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October 15, 2013

Guest Blogger Kelly Gregorio - It’s Time For a Change: Reworking Failing Policies That You Put into Place

Kelly Gregorio

As the leader of your team, you are likely the person to craft and set policies in place.  Chances are that in the past, you’ve carried out this responsibility with everyone’s (including the business’s) best interest at heart.

However, as time goes on, needs, wants and circumstances face crossroads and may beg for necessary change.  It can be a daunting process, destructing and rebuilding the policies you worked so hard to establish; but by listening to your intuition, opening yourself up to suggestions and following these 4 steps, you can come out on the other end to find things to be better than ever before.

What Ego?

Yes, you set certain policies in place for a reason, but hopefully you understand that as days turn to weeks and months turn to years, things change.  Coming to terms with the fact that (at no fault of your own) some policies may have hit an expiration date can improve workflow and productivity for the better.  Strive to separate your ego from the task at hand: to set the most efficient, supportive and comfortable work climate as possible.

Now that your ego has been pushed aside you can have a subjective conversation with yourself.  Take a minute to draft out your answers to questions like: what caused me to set this policy in the first place, what new changes do I now think might be necessary, in what ways can those changes take shape?

Employee Involvement

Once you’ve formulated some thoughts and opinions yourself, its time to add staff input into the mix.  Employees who currently work under your policies and procedures can offer up a completely fresh perspective. 

If you want genuine input, consider providing anonymity to a set survey.  Ask employees how they feel about X and what changes they think need to be made to Y.  Not only will this move provide you with valuable input, but it also greatens your chances of employee compliance.  Whether their suggestions take place or not, employees tend to be more willing to give new polices a shot if they had some sort of stake in them. 

Test The Waters

The best way to receive employee resistance is to present something as the end-all-be-all way of doing things.  Avoid their brakes and backlash by verbally establishing new changes as a trial-period.  Your evaluation of this trial period will be key, but emphasize the importance of employee involvement to get and keep them on board.

As your trial period nears a close, have a group discussion to gauge the consensus, collect comments and tend to final concerns.  Be open to a quick brainstorming session where people can add their two-cents and once again, align themselves with this new change.  Upon taking everything into consideration, privately make a formal decision and then share the solidified details of your policy change.

Follow Up

It is important to follow up with yourself near the end of this process; you can do this by returning to your original draft of thoughts and ideas.  Ask yourself: how does this newly created policy match up to our team’s initial needs and wants and what problems can I anticipate?

As time goes on, you might even keep track of the policy-change experience as a whole.  What was the experience like for you?  What will you do differently next time?  By keeping an ongoing conversation with yourself you will keep your awareness in-check while preparing yourself to be even more flexible for the next wave of necessary changes to come.

How do you handle policy changes? 

About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about leadership trends and tips while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a company that provides businesses working capital. 


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