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VelocityEHS Executive Vice President James Mallon explores the eight steps to transforming your organization based on the book, “Leading Change” by John Kotter. In this installment, Mallon examines Step 5, which discusses how you can empower your employees to act on your vision and how you can remove the barriers that often “box employees in”.

Video Transcript

Hi, Jamie Mallon from Humantech (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics) here, with another installment of “HT Whiteboard”. And if you remember, we’re reviewing the book, Leading Change by John Kotter. He tells us how to transform an organization or implement change, and in step five, it’s all about empowering employees for broad-based action. He actually identifies four things we have to be aware of, four barriers.

One of those barriers is structures within the organization that doesn’t align with what we’re trying to accomplish. People lacking skills or capabilities to actually drive the process forward, they don’t know how or what to do. Three, information or personnel systems that don’t align with our activities. And fourth, bosses who are a little less than cooperative. These things work together to box employees in and not allow them to actually get with the vision of what you’ve set forth for your transformation.

What we really have to think about are ways that we can manage these four barriers. And one of the biggest ones that Walt Rostow, one of our vice presidents, is a big proponent of, is having a management system in place. The management system guides behaviors, guides roles and responsibilities, and tells us what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. Second, let’s make sure that we get everybody on board by telling them it’s important in their performance appraisal. If ergonomics is part of their PA process, then we’re really influencing how they do their job, and that’s very, very important as well.

Well, we can’t underestimate the need for training and education on a method or tools that we can use in our process. So we have to think about that and have to give enough training for people that they can feel confident in their activities and how they’re going to move that ball forward for you. And last but not least, we have to establish a budget. One of the biggest frustrations of any ergonomics team or anyone putting in a transformation process is the lack of funding. We have to make sure that there’s a budget in place for them to utilize, to push change forward, to put improvements in place, to make a better workplace. And by establishing a budget for them to work within, then we’re actually giving them a big tool to help them move that process forward.

So again, one of the key things you want to make sure you’re doing is empowering employees to implement your vision. But you can’t box them in with these four things. And here are four ways you can manage it. Hope this was helpful. I know it was a quick one, and I look forward to talking to you soon. Take care now.