Why does the interim manager manage to implement the change in such a short time, where the regular management crashes. Seven practical guidelines based on more than 20 years of experience.
It is said often enough, but not often enough. Being present in the workplace. And that is more than just an obligatory tour. It is also really communicating with the different people / functions in the workplace. And communicating is more than just hearing “complaining” in the workplace. It also means questioning. Get to the heart of the problem quickly. Often there are [emotional] values under the complaints. Get started with that. Tell what you can do in the short term and what will take longer. Feedback that on the work floor as well. Find the employee again and tell what you have done and achieved. With that you build a bond of trust. And do this daily. Make time for this. Your employee on the work floor determines the performance of your organization. All the more reason to pay maximum attention to this.
Above all, be honest. Do not wrap around the hot paste. Tell what you can’t tell. Also tell them you don’t know. Also be honest that some decisions may be worse for certain departments / functions. Especially in supply chain issues, where the chain transcends individual departmental interests. Also be honest that change hurts. That it is difficult. Employees can see through evasive stories rather simply. Then explain why it is necessary. The necessity, the purpose and the expected result. But also where the pitfalls are.
So that can be confrontational. Not just for the employee. But also for you as a manager. Because do you really know why you want to make the change? What result you want and how realistic that is. Can you really convincingly explain why the change is needed? Because this is often lacking. Uncertainty about changes leads to more stress and resistance among employees. Precisely then people start to fear for their function / job and the heels are cut in the sand. Change is never fun because people, by nature, prefer the status quo. [sense of safety] The more you turn around it, the more you stir up unrest. So should people get out? Tell it! Don’t wait until the last minute. Get started with what needs to be done.
If you have a clear idea of what needs to be done, stick to the chosen line. Keep in mind that some people are full of confrontation, some dive away, but there are also people who “dribble”. Who “embrace” the change but actually delay the change and try to put it on a different track through their behaviour. Keep a close eye on your schedule. Be emphatic on that and do not accept the excuses and external reasons that delay the change. Dare to enter into that conversation with the individual employees about their behaviour. However, keep in mind that the moment you have to enter into such a conversation, you are actually already behind the facts. Then the desired change is not properly prepared.
Managers sometimes tend to think big. That provides wonderful conversation material to profile itself. However, change is the accumulation of many small steps, which can succeed each other in a very short time. If you think and act small, the workplace can also follow and understand you much better. Thinking small also ensures that you steer the change much better. You can better manage deviations and see the effects of adjustments in time. Your change project becomes manageable if you think small.
Change is mainly a matter of the workplace. They should behave differently, think differently and act differently. You must provide the correct conditions, resources, machines, methods and materials for this. You facilitate so that the workplace can realize the change. Also offer help when it comes to mental change. Change trajectories have a recognizable cycle of Hope – Suspicion – Depression – Renewed Hope – Stabilization. Each phase has its own “mental state” of the organization. Managers also undergo that cycle. So offer the right mental and concrete support to the organization, taking into account the cycle.
The major advantage of an interim manager is that it is independent. No need to play a role in organizational politics. Also separate from that. In addition, the interim manager has the advantage that his project has a measured duration. There is no need to build long-term relationships. This releases the interim manager from the necessary pressure. However, a good interim manager knows that building good relationships in a short time is essential for the project. Relationships across all layers of the organization. As a result, an interim manager quickly gets to know the company and knows where he can get or bring what. The relationships often prove to be sustainable after the project. Not so much on a deep personal level, but very good professional relationships. It is more pragmatic.
One last tip: 80% of the change revolves around behaviour. Your behaviour and that of your employees. The will to think and behave differently. Or as top athletes always indicate why they have reached the top: a little bit of luck, a little talent and continue to train, train and train again every day in order to get a little better every day, step by step.