Volume 10, Number 3
Whine into the Bottom-Line
Ms. Hathaway helps organizations manage
change. She can be reached at 1-800-339-0973 or www.thechangeagent.com.
organization's greatest enemy is not
in the marketplace. Investing in the latest technologies, new
faces, and ineffective management strategies cannot turn around
the numbing bottom-line crises found in many of today's
organizations. Just because you're not hearing employee whining
doesn't mean resistance to change isn't affecting your
to get a real grip on what can and cannot be controlled keeps your
employees unproductive. In order to relieve the crisis stress and
paralysis, your managers need to develop a passion for whining and
an ability to handle this whining and resistance effectively. Many
managers ignore whining, hoping the resistance or the people
whining will go away. A different approach is for managers to
begin to understand that the agency will only succeed if they can
uncover and break through the resistance and whining as it occurs.
the magnitude of change today: mergers and acquisitions continue
at an unabated pace, technology and the impact of electronic
commerce and the internet is completely restructuring many
industries. Most organizations are pushing to do more with less,
an average employee receives an astounding average of 190 messages
per day. In a recent
study of the changing workforce, 71% of workers feel used up at
the end of the day.
impact of such significant and profound change can result in
employee whining because people are experiencing several types of
loss and pain. Employees may grapple with one or several of these
1. Evaluating Skills and Conditioning.
Perhaps an employee used to be a "franchise player," now
they wonder if they have the skills to succeed in the new world of
technology and the new ways of doing business? It's hard for
people to admit they don't know how to do something or that they
lack the skills to succeed on the team. They may be asking
themselves, "Has the game passed me by?"
There is an uncertain feeling about the position they will play or
whether or not they have any job security. Many employees tend to
protect their turf and territory and not contribute to team play.
Some staff are concerned about a change in their perceived status
when their position title is changed (although their job has not).
A critical question for your staff to consider is, "Am
I more concerned with my own statistics or the team/agency's
3. Game Plan.
When a new coach comes to a team, the players often question what
the direction is and where they are going. This is equally true in
the workplace today. Many new bosses or leaders don't ask for the
employees' input because they were hired to turn the organization
around. How do the long-term employees fit on this new team?
Employees may begin questioning their own abilities and wonder,
"Does the new boss recognize my skills and talents? Will I
get the opportunity to show him/her?"
4. Team Unity.
Oftentimes, new employees can be overlooked because they lack a
proven track record. Long-tenured employees worry because their
skills may be diminishing and they are not recognized as the star
they once were. Staff worry when positions are combined and they
are made into "generalists" versus
"specialists." They also may be questioning why their
work hours need to change while other staff wonder why other
departments worked the same hours all these years. People want to
feel significant and like having value for the team. They may be
asking themselves, "How
can I contribute value and how do I fit in?"
5. Making the Playoffs.
Will the organization be successful? Even if the team succeeds
with all these changes, will I be cut from the team and put on
waivers? You don't feel like you are in control and you don't know
where you stand on the team or within your organization.
you have asked yourself these gut-wrenching questions as you've
experienced change. It is important for employees to really feel the pain that change is causing them before they can begin the
healing process. I believe that if you
also can feel the employees' pain, you can heal the organizational
pain of change. On the other hand, if you ignore the pain and
don't take the time to understand what caused it, you won't know
what and how to begin the healing process. Remember the old adage,
"No pain, no gain!" That’s true of organizations in
change as well -- there will be employee pain before there is