous transformation projects within companies, corresponding to a need to rethink their functioning from both an organisational and strategic point of view. Success depends on the people who are at the heart of these companies – the employees – and their commitment. So how do you get your teams on board?
Ali Armand, pedagogical director of the Leadership & Management division at École Polytechnique Executive Education, examines various issues related to mobilising teams and their commitment, in order to know how to better involve them in a transformation project. Dominique Poissonnet is confronted with these issues in the field as a transformation expert at Alaska Consulting. Their expertise on the subject gives us some hints on how to ensure the commitment of the people involved.
70% of transformation projects fail
Transformation projects are large in scope, affecting businesses from top to bottom. “The reasons for business transformation vary greatly. They can be purely economic, or truly societal,” explains Dominique Poissonnet. But in all cases, these transformations take place in a context of urgency, i.e. when the company’s sustainability is at stake, and when there is a need to completely review the company’s model. All of this makes their implementation difficult, especially since it is necessary for all stakeholders to get involved for them to be truly effective.
“Today, if 80% of companies carry out a transformation project, 70% of the projects fail,” adds Dominique Poissonnet. The reason? Lack of stakeholder involvement: that’s why getting them on board is fundamental. To do this, different strategies can be put in place. These must take into account the desires of the team members, without limiting themselves to their satisfaction. “The first factor of disengagement of employees, all sectors included, is the lack of recognition, and not at all the lack of money,” maintains Ali Armand. “Money will only generate a mercenary mentality.”
The two experts highlight 6 levers to build on to achieve this necessary engagement: trust, inclusion, belonging, importance, meaning and self-worth.
Feeling good about your team
There is no hierarchical order in these levers, but organisational trust depends fundamentally on the other five. “To have organisational trust, you must generate a feeling within the organisation that the framework and the objective are clear, where there is a shared vision,” explains Ali Armand. “And most importantly, in which we are not afraid of things that are harder to be open about, because they should be brought forward, with transparency, for discussion.” Thus, this trust is the result of the proper application of the other levers.
“Nearly 70% of employees in France consider that their opinions are not taken into account by management,” insists Ali Armand. “This is a fundamental element in designing a transformation project. This affects a second lever, inclusion. Inclusion results from the participative nature of the transformation project,” says Dominique Poissonnet. “However, it can quickly turn into a nightmare, because in a large company, including 50,000 people can be complicated.” The implementation of a shared network, linking all the divisions of a company, can, for example, fuel this feeling.
A third lever to focus on to improve the well-being of its employees in its team is the feeling of belonging. “We can reach people as soon as we talk about the specific interests of the community, of the team to which they belong,” says Ali Armand. “It is therefore a question of building and developing a feeling of cohesion within the team itself, generating mutual responsibility and close relationships between its members.” This feeling is essential according to Dominique Poissonnet, and is sought by “every individual, because when we belong to a community, we are able to recognise ourown status, while benefiting from the strength it gives us.”
Finding meaning in the project
Once cohesion has been built among team members, it is important to ensure that they find meaning in the transformation project. “The production of meaning is, for me, really the most fundamental lever,” says Dominique Poissonnet. “It is what will provide a vision for the future, based on the company’s values.” Thus, no matter what obstacles are present on their path, team members will always have that clear vision that will allow them to keep moving forward, even if it means taking a detour.
An employee’s commitment also comes from their awareness of their importance. “If employees think they are interchangeable entities and that anyone could do their job,” says Ali Armand, “they will not be as committed and at the same level as if they have realised their importance, as individuals, to the success of the project.”
The last lever, self-worth, becomes even more important with the new generations. “Creating value for oneself means allowing the individual to understand what the project will bring to him or her,” explains Dominique Poissonnet. An individual will be all the more committed to the success of a project if he or she is aware of the benefits it will bring.
These six levers are not in any hierarchical order, as they must all be put in place to ensure the success of a transformation project. “We notice, in fact, that the main capital in organisations is human capital,” concludes Ali Armand. “So, we need empathy, proximity, humanity. With all these elements, we will have the necessary matter to be able to build a real commitment on the part of the employees within the organisation.